Helen Black (Shirley L. Jones) is a devout, middle-aged, churchgoing single lady who wishes to save her maidenhead for once she is married: when in church with her friend, she disdains her lewd suggestion that there is something better she could be doing than listening to a sermon she finds boring. On the way home, Helen encounters a salesman operating out of the back of his car, and no matter how much he tries to persuade her, she is just not interested in his wares, telling him off for selling stolen goods. Once back in her apartment, she received a telephone call from her friend who keeps trying to hook her up with men, but she always refuses – though maybe it’s not a man she needs?
Chester Novell Turner was the filmmaker who brought this and one other film to the world, if you could call them films as they were more amateur videos that somehow won themselves a proper distribution in selected video rental stores of America. With its lurid new title, should you be tempted by the cassette’s cover you would find a work inside that all too many have described as hard to believe, indeed the only way to believe it was ever made would be to watch it, thus joining that exclusive club of dumbfounded viewers who not only couldn’t believe that something so shoddy would be released, but also that Turner chose to bring it to the screen with his camcorder in the first place.
There was, shall we say, a very particular sensibility in operation here which took a pious look at the temptations on offer to the Godfearing and laced it with a heavy dose of almost softcore pornographic puppet sex. You read that right: Helen goes to a thrift store and after five minutes of unnecessary deliberation (because you are well aware she’s going to buy the bloody thing) she takes the puppet home with her. Said mannequin was a ventriloquist’s dummy appropriately Rastasfied to apparently make it look like Super Freak singer Rick James, according to the director anyway, and it stays dormant until Helen places it in the bathroom as she showers. Bad move: the little guy suddenly awakens and uses psychic powers to pull back the curtain to get an eyeful.
Now, heaven knows nobody wishes to be unkind to someone who has already ended up in a starring role in something called Black Devil Doll from Hell, but Miss Jones was not exactly best advised to appear in frequent scenes in the buff; presumably she was the only person who would agree to Turner’s bizarre requirements, because there seems damn little other reasons why we would be subjected to near-endless sequences of her undressed and being subjected to puppet attention of a sexual nature. Using its accursed breath to knock her out, the now-speaking in gravel tones miniature nightmare reminds one strongly of a low rent Chucky only it’s the carnal he’s interested in rather than murder, which in effect sees Helen raped into believing once you go puppet, you never go back.
Sounds offensive, right? What kind of person would laugh at a rape scene, after all? How about someone who had watched this, which was so downright wrongheaded in its preposterousness that you would be hard pressed not to let out the odd giggle, or if you were truly astounded, perhaps gales of laughter at the sights Turner served up. It’s difficult to describe quite how idiotic this was, as if the intention was to take it seriously, what was he trying to say? Warn good Christians away from sex lest they be led astray by their newfound enthusiasm for the activity? When the puppet finally leaves Helen be, returning as the shopkeeper said it would to the store, our heroine is left bereft and lapses into unfulfilling sexual one night stands, including with the salesman most of whose dialogue consists of the phrase “Hey, mama!” This sets up the dramatic ending where she is finally punished for something that could hardly be termed her fault, after all who could have foreseen these circumstances? Absolutely dreadful by any estimate, but difficult to look away from (and listen to, thanks to the piercing and droning soundtrack).