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Devil Doll is a 1964 British film about hypnotist-cum-ventriloquist "The Great Vorelli" (Bryant Halliday) in his struggle to prove to the people who laughed at him long ago that yes, he can transfer a mind into the body of a wooden vent figure. At one show, by what seems to be pure serendipity, the 'good guy' Mark English (William Sylvester, before ~2001: A Space Odyssey~) ropes his girlfriend Marianne (Yvonne Romain) into volunteering for Vorelli's act. English's obsessive skepticism results in acquisition of expert testimony and even an impromptu, depressing trip to Germany. Along the way, minds are controlled, people are menaced with knives, and dummies are insulted. Somehow, Vorelli's dummy turns the tables at the close of the movie, and everything ends.
Devil Doll provides examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Vorelli on Marianne.
- And I Must Scream: And HOW.
- Beard of Evil: ...which has to be glued on.
- Demonic Dummy: Hugo.
- Glass of Chianti: Vorelli drinks Sangue Di La Vergine - "Blood of the Virgin"
- Gold Digger: Vorelli's plan is to stage Marianne's death once he's tired of her, leaving him with her estate and Hugo with an "ugly wooden companion".
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Vorelli's Karmic Transformation at the film's Twist Ending.
- Jerkass: Vorelli, skirting on the edge of Complete Monster. Hell, his stage act at one point involves hypnotizing a guy into visualizing himself being shot in the head. And in the good old days, he used to hypnotize the human Hugo to not bleed when he was stabbed. Most of the time, it worked.
- He also forces a woman in the audience to do a striptease.
- Large Ham: He loves it!
Hugo: You cannibal!
- Magicians Are Wizards: Or ventriloquists are really soul-stealing hypnotists, anyway.
- Male Gaze: The introduction of Grace, the Replacement Lovely Assistant.
- Mind Rape: Literally.
- My God, What Have I Done?: English.
- Non Indicative Title: Hugo is just a victim in the whole thing.
- Obviously Evil: I mean, come on. For instance, during the flashback to Vorelli and Hugo's Start of Darkness:
Vorelli: (To Human!Hugo) This time, Hugo... you're going to die!
- Power Perversion Potential: And Vorelli knows it.
- She Knows Too Much: about Vorelli's sordid past, so Magda has to go.
- Spanner in the Works: Grace, Vorelli's replacement assistant; she interrupts him in the last scene before he can tighten the Restraining Bolt on Hugo -- and after he opens the door to Hugo's cage, allowing the puppet to destroy the plans of the Great Vorelli.
- Useless Protagonist: Besides the "endangering his girlfriend" part, did English affect the plot in any way?
- Essentially, English in no way facilitates the resolution of all that's made wrong...not even his urgent trip to Berlin, nor the consultations with the experts. Because of this, it makes Hugo The Hero.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Two for the price of one!
- Wimp Fight: Vorelli gets his ass kicked by a puppet!