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07.26.2013by: Jake Dee

Top 10 Creepy Doll Flicks!

Dolls are f*cking frightening. Seriously. I don't care if you're 6 or 60, that cherubic inanimate blob of plastic...the permanent smile, those beady eyes that always seem fixed in your direction...yeah, no thank you. To make things worse, dolls have increasingly become more and more lifelike over the years. Now they can talk, piss, blink, walk, cry...essentially simulate all affectations and mannerisms of a toddler. Again...terrifying. So terrifying in fact that horror movies have long riffed on such a toy, subverting the adorable innocence associated with dolls by turning them into manipulative murderers, if not mere harbingers of doom. As you might know, THE CURSE OF CHUCKY will be released soon straight to DVD, or if you saw THE CONJURING already, you know how f*cked-up the doll in that flick is. So, as always, that got us to recounting all the deleterious dolls that have graced the horror genre over the years. Find out which made the cut ahead in our Top 10 Creepy Doll Flicks!

#10. DEVIL DOLL (1964)

At almost 50 years old, DEVIL DOLL is the oldest exemplar on our list...but by no means the tamest. Honestly, the film itself is pretty silly for most of the runtime, but the actual doll in the film remains one of the all time creepiest of its kind. I mean, just look at that f*cking face! Even more impressive is the fact that the doll Hugo was played by a female dwarf! The story sees a hypnotic, bat-shit ventriloquist who orders his main puppet to murder his female assistant, thereby winning a younger woman under his power. Can't get more heinous and manipulative than that!

#9. MANNIKINS OF HORROR (ASYLUM, 1972)

Back when Amicus was churning out one sick-ass horror anthology after another, a story called MANNIKINS OF HORROR found its way into the 1972 flick ASYLUM. You remember that shite? If not, I urge you to revisit that sucker ASAP, as it's easily one of the earliest and best examples of a plastic miniature going balls-out bonkers! It also features, as CHILD'S PLAY does, the transference of evil to innocent souls, with teensy-tiny toys inhabiting human characteristics and eventually acting upon their fevered bloodlust.

#8. DEAD SILENCE (2007)

Aside from his widely unseen film debut STYGIAN, DEAD SILENCE has to be James Wan's most underrated flick. After going the torture route with SAW, the dude flipped the script to give us more of a slow burning, visual horror experience....one littered with creepy ass puppets! The story revolves around the ghost of a murdered ventriloquist from the 17th century, but it's the lady's collection of Vaudeville era dolls in the flick that reanimate and exact bloody revenge on her twisted behalf. Shite gets gnarly!

#7. MAY (2002)

I love Angela Bettis in MAY. So twisted, so troubled, yet so utterly vulnerable...you at once want to hug her tightly and push her the f*ck away. However, this is a different kind of doll we're talking about. Instead of a Lilliputian toy animating with deadly desire, in MAY, the title character becomes so lonely and unraveled that she begins to make a human doll out of the admired body parts of her acquaintances. A nose here, a set of hands there, a torso...until a full body is constructed. Deeply disturbing, but a great movie idea!

#6. PIN (1988)

The 1988 psychological horror flick PIN is a refreshing entry to the creepy-doll subgenre, namely in the way the title character is portrayed. Instead of being an animated character that hacks people up, Pin is a lifeless, motionless anatomical figure that implants homicidal suggestion in the minds of its owners, a brother and sister named Leon and Ursula. Or at least, Pin becomes a scapegoat for such deplorable acts carried out by the troubled siblings. Many impugn PIN for being a second-rate PSYCHO knockoff, but that's pretty reductive, as the flick is quite a sturdy standalone mind-f*ck!

#5. TOURIST TRAP (1979)

Maniacal mannequins in a murderous melee? Welcome to the TOURIST TRAP! In many ways, this 1979 horror flick predates a spate of terrifying 80s techno-thrillers, not to mention clearly inspired the look and M.O. of Jigsaw from the SAW movies (the bushy wig, white makeup and smeared lipstick). It also laid the foundation for director David Schmoeller's would go on to achieve in 1989 (more on that in a sec), although to me this flick doesn't hold up quite as well. Still, the idea of a sadistic mastermind controlling a race of lethal drones is in full effect.

#4. PUPPETMASTER (1989)

If there was a Mount Rushmore of creepy-killer-doll flicks, you'd be hard-pressed to etch PUPPETMASTER off the precipice. Sure it has a frivolous tone, but David Schmoeller takes the conventions he put forward a decade earlier in TOURIST TRAP and makes a cheeky, fun-filled horror fantasy out of them. And you know why? It's the ingenuity of those little plastic bastards. They don't just slice and dice, many of them are specialists...one bitch has the ability to regurgitate leeches, another is skilled in gruesomely drilling craniums. Goddamn craftsmen!

#3. DOLLS (1987)

At a brisk 77 minutes, the simply titled 1987 movie DOLLS is a whole lot of mothaf*cking fun! Why? Well, it's all in the title...the whole damn film centers on a mansion of haunted toys that - upon the arrival of a group of storm-evading travelers - wreak gory havoc upon their asses! Interestingly, the great Stuart Gordon was very interested in directing this film, and would go on to use the same sets in DOLLS for his RE-ANIMATOR follow-up FROM BEYOND. Gordon and his pals even helped create the sinister whispering sounds the DOLLS make in the film.

#2. MAGIC (1978)

The shamefully under-viewed 1978 movie MAGIC, starring a young Anthony Hopkins, is a truly solid work of psychological horror. Hopkins plays a ventriloquist whose dummy Fats slowly reveals a murderous mind of its own. Or does it? The great thing about MAGIC is the ambiguous nature of the homicidal doll. Is the dummy alive and really butchering people, or is Hopkins simply going mad? No clear cut answers are provided, just eerie hints and off-kilter suggestions, leaving it up to the viewer to decide what really happens. Terrifying ambiguity done right!

#1. CHILD'S PLAY (1988)

"DON'T F*CK WITH THE CHUCK!!!" Brad Dourif's hysterical utterance of such a line in CHILD'S PLAY 3 will always stay with me, just as the iconic Chucky character will always reign supreme in the creepy doll subgenre. Come on now, the little bastard has carried his own franchise for a quarter-century! Kudos to Dourif for mining the humor out of a harrowing premise...the tone, tenor and one-liners I'd argue are what have endured the character for the last 25 years. Whatever the case, I know I'll always be jealous of the little foul-mouthed pile of plastic for banging Jennifer Tilly. So, so very unfair!

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2:56PM on 07/28/2013
Roland Emmerich's JOEY is a bad movie, but it has a great creepy doll in it.
Roland Emmerich's JOEY is a bad movie, but it has a great creepy doll in it.
Your Reply:



9:20AM on 07/28/2013
This is a really great list. I haven't seen or heard of most of them. Too bad Blockbuster probably doesn't carry most of them, or I would go out and start renting this list.
This is a really great list. I haven't seen or heard of most of them. Too bad Blockbuster probably doesn't carry most of them, or I would go out and start renting this list.
Your Reply:



9:13AM on 07/28/2013
Wow!... I've never heard of this movie, I MAY need to check it out. (See what I did there?)... No, seriously I'm going to check it out.
Wow!... I've never heard of this movie, I MAY need to check it out. (See what I did there?)... No, seriously I'm going to check it out.
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3:39PM on 07/27/2013

Missing classic

Not a bad list - but missing the classic Dead of Night, which is properly creepy and doesn't rely on gore as a replacement for psychological horror.
Not a bad list - but missing the classic Dead of Night, which is properly creepy and doesn't rely on gore as a replacement for psychological horror.
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1:49AM on 07/27/2013

What the Hell?!?

I was expecting some Barbie movie to be number 1, with Chucky filling the 2 spot, & Puppetmaster at the 3.
I was expecting some Barbie movie to be number 1, with Chucky filling the 2 spot, & Puppetmaster at the 3.
Your Reply:



11:51PM on 07/26/2013
One of the many movies shown on Mystery Science Theater 3K.
One of the many movies shown on Mystery Science Theater 3K.
Your Reply:



11:03PM on 07/26/2013
Fail list- Where in the fuck is "Nekromantik (1987)".
Fail list- Where in the fuck is "Nekromantik (1987)".
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+7
7:51PM on 07/26/2013

Trilogy of Terror

Where is the raging doll from this movie? Granted it's a short part of the movie, but damn that thing creeped me the hell out for years to come....
Where is the raging doll from this movie? Granted it's a short part of the movie, but damn that thing creeped me the hell out for years to come....
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1:24AM on 07/28/2013
Yep. THIS.
Yep. THIS.
+2
5:05PM on 07/26/2013

...

DOLLY DEAREST, TRILOGY OF TERROR, DEAD OF NIGHT, DEMONIC TOYS, DOLL MASTER (KOREAN) all worthy of honorable mention. What else?
DOLLY DEAREST, TRILOGY OF TERROR, DEAD OF NIGHT, DEMONIC TOYS, DOLL MASTER (KOREAN) all worthy of honorable mention. What else?
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6:56PM on 07/26/2013
Seriously, check out that Night Gallery episode. I think Henry Silva plays the Indian guy in it. You will not be disappointed. One of the great "doll" moments in TV history.
Seriously, check out that Night Gallery episode. I think Henry Silva plays the Indian guy in it. You will not be disappointed. One of the great "doll" moments in TV history.
4:42PM on 07/26/2013

Missed the big one!

A good list, but you missed the mother of all scary doll movies, Trilogy of Terror (1975). Okay, technically it was a made-for-TV movie, but any who's ever seen it is haunted by that little mofo!
A good list, but you missed the mother of all scary doll movies, Trilogy of Terror (1975). Okay, technically it was a made-for-TV movie, but any who's ever seen it is haunted by that little mofo!
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7:57PM on 07/27/2013
That's what I'm sayin'!!!!!!!
That's what I'm sayin'!!!!!!!
-2
3:49PM on 07/26/2013
Decent list, but Child's Play never really creeped me out. It plays up the slasher angle too much for me. Nothing in it is all that shocking or slow churning. It's never a mystery that Chucky is a living doll and he's too comedic and animated to be considered creepy. It's a fun and inventive horror film for sure, but not really scary or creepy.
Decent list, but Child's Play never really creeped me out. It plays up the slasher angle too much for me. Nothing in it is all that shocking or slow churning. It's never a mystery that Chucky is a living doll and he's too comedic and animated to be considered creepy. It's a fun and inventive horror film for sure, but not really scary or creepy.
Your Reply:



+5
3:43PM on 07/26/2013
Dead Silence was way underrated. It still has one of the best uses of absolute silence I've seen in a film. There is something inherently creepy when there's absolutely no noise, and this film does a fantastic job of conveying that. I think people got the idea that James Wan only did SAW and was something of a one hit wonder, but he's had a slew of great horror films, including this one.
Dead Silence was way underrated. It still has one of the best uses of absolute silence I've seen in a film. There is something inherently creepy when there's absolutely no noise, and this film does a fantastic job of conveying that. I think people got the idea that James Wan only did SAW and was something of a one hit wonder, but he's had a slew of great horror films, including this one.
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3:34PM on 07/26/2013
Devil Doll and Magic, but no Dead of Night from 1945, featuring The Ventriloquist's Dummy? It shits on them both.

Oh, and how about the creepy as hell blow-up doll from Private Parts?
Devil Doll and Magic, but no Dead of Night from 1945, featuring The Ventriloquist's Dummy? It shits on them both.

Oh, and how about the creepy as hell blow-up doll from Private Parts?
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1:20PM on 07/26/2013
Fail list- Where in the fuck is "Nekromantik (1987)". Go watch it.
Fail list- Where in the fuck is "Nekromantik (1987)". Go watch it.
Your Reply:



+1
11:32AM on 07/26/2013

Great job, Jake! But don't forget...

...Trilogy of Terror:'s final segment, the Zuni Fetish doll. As well as the orignal Dead of Night's final sequence. Among the most classic in the genre. And the little seen Night Gallery episode about a British commander stationed in India dealing with the creepiest doll you've ever seen. Oh, and the great Alfred Hitchcock Hour episide, "Where The Woodbine Twineth" will haunt you long after its ending. Check'em out and tell me what you think.
...Trilogy of Terror:'s final segment, the Zuni Fetish doll. As well as the orignal Dead of Night's final sequence. Among the most classic in the genre. And the little seen Night Gallery episode about a British commander stationed in India dealing with the creepiest doll you've ever seen. Oh, and the great Alfred Hitchcock Hour episide, "Where The Woodbine Twineth" will haunt you long after its ending. Check'em out and tell me what you think.
Your Reply:



10:22AM on 07/26/2013
Of course, Chucky would be on the list. My favorite being Child's Play 2.
Of course, Chucky would be on the list. My favorite being Child's Play 2.
Your Reply:



10:22AM on 07/26/2013
I'm glad Magic is on the list. Such a great and underrated movie.
I'm glad Magic is on the list. Such a great and underrated movie.
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9:34AM on 07/26/2013
Great list! I've never seen Devil Doll, but now I need to get on that. I'd never heard of Pin before either. Good call on Magic! Love that movie.
Great list! I've never seen Devil Doll, but now I need to get on that. I'd never heard of Pin before either. Good call on Magic! Love that movie.
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8:12PM on 07/26/2013
See Pin. Jake makes a good recommendation.
See Pin. Jake makes a good recommendation.

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