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Puppet Master, Child’s Play and Poltergeist: Are Dolls Truly Scary?

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Horror movies and toys. And by that I mean toys that are the horror in a horror movie. I’m not talking about your Freddy Krueger action figure. (If that’s still in its original packaging and you haven’t opened it up to play “Barbie and Ken get decapitated,” then you’re so far into Nerdland, they would point and laugh at you at a Star Trek convention). I’m talking dolls like in The Puppet Master. Psycho marionettes hacking and slashing their way through a pile of dim-witted actors? It got me to thinking: How did they come up with this stuff before crystal meth got rolling? Then I kept thinking and started to wonder… are toys scary? Let’s take a look at the best examples in horror and figure it out.

Puppet Master:
• Movie quality: 4 (This will not rock your socks off, even those ankle socks without elastic.)
• Scare factor: 5 (When the one chick barfs up killer leeches? Not bad, but without that, this flick is about as frightening as a zombie Hello Kitty.)
• Doll quotient: 8 (There’s a lot of doll loving in this one — six killer puppets with a collective mean-on.)
Total Scary-Doll Score: 17

Child’s Play :
• Movie quality: 8 (This series was a mainstay of the ’80s horror heyday.)
Scare factor: 7 (I don’t care how jaded you are. When Catherine Hicks picks up Chucky, and he goes wacko and calls her names, all snarly, head-tossing with his crazy hair, that is some scary crap right there.)
• Doll quotient: 6  (Come on, it’s a “Good Guy.” What, they couldn’t get the licensing rights to make a CareBear rabid?)
Total Scary-Doll Score: 21

polt.jpgPoltergeist (The clown doll scene):
• Movie quality: 10 (This bad boy is a benchmark of the genre.)

Scare factor: 9 (Everyone hates clowns. It’s true. I don’t even know
where they got the idea kids like clowns. Kids like candy.
Clowns and candy tend to be a package deal. No one wants just a clown. And clown dolls? They don’t come with candy at all, so they’re just flat-out freaky.)
• Doll quotient: 1 (It’s just one scene.)
• Total Scary-Doll Score: 20

Trilogy of Terror :  (I saw it as a kid and haven’t seen it since, but the memory still scars me…)
• Movie quality: 8 (Plot? Who cares about plot? I just know I never want to see that doll again.)
• Scare factor: 8 (Like I said: The doll. If you’ve seen it, you know.)
• Doll quotient: 0.3 (It’s only one section of a three-part movie.)
• Total Scary-Doll Score: 16.3

And there you have it: My highly advanced scientific measurements say that the marionettes of Puppet Master fall in the 35th percentile. Now that we’ve answered the hard
question, it’s time for you to slice the head off the nearest Ken and
Barbie. If the kids complain, just tell them you’re going to
make it up to them by renting a movie… Trilogy of Terror. The family will laugh and laugh and laugh!

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