Del Toro on “The Doll”
Being a young, impressionable Night Gallery fan is no guarantee that you’ll grow up to become a successful filmmaker. But it can’t hurt. Just ask Guillermo del Toro.
The director of “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Hellboy” has noted in several interviews the strong mark that the series left on him as a boy. And when his 1993 film “Cronos” was released on DVD and Blu-ray, he singled out one Gallery segment in particular: Season 1’s “The Doll.”
According to the Los Angeles Times blog “Hero Complex”:
Del Toro also discussed his long-time love affair with the horror genre, vividly recalling the 1970s macabre television series “Night Gallery,” which he watched alone, at night, when he was just a child.
“I would go into complete paroxysms of terror,” he said. “The only time I literally, literally peed my pants in fear. I did! I’m not talking figuratively! I released the bladder! It was a ‘Night Gallery’ episode called ‘The Doll’ that was based on the Algernon Blackwood short story.
And when the doll smiles, I just started screaming, and” — Del Toro paused to supply an appropriate sound effect and waved his arm around like an escaped garden hose — “I was forever haunted by that. I think that was very formative to me. … Those fears, the corridor to the bathroom in that house, they’re all in my shots.”
For most adults, of course, watching “The Doll” won’t necessitate a change of clothes. But it’s still a creepy one. Most Night Gallery fans cite it as one of the series’ best. The doll’s face is hard to forget — it’s like getting a glimpse of the Twilight Zone’s “Talky Tina” gone to seed.
Here’s a link for the benefit of those who have never seen it — and those who’d like to enjoy it again. It’s best viewed on DVD, although it can be watched on Hulu (albeit w/ commercials) below. Turn down the lights, and enjoy:
Photos courtesy of Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!