United Artists At the moment, we seem to be in a resurgence of killer doll movies, and frankly, I’m a little worried. I barely survived the 80’s and 90’s where killer clowns, dolls, ventriloquist dummies and other toys decided it was fun to go around murdering. Geez.
Anyways, after hearing mixed reviews about the
Child’s Play remake, I got to thinking about the other times a doll made me wet myself, and boom; a list of freaky killer dolls.
Sleep tight with your definitely not possessed Dolly, folks.
Full Moon Features Puppet Master (1989)
While this is a fairly successful matinee-style B movie series, it’s the first one that’s the best. You’ve got psychics that explore the history of a Nazi scientist who gave life to some freakishly murderous dolls.
Especially this guy; Blade. He’s got a blade, a hook, and absolutely zero remorse.
Universal Pictures Dead Silence (2007)
While there’s no shortage of creepy doll-types out there, there’s nothing more chilling than a ventriloquist’s dummy. They’re lifelike and unnatural. Plus, those eyes. Now, imagine thousands of them in an old, abandoned theatre. Freaky.
This flick is completely underrated as a horror film and is a nice throwback to the old creepy films of the 40’s, with a morbid twist.
20th Century Fox Magic (1978)
Speaking of ventriloquist’s dummies, this under-the-radar film has a nice little subversive twist where the psychotic doll ends up controlling his human. Anthony Hopkins does a superb job playing both the meek Corky and his oppressive doll named Fats.
This one will suck all the joy and wonder out of your life, in a terrifying way.
Empire Pictures Dolls (1987)
In a typical horror film set up, a group of motorists are stranded at an old English home during a thunderstorm. What’s not normal, is that this the home of an old puppet maker and his wife. Also in the home, are puppets, made from cursed and immoral people who’d been killed and imprisoned in puppet bodies.
There’s a fine between gleeful comedy and abject horror here, and the doll effects are just amazing
Warner Bros. Annabelle (2014)/Annabelle: Creation (2017)/Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Starting off in a small role in The Conjuring, Annabelle is now a cultural icon. It’s chilling how easily an innocent-looking doll can become a malevolent and supernatural spirit, out for blood.
You can credit director James Wan for revitalizing the haunted house/creepy doll genre with his
Lions Gate Films May (2002)
This is loosely a killer doll film, but it can’t be ignored in a list of the best ones. Basically, we’ve got an awkward and lonely girl named May, who’s best friend is a doll. Her isolation become so acute that she alienates everyone who ever tries to get close to her, then she kills them all, takes the best pieces and assembles a doll of her own.
The specific genre is called “mannequin horror” and it’s too fucked up for words, but in a spine-chilling way.
Compass International Tourist Trap (1979)
Similar to Dolls we’ve got random strangers, travel, and an unintentional pit stop in a place with creepy humanoid items. In this case, it’s less of a haunted house film, and more of a ‘people getting killed by mannequins’ in a dusty roadside tourist trap in the ass end of nowhere. Oh, and they have supernatural powers like telekineses.
This one is super freaky and reinforces that you really shouldn’t just stop and ask for directions. Like, ever.
New World Pictures Pin (1988)
This Canadian indie film is an under-the-radar gem that I picked up at a dusty video store when I was a teen, because the premise was so fucked up. It takes elements of mannequin horror and ventriloquist horror and adds in some dissociative psychosis.
Basically, a kid finds a kinship with a life-sized anatomical medical dummy, uses it to kill his family, then dresses it up like his dad.
It’s all kinds of fucked up.
ABC Trilogy of Terror (1975)
This made-for-tv anthology show features three stories written by horror icon Richard Matheson. It’s the third one, titles “Amelia” that is the best. In it, a woman gets terrorized by an evil Zuni Fetish doll.
Between the premise, the acting, the quick editing and the design of the doll, it’s a pretty memorable and fucked up story.
MGM/UA Communications Child’s Play (1988)
While there’s a remake in theatres now that modernizes Chucky for the modern age, I really love the OG version. It’s scary, yet playful and Brad Dourif as the doll is just perfect casting. While the rest of them vary in consistency, you can’t argue with the fact that it’s got 6 sequels, an upcoming TV series, and a remake.
This original film is visceral in it’s horror and pretty much put me off of anything that looked like a doll.
American International Pictures Attack of the Puppet People (1958)
This is one of those iconic sci-fi films that could only be made in the 50’s during the atomic terror. The movie involves a deranged puppet maker, who uses a shrinking ray to turn regular folk into his puppets.
While it’s not the dolls themselves that are the item of horror in this one, the concept of being shrunk down against your will and kept captive by a psycho who’s afraid to be left alone, is pretty chilling.
Full moon Pictures Blood Dolls (1999)
Ok, this isn’t a good film in the same sense that the rest of them are, but the idea of an eccentric billionaire who’s a biological inventor, making creepy blood dolls to do his bidding, is the perfect 2am on a Saturday film.
Especially this clown, zombie pimp one.
Full Moon Entertainment Demonic Toys (1992)
When you get caught in a warehouse full of demonic, haunted toys, bad things are gonna happen. This one has got a pair of cops, their villainous quarry and an innocent delivery boy, up against homicidal toys.
It’s cheap and cheesy fun, but it’s also a great time.
Embassy Home Entertainment The Pit (1981)
This is a wild one, and another demonstration about how fucked up Canadian horror films can be. The movie’s about a social outcast who befriends a dirty old bear, who leads him to a pit filled with hungry monsters. He’s coerced to lead unsuspecting victims to feed the monster, by the bear.
It’s all kinds of fun-fuckery.
MGM/UA Communications Poltergeist (1982)
While the rest of the films on this list are specifically about killer dolls, dummies and mannequins, this one is more of a haunted house film. We all know that. But remember that fucking clown?
Never, ever will I allow a clown in my home after this.
CBS The Twilight Zone – Living Doll (1963)
While it’s not exactly a movie, this episode of The Twilight Zone is the seminal tale about a sentient and murderous doll. Unlike the rest of the toys on this list, Tina actually looks pretty innocent and it’s entirely plausible that nothing supernatural is going on.
Until it does and the doll knocks a man down the stairs, to his death. I got chills watching that for the first time. No one does horror and suspense like
The Twilight Zone
H/T Horror Freak News & Thrillist
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