This month, we’re highlighting some little known or completely forgotten Black horror films, thanks to the folks at the Department of Afro American Research, Arts, and Culture in Greensboro, North Carolina! First up, 1984’s Black Devil Doll from Hell!
Black Devil Doll from Hell (1984) is an independent horror film written and directed by Chester Novell Turner. With the most respect to Mr. Turner, this movie is terrible, but that’s precisely why I dig it! To appreciate this movie, you have to understand what Mr. Turner accomplished. He wrote, directed, produced, edited, and created the soundtrack (with a Casio keyboard). And he did all this with a $10,000 budget, including paying his cast members. The devil doll was modeled after Rick James, and in some scenes, his nephew hilariously portrays the devil doll walking around.
Turner had no experience in filmmaking. He took a course to help him with the movie, but the limited budget only allowed him to film the entire movie with a video camera. According to my research, the last all-black cast horror film before Black Devil Doll from Hell was J.D.’s Revenge, released in 1976, or Petey Wheatstraw, released in 1977 (Petey Wheatstraw is debatable as a horror film). But this further demonstrates how the horror genre is painfully underrepresented in the Black community past the 1970s. Thank you, Mr. Turner. You had a vision and you made it become reality.
Director: Chester Novell Turner
Writer: Chester Novell Turner
Starring: Shirley L. Jones, Ricky Roach, Chester Tankersley, Marie Sainvilvs, Keefe L. Turner, Thalia Holloway, Obie Dunson
A woman buys an antique doll at a thrift store and does not realize it is cursed. The doll uses its powers to seduce her and then escapes back to the store. She starts to lose interest in sexual activities with her partners as the doll can give her much better satisfaction, so she sets out to find it, but with deadly consequences.
You can watch it online at https://archive.org/details/black-devil-doll-from-hell-dvd-198
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