With the release of The Conjuring spin-off Annabelle incoming, here five of the best entries into the killer toy sub-genre, a sub-genre that for the most part is sadly largely ignored.
5 Killer Toy Movies
1. Child’s Play (1987)
Okay it may seem like an obvious choice, this is the film that showed all others how it was done.
After having been mortally wounded, serial killer Charles Lee Ray transfers his soul into the only suitable thing in close proximity, which unfortunately is a tremendously ugly doll. Ad while it may use the ‘kid knows the truth but nobody believe him cliche’, Chucky, bought to life by Oscar nominee Brad Douriff, and his reign of terror proved to be so enjoyable that it spawned a series of actually rather enjoyable sequels.
2. Puppet Master (1989)
Although it may take itself a little too seriously for its own good (it’s a film about killer puppets for christsake), this actually ends up being a surprising fun and camp flick about an elderly puppet master who discovers the secret of bringing puppets to life before his death. Too bad he didn’t check whether they would be good or evil first.
Despite going straight to DVD, the film has a strong cult following and spawned numerous sequels, including a crossover with the less popular Demonic Toys franchise.
3. The Golem: How He Came Into the World (1920)
Okay calling it a film about a toy may be putting it a little too far, but either way this prequel to the lost 1915 film is still a classic example of the early days of cinema, in which a creature is made out of clay to serve as a protector to those in need.
4. Poltergeist (1982)
Okay again it may not exactly be about killer toys but you have to admit, that toy clown coming alive was damn creepy. Texas Chainsaw Massacre director helmed this (or Spielberg directed, if you believe the rumours) effective haunted house story featuring effects well before its time.
As is now the standard, a remake is set for release next year. Sigh.
5. Stephen King’s Nightmares And Dreamscapes Episode 1: Battleground
Okay okay many of the films entered on this list did not really fit the entry criteria, and this entry isn’t a film at all. It’s still one of the finest killer toys stories out there, not least because it’s told entirely without any dialogue.
William Hurt plays a hitman who gets more than he bargained for when his latest victim is avenged by an army of miniature soldiers. Yeah. Ditching the usually creepy and shadowy killer toy approach in favour of all out, balls to the wall action, ultimately serving as a reminder of why Stephen King is considered the best horror writer alive today.
Annabelle is already in cinemas state-side, but will be released in the UK this week (10th October).