In a beloved episode of the "Twilight Zone" called "Living Doll," a girl's baby doll threatens her hateful stepdad, played by Telly Savalas, icily declaring "my name is Talky Tina and I'm going to kill you" before sending him careening down a flight of stairs. That episode majorly freaked out kids for years and I have to admit the idea of dolls coming to life and creepy-crawling around the house is unsettling. Here are 10 other examples of a movie genre I call BadDollicore. See all of these with children you hate:
The Conjuring (2013) A surprisingly scary movie based on the real life "paranormal investigators" Ed and Lorraine Warren who try to help a family who buy a majorly haunted house in Rhode Island. But most people remember the side story about the possessed Annabelle doll. Whoever designed this doll was brilliant. It looked damn frightening and was effective in setting the tone of the movie. (There was a later spinoff movie about the doll that was disappointing. Skip it.)
Trilogy Of Terror (1975) A great TV movie by Dan Curtis based on stories by Richard Matheson. The favorite from the anthology, however, was a film featuring Karen Black as a woman who buys a Zuni fetish doll for her boyfriend only to have it come to life and viciously chase her around her apartment. Scary and silly at the same time but the final image of the episode is genius.
Dolls (1987) An underappreciated movie by Stuart Gordon, the director of "Re-Animator." On a dark and stormy night a bunch of stranded strangers end up in the mysterious mansion of a weird old couple of toy makers. During the course of the evening the toys come to life and don't play nice. The stop-motion scenes were the dolls re-animate are pretty wonderful and a beautiful new Blu-ray is now available from Shout! Factory.
Poltergeist (1982) "They're Heeere..." Terrific haunted house thriller by Tobe Hooper where a family comes under attack in their home by unexplained phenomena. The young boy's clown doll grabbing him from under the bed is every kid's worst nightmare.
Black Devil Doll From Hell (1984) Director Chester Novell Turner's outrageous movie about a church lady who buys a Rick James-looking dummy from a thrift store only to have it attack her in the middle of the night. This straight-to-video oddity will unhinge your jaw.
Child's Play (1988) A mother buys her son a popular Chucky Doll -- a red-headed blue-eyed boy doll in overalls that promises he'll "be your friend to the end." Unfortunately the soul of a serial killer (Brad Dourif) is trapped inside the doll and he gets up to his old tricks. This was a more straightforward thriller than the later films, but "Bride Of Chucky"(1998) and "Seed Of Chucky" (2004) are also a scream.
Tales From The Hood (1995) A refreshingly fun spin on the omnibus horror film. Clarence Williams III plays a mortician who tells four macabre stories to some boys from the neighborhood. My favorite stars Corbin Bernsen as a loathsome politician and Klu Klux Klan bigwig living in a Southern mansion who gets his bloody comeuppance when dolls buried under the floorboards housing the souls of abused slaves come roaring to life.
Devil Doll (1964) There have been some great movies about puppets coming to life like "Dead Of Night" (1945) but I get a kick of out this junky one starring Bryant Haliday as "The Great Vorelli,"-a renowned ventriloquist and hypnotist who sets his sights on an heiress's fortune. But his dummy "Hugo" has other plans.
Puppet Master (1989) This was the beginning of a huge franchise for Charles Band's Full Moon Entertainment and starred the late, great, William Hickey as Andre Toulon, a puppeteer who can breathe life into his weird puppets. Chased by the Nazis, he shoots himself and years later a group of psychics meet at a hotel and unwittingly bring the creatures back to life. "Pinhead," "Ms. Leech," "Blade," "Jester," and "Tunneler" were well loved by morbid kids.
Dolly Dearest (1991) Trying too hard to make a female "Chucky" movie, this is about a little girl who goes to Mexico with her daddy and brings home a pretty, possessed doll who runs around the house wielding a pair of scissors and shrieking, "It's time to play!"