The Top Ten Killer Toy (and Clown) Films

Here they are, the top ten list of the best killer toy, puppet and clown films. Playtimes over!
March 07, 2006
I grew up a toy loving kid. I had countless action figures from the Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Pee-Wee's Playhouse (the complete set), the Nightmare Before Christmas, Transformers, Simpsons, Pirate Legos, Star Wars and various other single figures. In addition to this I also had countless McDonalds toys, Burger King toys, Micro Machines, Hot Wheels and stuffed animals. Influenced by my hundreds of plastic pals, I began to create my own action figures in the form of oven-bake Sculpey and my own puppets out of felt fabric and hot glue. The above is my reasoning for my love of killer doll, puppet and clown films. I amassed toys, I created toys and so the next logical step would be to bring the toys to life! As I cannot do that, the films did it for me.

During late evenings, I'd catch a horror film on USA, TNT or the Sci-Fi channel. I'd be happy if it was a Friday the 14th or Nightmare on Elm Street, but I'd be EXTRA happy if it featured some sort of killer toy. The killing aspect was an added bonus for me. To be honest, I would like the films even if the dolls and puppets didn't kill. A two hour film about dolls who come to life and eat cake and drink tea for two hours would satisfy me. But they kill and they kill well, and I cannot deny them that. Plus, I needed to satisfy my blood lust somehow.

Listed here are my top ten favorites. While I hate picking which film gets the coveted 1,2 and 3 spots, it wouldn't be a top ten if I didn't. With that in mind, don't get too excited or angry at the list's placement of films. To me, each of these films are a number one in their own special way. Awwww....

10: Dolly Dearest (1992)

This female equivalent to Chucky (if you don't count Tiffany) was introduced to me during the mid 90's on the Sci-Fi channel. "Dolly" offers some creepy scenes, especially those depicting the little girl talking to her dolly in her backyard playhouse. Dolly also had great creepy facial expressions:

But very slow pacing, a subplot involving the son of the family adventuring with Rip Torn and minimal cool deaths make this a film you should watch after having seen every Child's Play.

9: Trilogy of Terror (1975)

You know how whenever you catch a movie on TV, you always come in at the end? Well "Trilogy of Terror" was the perfect horror movie to show on television, as the film was made up of three differant scary tales. This meant although you'd come in at the end of the movie, you'd always catch the last of these three in its entirety. I've never seen the first two, but seeing as how the final of the three is an African tribal doll coming to life to kill a lady, I think they'd be better off dropping the first two and making the third part the whole film. I'm thinking a title like "Tribal's Play" or "African Dolly Dearest" would best apply.

8: It (1990)

"It" is the "Who's on first?" of movie titles. You ask somebody "Have you seen 'It'?", They say "What?" to which you reply "No, 'It'!" and the joke goes on for ten minutes until they kick you in the leg. Being the first evil clown film on the list, I should explain why clowns factor into this list. Clowns are the closest to toys that people can get. They aren't real and they have no soul. If you go to the circus, all you are looking at when you see those painted faced colorful smiling things are soulless hallucinations. Tim Curry, in his best role since "Rocky Horror" and last great role until "Home Alone 2" gives "It" just the right creepy clown flavor. Sadly, the kids and later in the film adults are so lame and whimpy that if you tossed a ball at them they'd duck rather than catch it.

7: Magic (1978)

I told myself I wouldn't put in a film I haven't seen, but "Magic" sounds like such a classic. Made in 1978 and starring Anthony Hopkins, "Magic" features a ventriloquist dummy taking control of his master. I loved this idea in the Twilight Zone episode "The Dummy" and so I'm excited to someday see the plot in feature film form (the DVD is being released April 28th by Dark Sky Films). Just read the tagline for the film and look at this picture:

Abracadabra, I sit on his knee. Presto, change-o, and now he's me! Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed. Magic is fun...we're dead.[/align]

6: Demonic Toys (1992)

Yay! Now were hitting the good stuff. I first saw "Demonic Toys" with my dad while we visited my grandpa's lake home. My dad earned a lot of respect from me as he happily watched it without ever giving the expected fatherly "Oh turn off this trash" speech. Featuring a demon in a toy warehouse who uses possessed toys as his minions, "Demonic Toys" assembled a nice little teram of killer toys. A foul-mouthed baby doll, a teddy bear with sharp teeth, a jack-in-the-box with... sharp teeth and a robot. The movie delieved with cheesy lines and great toy killings. Also noteworty to the series are "Dollman" and "Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys". I haven't seen those two yet, but a region free DVD boxed set of all three films was just released (and ordered by me).
5: Puppet Master (1989)

I won't pick out any specific "Puppet Master" film (though I'm told 1-3 are the best) as I can't remember which ones I've seen exactly. With the Sci-Fi channel showing so many different "Puppet Master" films so often, they all meld in my mind into one huge movie. The two I know I've seen all the way though are "Retro Puppet Master" and "Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys". The these two entries, the puppets are good guys, only killing the bad. But before the turning point of being good, the puppets were sick little blood injected killers which would explain why 1-3 of the series are deemed so great. Of all the puppets, I'd say Sixshooter was my favorite.

4: The Twilight Zone "The Living Doll"/"The Dummy" (1962, 1963)

While not technically a film, these two epiosdes of The Twilight Zone were SHOT on film plus they are both very good. The first of the two is "The Living Doll" starring Talky Tina. Tina does little movement, but with June Foray (of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame) providing a voice that says "My name is Talky Tina and I'm going to kill you!" you've got yourself one creepy doll.
"The Dummy" features Wille the ventriloquist dummy. Willie torments his master, sits in creepy positions and sounds like a greasy thug from the 1950s. He doesn't commit any killings, but the ending shot of Willie as human and his master as the dummy is pretty scary looking.

"What's known in the parlance of the times as the old switcheroo, from boss to blockhead in a few easy lessons. And if you're given to nightclubbing on occasion, check this act. It's called Willie and Jerry, and they generally are booked into some of the clubs along the 'Gray Night Way' known as the Twilight Zone."[/align][/i]

3: Bride of Chucky (1998)

For those who love and understand the Child's Play series, "Bride of Chucky" is fantastic. Who knew that an animatronic doll voiced by Wormtongue of Lord of the Rings could carry his own in a film! Dropping the "find Andy Barclay and take his soul" plot of the first three films, "Bride" embarks on the second trilogy of Chucky films (that is, if "Bride" and "Seed" are followed by a much needed conclusion). Horror and slasher film references are made throughout the film, but are so cleverly dropped in that you either get them with appreciation or overlook them until a second viewing. My only complaint is the cutting of the line "Sorry Jack. Two's company, three's a crowd." when Chucky kills a cop played by John Ritter. Also worth noting is "Seed of Chucky". While not as good as "Bride", it is a good followup and is definitely one for the fans. Also, Glen/Glenda is an excellent addition to the series.

2: Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

"Killer Klowns" has the best price to quality ratio of any DVD in my opinion. Sold for as low as $6 now, a feature filled Midnight Movies release of "Klowns" gives the complete behind the scenes look at my (almost) favorite horror film of all. A race of aliens who look just like clowns land their big top ship in a small town and proceed to capture people in cotton candy cocoons for later consumption. The film is full of inventive killings (technically captures) including shadow puppets, hand puppets and acidic pies.

"Killer Klowns from Outer Space, huh? Holy s***."[/align]

"Klowns" was a stocking stuffer from my mom about five Christmases ago and five years before that was introduced to me. One evening I was walking downstairs and I heard my dad watching television, peeking into the room I saw on the screen the creepiest clown I had ever seen shuffle into a police station and proceed to turn a police cheif into a ventriloquist dummy by sticking his arm up the man's spine. Having been engrained in me memory for years, I finally saw the complete film on cable and was determined to own it. I don't know how mom knew... but however she found out, it was the best Christmas stocking I have ever had filled.

1: Child's Play (1988)

Chucky is the best, but as seen in this list not only, killer doll in the films. Prior to "Bride of Chucky", "Child's Play 1-3" featured Chucky hellbent on possessing the soul of Andy Barclay. According the the rules of voodoo magic, you can only possess the body of the first person who sees you in your new body. Luckily for the writer of the films, an amulet was introduced in "Bride" that allowed Chucky to freely pick his new body. But until then, Chucky was stuck with Andy. "Child's Play" did an excellent job in making the Good Guy doll look like it existed. Good Guy packaging was designed, a Good Guy cereal was made, Good Guy cartoon footage was produced and even the unwanted Good Guy accessory set was made. Another thing that made "Child's Play" very cool, at least for me, was the fact that all the exterior shots were done in Chicago. Having been a student in the city for the past three years I can say I've seen Andy's apartment, the police station, the alleyway where Chucky was sold and the street where Chucky attacked that guy in his car.

The Brewster Building aka Andy's Apartment[/align]

"Child's Play" did everything right and in it's sequels did everything that the first film didn't have the length to include. Of the sequels, I enjoy the third the most. The third's opening of Chucky using a second doll to screw with the owner of the toy company and Chucky's great idea of replacing the paintball guns with real ammo right before a bunch of kids run into the woods to use them pushes it just a little ahead of two for me.

And so there we have it, The Top Ten Killer Toy (and Clown) films! Bofore we conclude let me make note of some who didn't make the list: "Killjoy", "Fear of Clowns", "Devil Doll", "Goosebump's (TV) Night of the Living Dummy 1-3", "Blood Dolls" and "Saw".
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