When thinking about killer toy movies, movies like Child’s Play (1988) or Puppet Master (1989) might come to mind. The beloved subgenre of horror has actually been around years before the 80s. The genre was first introduced in 1936 with Devil Doll starring Lionel Barrymore and has continued to scare audiences for decades.

People have had a fascination with the tone of childlike innocence juxtaposed with the terror that horror films bring, which is why a slew of horror movies with kid protagonists are still being released today (Chucky, Come Play, etc.) For those who can’t get enough of killer doll and toy movies, here is a list of films that are guaranteed to be enjoyed by fans of Chucky. Some are more funny than scary, but isn’t that what makes this subgenre so enjoyable?


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Dolly Dearest (1991)


A little late to the killer doll party, Dolly Dearest was released the same year as the fan-hated Child’s Play 3. The film is about a businessman Elliot (Sam Bottoms) who buys the famous doll manufacturing company called “Dolly Dearest” in Mexico. He gives his daughter Jessica (Candy Hutson) a doll, and right away, weird things begin happening to the family.

Jessica gets oddly close to the doll, spending all of her time with it. Similar to Child’s Play, the cutesy doll is possessed by an evil spirit, haunting the family and having a hold on the young girl, forcing her to do things she doesn’t want to. The camera angles in the film are spot-on: eerie close-ups of the doll’s feet, pitter patting and tiny doll hands gripping door handles. The dolly looks like an essential 80s talking toy: adorable dress, bangs, and is the size of an actual 3-year-old human.

When the doll finally comes alive, this is when the fun gets started: her menacing face, hilariously creepy laugh, and gruesome kills. The little girl in the film plays a possessed child remarkably, and the cast is thoroughly entertaining. Following the Child’s Play formula to a T, this film may seem like a bit of a knock-off, but it is sure to be an experience viewers won’t forget.

Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996)

pinocchio's revenge

This 1996 psychological thriller is unique to the typical Child’s Play formula, flipping it right on its head. Lawyer Jennifer Garrick (Rosalind Allen) is defending convicted child murderer Vincent Gotto (Lewis Van Bergen) and believes full-heartedly that he is innocent and hiding the actual killer's identity. After getting executed on the electric chair, a coworker of Jennifer shows her the only evidence left: a puppet resembling Pinocchio that Gotto buried in his son's grave. She brings the doll home, hoping to find any clues, but her troubled daughter Zoe (Brittany Alyse Smith) thinks it is a birthday present and quickly becomes close to the puppet.

Things turn dangerous right away, as those around Zoe begin getting targeted: her school bully getting pushed in front of a bus, her babysitter being brutally killed, and her mother’s boyfriend being pushed down the stairs, among many more gruesome instances. Straying from a typical killer toy film, the audience barely sees a glimpse of the doll alive, which makes the viewer question who is committing the murders, the doll or Zoe? The film is the ultimate 90s straight-to-video horror movie: cheesy acting, borderline comedy, and very zany.

The Pit (1981)


A horror movie lost in the crevices of forgotten cinema: The Pit, otherwise known as Teddy, a low-budget genre-fusing film. Is it a light-hearted comedy? Horror? Creature feature? The answer is yes to all of the above because this movie doesn’t know what it is, which makes it equally entertaining and confusing. It begins as a psychological thriller featuring 12-year-old Jamie (Sammy Snyders), who is right away painted as a perverted kid, watching his babysitter getting dressed through a hole in his door. Jamie also has a teddy bear who is his only friend and often goes into the woods to visit “the pit,” a hidden hole in the ground with human-flesh-eating creatures called Troggs.

Things begin to get brutal as those around Jamie begin to succumb to the pit: those who bully or torment Jamie quickly vanish. So, who is the real villain of this movie? Jamie, the teddy bear, or the Troggs? Since Jamie is painted as a troubled boy, there is a mystery of what is real and what is not. Is the bear telling Jamie to do these things, or is it all in Jamie’s head?

Interestingly, this film came out seven years before Child’s Play because it has so much originality straying from other killer toy films. When interviewed in 2007 with badmovies.org, screenwriter Ian A. Stuart (Murder In The Cathedral) explained his inspiration for the film: “I wrote the script after two experiences triggered the idea. First, a friend who is now the world’s leading ventriloquist told me about communicating with psychotic children through the use of a ventriloquist dummy (they would communicate with the dummy and ignore his presence as if he wasn’t in the room) and another friend, a child psychiatrist told me about a little boy who would draw nasty little fantasy creatures he thought he could command.” In the end, The Pit is a real oddity, from its stylistic choices, jarring performances, and awkward fun-loving mix of comedy and creepiness.

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