Written and Directed by Mark DeGaetani
Featuring: Juliette Bennett, Ken Arnold, Aric Euler, Christina Barlas
26 minutes, 2007, Rudderpost Films
Wendy and Lily White live in a beautiful house all by themselves. Wendy, Lily's mother, is a young, gorgeous woman who exudes sexuality. Lily is a sweet little girl who wears white frilly dresses and plays with her dolls all day.
Of course, as you might expect, Wendy White gets lonely for a real man, and her daughter gets lonely for real people to play with. Of course, Lily's dolls do look so very lifelike. And Wendy is so beautiful, how could any man resist her?Wendy uses her charms to pick up men, notably Mr. Construction Worker and Officer Dick Fallus, and lures them to the safety of her home. But daughter Lily isn't everything she at first seems to be; sure, she's introverted, sweet, and lets her momma do whatever she wants without disturbing her, but BOY you better never talk badly in front of her. Because Lily, as sweet as she is, can get really mean when the time is right.
Bennett as Wendy White, enticing Dick Fallus
DeGaetani uses humor that is both Lynchian and Cohen-brothers in this strange little short with gorgeous cinematography (check out some of the shots of the skies). While creepy enough (dolls in and of themselves are creepy, but the art direction and tone of the movie really reminds me of something out of a Cronenberg film like The Brood), the writing openly makes fun of itself (the detective who comes to check on Lily and Wendy is named Dick Fallus).
Young Lily White descends the stairs
Juliette Bennett as Wendy is like Debbie Rochon on ludes. She's got a somehow Cassandra Peterson-esque quality to her that's so unnerving yet comic. As aforementioned, the art direction and lighting create moody atmosphere like a really great episode of Tales from the Darkside that Dario Argento might have directed. Lily White (played by the talented young Christina Barlas) is the epitome of scary in her little white dress, dark demon eyes, and insatiable desire for more "playmates". Throw in a little bit of rape, gore, and good old-fashioned violence and you have a goddamn fun little short.
Of course, because the film is 26 minutes, you get to know the characters and unfortunately, leave desiring more. It's almost as if I watched reel 1 of a really great horror film but didn't get to see reels 3 and 4. The Dollhouse uses so many great classy metaphors including women's revenge on evil men, mother/daughter relationships gone kaput, and the horror movie classic theme of demonic children that haven't been exploited in a while, and then turns it into an exploitation of those types of exploitation films. Nice. Also, who doesn't like punishing bad men? I do!