2019 is the year of creepy killer dolls. The mayhem kicks on June 21st with the remake of Child’s Play and is quickly followed by Annabelle Comes Home in July 12th and Brahms: The Boy 2 on September 13th. So to celebrate the Summer of tantruming toys here are our 5 favourite killer doll movies that you should check out.
Child’s Play (1988) – Not the earliest film on this list but by far it gave the world the best killer doll in the snarky and psychotic Chucky. The film is played mostly for straight horror but the brilliant voice performance by Brad Dourif elevates the film and allows the viewer to see past some moments of slightly iffy special effects. Don Mancini and Tom Holland lean into the Freddy Kruger style of slasher killer and bring an abundance of personality. Each other entry in the series brings something new but this first entry is a classic and should be checked out before the remake hits cinemas.
Dolls (1987) – This is such an underrated movie. It’s not going to win any awards but it is so much horror fun. A group of strangers end up trapped in an old couple’s house during a storm. During the night they are attacked by a host of dolls created by the couple. This taps into fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and Pinocchio with a moralistic twist ending. The special effects aren’t always strong but they are in line with the B-Movie feel. This is a great one to share with friends over a couple of beers.
Annabelle: Creation (2017) – Introduced as an Easter egg in the first Conjuring Movie Annabelle has become a cornerstone of the Conjuring universe. The first movie is rote and lacks the punch of The Conjuring. Luckily they gave the possessed doll another shot with Annabelle: Creation. The film jumps back in time and provides an origin story for the demon dolly. This could have been a disaster but while the script and set up are nothing special, the film delivers on tension and scares with some excellent performances from Lulu Wilson and Talitha Bateman. Also director David F. Sandberg treats the material with seriousness, giving the scares weight and impact. This is a truly creepy movie that will make you look twice at the doll that has sat quietly in the corner all these years.
Dead Silence (2007) – A murder mystery and ghost story thrown together by the modern horror master James Wan. The film builds up at a solid pace with some fun jump scares, climaxing in an eerie and fun finale. The reason that this is additionally creepy is that the dolls in the film are ventriloquist dummies, which are given life and personality for our entertainment. So for they already have a sinister edge. The film plays like an adult Goosebumps story; it has its creepiness but also plays out with an open(ish) ending that leaves that tingle in your spine.
Trilogy of Terror (1975) – Part of a movie of the week anthology, each of which stared the horror iconic Karen Black. In the third segment Black’s character has acquired a small wooden doll idol, which an accompanying scroll claims contains the spirit of a killer Zuni warrior. This dangerous spirit is kept in check by a chain locked around its neck. However, once the chain is accidently broken the little warrior goes on the attack. This film really benefits from being an anthology as each segment is short enough to move at a crazy pace and is packed full of horror action.