- Awards Season
- Big Stories
- Pop Culture
- Video Games
Creature Features: 8 Vampire Movies to Watch This Halloween
All sorts of things go bump in the night. Ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, witches — creatures that haunt our nightmares and ignite our imaginations. Then, there are vampires. These denizens of the dark hold a special place in human history; our ancestors were genuinely afraid to travel when the sun was down, lest vampires bleed them dry. Entire communities feared bats and wolves, believing them to be bloodsuckers in disguise. Vampire hunting became a legitimate profession in 18th century Europe. We really can’t overstate how much these monsters have messed with our minds over the years.
Maybe that’s why vampires have experienced so much success on the big screen. Vampires have frightened and excited audiences for decades — changing with the times and reflecting some of our darkest desires. As much as we dread these creatures of the night, there’s a small part of us that’s utterly fascinated with them.
Spooky season is in full swing this year, and many of us will participate in the festivities at home. Looking for a way to liven up the night? Here are eight iconic vampire movies to watch this Halloween.
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (or Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens in German) is a staple of the horror genre. This German Expressionist masterpiece was helmed by director F. W. Murnau and stars Max Schreck as the infamous Count Orlok.
Special effects and robust film sets weren’t exactly a thing in the early 20th century. Murnau instead relied on mind-bending camera angles, striking shadows and innovative set design to scare audiences. This film’s impact on the history of cinema can’t be exaggerated — many horror film franchises likely wouldn’t exist if Nosferatu hadn’t crept onto the scene and paved the way.
Nosferatu’s popularity spread across Europe like wildfire. It didn’t take long for American filmmakers to catch wind of F.W. Murnau’s success either. But here’s the thing: Nosferatu was essentially an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula — one that Murnau filmed without permission. Stoker’s wife successfully sued Murnau and Nosferatu was pulled from theaters. Enter Universal Pictures, which paid approximately $40,000 for the rights to adapt Dracula . Garrett Fort penned the script while Tod Browning took the director’s chair. Bela Lugosi was cast as the titular prince of darkness, and the rest is cinematic history.
Dracula is a genuinely terrifying landmark film. When many people think of Count Dracula, they think about Lugosi’s chilling performance. Universal’s adaptation takes plenty of inspiration from Nosferatu . However, Dracula is not a silent film; characters deliver their lines either with palpable dread or devilish delight. “Talkies” had only recently hit theaters in the early 1900s. Dracula helped legitimize sound films and reshape the movie industry.
Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958)
Similar to sound films, Technicolor movies were also relative rarities in the early 20th century. Films were primarily shot on black and white stock, and filmgoers were accustomed to greyscale pictures. The opposite was true by the 1950s, which is when The Horror of Dracula hit the scene. Hammer Films spared no expense when it adapted Bram Stoker’s timeless tale; special effects and ornate gothic sets were specifically created for this film. The Horror of Dracula is also a much more visceral visual experience due to being shot in color.
We’d be remiss not to praise Christopher Lee’s performance as Count Dracula; he aimed to play the character as a “heroic, erotic and romantic” figure — one that was just as mystifying as he was terrifying. Lee’s good friend Peter Cushing starred as Doctor Van Helsing, further elevating the film. And The Horror of Dracula revealed something truly harrowing about vampires: they were dark reflections of human nature.
The United States’ counterculture movement gathered momentum in the 1960s and persisted well into the 1970s. People vocalized dissatisfaction with the government, civil rights initiatives swept the nation and artists used their platforms to critique the powers that be. The Blaxploitation films of the 1970s echoed these sentiments, challenging decades-old stereotypes that were (and still are) imposed on the Black community. Blacula is precisely what its name implies; an adaptation of Stoker’s tale made primarily for Black people by Black people.
The late William Marshall portrays Prince Mamuwalde, a Nigerian man who asked the original Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) to intervene during the transatlantic slave trade. For his trouble, Prince Mamuwalde was transformed into Blacula, sealed in a coffin and transported to America. Indeed, Count Blacula is a tragic anti-villain; he was stripped of his identity, taken from his homeland and left to fend for himself in a hostile environment. Allegorical, innovative and genuinely frightening, Blacula is worth a watch — and post-screening analysis.
The Lost Boys (1987)
Drugs, sex, rock n’ roll and excess are hallmarks of the 1980s — hallmarks that naturally found their way into ’80s cinema. The Lost Boys epitomizes this trend; “It’s fun to be a vampire” is the film’s tagline, and that sentiment is more than reinforced throughout its runtime. Vampires are ageless, powerful, beautiful beings who live by their own rules and party like rockstars in The Lost Boys. That’s the scariest part about this film — how enticing vampirism can seem on the surface.
The Lost Boys can also be viewed as a metacommentary of the 1980s. Vampirism is an analogy for the excess and hedonism of the decade. Just like it seemed “fun to be a vampire,” it also seemed fun to be a hard-partying rockstar. Spellbinding performances by a committed cast, strong directing by Joel Schumacher and a compelling script helped The Lost Boys break new ground. Vampires weren’t just creepy anymore. They were also undeniably cool.
You can’t talk about cool vampire movies without giving Blade its due. The 1990s were an incredibly experimental time for the film industry; spec scripts were being produced by the dozens and comic book adaptations were becoming much more prevalent. Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan created Blade in 1973 for Marvel Comics. At last, in 1998, Wesley Snipes would bring the Daywalker to life on the big screen. Directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David S. Goyer, Blade redefined what superhero movies and vampire films could be. Action, horror, pathos and even a bit of comedy are seamlessly woven into this film.
Though Blade was initially overlooked when it premiered, the film has since been recognized for setting several precedents. It’s one of the first Black superhero movies to achieve widespread critical and commercial success, grossing $131.2 million off of a $45 million budget. Blade also paved the way for many of the superhero films that have become commonplace today; it’s not a stretch to suggest that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, the Underworld franchise and even the Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn’t exist if Blade hadn’t resonated with audiences. Lastly, this film proved that vampires could transcend genres; Blade is more of an action film than a horror flick, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hate it or love it, Twilight’s impact on cinema is undeniable. This adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s 2005 novel was an international phenomenon in its heyday. It focused solely on the romantic aspects of vampirism — living forever, being young forever and loving forever. If reading that sentence was painful for you, imagine how excruciating it was to write.
Personal feelings aside, Twilight is an iconic film in its own right. It spawned four sequels, launched numerous careers and kept vampires at the forefront of our collective imagination from 2008 to 2012. Even Burger King got in on the Team Edward vs. Team Jacob debacle. Twilight ultimately proved that there was still a thriving, thirsting market for vampire films in the 21st century.
Blood Red Sky (2021)
We end with Blood Red Sky, a British-German Netflix film that’s equal parts graphic, terrifying and heart-wrenching. The film follows Nadja and her son Elias as they try to survive aboard a hijacked airplane. Discussing this film in detail without spoiling it is virtually impossible, but we can say this: Blood Red Sky focuses on the toll that vampirism would exact on a person’s family, community and mental state. Scenes unfold at an intentionally deliberate pace. Minor characters and extras are treated with a degree of respect that we don’t often see.
In many ways, Blood Red Sky is the culmination of the vampire films that precede it; there are genuine scares here, alongside meta-commentary, dazzling action scenes and genuine pathos. Blood Red Sky proves that vampire films can make viewers cry — not out of fear, but out of true remorse.
MORE FROM ASK.COM
17 Scariest Dolls In Horror Movies
Evil dolls have been a popular horror movie trope for years, but which movies have created some of the scariest dolls so far?
With their glassy eyes, carved smiles, and painted-on hair, dolls give people plenty of reasons to be nervous even before they come alive and start hunting their human prey. The evil doll trend has been popular in horror for decades, so fans looking for a sinister doll to cower from have many choices.
RELATED: Best Horror RPG Maker Games
Possessed, haunted, or otherwise brought to some sick parody of life, evil dolls are some of the creepiest entities in horror cinema. Their small stature lets them skitter around in closets, cupboards, and beneath beds, making them just as difficult to find as they are to stop.
Updated August 29th, 2023, by Amy Cowley: Dolls are one of the most commonly used items in horror movies to elicit fear and dread in the audience, as they are widely regarded as eerie and unsettling. What they lack in stature, they more than make up for with their screen presence, as they delight audiences with their terrifying antics. With a more recent movie making use of a doll as its central antagonist and a whole library's worth of movies to explore, the number of unsettling dolls in cinema seems to only be getting bigger.
17 M3GAN (M3GAN)
Megan, or M3GAN as she is technically known as, upgraded the idea of a doll in a movie with an uncanny valley android, intended to act as a confidant and friend to toy engineer Gemma's niece Cady, who was tragically orphaned at the start of a movie following a car accident.
M3GAN starts out as a parent's dream, taking on the role of a friend, mentor, and parent to young Cady, but as the movie unravels, so does MEGAN's character, as she turns from a dream to a nightmare, killing any perceived threat to Cady and becoming violently possessive over her. With the uncanny valley look to her face and her violent tendencies, M3GAN shows a nightmarish glimpse into what could be humanity's future .
16 Tiffany Valentine (Child's Play Franchise)
Introduced in the third Child's Play movie, Bride of Chucky , Tiffany immediately cemented herself as a fan favorite. Acting as the Bonny to Chucky's Clyde, she hatches a devious plan to get them two new bodies and isn't afraid to dish out creative murder to anyone who stands in their way.
Smart, creative, but holding onto hopes of true romance and love, Tiffany is hamstrung by these latter ideals, making her easy to manipulate, yet she remains as a dangerous dolly no one should cross.
15 Dolly Dearest (Dolly Dearest)
Many think of Annabelle when the phrase 'possessed doll' is mentioned, but another movie did this first: Dolly Dearest . The title of this movie shares a name with the doll factory that gives birth to this malevolent doll as it was situated directly adjacent to an underground Mayan tomb, from which an evil spirit was unleashed.
RELATED: Best Movies About Demonic Possession
This evil spirit known as Sanzia takes refuge inside a porcelain doll, which naturally finds its way to the hands of a young child. From then on, strange occurrences haunt the Wade family residence, which ramp up dangerously. This doll is dearest only in name and certainly not in nature.
14 Lilith (Finders Keepers)
If a person moves into a new home and finds a creepy doll abandoned by the previous occupants, the only correct response is to throw the doll away immediately. But then, horror fans wouldn't have the creepy movie Finders Keepers to enjoy.
The daughter of recently divorced mother Alyson becomes obsessed with the doll named Lilith, and strange occurrences plague their home. Claire and the doll quickly form a strong bond, and anyone who tries to sever it pays very severe consequences.
13 Slappy (Goosebumps)
90s kids who grew up watching the teen scream show Goosebumps will most likely remember the episodes featuring Slappy the most, an evil ventriloquist doll who has full sentience and intelligence. As a stand-out villain, it makes perfect sense he would be given the villain spot-light when Goosebumps made the transition from TV show to movie.
In the movie, Slappy is awoken by a string of words from an unknown language that translates to "You and I are one now". He immediately attempts to make the one who woke him serve him as a slave and will stoop to dastardly levels to achieve this goal.
12 Fats (Magic)
Horror fans will always remember Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal the Cannibal, but Magic saw him starring as a very different kind of monster. In this film, he plays a struggling magician who reignites his career when he begins working alongside a ventriloquist dummy, Fats.
In most horror films featuring ventriloquist dummies, the dolls are possessed or otherwise animated. In Magic, Fats is the magician's split personality, the ultimate embodiment of his disintegrating psyche. With a creepy premise and Hopkin's incredible performance behind it, Magic makes Fats a doll that many viewers wish they could forget.
11 Hugo (Dead of Night)
Another ventriloquist dummy, but this one dates from a much earlier project, Hugo appeared in the 1940s British horror anthology Dead of Night. The film includes a number of standout performers, including Mervyn Johns, Sally Ann Howes, and Googie Withers, but it's best remembered for its final story featuring Michael Redgrave and Hugo.
RELATED: Best Splatterpunk Horror Movies, Ranked
Redgrave's character and Hugo share a prison cell, and the horror of the events that take place within is only magnified by the black-and-white film and the scratchiness of the audio. Though there are many fine examples of terrifying dolls in modern horror, in a few brief but chilling moments, Hugo and Dead of Night set the standard for so much that was to come.
10 Brahms (The Boy)
What's the creepiest way a character can interact with a doll in a horror movie? The answer is taking care of it as if it were a real person, at least according to The Boy. In it, an elderly couple who had lost their son at an early age decide to raise a life-size doll in his place, going so far as to hire a nanny (played by The Walking Dead's exceptional Lauren Cohan ) to care for him.
Anyone who thinks things improve from there has never seen a horror movie. Though The Boy isn't an extraordinary film, Brahms is an extraordinary doll and more than delivers the requisite creep factor. Many horror movie dolls are creepy because of how real they look. Brahms is one of the few dolls to be creepy because of how real he is treated.
9 Pin (Pin)
The doll in the 1988 Canadian film Pin is unique in the creepiest way possible. He isn't a puppet, ventriloquist dummy, porcelain collectible, or any other common variety of horror movie doll. No, Pin is an anatomically correct medical dummy used by the disturbed Dr. Linden to teach children biology.
RELATED: Great Horror Movies Based On Books That Aren't Written By Stephen King
Pin is a cult classic, receiving only a fraction of the attention that it deserves, even among horror aficionados. The film features strong pacing, interesting characters, and a quality premise, and it should be a fixture in every horror fan's collection, based on the strength of its horrifying medical doll alone. Pin is all the right kinds of wrong.
8 Billy (Dead Silence)
James Wan is no stranger to horror, with films like Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring under his belt. Dead Silence may not have received the same attention as those more popular franchises, but it still contains a terrifying doll. Billy is a ventriloquist dummy, which, in the eyes of many, would make him nightmare fuel even if he wasn't talking.
Of course, Dead Silence is a horror movie, so alive he is, and Billy wants to use every available moment of his wakefulness to terrorize those around him. Anyone with doubts needs only look to Mary Shaw's performance and Billy's escalating anger when his realness is questioned, only making the setting that much worse.
7 Billy (Saw)
Another ventriloquist dummy, this one also called Billy, in another film guided by the directorial hand of James Wan, can be found in Saw. This doll is an actual puppet, a dead, mechanical thing only given as much life as its owner wishes. Unfortunately, Billy's owner is John Kramer, the serial killer better known as Jigsaw.
As the face of Jigsaw's horrible games, Billy is synonymous with torture and impossible choices. His tricycle, suit, and the red spiral on his cheeks have all become images burned into the mind of every Saw fan and even the minds of many who have never seen the film.
6 Doll (Deep Red)
Legendary horror director Dario Argento always brings something special to his films , and that something often comes from the imagery. Argento's films demonstrate a mastery of the image, the beautiful as well as the unsettling, and so when the time came for him to craft a doll to feature in his film Deep Red, success was a certainty.
Prominent teeth, a receding hairline, and intelligent eyes are some of the doll's signature features, but everything about it is unnerving. The cueing of the music and the violent shifting of the camera when the doll storms the study adds another layer of anxiety to a moment the doll has already made horrible.
5 Clown (Poltergeist)
Clowns are scary. Dolls are scary. Clown dolls are almost unfairly upsetting, and Poltergeist has a great one. Tobe Hooper, the same director who brought audiences The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, gave viewers another reason to hide under the blankets with this supernatural horror film.
RELATED: Scariest Hospitals From Horror Movies
The bed jump scare sequence remains one of the most jarring and upsetting horror moments in any movie, and that's all thanks to the clown doll. The clown is menacing in a dozen different ways before it even moves, the kind of doll that gives one a bad feeling just looking at it. The moment it is possessed by the supernatural force, things get far, far worse.
4 Blade (Puppet Master)
To have even one memorable doll in a horror film is a blessing enough; it's difficult to craft any inanimate object to that level of frightful glory. Puppet Master is a franchise blessed with numerous horrifying dolls. Andre Toulon's puppets include Pinhead, Jester, Six-Shooter, Torch, Leech Woman, Tunneler, and Doctor Death, but most frightful of all is their de facto leader, Blade.
Imbued with the soul of the German surgeon Dr. Hess, Blade has a pale face, dark trench coat, and weapons for hands, ensuring that he'll intimidate anyone with whom he comes into contact. A single animated doll is scary, but an army of them is far worse, and it's Blade's leadership that makes him one of the scariest of all time.
3 Annabelle (The Conjuring)
The Conjuring franchise is one of the longest-running and most successful in all horror, and above all else, there is one doll to thank for that: Annabelle. From the severe eyebrows to the rash-red cheeks and glaring eyes, Annabelle is terrifying on a visual level, and that's before she comes alive.
RELATED: Most Terrifying Wails In Gaming
The doll and her actions would be scary enough in themselves, but Annabelle benefits from being a member of the expansive universe of The Conjuring. There are multiple, interconnected movies dealing with Annabelle, thus deepening her frightful lore at every turn. Whereas some evil dolls are superficial, with Annabelle, there is always something else horrible to learn.
2 He Who Kills (Trilogy Of Terror)
Trilogy of Terror is a 1975 horror anthology film directed by Dan Curtis. The third segment of the anthology, "Amelia," features a woman terrorized by a Zuni fetish doll. "Amelia" contains only a single actor, Karen Black as Amelia, but her performance as she tries to escape the wrathful doll is more than enough to sell the piece.
The doll contains the spirit of a Zuni hunter named He Who Kills, and when the gold chain holding the doll in check slips off , Amelia's apartment becomes a nightmare. From his exaggerated design to his movements through the apartment, He Who Kills is an absolutely terrifying antagonist.
1 Chucky (Child's Play)
Charles Lee Ray was a human serial killer who, in his dying moments, transferred his soul into the body of a Good Guy doll. With that decision, Chucky was born. His appearance is frightening, yes, but more frightening than that is the idea that Chucky embodies in Child's Play .
He is the perversion of goodness: literally turning a Good Guy into a murderous monster, just as he transformed into a serial killer in his human life. Chucky's personality, mean spirit, and quips will always keep him close to fans' hearts, even if they never want the character close to anything else in their lives. Despite his height, Chucky stands head-and-shoulders above every other scary doll.
MORE: Scariest Dolls In Gaming
Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!
7 Scary Doll Movies to Watch ahead of Chucky Season 3
To mark the Season 3 release date of Chucky , check out our killer list of the best spooky doll movies.
Did you catch Chucky's hilarious news conference last week announcing the return of his appropriately titled hit show, Chucky ? Well, if you didn't, definitely check out the video above and behold how a true professional handles the press, particularly his response to that nasty question about there being too many killer doll movies recently.
How to Watch
Watch new episodes of Chucky Wednesdays on SYFY and next day on Peacock .
For those who haven't found a free moment to enjoy Chucky's latest demonstration of his killer comedy chops, here's the big takeaway: Don Mancini 's hit show returns to SYFY and USA starting with new Season 3 episodes on October 4. And while Chucky's response to the killer doll movie question was particularly stabbing, we here at SYFY WIRE would also like to respond in the best way we know how: with a killer list!
RELATED: Chucky Announces Season 3 Premiere Date with DC Press Conference: Watch
To help pass the arduous hours between now and October 4, here are seven creepy doll films to get you fired up for Chucky !
The Best Scary Dolls Movies to Watch Ahead of Chucky Season 3
1. child's play (1988).
Child's Play is one of those films that fans of killer dolls absolutely never get tired of, particularly this time of year. It's been a long time, and Chucky's gone through many different incarnations since, but there's something that's still undeniably magical about his very first outing, even if you've seen it dozens of times. It might even be one of your favorite comfort movies!
2. M3GAN (2022)
The biggest new killer doll around may have kicked butt at the box office, but she's still got a ways to go before she can even polish Chucky's throne. That said, M3GAN , could very well become the next big creepy doll franchise, what with a sequel already in the works . Produced by horror legends James Wan and Jason Blum, and directed by Gerard Johnstone, the film stars Allison Williams as a roboticist who thinks her latest AI creation is just the right babysitter for her recently orphaned niece. Spoiler alert: M3GAN may be a great dancer , but she's sure as heck not a great babysitter.
3. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
If there's any creepy doll on the block who can compete with Chucky for pure name recognition at this point, it's Annabelle, the terrifying, braid-wearing antique who's proven popular enough to get her own sub-franchise within the world of The Conjuring . Annabelle's such a big deal for 21st-century horror fans that she's carried three movies all by herself at this point, but if you're looking to watch just one, Gary Dauberman's Comes Home is the winner, because it's the one that turns focus on Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren, and tells the story of exactly how the legendary doll ended up in their little in-house horror museum.
RELATED: James Wan, Jason Blum, and Allison Williams agree: M3GAN would ruin Chucky in a fight
4. The Boy (2016)
William Brent Bell's tale of a creepy doll named Brahms hasn't been on the horror scene long, but The Boy has already developed a devoted fandom thanks to its creepy atmosphere and undeniably effective design for the title character. The story of a nanny (Lauren Cohan) who discovers she's caught in a ghost story driven by the grief of a family who've used a doll as a stand-in for their dead son, it's both scary and loads of Gothic fun. Plus, Brahms might not be in the same supernatural league as Chucky, but we're betting they'd get along in a crossover situation.
5. Dolls (1987)
The late, great Stuart Gordon could balance horror and comedy like no other, and he proved it once again with this creepy film packed with, you guessed it, creepy dolls of all sorts. The story begins as a riff on old, dark house tropes, as various stranded strangers make their way to a mysterious mansion to seek shelter from a storm. What they find when they get inside, of course, is more than just room after room of strange antiques. If you want maximum per capita killer toy mayhem, this is the movie for you.
6. Magic (1978)
Technically Magic isn't a creepy doll movie. It's a creepy ventriloquist dummy movie, and depending on who you ask, that's even scarier. Written by the great William Goldman and directed by the great Richard Attenborough, the film follows an aspiring magician (a young Anthony Hopkins ) who picks up ventriloquism as part of his act. The act turns out to be very convincing, but as the people surrounding the magician soon discover, it's not just because he's talented, it's because the dummy just might have a murderous mind of its own.
7. Puppet Master (1989)
When Child's Play proved to be a hit in 1988, it was only natural that more killer toy movies would follow, and exploitation legend Charles Band was not about to be left out of the fun. Puppet Master , produced by Band under his Full Moon Pictures banner, is the result, and it's a very wild, very strange ride. It's the story of a puppeteer who just happened to unlock an ancient secret to imbuing inanimate objects with life. What begins as a story of psychics trying to solve a strange mystery soon descends into puppet murder mayhem. Plus, if it's exactly your kind of weird, you've got quite a few sequels waiting for you.
While we patiently await Chucky Season 3 coming on October 4, catch up on Seasons 1 and 2 on Peacock or the SYFY app now.
- Annabelle Comes Home
- Child's Play
- Horror Films
- Puppet Master
Rob Zombie Didn't Want John Carpenter's Thoughts on Halloween
The Alpha5 Is Bringing the DeLorean Back to the Future
The Monsters of Frank Darabont's The Mist, Ranked
How to Stream Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
A Fond Remembrance of I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
Anthony Mackie's If You Were the Last Peacock Debut Trailer
Why The Black Phone Director Refused Grabber Origin Story
Freddy’s Days Are Numbered: The Extinction of Restaurant Animatronics
John Carpenter Explains Why Michael Myers Is Like Godzilla
Best Werewolf Movies on Peacock Ahead of Wolf Like Me Season 2
First Silent Hill Film Remains an Underrated Video Game Adaptation
What Did Josh Hutcherson Do Before Five Nights at Freddy’s?
Miss Tilly or Whoever You Are: Chucky S3 E3 Highlight
Just Drive, Sweetheart: Chucky S3 E3 Highlight
Inside Chucky Season 3, Episode 3: Dreams of Killing Andy
- lol Badge Feed
- win Badge Feed
- trending Badge Feed
- © 2023 BuzzFeed, Inc
- Consent Preferences
- Accessibility Statement
19 Creepy Doll Movies & TV Episodes To Watch After M3GAN
These little freaks walked so that M3GAN could dance.
We've known dolls were creepy way before M3GAN .
And dolls aren't just creepy when they're holding knives and following you with their eyes. Researchers have found that they're scary on a psychological level. Your brain is disturbed by the fact that you're looking at a face with no mind.
So when that "mindless" doll moves from where you last left it or, you know, murders you, it's even creepier. And these are 19 of the creepiest.
1. Child's Play (1988)
It may not have been the first, but Child's Play is the definitive killer doll movie. Possessed by the soul of a serial killer, Chucky is the best to ever do it.
2. Annabelle (2014)
This porcelain poltergeist was inspired by a real Raggedy Ann doll also named Annabelle. Some believe that the Raggedy Ann was also possessed , but I'll leave that to the paranormal experts to decide.
3. Poltergeist (1982)
One of the best haunted house movies of all time, the scares in Poltergeist come from all over the house (and even out of the TV). Besides Heather O'Rourke's iconic "They're heeere," the nightmarish clown that attacks Robbie has stuck with people the most.
4. "Living Doll" — The Twilight Zone (1963)
Creepy doll movies date back to 1929 with the Great Gabbo , but The Twilight Zone's "Living Doll" episode established a lot of the tropes we still see in the subgenre today.
For example, turning innocuous catchphrases into sinister threats. The doll, Talky Tina, goes from saying, "My name is Talky Tina and I love you very much," to "My name is Talky Tina and I’m going to kill you." A classic.
The mother who gives her daughter the doll is also named Annabelle. Coincidence, or haunted connection?
5. The Boy (2016)
Did you know you can buy a Brahms doll on Etsy? One customer who bought the doll gave an excellent five-star review: "I received a very nice Brahms doll. I will live with a cat. Thank you very much."
6. Dolls (1987)
View this video on YouTube
This is an interesting spin on the creepy doll formula because the story isn't about a seemingly innocent toy that starts acting up.
Instead, a couple brings the dolls to life and has them kill adults who become stranded at their home, while children are allowed to live. They also transform some victims into dolls, making for one of the most brutal scenes in the movie.
7. Saw (2004)
Jigsaw's puppet, Billy, may simply be a mouthpiece for the serial killer rather than a sentient being, but that makes him even creepier to me. He's a lot less threatening on the tricycle, though.
8. Magic (1978)
Starring Anthony Hopkins , Magic is about a man suffering from a mental illness that, at the time, was referred to as split-personality disorder . In the movie, a homicidal part of the character's mind is funneled into his ventriloquist dummy.
But perhaps the scariest thing of all was how little we knew about dissociative disorders back then.
9. Dead Silence (2007)
Directed by James Wan, a veteran of horror, this is another movie where humans are turned into dolls. But unlike in Dolls , no one is spared this time. There's also a great twist that I won't reveal here, but suffice it to say it involves dolls.
10. Deep Red (1976)
From legendary Italian director Dario Argento (he also did the original Suspiria ), the doll in this movie appears only briefly, but like the clown in Poltergeist , it sticks with you.
The doll is just in one quick scene, but as Keith Phipps of the A.V. Club said: "Operating under the principle that a moving camera is always better than a static one – and not above throwing in a terrifying evil doll – Deep Red showcases the technical bravado and loopy shock tactics that made Argento famous."
And Maitland McDonagh has suggested in her book , Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento, that the doll in this clip was the inspiration for Billy, the doll in Saw .
11. Puppet Master (1989)
Coming out the year after Child's Play , Puppet Master cashed in on the creepy doll hype by featuring six murderous marionettes rather than just one. You've got Blade (pictured above), Jester, Kahn, Pinhead (no relation to the Hellraiser franchise), Tunneler, and who could forget Leech Woman?
12. Dolly Dearest (1991)
Having pretty much the same plot as Annabelle , Dolly Dearest is a doll that gets possessed by Sanzia. In the film, Sanzia was a Mayan devil-child who is also called "Satan on Earth."
The unique spin this movie puts on the formula is that it turns out the whole Dolly Dearest factory is possessed by Sanzia, leading to an army of Dollys.
13. Demonic Toys (1992)
Another day, another demonic soul released. In Demonic Toys , however, the demon has one of the clearest goals out of any of these movies. Rather than general bloodshed and mayhem, the demon soul is trying to enter the body of a pregnant woman's unborn child.
Naturally, the demon chooses a Baby Oppsy Daisy, Grizzly Teddy, and other toys to try to get the job done.
14. Dead of Night (1945)
This horror anthology dates even further back than The Twilight Zone's "Living Doll" episode. This is one of the very earliest movies to ever depict a malevolent dummy named Hugo.
Things were much simpler back in 1945. Rather than humans getting turned into dolls or dolls stabbing people to death, Hugo is simply a creepy doll that manipulates his owner into shooting a rival ventriloquist.
Unlike Magic , which makes it clear the doll is a "split personality" of the main character, Hugo's story in Dead of Night , leaves it up to the viewer to decide whether the dummy was really alive.
15. Pin (1988)
Another movie with an outdated concept of dissociative disorder, Pin is about a boy, Leon, who starts to identify with a medical dummy his father uses to teach his kids about the human body.
The dummy, who is called Pin, "tells" Leon to kill anyone who goes against what the boy wants. What's unique in this movie is that, towards the end, the dummy actually condemns Leon for his actions.
He reminds Leon that he did everything out of his own self-interest. I won't spoil the very end, but it's an interesting twist on the dissociative trope.
16. "The Doll" — Night Gallery (1971)
A lot of the dolls on this list start out looking relatively innocent, if a bit creepy. But that thing pictured above? It has "I will end you in your sleep" written all over it. And sure enough, this doll has some nasty tricks up its sleeve.
This episode also features a human getting turned into a doll, with an ending that, especially for the time it was made, is particularly creepy.
17. "Night of the Living Dummy II" — Goosebumps (1996)
How can we talk about creepy dolls, puppets, and dummies without mentioning Slappy? The mascot of the entire Goosebumps franchise, Slappy comes to life when the words "Karru Marri Odonna Loma Molonu Karrano" are uttered.
You may be wondering, "What about the first 'Night of the Living Dummy'?" For whatever reason, the TV show decided to skip the adaptation of Slappy's first book and skip straight to the sequel.
18. Tourist Trap (1979)
Toys and dolls get all the attention, but mannequins are just as creepy. Especially when they were formerly people.
Tourist Trap was directed by David Schmoeller, who also directed Puppet Master . But this flick doesn't feature magic or demons' souls. Instead, the villain uses telekinetic powers to turn people into mannequins.
19. Finders Keepers (2014)
So we've got the same problem in this movie as in "The Doll" episode of Night Gallery... WHO WOULD WANT TO PLAY WITH THAT THING?
Which other doll movies or episodes belong on this list? Let me know in the comments!
And for more movies like M3GAN , check out the best movies about A.I. here!
Share This Article
Best Horror Movies About Creepy Dolls, Ranked
Whether it’s Chucky or Annabelle, there is something about dolls that make horror movies a little creepier.
2022 is the year of horror films – from Umma to Scream , it seems like there will be no shortage of thrills. And who can forget those silly, silent, and creepy dolls? While there may not be a reboot of the famous Child ’s Play , there are many productions from the past that are just as good to look forward to. Fans agree that there's something unsettling about movies based on creepy dolls.
Whether it's the psychological reaction to a doll's lifelike face, or films that have implanted terror in the hearts of viewers, one thing is certain: dolls are scary. They are, nevertheless, the reasons why moviegoers keep returning to the theater. After all, nothing is better than a group of friends hurdled together with a bucket of popcorn, waiting to enjoy the thrill that comes with watching horror movies.
The most well-known dolls with terrifying characteristics are Annabelle and Chucky, but others can be just as frightening. Early next year, James Wan will be writing and producing a new killer doll film titled M3GAN . Here are some of the best horror movies about creepy dolls, ranked.
7 The Boy (2016)
Nothing is more bizarre than a nanny caring for a well-dressed, life-size doll. The Boy is a story about an elderly couple that had lost their son at an early age, and decided to raise a plastic doll in his place. They treat him like their son and even hire a private nanny to take care of him while they are gone. Needless to say, things take a weird turn when the nanny is left alone with the porcelain doll. From locking her inside the attic, to stealing her clothes while she showers. Later in the film, it’s revealed that there is much more to the boy.
6 Puppet Master Series (1989-2022)
Some B-rated horror movies manage to pass the mark when it comes to terrifying the audience. Puppet Master is one such film. It’s hard to miss inanimate dolls suddenly thirsting for human flesh .
The film begins when Alex Whitaker, a psychic, has terrifying visions and leads a group of acquainted psychics to an inn. There, they find a man who has committed suicide. These professionals then watch a series of disturbing visions that start to come true one by one. Realizing the sinister aura within their surroundings, they find themselves getting hunted by a band of anthropomorphic puppets.
Each puppet is animated by an Egyptian spell, cast by a twisted puppet master, Andre Toulon. This allows each doll to carry a different weapon and seek out people who are evil.
M3GAN: Will the Killer A.I. Doll Movie Improve Upon the Formula?
5 Magic (1978)
Magic , starring Anthony Hopkins, is about a struggling magician with severe mental issues. After failing at his previous job, he worked his way up to stardom, using his talent as a ventriloquist. He is accompanied by a quirky dummy called Fats, who appears to be a very controlling entity for Corky. It is later revealed that the puppet is not possessed, but is an actual split personality of the main character that has a malicious idea of life for his partner.
4 Poltergeist (1982)
Poltergeist is about an evil entity that hides in various household objects, as the title suggests. A terrifying clown doll is one of them. Forget Pennywise, this porcelain toy acts as the face of the ghost and terrorizes the family who had just moved in. Judging by the face of this sinister clown, it’s no wonder that the family is scared.
For those who are fans of movies that show exorcism and ghost-repelling action, then Poltergeist is the one to watch.
3 Saw Franchise (2004-2021)
Although Billy from the Saw franchise is more of a puppet than a possessed doll , he has no trouble keeping the audience at the edge of their seats. He proves to be one of the most terrifying figures on screen; with his deep, gravelly voice, terrifying facial features, and heinous torture methods.
The Saw films can be divided into three eras. However, all of them carry similar characteristics; detailed traps, flashbacks, self-mutilation, and even creative mouth gags. Fans of the torture genre can look forward to this puzzle-filled and ruthless set of films.
Here's What to Watch on Netflix if You're Bored of the Same Old Scary Movies
2 The Annabelle Franchise (2014 to 2019)
Annabelle is a doll that no one should mess with. She is the newest addition to the scariest dolls in the horror genre. Annabelle , Annabelle Creation , and Annabelle Comes Home are the three follow-up films to her first appearance in The Conjuring .
Annabelle is an old wooden doll who is possessed by a demonic spirit, Malthus. She wears a white dress and has the facial features of a vintage doll. The film begins when a newly-wed couple brings home a vintage doll. However, their bliss doesn’t last long. Throughout the movie, she tends to move around the house when no one is looking. She also commits several violent acts, such as igniting the stove or smearing bloody words on the wall. The situation becomes even worse when Annabelle requests a soul in exchange for the couple's child.
1 Child’s Play Franchise (1988-2022)
A list of movies based on creepy dolls wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Child’s Play . Chucky is by far the most popular scary doll on the big screen. He has the exterior of a cute children's toy and the interior of a deceased serial killer, complete with a strong desire to kill. While his primary objective was to transfer his soul into the body of a nearby child, he developed a desire to kill after failing to do so.
Chucky is seen wanting to kill multiple times throughout the Child's Play franchise. The good thing about this franchise is that while the basics are similar to the original film, subsequent installments introduce new concepts and characters. It balances the best of comedy, occult, horror, and homicide.
Scary Doll Movies to Watch While You Wait to Be Scared by 'M3GAN'
Dolls have been used for some truly frightening movies over the decades. Here are the scariest ones you’ll ever see.
On January 6th, the much anticipated M3GAN comes to theaters. The latest release from Blumhouse, about a young girl ( Violet McGraw ) who is gifted a lifelike, A.I. doll by her aunt ( Allison Williams ) looks to be a bonkers house of horrors when the overprotective creation begins to run amok and turn on the humans.
It’s another in a long list of doll-related horror films released not just recently, but from decades past. There is something forever creepy about a toy that looks so human, with knowing studios using audiences as an easy target for their films. From black-and-white pictures, to anthology segments, to features filled with blood and gore, here are the best scary doll movies to watch before M3GAN scares you all over again.
Dead of Night (1945)
This black-and-white British horror anthology tells several tales, all hinged around a group of people gathered at a cottage telling stories. The best segment, “The Ventriloquist Dummy,” centers on just that. Michael Redgrave stars as Maxwell Frere, a ventriloquist who believes that his dummy, Hugo, is alive. Redgrave is phenomenal in this intense short film, as we watch him emotionally breakdown. Throughout, we wonder if Maxwell is simply crazy, or maybe, just maybe, the dummy truly is alive. The way the dummy speaks through the ventriloquist is truly creepy. The ending is one you’ll never forget, and apparently Alfred Hitchcock didn’t forget either, because it would be very similar to the shocking finale of his most famous film, Psycho .
Trilogy of Terror (1975)
Thirty years later comes another anthology segment where the most memorable story involves a doll. This time, there’s no question of if it’s real or not. This doll is very much alive and out to kill. This made-for-TV ABC Movie of the Week is talked about for one reason, the last story, “Amelia.” The late Karen Black stars as the titular character, and on a fascinating note, she is actually the only human character in the entire segment. Based on a story by Richard Matheson , it is a simple and effective one. Amelia buys a small Zuni warrior doll that just so happens to have the warrior’s soul trapped inside. The entire segment is the doll chasing Amelia around her apartment. From its macabre look to the sounds it makes, this is an action filled gem that will make you shiver.
Based on William Goldman ’s novel, directed by Richard Attenborough , and starring Anthony Hopkins , and Ann-Margaret , this one sees Hopkins as a ventriloquist named Corky Withers. With his dummy, Fats, Withers becomes a success. When Ann-Margaret’s Peggy Ann Show enters the picture as a love interest for Corky, Fats becomes jealous. Similar to Dead of Night , we watch a mentally unstable man who communicates with his doll and talks back in his voice. The question is again asked: is the dummy alive? Even without the dummy, we have a great character study about the descent into madness. Add in Fats, and his incredibly eerie design, and you have a film that stays with you long after it’s over.
This became a popular 80s horror movie just from its effective poster alone, in which a doll is seen holding its own plucked out eyes that look at us. The tagline reveals all: “They walk. They talk. They kill.” Stuart Gordon directed this movie about a group of people who take shelter in a large home during a storm. It just so happens that it’s the home of a doll maker with a collection that’s possessed by the spirits of criminals. What sets this film apart from other earlier works is its use of stop-motion. In Trilogy of Terror , we get a puppet with very limited movement and range of emotion. Here you do watch those dolls actually walk and talk, and yes, kill. Its low budget and subpar acting holds it back from being a classic, but make no mistake, these dolls are as scary as it gets.
RELATED: 'M3GAN' Won't Let You Be Alone Over the Holidays—You Can Chat With Her On Twitter
Child’s Play (1988)
This is the most famous of the scary doll movies by far. Everyone, even non horror fans, knows who Chucky is. The foul mouth killer doll has been in a plethora of films and now, thirty plus years later, stars in his own series, Chucky . While he has become more of a comedic and meta character, in the beginning he was nothing but pure nightmare fuel. Directed by Tom Holland of Fright Night fame, and starring Brad Dourif as the voice of the killer doll, this movie is not just a clever premise, but a fun ride thanks to a well written story and some great acting by young Alex Vincent . What puts it over the top was how effective Chucky’s look was, thanks to the very realistic robot work created by Kevin Yagher .
Puppet Master (1989)
With a whopping fifteen films under its belt, the franchise has gotten outlandish and hokey, but the original has a rather interesting plot. In 1939, a Jewish puppet maker named Andrė Toulon ( William Hickey ), hides his creations in a hotel before killing himself to avoid being captured by the Nazis. Fast-forward fifty years later, and a group of magicians shows up at the hotel where Toulon’s creations have come to life to kill, with a new master controlling them. The best part of the movie is the doll designs and how they interact within the movie. Here we don’t just have one doll, but a whole series of them with vastly different designs, from Pinhead (no, not that Pinhead), Jester, Tunneler, and the knife handed Blade.
Dolly Dearest (1991)
Upon its release, this one was dismissed as another Child’s Play clone, and while there might be some truth to that, as this isn’t the greatest of the killer doll genre, there is still great fun to be had. The plot is basic enough, with an unleashed evil spirit finding a home inside a child's doll called Dolly Dearest. It’s not a great movie from the perspective of a story, but it’s still one of the scarier entries of the genre, and worthy of this list, simply from the fear factor presented by the doll itself. There’s no doubt that she’s disturbing, and though the robotic work isn’t as great as Chucky, that’s part of what makes it work, by being lifelike yet off-kilter. This movie certainly gave many kids nightmares during the early 1990s.
Dead Silence (2007)
Coming off the massive success of Saw in 2004, James Wan followed it up with another horror film, working again to write it with Leigh Whannell . While it couldn’t live up to the hype of Wan’s previous movie, this one has become a cult favorite. Starring Ryan Kwaten , just before his run on True Blood , his character, Jamie Ashen, is looking to figure out the circumstances behind his wife’s murder, who died after getting a creepy ventriloquist's dummy named Billy. It’s linked to a ventriloquist named Mary Shaw, who was murdered and had her body turned into a doll itself. Not everything connects, but it’s still remembered today for being an entertaining thriller filled with both the supernatural and terrifying imagery surrounding the film’s myriad of freaky looking dolls.
The Boy (2016)
Lauren Cohan of The Walking Dead acclaim was the lead, as a nanny named Greta Evans who is hired to take care of a wealthy and aging couple’s son. The catch is that their “son” is actually a child sized porcelain doll named Brahms, the same name as their actual son who died when he was still a child. Brahms is a more subdued scary doll. Even though you’re waiting for it, there are no scenes of the doll coming to life, walking, talking, and killing. The truth behind Brahms gives us a shocking twist of an ending, but even before that the film is terrifying thanks to Brahms' simple design. He doesn’t look intentionally scary with an exaggerated face. It’s how innocent and childlike he looks, to the point of seeming as if he could blink and take a breath at any moment, that makes him so chilling.
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
The Annabelle doll has been a part of pop culture for years now thanks to its introduction in The Conjuring , another James Wan movie. The doll was spun off into its own feature film, Annabelle , in 2014, but it was a commercial dud that was seen as being made for profit alone, in the absence of a good story. The followup by director David F. Sandberg was a surprise that gave fans a well done story to go along with the doll. In doing so, it took Annabelle from being a simple creepy-looking possessed doll into something that was actually frightening. Annabelle is the most well known scary movie doll outside of Chucky, even though she doesn’t speak and move like he does. It’s her look, a child’s doll that comes across as possessed just from putting your eyes on it, the mythology established behind her, and the fact that she is based on an actual doll that was kept by the real life Ed and Lorraine Warren, that has made her such an enduring presence in film.
Sort by Popularity - Most Popular Movies and TV Shows tagged with keyword "possessed-doll"
- Movies or TV
- IMDb Rating
- In Theaters
- Release Year
1. Chucky (2021– )
TV-MA | 42 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller
After a vintage Chucky doll turns up at a suburban yard sale, an idyllic American town is thrown into chaos as a series of horrifying murders begin to expose the town's hypocrisies and secrets.
Stars: Zackary Arthur , Bjorgvin Arnarson , Alyvia Alyn Lind , Brad Dourif
2. Child's Play (1988)
R | 87 min | Horror, Thriller
A struggling single mother unknowingly gifts her son a doll imbued with a serial killer's consciousness.
Director: Tom Holland | Stars: Catherine Hicks , Chris Sarandon , Alex Vincent , Brad Dourif
Votes: 112,544 | Gross: $33.24M
3. Bride of Chucky (1998)
R | 89 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Chucky, the doll possessed by a serial killer, discovers the perfect mate to kill and revive into the body of another doll.
Director: Ronny Yu | Stars: Jennifer Tilly , Brad Dourif , Katherine Heigl , Nick Stabile
Votes: 62,732 | Gross: $32.40M
4. Annabelle (I) (2014)
R | 99 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.
Director: John R. Leonetti | Stars: Ward Horton , Annabelle Wallis , Alfre Woodard , Tony Amendola
Votes: 170,740 | Gross: $84.27M
5. Annabelle: Creation (2017)
R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Twelve years after the tragic death of their little girl, a doll-maker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, where they become the target of the doll-maker's possessed creation, Annabelle.
Director: David F. Sandberg | Stars: Anthony LaPaglia , Samara Lee , Miranda Otto , Brad Greenquist
Votes: 146,616 | Gross: $102.09M
6. Child's Play 2 (1990)
R | 84 min | Horror, Thriller
While Andy's mother is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, the young boy is placed in foster care, and Chucky, determined to claim Andy's soul, is not far behind.
Director: John Lafia | Stars: Alex Vincent , Jenny Agutter , Gerrit Graham , Christine Elise
Votes: 56,025 | Gross: $28.50M
7. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
R | 106 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.
Director: Gary Dauberman | Stars: Vera Farmiga , Patrick Wilson , Mckenna Grace , Madison Iseman
Votes: 83,948 | Gross: $74.15M
8. Seed of Chucky (2004)
R | 87 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Chucky and Tiffany are resurrected by their innocent gender-confused daughter, Glenda, and hit Hollywood, where a movie depicting the killer dolls' murder spree is underway.
Director: Don Mancini | Stars: Jennifer Tilly , Brad Dourif , John Waters , Billy Boyd
Votes: 48,657 | Gross: $17.08M
9. Child's Play 3 (1991)
R | 90 min | Horror, Thriller
Chucky returns for revenge against Andy, the young boy who defeated him, and now a teenager living in a military academy.
Director: Jack Bender | Stars: Justin Whalin , Perrey Reeves , Jeremy Sylvers , Travis Fine
Votes: 44,881 | Gross: $14.96M
10. Curse of Chucky (2013)
R | 97 min | Horror, Thriller
After her mother's mysterious death, Nica begins to suspect that the talking, red-haired doll her visiting niece has been playing with may be the key to recent bloodshed and chaos.
Director: Don Mancini | Stars: Chantal Quesnelle , Fiona Dourif , Jordan Gavaris , Danielle Bisutti
Votes: 42,504 | Gross: $3.80M
11. Dolls (1986)
R | 77 min | Horror
A dysfunctional family of three stop by a mansion during a storm -- father, stepmother, and child. The child discovers that the elderly owners are magical toy makers and have a haunted collection of dolls.
Director: Stuart Gordon | Stars: Ian Patrick Williams , Carolyn Purdy-Gordon , Carrie Lorraine , Guy Rolfe
12. Survival Island (2002)
R | 85 min | Horror, Thriller
A group of teens trapped on an island, and are haunted by a demon hidden inside a pinata.
Directors: David Hillenbrand , Scott Hillenbrand | Stars: Nicholas Brendon , Jaime Pressly , Eugene Byrd , Casey Fallo
13. Brahms: The Boy II (2020)
PG-13 | 86 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
After a family moves into the Heelshire Mansion, their young son soon makes friends with a life-like doll called Brahms.
Director: William Brent Bell | Stars: Katie Holmes , Christopher Convery , Owain Yeoman , Ralph Ineson
14. Robert (2015)
Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
In this chilling story based on real life events a family experience terrifying supernatural occurrences when their son acquires a vintage doll called Robert.
Director: Andrew Jones | Stars: Suzie Frances Garton , Lee Bane , Flynn Allen , Judith Haley
15. Baba Yaga (1973)
Unrated | 89 min | Horror
A photographer finds herself falling under the spell of a witch.
Director: Corrado Farina | Stars: Carroll Baker , George Eastman , Isabelle De Funès , Ely Galleani
16. The Curse of Robert the Doll (2016)
Not Rated | 79 min | Horror
A cash strapped student who starts working the night shift at a Museum suspects that one of the exhibits, a creepy vintage doll named Robert, is alive and wreaking havoc after hours.
Director: Andrew Jones | Stars: Nigel Barber , Suzie Frances Garton , Lee Bane , Chris Bell
17. Checkered Ninja (2018)
Not Rated | 83 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
A possessed Ninja doll teams up with a teenage boy to avenge the murder of a poor child factory worker.
Directors: Thorbjørn Christoffersen , Anders Matthesen | Stars: Emma Sehested Høeg , Anders Matthesen , Facundo Reyes , Alfred Bjerre Larsen
18. Cathy's Curse (1977)
R | 82 min | Horror
A young girl is possessed by the spirit of her aunt, who died as a child in a car accident. Soon, people around her begin to mysteriously die off.
Director: Eddy Matalon | Stars: Alan Scarfe , Beverly Murray , Randi Allen , Dorothy Davis
19. Making Contact (1985)
PG | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Believing to be able to communicate with his deceased father, a young boy develops psychic powers where he uses them to try to stop supernatural forces threatening his family and friends, especially a possessed ventriloquist dummy.
Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Joshua Morrell , Eva Kryll , Tammy Shields , Jan Zierold
20. Robert and the Toymaker (2017)
Not Rated | 84 min | Horror
In Germany, 1941, the Nazis pursue a Toymaker who has acquired a mystical book which gives life to inanimate objects.
Director: Andrew Jones | Stars: Lee Bane , Erick Hayden , Jo Weil , Nathan Head
21. Dolls (I) (2019)
85 min | Horror
A struggling children's book author and his rebellious teenage daughter move into a house they've inherited and find mysterious dolls in the attic. The father and daughter soon learn that the dolls have a sinister - and deadly - past.
Director: Cuyle Carvin | Stars: Thomas Downey , Dee Wallace , Trinity Simpson , Bret Green
22. The Revenge of Robert the Doll (2018)
Not Rated | 80 min | Horror
Infamous killer doll Robert does battle with Hitler's henchmen aboard a train in Nazi Germany.
Director: Andrew Jones | Stars: Lee Bane , Harriet Rees , Judith Haley , Eloise Juryeff
23. Robert Reborn (2019)
Not Rated | 85 min | Horror
In 1951 USSR, infamous killer doll Robert battles Stalin's henchmen on board a plane.
Director: Andrew Jones | Stars: Dennis Farrin , Lee Bane , Klemens Koehring , John R. Walker
24. Black Devil Doll (2007)
73 min | Comedy, Horror
A young, buxom teen vixen finds herself hurled into an odyssey of forbidden sex and unspeakable violence after an innocent evening dabbling in the occult. What started as a simple child's ... See full summary »
Director: Jonathan Louis Lewis | Stars: Jonathan Louis Lewis , Chris Lewis , Minh Bao , The Brick
25. The Devil's Gift (1984)
90 min | Thriller, Horror
An evil demon that inhabits a monkey doll takes over the mind of a suburban housewife to carry out its plans.
Director: Kenneth J. Berton | Stars: Bob Mendelsohn , Vicki Saputo , Struan Robertson , Bruce Parry
26. The Terrible Two (2018)
84 min | Horror, Thriller
This horror/paranormal thriller follows the lives of Albert and Rose Poe over the course of 4 days that happens to include the one year anniversary of their 5 and 6 year old daughters ... See full summary »
Director: Billy Lewis | Stars: Donny Boaz , Cari Moskow , Reid Doyle , Ariana Baron
27. Doll Graveyard (2005)
Not Rated | 71 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
In the year of 1911 a 12yr old girl named Sophia is playing with her dolls in the room where she is not supposed to be in her abusive father comes in and catches her as punishment he makes ... See full summary »
Director: Charles Band | Stars: Jared Kusnitz , Gabrielle Lynn , Kristyn Green , Anna Alicia Brock
28. Pandemonium (1987)
88 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
A beautiful nude feral girl raised by dingoes returns to Babylon, Australia to find her family. Her mom is an evil landlady and her nutty tenants want the girl for themselves. One of them realizes the girl was sent to stop the Apocalypse.
Director: Haydn Keenan | Stars: David Argue , Amanda Dole , Esben Storm , Arna-Maria Winchester
29. The Shades (2021)
81 min | Horror, Thriller
Two U.S. ecologists travel to a remote town in South America to investigate what appears to be unnatural decay of the environment. They soon discover the cause is a horrific curse that's been haunting the lands for centuries.
Director: Jeff Sun | Stars: Rodrigo Mattos , Nicole Alexandra Lvova , Sarah Hess , Andrea Camponovo
30. The Theatre of Terror (2019)
90 min | Horror
A young woman watches four tales of terror in an old shuttered movie palace.
Director: Tom Ryan | Stars: Tom Ryan , Lauren Renahan , Heather Brittain , Scott Gorbach
31. Mary sanno denwa (2016)
Not Rated | 86 min | Horror
The film is based on one of Japan's most popular urban legends "Mary's Telephone" and 4 stories more.
Directors: Tomonori Sasaki , Takeshi Sone | Stars: Yurika Akane , Kenta Enya , Sayuri Itô , Nanako Murasaki
32. Christmas Spirits (1981 TV Movie)
45 min | Horror
Julia, a Hollywood property scout, is looking for a house to star in a horror movie, she finds more than she bargained for at Glebes Hall.
Director: June Wyndham-Davies | Stars: Elaine Stritch , Ben Aris , Stephanie Cole , Norma West
33. Evil online: Il male in diretta (2017)
62 min | Horror
A collector and a lover of the macabre decides to purchase a possessed doll on the internet.
Director: Angelo Di Noia | Star: Angelo Di Noia
34. The Origin of the Doll (2021)
30 min | Animation, Short, Horror
The origin of the possessed doll is finally revealed. Prequel to The Possessed Doll.
Director: Carol Sparkle | Stars: Ross K. Foad , Curt Naddy , Cascade Nerida , Elliot Skywalker
35. My Friend of Misery (2018)
60 min | Documentary
Paranormal investigators Stephen Lancaster and Christina Parker acquire a doll to study that holds the malevolent spirit of an unborn child for over fifty years.
Director: Stephen Lancaster | Stars: Stephen Lancaster , Kevin P. McCray , Eddie Hughes , Christina Parker
36. Friday the 13th: The Series (1987–1990) Episode: The Inheritance (1987)
TV-14 | 46 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Two cousins, Ryan Dallion and Micki Foster, inherit an antiques shop from their uncle. Together with his partner, they must track down cursed objects that their devil-worshiping uncle had created. The first object is a demonic killer doll.
Director: William Fruet | Stars: John D. LeMay , Louise Robey , Chris Wiggins , R.G. Armstrong
37. The X-Files (1993–2018) Episode: Chinga (1998)
TV-14 | 44 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Rumors of witchcraft and sorcery surrounding a bizarre murder at a supermarket in a small New England fishing town lead Scully, who's on vacation, to a little girl and a cursed doll that may be hiding a murderous presence.
Director: Kim Manners | Stars: David Duchovny , Gillian Anderson , Susannah Hoffmann , Larry Musser
38. What We Do in the Shadows (2019– ) Episode: Nouveau Théâtre des Vampires (2020)
TV-MA | 22 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
As they prepare to attend an exclusive event on the vampire social calendar, the vampires try to survive without Guillermo.
Director: Kyle Newacheck | Stars: Kayvan Novak , Matt Berry , Natasia Demetriou , Harvey Guillén
39. What We Do in the Shadows (2019– ) Episode: The Siren (2021)
TV-MA | 25 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
Two travelers are shipwrecked and a doll runs away from home.
Director: Yana Gorskaya | Stars: Kayvan Novak , Matt Berry , Natasia Demetriou , Harvey Guillén
40. What We Do in the Shadows (2019– ) Episode: Reunited (2022)
TV-MA | 23 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
The vampires return from their world travels to find their mansion on the verge of collapse, and a freakish new creature in the house.
41. Chucky (2021– ) Episode: Doll on Doll (2022)
TV-MA | 47 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Devon worries that Good Chucky can't be trusted; Tiffany spirals from the surprise party.
Director: Leslie Libman | Stars: Zackary Arthur , Bjorgvin Arnarson , Alyvia Alyn Lind , Brad Dourif
42. Penn & Teller: Fool Us (2011– ) Episode: Does This Trick Ring a Bell? (2017)
TV-PG | Comedy, Game-Show, Mystery
Magicians looking to fool them this time: steampunk enthusiast Dino Staats vaporizes Penn's one dollar bill with the help of "Science!", mysterious Aiden Sinclair, who has history with Penn... See full summary »
Director: Dennis Rosenblatt | Stars: Penn Jillette , Teller , Alyson Hannigan , Dino Staats
43. DC's Legends of Tomorrow (2016–2022) Episode: Hell No, Dolly! (2018)
TV-14 | 42 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Sara tries to help Rory and Ava to get along, while a new magical creature attacks the Legends. Meanwhile, Constantine is forced to confront his tragic past and Mona has a crush on someone she works with.
Director: April Mullen | Stars: Brandon Routh , Caity Lotz , Maisie Richardson-Sellers , Tala Ashe
44. Wellington Paranormal (2018–2022) Episode: Christmas Special (2019)
TV-14 | 20 min | Comedy, Crime, Fantasy
In this spooky festive special, Minogue and O'Leary attend to a number of different paranormal events on a busy Christmas Eve patrol.
Director: Dean Hewison | Stars: Karen O'Leary , Mike Minogue , Maaka Pohatu , Thomas Sainsbury
- Main content
10 of the creepiest dolls in horror movies and TV history
- "M3GAN" is a new horror film that will be released on January 6.
- Megan is the latest in a long line of scary dolls in horror-screen history.
- Billy, Brahms, and Annabelle are all horrifying dolls in their own right.
Megan, of "M3GAN," has already cemented herself as an all-time creepy doll.
In "M3GAN," which releases in theaters on January 6, a young girl who lost her parents is gifted a toy android doll designed by her aunt Gemma, played by Allison Williams, named Megan.
Megan is designed to comfort, but since she's only a prototype, she malfunctions and becomes too self-aware and protective of Cady, Gemma's niece. In her quest to help Cady, Megan becomes a violent killer, with amazing dance moves to boot.
Annabelle is so horrifying that she's at the center of not one, not two, but four horror films.
Annabelle, a real doll in the possession of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren before their deaths, was introduced to audiences in "The Conjuring." While not the main villain of the film, there's a terrifying scene where Annabelle tries to possess the body of a young girl.
She proved so hauntingly memorable that Annabelle has now been at the center of three films of her own: " Annabelle ," " Annabelle: Creation ," and " Annabelle Comes Home ."
The star of the "Child's Play" franchise, Chucky, is one of the most famous dolls in pop culture.
Chucky, a doll possessed by the spirit of a vicious serial killer of the same name, is one of the most recognizable and memorable horror villains of all time , ever since his debut in the 1988 film " Child's Play ."
Since then, audiences have seen Chucky marry another horrifying doll in " Bride of Chucky ," his offspring in " Seed of Chucky ," and more. There have been eight "Child's Play" films, plus one TV show that's critically acclaimed.
Brahms first appeared in "The Boy."
We won't spoil " The Boy " or its sequel, " Brahms II: The Boy ," for you, but rest assured that this doll, Brahms, is more than what he seems. In the film, an American woman is hired to care for a young British boy, but when she arrives, she discovers she's actually there to look after a life-size porcelain doll that's been named Brahms by the elderly couple who hired her.
As you might suspect, creepy things start happening with Brahms; the babysitter hears children's laughter when no one is around, Brahms seems to move on its own, and phone calls keep dropping.
Billy from the "Saw" franchise" is another iconic horror-movie doll.
Nope, this puppet isn't Jigsaw — that's the creepy scientist who devises the deadly logic puzzles that populate the entire "Saw" franchise . Jigsaw uses Billy, a scary doll/puppet with bull's-eyes on its cheeks who magically bikes around, to communicate with his victims.
Billy has appeared in all but one of the nine "Saw" films. In the latest, " Spiral: From the Book of Saw ," just a photograph of him is seen.
The ventriloquist dummy in "Dead Silence" is also named Billy, perhaps as an homage.
In " Dead Silence ," Billy appears as a ventriloquist dummy who is possessed by the spirit of a woman, Mary, trying to enact revenge on those who wronged her. To do this, Billy kills people by ripping out their tongues, preventing them from screaming. He also somehow makes all sound disappear.
Billy is an exceptionally creepy doll, especially when the camera lingers on him , just waiting for him to make the slightest movement without any help.
Talky Tina is a horrifying adversary in an episode of "The Twilight Zone."
In this episode of " The Twilight Zone ," a young girl is gifted a Talky Tina, but her father discovers the doll might be more than they bargained for, especially when Talky Tina says she doesn't like her new owner's dad, or threatens that everyone better be nice to her.
Even worse, the rest of his family gaslights him about the horrifying doll, until it's too late.
"Dead of Night" was released in 1945, meaning that this doll, Hugo, might be the original scary doll.
"Dead of Night" is an anthology horror film — the most famous part involves Hugo, the dummy, who seems to somehow have a mind of his own. His owner blames all his problems on Hugo, claims Hugo bites him, and is generally a horrible presence in his life.
The one big jump scare of "Poltergeist" involves a horrifying clown doll.
" Poltergeist ," a classic ghost story, follows the Freeling family as they are haunted by malevolent ghosts at their home, which is located on a former cemetery.
Overall, "Poltergeist" is more creepy than downright scary, but the one scene involving 8-year-old Robbie and his unnerving clown doll attacking him remains embedded in the brains of '80s kids everywhere.
If '80s kids are scared of "Poltergeist," '90s and 2000s kids are scared of Slappy from "Goosebumps."
Slappy the ventriloquist dummy is one of the most enduring characters from "Goosebumps," a kid-friendly horror anthology book series that was turned into a TV series and two feature films.
Slappy made his first appearance in the book " Night of the Living Dummy " in 1993. He went on to make multiple appearances in later books, appeared in four episodes of the TV series, and he was the primary antagonist of the 2015 " Goosebumps " film. Slappy also appears in the sequel " Goosebumps 2 ," which was released in 2018.
When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more .
Top 10 Best Doll Horror Movies
Dolls in horror movies can be creepy, silly, or both at the same time. Collected here are the best horror movies featuring dolls.
Why do dolls creep out so many people? Some theories suggest their creepiness has to do with a human instinct that tries to reconcile a doll’s human-like qualities with its inhuman state. Or maybe it’s because movies and television have taught us that if a doll comes to life, it’s probably trying to kill us.
Doll horror movies have their roots in films featuring disturbing ventriloquist dummies. Movies like The Great Gabbo (1929) and Dead of Night (1945) toyed with the idea of dummies being given a kind of life of their own through the madness of their operators. The Twilight Zone took the idea even further in the 1963 episode “Living Doll.” In the show, a doll named Talky Tina has some choice words (and a trip down a staircase) for an abusive father. Talky Tina opened up a branch within the subgenre, making doll horror films arguably even more scary than the ventriloquist dummy movies that had come before them.
Horror movie dolls generally fall into two categories. Sometimes a doll will be haunted, and it acts as a conduit for a spirit or some other force that does the actual killing (Annabelle from the Conjuring universe falls into this category). Other times, the doll will have sentience and the ability to move and kill on its own (like Chucky from the Child’s Play and Chucky movies). Either way, dolls are creepy.
This list compiles the top ten horror movies where dolls are the main focus. It is weighted heavily towards dolls that do the killings themselves, mostly because sentient dolls often feature more prominently in the films they are in as opposed to a haunted doll. Also, no puppets or ventriloquist dummies are included in the list because they could fill up a top-ten list of their own.
10. Blood Dolls (1999)
Blood Dolls is a goofy horror-comedy from writer/director/producer Charles Band. It’s a fun piece of low-budget schlock from Band’s notoriously ridiculous production and distribution company Full Moon Entertainment. The movie is about a wealthy madman with an abnormally tiny head. As part of the man’s quest for never-ending death and torture, he creates a trio of murderous dolls that he has kill anyone who has wronged him. The dolls are named Ms. Fortune, Sideshow, and Pimp, and they are mute caricatures that play a small role in the unhinged wackiness of the overall film. The movie isn’t “good” by most normal standards, but it’s quite fun for anyone familiar with Full Moon’s brand of humor and horror.
9. Papi Gudia (1996)
Papi Gudia is an unofficial remake of Child’s Play (1988) from India . The movie is pretty much the same as Child’s Play , with entire scenes lifted directly from the earlier film. The only real difference is that Papi Gudia has much lower production values, less tension, and a much less animated doll. So why is it on this list? Because Papi Gudia is about 40 minutes longer than Child’s Play , and most of that added time is thanks to numerous Bollywood song-and-dance numbers. You haven’t truly experienced a killer doll movie until you see its tormented characters start dancing and singing about it.
8. Dolly Dearest (1991)
Dolly Dearest stars Denise Crosby (of 1989’s Pet Sematary and Star Trek: The Next Generation ) as Marilyn, a wife and mother who moves to Mexico when her husband buys an old doll factory. Meanwhile, an archeological dig near the doll factory unleashes a demonic force that takes up residence in the factory’s already creepy dolls. When Marilyn’s daughter takes one of the dolls, her personality changes as the demon inside the doll begins to possess the little girl . Dolly Dearest has a fair amount of downtime, but Denise Crosby is great, and the doll, especially its facial expressions, are incredibly unnerving.
7. Demonic Toys (1992)
Demonic Toys is another direct-to-video Full Moon Feature filled with with campy horror. When an attempted arrest goes poorly, a wounded criminal makes his way into a warehouse full of toys. The man’s blood awakens a group of demon-possessed toys that go on a murderous rampage. Among the toys are a vicious teddy bear and an evil doll called Baby Oopsie Daisy. Sequels for Demonic Toys crossed over with other Full Moon franchises including Dollman (who is a tiny person and not an actual doll) and Puppet Master . The Demonic Toys franchise also includes a 2010 sequel titled Demonic Toys: 2 and a 2021 spinoff titled Baby Oopsie .
6. Dolls (1987)
In Dolls (1987), a storm forces a young girl to go with her father and cruel stepmother to seek shelter at the home of an elderly couple. The family, along with three strangers also looking for a place to wait out the storm, discover numerous dolls throughout the couple’s house. The kindly couple has ulterior motives for letting everyone stay with them, and as the night goes on, the dolls rise and begin to attack the visitors. There is a fair amount of campiness inherent in the story and execution of Dolls , but it is also a sufficiently creepy killer-doll movie with some great kill sequences.
5. Bride of Chucky (1998)
Released ten years after the original Child’s Play , Bride of Chucky breathed new life into the franchise. Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Ronny Yu and written by series creator Don Mancini, this fourth installment in the franchise fully embraces the ridiculousness of killer dolls with an over-the-top extravaganza of gore and comedy. The beloved character of Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) is introduced here in what is essentially a romantic road movie. Chucky (Brad Dourif) and Tiffany are former lovers who travel to find an amulet that they believe will allow them to transfer their souls into real bodies. Along the way they find time time to murder people for fun and fall in love with each other all over again.
4. Tales from the Hood (1995)
Killer dolls have appeared in many horror anthology films over the years, but the doll segment in Tales from the Hood might be the best of them all. Tales from the Hood features four short segments, and the third main story involves a racist senator (played by Corbin Bernsen) who has set up an office in an old plantation house as he campaigns for governor. The senator quickly regrets his decision to work in the plantation house when the slaves who lived and died there posses numerous dolls who come to life and get bloody revenge for their suffering.
3. Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Second only to Chucky, Annabelle is easily one of the most recognizable killer dolls in film history. Annabelle first appeared briefly in The Conjuring (2013) before being spun off into her own series of films. Of the spin-offs, Annabelle: Creation is probably the strongest entry. In the film, a young girl discovers a porcelain doll hidden away in a closet inside the house she is being fostered in. The doll unleashes a demonic force that threatens to kill and/or possess everyone in the house. The Annabelle doll ushered in a resurgence of interest in possessed/killer doll movies, mostly of the low-budget, independent variety.
2. Suddenly in the Dark (1981)
Suddenly in the Dark is a South Korean psychological horror movie with an unsettling doll at the center of the scares. Seon-hee (Kim Young-ae) is happy to have help around the house when her husband arrives with a new housemaid, but her joy quickly turns to paranoia as she questions the motives of the pretty young woman. Seon-hee begins to be plagued by disturbing (yet visually mesmerizing) visions, many of which involve the housemaid’s creepy doll in some very threatening situations. The psychological scares in Suddenly in the Dark provide a nice contrast to the demons and possessions seen in many of the doll horror films produced in the western world.
1. Child’s Play (1988)
It should come as no surprise that the original Child’s Play from 1988 tops this list of best doll horror movies. Chucky’s popularity is unmatched in the genre, and this first film is what set the standard by which most other killer doll movies are judged. While later entries in the franchise were more explicit with the comedy and gore, Child’s Play acknowledges the ridiculousness of the concept while still providing a genuinely tense and frightening film. Plus, no other killer doll in history has the personality of Chucky, brought to life with solid practical effects and an undeniably amazing voice performance from Brad Dourif. Killer doll films produced decades later still struggle to match the quality and the magic of seeing Chucky come to life for the first time.
A Brief History of the Chucky Franchise
No other killer doll in history has had the impact on the horror genre that Chucky has. Chucky’s influence isn’t just on the killer doll subgenre either. The Child’s Play and Chucky films helped shape generations of killers on screen for decades, regardless of whether they are dolls, humans, or something else. Chucky became so well-known that he is often spoken of in the same conversation with horror icons like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers. Just like those pop-culture horror heavyweights, people know who Chucky is even if they’ve never seen one of his movies.
The original Child’s Play came out in 1988 when the most dominant form of American horror film at the time, the slasher movie, was already past its prime. Films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) , Friday the 13 Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) , and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) had established a path towards more comedy in slashers. Child’s Play could have easily been a completely goofy film, but the original movie’s perfect balance of silly and scary set itself apart from the crowd in the best possible way.
Child’s Play (1988) takes a serious approach to a slasher movie. It develops its main characters well, and it makes each murder feel important to the story (something many other slashers weren’t doing at the time). The original idea for the film came from a story developed by series creator Don Mancini. Influences on Mancini’s script included Talky Tina from The Twilight Zone , the effects of advertising on children that led to the Cabbage Patch Kids craze in the 80s, and movie killers like Freddy Krueger. The script would be modified somewhat before the film was made, but the heart of the story still made it on screen.
It’s commonly thought that Chucky was based on the “true” story of Robert the Doll , a supposedly haunted doll currently residing in Florida. However, this is not true. Chucky was based on the aforementioned Cabbage Patch Kids as well as the My Buddy dolls popular around the same time. The soul living in Chucky’s doll body is inspired by real killers though. The name Charles Lee Ray is taken from three notorious killers: Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.
Child’s Play led to two rather quick sequels. Child’s Play 2 (1990) is less mysterious and tense than the 1988 film, and it veers more into a typical slasher formula than the initial outing in the franchise. Even so, Chucky’s personality, fueled by the ever-amazing Brad Dourif, was bigger and more fun than ever. Child’s Play 3 followed in 1991, and even though it has some fun scenes, the overall film couldn’t capture the standard set by the first two films. Despite running out of steam, the original Child’s Play trilogy made its mark. Villains in slasher flicks got sillier, and direct influences from Chucky can be seen in movies like Dolly Dearest (1991), Leprechaun (1993) , and Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996) . Even killers like Dr. Giggles (1992) and Jack Frost (1997) owe something to Chucky.
In 1998, the Child’s Play series was reinvented with Bride of Chucky . Hong Kong director Ronny Yu and cinematographer Peter Pau brought a new and exciting visual style to the series, and Don Mancini provided a story that broke away from the ongoing saga of the first three films. Bride of Chucky is not a reboot, it is a continuation of Chucky’s story that puts the killer doll firmly at the center of the action (and in the title of the films going forward). Still, the movie feels vastly different from what had come before. It’s silly and violent, and its utterly ridiculous humor reinvigorated the franchise and the character of Chucky.
Seed of Chucky (2004) followed a few years later. It was the first Chucky film to be written and directed by Don Mancini, and it continued down the path of increasing the comedy at the expense of the horror. The movie has a lot of fun ideas, but it didn’t do well with critics or horror fans. Chucky devotees started clamoring for a return to the scarier side of the franchise, and Don Mancini gave it to them with 2013’s Curse of Chucky . Curse was originally announced as a reboot, and even though the final film is set within the continuity of the rest of the series, it definitely feels like a new start in many ways. Curse was followed by Cult of Chucky (2017) , a film that brings characters from the history of the series together in a wild film that feels a lot like Child’s Play 2 in terms of treading closer to comedy while still being a horror movie first.
Child’s Play finally got the reboot treatment in 2019 with Mark Hamill voicing a new, AI-powered doll, but without the involvement of Don Mancini, the movie hardly feels like it should even be mentioned along with the larger Chucky series. Child’s Play (2019) is a fine reimagining of the original story for a modern audience, but it’s not really a Chucky movie. The next true installment of the franchise is the 2021 USA/Syfy television series titled Chucky . The series introduces some very engaging new characters, with the new lead, Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur), being based in part on Don Mancini himself. Chucky (2021) is yet another reinvention of the franchise that somehow manages to deftly combine the increasing weight of the entire franchise in a way that rewards long-time fans while creating a story that feels fresh.
In an industry loaded with remakes and reboots, it is an astounding feat for a horror franchise to survive over thirty years with its original continuity intact. It is also amazing that a killer doll has become one of horror’s most beloved villains. A lot of the credit goes to actor Brad Dourif for sticking with the character the entire time (except for the 2019 remake) and providing the perfect chaotic energy for a serial killer trapped in a doll’s body. Credit also goes to the countless effects artists who have brought Chucky to life over the years with predominantly practical special effects. And of course, much of the credit goes to Don Mancini for having the vision to reinvent his character over and over in ways that continually capture the interest of old and new fans.
More Scary Doll Films
If those dolls aren’t enough to haunt your nightmares, here are a bunch more movies featuring haunted dolls, killer dolls, and dolls that are just plain creepy.
- Asylum (1972) is an anthology film. In its final story, a doctor creates a set of robot-like dolls that he wills his consciousness into. Of course, the dolls become murderous.
- Ghost Story (1974) , set in the 1930s, features a creepy porcelain doll at the center of a haunting that threatens to drive a man mad.
- Kill Barbara With Panic (1974) , aka Patayin mo sa Sindak si Barbara , is a movie from the Philippines about a woman who commits suicide and uses a doll as a portal to influence her own daughter in a plot for revenge.
- Trilogy of Terror (1975) contains a famous story starring Karen Black as a woman chased throughout her apartment by a killer Zuni fetish doll.
- Cathy’s Curse (1977) is about a young girl possessed by a doll she finds next to a portrait of her deceased aunt in the attic of her family’s house.
- The Pit (1981) stars a young boy who has conversations with his teddy bear. The bear gives the boy some very murderous thoughts involving a pit.
- Poltergeist (1982) isn’t about dolls, but it is a PG-rated film that has a scene with a clown doll that is etched in the minds of just about everyone who saw it when they were young.
- Curtains (1983) is a slasher movie that uses a frowning doll (which is neither alive nor a killer) to enhance the creepiness of certain scenes.
- Ghosthouse (1988) is an Italian film shot in the United States featuring a ghost girl instructed by a scary clown doll to kill. Maybe watch the Rifftrax version .
- Demon Wind (1990) has one scene where a demonic force turns a woman into a doll. The doll chastises her boyfriend before exploding and burning.
- Vaa Arugil Vaa (1991) is an Indian riff on Child’s Play in which a young woman transfers her spirit into a cute doll after being murdered by her horrible in-laws.
- Voodoo Dolls (1991) is about a school that is haunted because it’s built on cursed land, and it contains a laughable scene of voodoo dolls committing murder.
- Zapatlela (1993) is another Indian movie that lifts scenes from Child’s Play , though the doll in this one is completely goofy.
- Kill Barbara With Panic (1995) , aka Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara , is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name with a possessed doll causing a young girl to enact a dead woman’s plot for revenge.
- Ragdoll (1999) features a young man whose plan to use magic to get revenge backfires when the killer doll he unleashes comes after people he cares about.
- Marronnier (2003) is a low-budget Japanese flick about a dollmaker who murders women and turns them into wax dolls who come to life amid a number of bizarre sequences.
- The Doll Master (2004) is a South Korean film about a group of people invited to a remote doll museum to pose for a doll maker. Their trip does not go well.
- Occult Detective Club: The Doll Cemetery (2004) is based on a manga from Japanese horror master Hideshi Hino about killer dolls in a cemetery.
- Doll Graveyard (2005) , directed by Charles Band who probably directed more killer doll movies than anyone, is about the spirit of a girl who brings dolls to life for murder.
- Tiki (2006) is a goofy low-budget film about a killer tiki doll sent to get revenge for a girl put into a coma after a prank gone wrong.
- The Telling (2009) is a horror anthology with a story about a doll reminiscent of Talky Tina (in personality, not in looks) that is out for murder.
- Ooga Booga (2013) , another Charles Band doll movie, is about a young man who is killed by dirty cops and comes back for revenge as an African tribal doll. Karen Black makes an appearance in her final film role.
- Heidi (2014) is a found footage movie following two teenagers who find a haunted doll in an attic.
- Maria, Leonora, Teresa (2014) is a Filipino horror film about a trio of parents who receive haunted/killer dolls after their children are killed in a bus crash.
- Finders Keepers (2014) stars Jamie Pressley as a mother whose daughter finds a haunted doll in a house where a family was murdered. Tobin Bell also appears in the film.
- Doll Factory (2014) is a goofy, low-budget comedy featuring an army of killer dolls unleashed after a demonic ritual.
- Sorority Slaughterhouse (2015) stars Eric Roberts as the voice of Bobo, a clown doll on a rampage in a sorority house.
- Robert (2015) , loosely inspired by the real Robert the doll , is a rather derivative story about a boy who receives a doll from a disgruntled housekeeper. Robert spawned multiple sequels.
- The Boy (2016) stars Lauren Cohan as a nanny who is instructed to care for a doll instead of a real child, though events make her wonder if the doll is actually alive.
- The Doll (2017) , a Mongolian film, features one of the most ridiculous dolls ever. A woman buys a doll from a homeless person, and her dreams of the doll are just of a person in a doll costume shot from above so they look small.
- Clown Doll (2020) is a low budget movie with a killer clown that looks less like a doll and more like a creepy kid in a costume.
- Evil Little Things (2020) is yet another horror anthology, this one with each story involving a killer doll.
- M3GAN (2023) is more of an android than a doll, but she quickly earned a spot in the “best killer dolls” conversation with her dance moves and snarky personality.
Meet The Author
Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.