Are you a fan of Chucky, Annabelle, Brahms, and M3GAN? These infamous killer dolls have been the stars of horror movies for years, captivating audiences with their terrifying antics. But did you know that there are other killer dolls waiting to be discovered? While many horror fans are familiar with franchises like Puppet Master, there are still countless pint-sized killers that have yet to receive the spotlight they deserve. Despite the initial reaction of dolls being harmless, the best killer doll movies use this innocuous facade to create an atmosphere of pure terror, showcasing the horrors that can be unleashed by a seemingly harmless toy.
While Chucky, Talky Tina from The Twilight Zone, and creepy ventriloquist dolls like Corky from Magic and Slappy from Goosebumps have definitely made their mark on the horror genre, it’s worth exploring some of the lesser-known killer dolls out there. These underrated entries are just waiting to be discovered, offering fresh and unique takes on the subgenre. So if you’re looking for more killer doll stories to add to your collection, look no further.
When you hear about a killer doll movie directed by Stuart Gordon, produced by Charles Band and Brian Yuzna, it’s natural to expect some super creepy and scary action. But the 1987 movie Dolls isn’t quite what you’d expect from the team. This movie is more like a spooky fairy tale, unlike Re-Animator and From Beyond.
Dolls starts with a familiar premise. A family is stuck in the middle of nowhere and seeks refuge in a mansion nearby. The owners, Gabriel and Hilary, seem like nice folks and even give a doll to little Judy from their collection. The story takes a turn when strange accidents start happening around the house. David, Judy’s father, realizes the dolls are involved in much more than meets the eye. Although Dolls is not as startling as other killer doll movies, it’s still a spooky treat and shows a different side of the iconic director.
Alongside the original Chucky, there are several killer dolls on our list that are under the control of another entity, which guides them to conduct sinister acts. One of the spookiest ventriloquist dummies that we’ve seen on the big screen is featured in James Wan’s 2007 film Dead Silence. The movie explores the concept of dolls being controlled by something else to a greater extent.
While it may seem that Billy, the dummy who is believed to be behind the supernatural occurrences and killings in the film, is the star of the show, it’s soon revealed that Mary Shaw, the deceased ventriloquist who had transformed into a dummy upon her death, is the true culprit. And if that weren’t enough, there’s yet another dummy that’s even more terrifying in the movie…
The Twilight Zone
The iconic horror trope of “killer dolls” was first showcased in an episode of the classic TV show, The Twilight Zone, created by Rod Serling. In season five episode “Living Doll,” viewers were introduced to a malevolent doll named Talky Tina. Throughout the episode, Talky Tina’s pre-recorded catchphrase, “My name is Talky Tina and I love you very much/I don’t like you,” grows increasingly ominous. Telly Savalas, of Kojak fame, played the unfortunate victim of Talky Tina’s wrath. The doll tormented him both physically and mentally, using creepy phone calls and psychological tricks to terrorize him and lay the foundation for why killer dolls still haunt our dreams to this day.
Maria Leonara Teresa
The concept of killer dolls in horror movies often targets innocent children, but the 2014 Filipino film Maria Leonora Teresa takes things to another level. Directed by Wenn V. Deramas, the movie showcases the haunting aftermath of a bus crash that killed several children. The grieving parents, played by Jodi Sta. Maria, Iza Calzado, and Zanjo Marudo, soon discover that the cause of the tragedy may be linked to the spirit of a burned boy seeking revenge. In a radical attempt at therapy, a psychologist (Cris Villanueva) offers the devastated parents dolls modeled after their deceased children. The parents reluctantly agree, but the dolls prove to be anything but comforting as they become conduits for the vengeful spirit’s evil intentions. Maria Leonora Teresa is an eerie reminder of how killer dolls can take on a new level of horror when tied to the tragic loss of innocent lives.
When it comes to killer doll movies, the Puppet Master franchise stands out as one of the most well-known and beloved, alongside Chucky and Annabelle. Despite the franchise’s low-budget and modest special effects, it has earned a dedicated following thanks to its unforgettable cast of dangerous puppets. These puppets, created by Andre Toulon using an enigmatic formula, have become iconic horror characters, with fan favorites including Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Leech Woman, Torch, and others that have terrorized us in our childhoods. It may be surprising to learn that there are actually twelve Puppet Master films to enjoy, along with a crossover with other horror franchises, not to mention an upcoming spin-off that focuses on the fans’ favorite, Blade. The Puppet Master franchise’s popularity proves that killer dolls remain a significant part of the horror genre for good reason.
Killer dolls have been a staple of horror movies for decades, from the unforgettable Chucky and Annabelle to the more obscure Billy/Mary Shaw and Talky Tina. As showcased by the lesser-known films like Dolls and Maria Leonara Teresa, killer dolls can be used to create an unsettling atmosphere and evoke terror in audiences using their innocuous appearance. The iconic Puppet Master franchise is a testament to the legacy of killer dolls in horror, with its unforgettable cast of dangerous puppets. Whether you’re a long-time fan of killer doll movies or just getting started, there’s no doubt that these pint-sized terrors will continue to haunt our dreams for years to come.