Aww, dolls. How sweet. Little miniature humans that can be played with and posed…dresses and undressed…dismantled and reassembled…twisted and tortured… Anything, in fact, that a child’s imagination can concoct.

But what happens when our playthings get tired of being pushed around? When they decide to find out what we look like with our heads twisted around—or how far our arms can bend back—or what we’re stuffed with?

Join us this month as we follow the adventures of some dolls who give a whole new meaning to the term “action figure”. It might start out as just fun and games…

…but trust us, it’ll end in tears.




1000 Misspent Hours and Counting Magic (1978) You’ll have some inkling of what Corky is really afraid of, however, from the first time you see him talking to Fats backstage. What probably started as an innocent method of developing the dummy’s character and keeping in practice throwing his voice has taken on a decidedly sinister aspect now. Indeed, the conclusion that Corky’s head is no longer screwed on quite straight is practically inescapable.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! Child’s Play (1988) In the end, Child’s Play manages the not inconsiderable task of being both an effective horror movie and great fun. The film’s premise, and its realisation of its living doll, add an inescapable edge of the ludicrous to the proceedings, but at the same time the whole thing is played so admirably straight that the viewer is compelled to take it seriously too. There is even, in the film’s closing moments, not merely the usual tiresome kicker, but a chilling hint that those involved in this horror will struggle to get over it.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991) While I have my problems with it, I can imagine this film working well for a neophyte, as an introduction to the franchise. After all, despite its shortcomings it does get right the most important thing: the puppet-work is very skilful, the puppets have plenty to do overall, and each of them is given a good share of the action. Add to this a mad-science subplot, a ranting Richard Lynch, and by far the most interesting Andre Toulon we’ve had so far, and you’ve got a fun little standalone film—whatever its sins as a franchise entry.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! Dead Silence (2007) Various aspects of the film seem to me to be behind my lack of reaction to it. In the first place, though ventriloquists’ dummies always do unnerve me, in and of themselves, the real horror of such stories tends to lie, not in the dummies per se, but in the ambiguous relationship between dummy and ventriloquist. It is no surprise that one of the most effective and disturbing sequences in the film is a flashback to Mary Shaw and Billy performing together: a performance that concludes, not with Mary, but Billy going into an explosion of anger at the suggestion from an audience member that he isn’t “a real boy”. The brief, apparent separation between the two makes this a chilling moment. The separation is illusory, however, with the progressive revelation that the dummies and their controller are not in conflict, but working together; very much together. What appears to be autonomy of action is merely an extension of the dummies’ normal function. The lack of ambiguity undermines their scariness.
Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension
Teleport City
The Unknown Movies Attack Of The Beast Creatures (1985) So, what is a beast creature? Well, from what I see here, there is a strong possibility they are distant cousins of Zuni fetish dolls, one of which was seen in the classic made-for-TV movie Trilogy Of Terror. They are about the same height, also have long black hair and white eyes, though the eyes of the beast creatures uniformly glow in the dark like flashlight bulbs. Instead of having brown wooden bodies, they have paper-mache bodies the color of watercolor red, which visibly starts coming off when they get submerged in water…

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