Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll

Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll

"Listen... I advise you not to get any ideas about my sisters."

Gilles (Paul Naschy) is a drifter and an ex-con haunted by visions of strangling women, who finds work as the caretaker of a secluded old estate owned by three sisters. Claude (Diana Lorys) hides mysterious scars and wears a prosthetic hand; hot-blooded sexpot Nicole (Eva Leon) is the youngest; Ivette (Maria Perschy), is beautiful, but confined to a wheelchair. Ivette's new nurse Michele (Inés Morales) is a substitute and we soon learn why – the regular nurse was murdered on her way to the estate. By night there's a lot of bed-hopping. Nicole seduces Gilles, Gilles seduces Claude, Nicole throws herself at Ivette's doctor, and Gilles attempts to rape Michelle. Meanwhile, the killer keeps striking, murdering pretty young girls of the village and gouging out their eyeballs. Gilles has a history of violence, but is he the murderer? Could Michelle be responsible? Or is it the disgruntled previous caretaker? Perhaps one of the secretive sisters is hiding something from her past that holds an important clue.

Believe it or not, the title Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll actually does make sense in a metaphorical way, though it's not entirely apparent until the final moments of the film. This is a pretty good giallo, with all the sexy scenes in the first half hour, followed by a quick succession of murders in the last half using some creative murder implements. It relies heavily on the traditions of Gothic horror, set mainly in a dark Victorian mansion in a small town populated by suspicious, fearful villagers. But while there's a decent twist ending, there are more questions raised than answers.

  • Be warned: there is a gruesome, gratuitous scene of villagers slaughtering a live pig. This is not staged and they didn't use a puppet. The pig squeals a lot. It is very disturbing.
  • The movie was shot outside Madrid, but at the beginning of the movie, someone clearly states that we're in Perú.  However, everything else indicates that the movie is set in rural France: all the characters have French names, the local bar takes Francs, the police inspector wears a French uniform, and the song "Frere Jaques" is a recurring motif.
  • Near the end of the movie, Michele appears in a bright red raincoat, running through the woods at night. Perhaps this is an homage to the opening scenes of Blood and Black Lace?
  • The camera crew can clearly be seen in a mirror in the final minutes of the movie.
 What the Hell Am I Watching?

This movie has the weirdest musical cues ever. Aside from "Frere Jacques" (which can be quite creepy in the right setting,) the other main theme is a peppy little ditty played on a Hammond organ, that sounds like roller-rink music.  Or like incidental music from "The Brady Bunch." This same happy tune is used (or, rather, mis-used) for suspenseful scenes, murder sequences, love scenes, and everyday background music.

Gilles' flashbacks to strangling his girlfriend are truly weird. They're staged like the fantasy ballet scenes in Oklahoma or Singin' In the Rain – vast, white open spaces with no horizon, colored lights, and a wind machine. But instead of a romantic pas de deux, he has his hands around her throat.

Fashion Moment

Nicole's wardrobe is all bright, flashy colors and tight jeans, but to me, the most striking sister is Claude. She goes from frumpy to feminine when she finds love, and the transition is marked by this outfit: a plain brown sweater and fashion-forward plaid pants. It's the first time we really take notice of her.