Why Are Dolls So Freaking Evil?

Marionettemuseum, Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria

So this post over at Curious Expeditions where they mention their Flickr set that includes a trip to the Salzburg Marionettemuseum. And just looking at the “disembodied puppet hands” plus the heads of the various marionettes pictured above–they’re just inherently creepy, aren’t they? I started thinking about why these damn things are so creepy–what separates the Muppets from, you know, this:

Direct link for the feedreaders.

I mean apart from Anthony Hopkins speaking in what seems to be a perpetually high voice throughout. Is it because they look like little people? Or is it because they look like little plastic people? Because if just looking like people was scary, Statler and Waldorf would scare the shit out of everybody. Maybe it’s because they are so obviously made of something that’s hard and unyielding like wood or plastic. Here’s a decent listing of evil doll movies that I found.

While looking that over, here’s Jonathan Coulton (who has himself been made into a moderately creepy doll) along with Paul & Storm performing guess what:

Direct link for the feedreaders.

It doesn’t matter how innocent they look, even. In fact, that just makes it worse. Check out this Shirley Temple doll: positively terrifying. Although I think I’m more disturbed at the prospect of her feeling so real. It’s like a preteen House of Wax or something.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

Anybody else have any ideas? Or experiences with strange dolls? Everyone’s welcome to answer except ScottC.

Update: Paul and Storm have reminded us that they, too, are dolls as well.

Paul and Storm Action! Pack!

This is of course the Paul and Storm Action! Pack!, which was sold during their hit animated series “Paul and Storm’s Mystery Hour of Power” that aired from 1992 to 1996. Over the course of the show they fought crime, saved kittens from trees, sang songs and also, in a two-parter, kept an evil doppelganger of the city of Cleveland from drowning the eastern half of North America in lemon meringue. You can still find this series on bootleg DVDs at fine conventions everywhere.

By | 2017-09-24T23:14:23+00:00 August 11th, 2008|Stimuli|10 Comments


  1. Jason Spears August 12, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    In all seriousness, I think this is where you’re headed with this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_Valley

  2. Widge August 12, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Yeah, I hear Robert Zemeckis is building condos there.

  3. ScottC August 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    What do you mean ‘Everyone’s welcome to answer except ScottC’? Humph!

  4. Blank Mage August 12, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Dolls, zombies, ghosts, aliens… there are too many damn things that can kill me if I’m not careful. I’m not sure if my vigilance protects me, or singles me out to the vicious supernatural forces I fear.

  5. Widge August 12, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Mage: Yes, it’s sort of a dead if you, dead if you don’t sort of setup, isn’t it?

  6. Widge August 12, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Scott: Because your definition of “dolls” and “action figures” is probably not applicable in this scenario. :)

  7. Blank Mage August 13, 2008 at 5:10 am

    On a more serious note, I think dolls are so freaking creepy because they look alive, though they shouldn’t be. For instance, you can’t imagine your wall strangling you in the night, but you realize your doll is just sitting on a shelf, staring at you. And I hate to shoot down your “unyielding material” theory, but I’ve seen some damn creepy things made of clay and the like. My point is, dolls don’t leave much to the imagination, they’re just one step away from being sentient, and therefore murderous.

  8. Widge August 13, 2008 at 5:12 am

    Well, considering I spent about thirty seconds coming up with that theory, yeah, I’m really devastated. :) But this is why we have geek peer review…

  9. Blank Mage August 13, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Ah, after reading that wiki Jason posted, I believe my post is redundant. Alas.

  10. Widge August 13, 2008 at 5:26 am

    Fear not. Without redundant posts, Needcoffee would be half its current size. And, come to think of it, I probably would be too. So.

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