Creepy Dolls: 5 Reasons You Should Fear Them
What's so Scary About a Doll? Plenty
Dolls disturb me. In fact, if it were up to me, all of them would be rounded up and dumped in the ocean (with the exception of modern Barbies and action figures, which don't bother me as much). The only trouble is, then I would troubled by the thought that somewhere in the world there's an island inhabited by dolls that have washed ashore. *shudder*
I'm obviously not alone in this feeling. Judging by the number of horror movies and Halloween props involving creepy dolls, this is something that gets under the skin of a lot of people. The question is, why? How is it that something designed to bring joy to children can be so effective at scaring the hell out of people? Well, I've studied the issue and come up with five reasons for this phenomenon. Read on to find out what they are.
Reason #1: They're Uncanny - It's a Freudian Thing
In the early 1900s, the German psychiatrist Ernst Jentsch came up with the concept of the Uncanny to describe something that seems both familiar and alien at the same time. That sounds like a perfect description of dolls, which are designed to be cute, beautfiul, and/or realistic - but have no spark in their eyes. As a matter of fact, in explaining his theory Jentsch cited a clockwork doll from an eerie short story called The Sandman.
Sigmund Freud would later expand on this theory, and eventually it would become the basis for the idea of the Uncanny Valley in robotics. Essentially this hypothesizes that people tend to be disturbed by things that are designed to look realistically human, but don't quite pass the test. Again, it's not hard to see how dolls fit in here. Some of the creepiest dolls are the most realistic.
Technical term for the fear of dolls.
If you like looking at scary dolls - or want to torment someone who hates them - then you might want to check out . This coffee table book is full of pictures of antique dolls accompanied by humorous commentary from the author, Stacey Leigh Brooks. She gives them names and personalities that suggest the sort of hideous things they will do to you if left unattended. Creepy-Ass Dolls
Hard to believe these little nightmares were ever considered appropriate for kids. I can only hope they're locked away somewhere now.
Creepy Doll Video
Reason #2: You've Seen Them Kill Before - Scary Dolls Have Become a Staple of the Horror Industry
Even if you've never been spooked by an antique doll, you've probably seen horror movies, TV shows, and even actual dolls that exploit the innate creepiness of these things. When they think of evil dolls, most people probably envision Chucky. However, there are a whole host of awful dolls that have come before and since.
Trailer for Dolls (1987)
Reason #3: They're Mystical - Dolls Have a Long History as Ritual Objects
Dolls date back to at least 2000 BC, and were quite possibly the first ever children's toy. However, from very early times they were also used in magic and religious rituals, often representing deities. This ritual use of dolls spans many different cultures - from ancient Egypt and Greece to pre-Colonial America.
Even today, many people assign mystical properties to certain types of dolls. The most famous are voodoo dolls, which can be used as an effigy (physical representation) of someone you don't like. Sticking pins into it is supposed to cause pain and misfortune to your enemy.
With that sort of background, it's no wonder that people regard dolls as being sinister.
Living Dead Dolls
You don't have to go antiquing to find an evil doll anymore. While they're not exactly the same thing as those older dolls, horror dolls are plenty creepy - they're made that way. The Living Dead Dolls are some of the most popular, featuring characters like Sabbatha Blood and Beelzebub. They released their 24th series of deranged and twisted playthings in 2012.
Oddly enough, while I would never want to have an old, unintentionally creepy doll in my home, I think these are pretty cool. At least these evil dolls aren't pretending to be harmless toys.
More Living Dead Dolls
Reason #4: The Fear is Deep Seated - Your Aversion to Dolls Stems From Your Childhood
The experiences we have as children often haunt us as adults. I can remember staying at my grandma's house as a kid and being weirded out by her collection of antique dolls. Sometimes I even had to sleep in the same room with them (of course, I didn't really sleep with those dead-eyed horrors facing me down). Probably has something to do with my current fear of dolls (just a guess).
Baby Laugh-a-Lot Commercial
Clowns vs. Dolls
Clowns are another thing that are supposed to be fun, but are actually freaky as all get out. Question is, are they better or worse than dolls?
Which is creepier - Clowns or Dolls?
You Don't Have to Choose!
Reason #5: They Have Every Reason to Hate Us - If They Could Think and Feel, Dolls Would Surely be Pissed
The allure of dolls is that they look human and thus inspire human feelings of affection and empathy. The flip side is that it's a little disturbing to see them in a state of neglect - dirty, broken, maybe even dismembered. It's like you're witnessing an atrocity against an actual person. Personally, I don't even like to see my daughter bend her baby doll's arm the wrong way. It gives me the chills.
Of course, many people have no such problems. In fact, they enjoy mutilating and abusing dolls. If you're one of these people, you'd better watch your back. The dolls may return the favor one day, Talky Tina-style.