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5 Horrifying Movie Dolls

Writer: Casey Chong


Annabelle's the new doll in town to haunt your dreams. Don't forget to check under your bed!

Dolls can be cute and adorable, but when they're portrayed in a darker light, they can be the most horrifying things ever! Filmmakers have long ago discovered this to their advantage and the idea of incorporating dolls in horror is undeniably a great formula. Don't believe us? Try looking at a doll without getting a little creeped after seeing one come to life in a scary movie!

This coming 2 October, a new possessed doll is set loose in a new horror movie to terrorize our screens. The sinister doll, Annabelle, first appeared in the prologue of last year's supernatural horror hit, "The Conjuring", and now it returns for its own spin-off, "Annabelle".

Produced by "The Conjuring's" James Wan and directed by John R. Leonetti (best known for his recent cinematography work for "The Conjuring" and "Insidious: Chapter 2"), "Annabelle" revolves around a married couple, John Gordon (Ward Horton) and Mia Gordon (Annabelle Wallis), as they experience a series of supernatural occurrences that has something to do with the titular vintage doll. And yes, how weird is it that the main actress' real name is also Annabelle?

To prepare and season your senses before Annabelle comes a-knockin', we revisit some horrifying movie dolls that sort of ruined sleeping in the same room as a doll for you.

1. Fats in "Magic" (1978)


(L-R) The dummy Fats and ventriloquist Corky (both voiced and played by Anthony Hopkins) in a scene from "Magic".

Long before Anthony Hopkins became a household name playing the iconic cannibalistic killer role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the 1991 award-winning "The Silence Of The Lambs", he got his taste of horror in his younger days with the under-the-radar film, "Magic" back in 1978. Hopkins gave a solid performance via his dual roles as ventriloquist Corky Withers and voicing the dummy named Fats. It's especially a must-see for those who love horror movies that involve a ventriloquist and a creepy-looking dummy.

2. All the creepy little dolls in "Dolls" (1987)


Mr. Punch in a scene from "Dolls".

A year before the first "Child's Play" movie played in cinemas and eventually became a horror staple for the 'possessed doll' subgenre, director Stuart Gordon (best known for "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond") made this small-budget horror movie called "Dolls" back in 1987. While it's hardly one of Gordon's best work, it's certainly has its few worthwhile moments, among them of course is the scene where the possessed little dolls triggered by the witches (Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason) lurking all over the old house as they stalk and kill the guests in the utmost brutal ways using all kind of tools.

3. Chucky in "Child's Play" series (1988-2013)


Chucky the killer doll (voiced by Brad Dourif) turns psychotic whenever he's on a killing spree.

No doubt the most popular 'possessed doll' horror movie of all time, "Child's Play" came to life in 1988 and spawned a total of five sequels that ended with "Curse Of Chucky" last year in 2013. What made the "Child's Play" movies such an enduring horror franchise throughout a quarter of a century was the impeccable voice performance by Brad Dourif as the foul-mouthed and crazy killer doll, Chucky. Chucky, of course, always had his unique way of killing people with his timely delivery of snarky one-liners. And who can forget, it was also a different sort of horror seeing Chucky 'mating' with a possessed female doll named Tiffany in Ronny Yu's bizarrely inventive fourth installment of "Bride Of Chucky" in 1998.

4. Andre Toulon's puppets in "Puppet Master" series (1989-2012)


Some of the evil puppets in a scene from "Puppet Master: Axis Of Evil".

If the "Child's Play" movies are the best 'possessed doll' horror franchise out there, then the "Puppet Master" movies are the next in line. Believe it or not, this B-grade cult horror franchise had spawned an incredible ten movies beginning with the first "Puppet Master" movie in 1989 with the most recent one being 2012's "Puppet Master X: Axis Rising". Throughout the course of the long-running "Puppet Master" movies, there are a huge number of interesting reanimated puppets created by the puppeteer Andre Toulon (played by different actors including William Hickey, Steve Welles, Guy Rolfe and Greg Sestero) making their respective appearances. There is the leader of the puppets, Blade; Jester the Clown; Pinhead; Torch; Leech Woman; Six-Shooter; and Tunneler. Each of the puppets are modelled with different personalities and their own deadly choice of weapons (e.g. the cowboy puppet Six-Shooter is a highly-skilled sharpshooter who has six spider-like arms with guns).

5. Billy in "Dead Silence" (2007)


Billy (voiced by Enn Reitel) in a scene from "Dead Silence".

After hitting a breakthrough with the inventive horror hit "Saw" in 2004, "The Conjuring" director James Wan followed up with another horror movie by attempting to bring back the dolls in horror for the modern generation. The result is the limited release "Dead Silence", a visually creepy but sadly underdeveloped horror movie that failed to make a jump at the box office. But the same can't be said of our wits. Despite actor Ryan Kwanten's bland lead performance and Leigh Whannell's weak screenplay, James Wan deserves credit for the stylish visual direction making Billy the ventriloquist dummy, the highlight of the movie. Billy's moving eyes alone are more than enough to send chills into your spine. And what about that huge twist at the end? Creepy.

"Annabelle" opens in cinemas nationwide on 2 October.

Cinema Online, 25 September 2014



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