If I asked you to name a killer toy, you’d probably come up with our next guest: Chucky. He’s the killer toy Good Guy doll who has rampaged through a franchise of 6 films, from the first one in 1988, the straight up horror movie Child’s Play, to the direct to DVD Curse of Chucky in 2013. Not a bad 25 year streak for a red haired, ugly little troll! Watching Child’s Play now is just as much fun as it was when I saw it when it came out. I’m a big fan of anything with the awesome Brad Dourif, and it still cracks me up to think that the little boy in Child’s Play and the little boy in Toy Story were both named Andy!
But let’s not for a minute think that Chucky holds the Killer Toy crown all on his own. This sub-gene of horror stories has been popular since The Great Gabbo in 1929.Most of these stories revolve around a doll or a ventriloquist dummy as they are already the most human-like and are usually associated with children’s innocence and trust. In the science world it’s called automatonophobia…the fear of dolls, toys, and dummies. In most of the films there’s also usually an element of voodoo to allow an evil person to possess the toy. That’s also the case in Child’s Play as killer Charles (Chucky) Lee Ray (great name for a psycho killer) puts his soul into the Good Guy doll as he lies dying on the toy store floor.
My favorite and another movie that’s been talked about in this blog is Hugo from Dead of Night. This sub-genre is also international as the movies House of Evil (Mexican 1968) and Dolls (Italian 1987) and Asylum (England 1972) go to prove. I think the creepiest doll I ever remember seeing in the movie theater was the evil clown doll in Poltergeist (1982); that scene where he’s chocking the kid under the bed…yikes!
Killer Toys have also shown their evil faces on TV programs as well. From the “Living Doll” Talky Tina on the Twilight Zone episode in 1963 to Slappy from the Night of the Living Dummy Goosebumps series they’re everywhere to scare us. Even the X-Files had Chinga the killer doll on an episode written by Chris Carter and guess who…I bet you can’t…or did ya…Yeah yeah…you got it…Mr. Stephen King himself.
There have been many more killer toys, but I mention all the ones here (except for Chinga who was in 1998) because they all came before Chucky to show he has a long, awesome linage of killer toys that paved his creepy way.
(Post Chucky honorable mention, though, has to go to the creepy possessed doll in The Conjuring.)
(Sidenote: My brother had a Teddy Ruxpin doll when we were little. It was a toy teddy bear that you stick a special cassette tape in his back and his eyes would move and his mouth would move and he would talk and tell you stories. Well, I got mad at him one day and stuck in a Metallica tape and that thing’s eyes started rolling around in its head and he was going crazy and it about scared my brother half to death. But he got his revenge because that night as I went to bed, he had put the thing in my bed. Hell–to-the-no! Mr. Ruxpin slept in the hall that night on the other side of a very locked door, thank you!)
Click HERE to see the really creepy Teddy Ruxpin commercial!