Chucky: The scariest dolls in TV and film
Just to prove that the current Horror Renaissance we’re living through is only temporary, New Line is producing a third movie about the creepy porcelain doll from The Conjuring, Annabelle.
Gary Dauberman, the writer of the previous two Annabelle films, will make his directorial debut for Annabelle 3, which is set to arrive next year. It will be the fourth spin-off from James Wan’s Conjuring series, as The Nun is set to star in her own standalone horror film later this year.
Has The Conjuring low-key become the second most successful cinematic universe after Marvel? The series has no sign of slowing down, but if the Annabelle trilogy has so far bored you to tears rather than scaring you to death, we’ve compiled a ranking of some much creepier examples to get your scary doll fix.
Billy: Saw (2004 – 2017)
The Saw series was all but dead, until the pieces were hastily cobbled together for a reboot, Jigsaw, which came out last year and has been followed by worrying reports of a sequel. Although the franchise has turned into a parody of itself, those first couple of films were pretty effective horror movies and Jigsaw’s puppet, Billy, was the iconic icing on the cake.
Slappy: Goosebumps (1996 & 2015)
One of the most recognisable puppet characters actually came from a children’s franchise from R. L. Stine, but Slappy still manages to be creepier than Annabelle. He was featured in a few episodes and made his big screen debut in the Jack Black led Goosebumps film, in which he was also voiced by Jack Black (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle). Apparently the metaphor wasn’t obvious enough.
Miss Edith: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
Drusilla was one of Buffy’s fiercest antagonists, a schizophrenic, mentally unstable vampire who kept a room full of children’s dolls. Of those, the only named doll is Miss Edith, a classical doll with a sinister red bandage around her mouth.
There’s a sh%^&y, low-budget, video-on-demand horror featuring creepy dolls or puppets released practically every year, but if you’re going to watch one of them, at least start with the original. Stuart Gordon’s B-movie about a house filled with violent dolls possessed by the cursed spirits of criminals set the director’s career back a few years, but it’s still watchable with a mouth full of popcorn, some drinks and a couple of like-minded friends.
Scrooge: The Polar Express (2004)
The scariest thing about this cheery Christmas movie is the dead eyes of its CGI characters, but it also features a surprisingly terrifying marionette of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Big Baby: Toy Story 3 (2010)
We wouldn’t be surprised if childhood trauma rates shot up during the summer of 2010. Pixar really went all out with this one. Not only does the third Toy Story film force tears out of everyone in the audience, it does so after scaring the life out of them with a horrifying baby doll, ‘Big Baby’, as well as a vicious cymbal-banging monkey.
Talky Tina: The Twilight Zone (1963)
Probably one of the first every live action examples of a possessed kids’ doll, Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone was ahead of the time in every sense of the word. Talky Tina’s resemblance to Annabelle is uncanny, and the episode spawned several imitators, including a Halloween spoof for The Simpsons.
J.F. Sebastian’s Toys: Blade Runner (1982)
So they’re technically replicants, but J.F. Sebastian’s singing companions look a whole lot like creepy dolls. “Home again, home again, jiggity jig” still gives us the willies for a film that’s supposedly a science fiction detective story.
The Clown: Poltergeist (1982)
Ignore the remake, even if it does star Sam Rockwell (Moon) – we’re talking about the original here. From the start of the film, you know there’s going to be something wrong with that creepy clown doll, but it still manages to surprise you with one of the most effective jump scares in horror movie history.
Creepy doll: True Blood (2010-2011)
True Blood was usually more sexy than scary, but this disgusting doll became a recurring nightmare throughout seasons three and four and wouldn’t leave us alone. Good riddance.
Chucky: Child’s Play (1988-2017)
Chucky was never all that scary, but he joined Freddy Krueger as horror villains with a sense of humor, and was deemed iconic enough for a short cameo in Ready Player One. He’s also superbly voiced by Brad Dourif (Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings).
The Seamstress: 9 (2009)
If you thought Coraline was inappropriate for kids, wait ‘till you see the underrated 9. Based on an Academy Award winning short, this animated dystopia follows nine burlap dolls called Stitchpunks who are creepy enough in their own right.
The scares get taken to a whole new level, however, with the introduction of the Seamstress, a serpentine robot with the head of an old doll. It goes to show that animation isn’t always suitable for kids.