Best Evil Doll Movies: From M3GAN to Chucky and beyond

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

M3GAN has been seen everywhere recently, even on football fields, bringing back the killer doll, or evil doll, sub-genre to the forefront of horror fans’ minds. As there is a long tradition of evil dolls who came before M3GAN, here are our picks for best evil doll movies ever! 

The Puppet Master series (1989 to ?) 

Best Evil Doll Movies: Puppet Master

Is it the best? Well, that’s debatable for sure, but it is an absolutely entertaining series, for better or for worse. It’s been around forever and it’s still getting sequels to this day, so it’s definitely got staying power. This series is one to go into knowing full well that it’s low budget and very much independently produced. It’s also one to go into with an open mind as the entries are not all of the same quality and well, it’s a series with diminishing returns in terms of quality and enjoyment, but it’s also a fun one to check out. The new one was just released, so it may very well get back to the series’ glory days. This series features multiple dolls, giving viewers a group of miscreants in doll size who are all more evil than the next. The stories vary from entry to entry, but overall, they all come down to puppets created for entertainment turning evil. The first film uses charming stop motion animation that looks a bit clunky at times, but that is part of why people love it. As the series advanced, the technology changed a bit and things got a bit smoother in the effects department. 

Magic (1978) 

Best Evil Doll Movies: Magic

Released well before the first Puppet Master, Magic is a genuinely creepy film that gets under the skin so easily, it’s almost shocking. Director by Richard Attenborough (yes, that Richard Attenborough), the film follows a ventriloquist dummy and his human as the human tries to live his life and the puppet is having none of it. The puppet, Corky, is voiced by Anthony Hopkins and the film costars Ann-Margaret and Burgess Meredith as humans. This one is an oddity and a true horror cult film of the 1970s, as you don’t normally get Attenborough and Hopkins being associated with the genre. It’s creepy, it has some odd ideas at times, but it has so much talent behind and in front of the camera it could not be all bad no matter how hard it might try. It is one of those films where things fall in line to create a truly skin crawling experience. Also, a ventriloquist dummy? Yeah, those things are always creepy. This one is better discovered with as little information about it as possible, blind, if at all possible, which of course, reading the above basically negates. Avoid trailers or scenes available online and go directly for the full movie. It’s quite the experience. 

Dolls (1986) 

Best Evil Doll Movies: Dolls

This 1980s entry comes courtesy of a true master of horror, Stuart Gordon. Part of his extensive horror resume, the man has some of the best films including Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak, and Dagon. The man loved a good Lovecraftian story. However, he was also a man of many interests and his take on the evil doll sub-genre is one memorable entry for it. Dolls is the story of a family who ends up in a mansion one dark evening and are welcomed by toymakers who have a few secrets. The creepy dolls are so much fun here and just a touch creepy. They work as a children’s tale to truly frighten and as a horror story to entertain and creep out adults. Ok, this may not be the best film for all kids, but some children should love it.  

Annabelle: Creation (2017) 

Best Evil Doll Movies: Annabelle: Creation

Yes, the second film, not the first. The first introduced an interesting doll character, but the film itself was not the most exciting. The second one, the prequel, is a lot creepier with arguably better performances. Here, the audience is expected to know who Annabelle is in terms of what she does and how evil she is, but the people in the film are the first ones to encounter her officially, so they know nothing. This works great here and helps the film bring a doll that most are used to into a new world, and it allows her to really set some roots and have a background that is just do much creepier than the first film. The film does take place within The Conjuring universe, but it’s easy to watch it as a stand-alone entry from that universe, or even from the Annabelle series of films. It’s the best one of the bunch to many and one viewing should make it clear to anyone who is uninitiated.  

Bride of Chucky (2001) 

Why the 4th entry in the Child’s Play series you ask? Well, for many reasons, but mainly because of its double dose of evil doll. Here, Chucky is brought back to life once more into his doll body by the woman who loved him while alive and well as Charles Lee Ray. This woman, Tiffany Valentine, soon finds herself in Chucky’s crosshairs and ends up dead and in a doll body herself. The killer duo gets on the road and cause mayhem and carnage everywhere they go. Chucky had to be on this list of course but did his bride as she’s epically awesome and just about as creative in her kills as he is. Also, this sequel revived the series and undoubtedly, if indirectly, is the reason why we now have a multi-season Chucky tv show, which is so much fun.  

Dolls are creepy in and of themselves, these human-like toys that children (and some adults) love to pretend are alive. So, bringing them to life always was a no-brainer for horror. Somewhere between Corky and M3GAN, a treasure trove of creepy dolls are easily found for those who enjoy watching their shenanigans. Of course, the quality of their films varies greatly from the amazing to the questionable, from the ones so creepy you won’t sleep at night to the absolutely laughable. Creepy dolls have a following for a reason, they entertain.  

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