My Top Ten Creepy Dolls In Movies & Television 

Well, you knew this would be my top ten list for Creepy Dolls Week. I hate dolls, puppets, marionettes, ventriloquist’s dummies, and mannequins (unless there’s some Starship on the movie’s soundtrack). Evil f*^kers! All of them!!!

It was hard to decide on the order for this top ten. I’ve kind of done a combination of how much I liked the movie crossed with how creepy the dolls are. Well, don’t take the order too seriously but I’ve ranked each doll’s creepiness factor.

So here are My Top Ten Movie & TV Creepy Dolls:

10. TIE: The Twilight Zone: Episode – Living Doll (1963) & The Boy (2016)
The Doll: Talky Tina (The Twilight Zone) & Brahms (The Boy)
Doll’s Creepy Rating: Tina: 6/10, Brahms: 7/10

– I adore The Twilight Zone & this episode, starring Telly Savalas as a mean step-father, is a great one. The doll isn’t that scary but it’s a fun story. The Boy, starring The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan, has a story with a retro 80’s feel & I really enjoyed it even though it’s predictable. Loved the design of the porcelain doll with the “sweet” face. Not all dolls have to be ugly to be creepy.

9. Trilogy of Terror (1975): Part 3 – Amelia
The Doll: A Zuni fetish doll
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 6.5/10

– It’s been a long time since I saw this horror classic starring Karen Black but I certainly remember the “Amelia” segment, unlike the others in the trilogy. The doll was kind of more funny than scary but it’s a must-see of the killer doll subgenre.

8. The Conjuring (2013) & Annabelle (2014)
The Doll: Annabelle, in real life a Raggedy Ann doll
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 7.5/10

I was quite harsh on Annabelle in yesterday’s review. The movie isn’t very good but the doll itself is effectively creepy while the real life story, as shown in The Conjuring, is far more scary than the made-up story in Annabelle.

7. Pin (1988)
The Doll: Pin (short for Pinocchio) – a doctor’s medical dummy
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 8.5/10

I caught this bizarre movie on TV late one night when I was maybe about 18 or so & that creepy medical dummy has stayed on my mind ever since. Ugh! Look at it!!! From what I remember, this was actually a pretty good psychological thriller (despite some, er, Flowers In The Attic-y incestuous brother/sister stuff).

6. Dolls (1987)
The Doll(s): Various – there’s a creepy old mansion filled with loads of them
Dolls’ Creepy Rating: 7.5/10

This cheesy 80’s horror is loads of fun (and very tame for a Stuart Gordon film). And the chick from the A-ha Take On Me comic book video is in it!

5. Magic (1978)
The Doll: Fats – a ventriloquist’s dummy controlled by Anthony Hopkins
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 8/10

I reviewed this William Goldman written/Richard Attenborough directed film on Monday as one of my Blind Spot choices & recommend it for the great performances from Anthony Hopkins & Burgess Meredith. Good psychological character study also starring Ann-Margret.

4. Dead Of Night (1945)
The Doll: Hugo – a ventriloquist’s dummy controlled by Michael Redgrave
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 8/10

This British horror anthology classic is most memorable for the segment involving Michael Redgrave’s ventriloquist & his dummy, which he believes is alive. Fantastic film that was ahead of its time.

3. Child’s Play (1988)
The Doll: Chucky (aka Charles Lee Ray)
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 7/10

I always had a soft spot for the Child’s Play films (well, the first three – I’ve not watched any further). They’re bad. They’re cheesy. They’re SO Eighties (even though the second two were early Nineties. Never mind). They’re from my teen years, though, and we all like what we grew up on. I was in America & knew nothing of the banning in the U.K. & the reason why. I’ve not watched them since but I can’t leave Chucky off a “creepy dolls” list.

2. Poltergeist (1982)
The Doll: A toy clown
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 8/10

Who doesn’t hate a creepy clown? It’s a well-known phobia, which is why there’s a current “crazy clown” phase going on in the U.S. & U.K. Poltergeist is easily the best film on this list & its clown, although only a small part of the film, has haunted us 80’s kids forever.

1. The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Episode – Where The Woodbine Twineth (1965)
The Doll: Numa
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 4/10
The Episode’s Creepy Rating: 10/10

This had to be my number one as it’s the one thing responsible for my fear (or, more like a deep distrust now in my old age) of dolls. As you can see, the doll itself in this story wasn’t creepy. Well, there’s a slight creep factor as ALL dolls look like they have murder on their minds but the doll in this was actually very cute and, slight spoiler… Friendly. She’s the best friend of the little girl in the story & the ending of this story scarred me for life. Seriously. The entire episode used to be on YouTube but, at the moment, I can only find a clip of the ending (watch it HERE if you’re curious but I obviously recommend seeing the entire episode if you can). I also found the whole short story, by Davis Grubb, online HERE if you’d like to read it (just remember that it was written in a very different time period). It’s funny – I can barely remember things I watched a year ago but the ending of Where The Woodbine Twineth, which I must have seen at the age of eight or so, is forever burned into my brain. I watched that clip just now, which I last saw probably 30 years ago, and I remembered it like I’d seen it yesterday. That’s the power of good storytelling.

Honorable Mentions:
– The Saw film series (first one 2004) (Doll: Billy The Puppet)
– Dead Silence (2007) (Doll: Billy, a ventriloquist’s dummy)
– The Fear (1995) (Doll: Morty, a wooden mannequin)
Goosebumps (2015) (Doll: Slappy, a ventriloquist’s dummy)
Finders Keepers (2014) (Doll: A possessed doll that may have had a name but I can’t remember & don’t want to watch the movie again because it’s BAD)

A Few Movies I’ve Not seen:
– Puppetmaster (1989) & its sequels
– Demonic Toys (1992)
– Two truly bizarre looking films I’d never heard of until I started looking up creepy doll movies and now I really want to see them! Tourist Trap (1979) & The Pit (1981). Anyone seen these??

Advertisements

Dead Of Night (1945) Review

Dead Of Night (1945)

Directed by Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden & Robert Hamer

Written by H.G. Wells, E.F. Benson, John Baines & Angus MacPhail

Starring: Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns, Frederick Valk, Roland Culver

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
An architect senses impending doom as his half-remembered recurring dream turns into reality. The guests at the country house encourage him to stay as they take turns telling supernatural tales.

My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this for a long time as I knew there was a creepy ventriloquist’s dummy in it. Not many things actually give me the creeps in horror movies but those things do!!! *shiver* So I’m happy that I finally saw this but I had no idea beforehand that it was actually a collection of several strange & eerie stories and that the dummy was only one part of those. That was kind of a nice surprise, though. It’s kind of like the original The Twilight Zone before its time (but with more of a horror theme than the quite often sci-fi theme of those). Considering that I still think the original The Twilight Zone is the greatest TV show ever, Dead Of Night was the exact sort of movie for a person like me. I just wish I’d enjoyed the stories a little more. A couple were good, a couple were okay, and the one that seemed to go on the longest was pretty weak.

In this movie, a man arrives at a party at a house in the country and claims to have seen all the guests in a dream, although he’s never met them before. He’s able to predict a couple of things that soon happen, which may or may not just be coincidences. This gets the guests each talking about their own bizarre stories which they’ve either heard about or experienced themselves. We get to see each of these stories while in between them we keep coming back to our storytellers and the stranger who claims to have met them all before.

I won’t go into too much detail on the individual stories in order to avoid spoilers. The first one involving a race car driver was possibly my favorite, although it was pretty obvious where it was headed if you’ve watched enough episodes of The Twilight Zone. But I’m certainly not going to complain at it feeling like an episode of my favorite TV show. The story told by the youngest party guest was fun and slightly creepy but, again, nothing too unexpected when you’ve watched a lot of this sort of thing. I would assume that the two most popular stories are one involving a mirror that seems to be cursed in some way and, of course, the one with the ventriloquist’s dummy as it’s the cover of every DVD I’ve seen and is what I always thought was the one and only story in the film.


I’d say these are the two most well put-together stories with the finest acting in the film. Michael Redgrave stars as the ventriloquist and, although I can’t pretend to fully know all the classic English actors, the Redgrave name is certainly well known and he does a fine job in the story that has clearly most stayed in the minds of anyone who has watched Dead Of Night. I know if I’d seen this years ago I’d have loved it. It’s very “me”. Unfortunately, I’ve just seen these sort of stories so often that the movie didn’t quite have the impact on me that it could have. It was definitely worth my time, though (despite the ghost “comedy” story, which some may love but I found to be overlong & the weakest story by far). But the mirror & the ventriloquist stories make up for the weaker ones and you may find the dummy haunting your dreams in the same way the man in the central story is haunted by dreams he can’t explain. Dead Of Night is a British supernatural horror classic that deserves more recognition than it seems to get. I wish there were more films like it nowadays.

My Rating: 7.5/10