Brace yourself for plenty of chilling thrills this summer when Annabelle Comes Home arrives in Cineworld on 28th June.
We first met the titular doll in director James Wan’s blockbusting horror hit The Conjuring, in which she was kept under lock and key in the home of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). The movie was based on the exploits of the real-life Warrens, and Annabelle is herself based on a real doll (albeit a more innocent-looking Raggedy Ann toy than the sinister version in the film).
Annabelle has been a feature throughout the ensuing Conjuring Universe, as we’ve discovered her origin story and how she came into the Warrens’ possession in the first place. But the threat is far from over in Annabelle Comes Home as it’s the Warrens’ 10-year-old daughter (Mckenna Grace) who now finds herself targeted by the possessed doll and the other ungodly forces it awakens.
It only takes one look at Annabelle’s demonic expression to know she’s pure evil. Likewise, here are five other terrifying dolls you definitely don’t want in your home.
1. The clown doll – Poltergeist (1982)
Co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist is the classic spooky tale of youngster Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) who gets sucked into the family’s television set by a troublesome poltergeist, spawning some of the most iconic imagery in horror history.
It may not be the scariest film on this list, but it contains one of the most nightmare-inducing dolls we’ve ever seen: the clown doll. As if the sight of this unholy creation wasn’t enough to put you off both clowns and dolls for life (seriously, who thought it was a good idea to put this in a child’s bedroom?), it only gets more horrific when it comes to life before wrapping its arms around the young boy’s throat and dragging him under the bed.
And you thought Pennywise was the creepiest clown in cinema.
2. Chucky – Child’s Play (1988)
Before Annabelle was plaguing the nightmares of moviegoers, there was another red-headed doll at the forefront of horror, and that was Chucky (Brad Dourif).
First appearing in cult slasher Child’s Play, Chucky was a ‘Good Guy’ doll possessed by the spirit of serial killer Charles Lee Ray who transferred his soul via voodoo ritual after being gunned down in a toy shop shootout. Now needing to find a new human host, Chucky will stop at nothing to transfer his soul into the body of six-year-old Andy (Alex Vincent), who was unlucky enough to receive the possessed doll as a birthday present.
With six sequels and a hefty kill count to his name, this wise-cracking doll has ingrained himself as one of the most recognisable horror icons of the 20th century and proved he’s anything but a good guy. And we can see this killer doll brought back to life on the big screen with a modern makeover – and voiced by Mark Hamill – when Child’s Play arrives in Cineworld on 21st June.
3. The Puppets – Puppet Master (1989)
While the monstrous puppets in this long-running B-movie franchise (which just released its 13th instalment, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich) may not technically be dolls, their sadistic character design and proficiency in killing in the goriest ways imaginable more than qualifies them for this list.
Created by puppeteer Andre Toulon and brought to life by powerful ancient magic, the expansive ensemble of bloodthirsty marionettes brutally execute anyone their master commands. Since the series features so many puppets, it’s hard to pick just one. However some of the most prolific include knife-wielding and hook-handed leader Blade, drill-headed Tunneller, the gruesome Leech Woman, fire-spitting Torch, and six-armed cowboy Six Shooter – no points for guessing their specialities.
The franchise may have gotten increasingly sillier over the years (including a crossover with other creepy doll franchise Demonic Toys), but given the stomach-churning acts these puppets are capable of, they’re definitely not your standard toys.
4. Suzie – May (2002)
A doll doesn’t need to be demonically possessed or a serial killer in order for it to be seriously disturbing – just look at little Suzie in Lucky McKee’s indie horror May, for instance. An introverted social outcast with a troubled childhood, May (Angela Bettis) was gifted the strange handmade doll by her mother, which resides in a glass case never to be removed.
Seen by May as her only true friend, the lifeless companion means everything to her, so when the case is accidentally shattered, subsequently ruining the doll, May’s already fragile mental state shatters with it. With her friend now gone, May begins to take on the doll’s persona and kills those who’ve recently hurt her.
Although Suzie’s blank stare will make anyone uneasy, she still doesn’t come close to the horrors of the new “friend” May stitches together from the body parts of her victims.
5. Billy – Dead Silence (2007)
Anabelle wasn’t the first doll to feature in a James Wan horror movie – just look at ventriloquist dummy Billy from supernatural horror Dead Silence. When Jamie (Ryan Kwanten) is blamed for his wife’s murder moments after a disturbing dummy appears on their doorstep, he returns to his hometown in an attempt to solve the mysterious origins of ‘Billy’ to prove his innocence.
The subsequent investigation connects to the legend of Mary Shaw, a disgruntled ventriloquist out for revenge against those who wronged her. However, if you can avoid screaming when you see her ghoulish face, you can avoid the gruesome fate she has in store for you.
Billy may be the star of the show, but he isn’t the only creepy doll in this film. Take a closer look and you might just spot another one of Wan’s dolls, Billy the puppet from the Saw franchise, hiding amongst Shaw’s collection of sinister artefacts.
Annabelle Comes Home is released on 21st June, so tweet us your scariest movie dolls @Cineworld.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.