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The menacing silhouette of a Jason Vorhees or Michael Myers in the distance slowly, intently, stalking their prey with the backdrop of chilling music is scarier than their brutal methods of murder. Inevitably the build-up is better than the final crescendo itself.

Planting the seed of impending doom and not necessarily seeing it is a brand of  horror we looked at in our Top 10 Physiological Horror Films and is one being used more often. But forget about horror icons like Freddy Kruger and his knife wielding buddies – some of films most foreboding figures nowadays come in a much smaller package.

Here we take a look at six of the creepiest dolls that may look cute but are anything but.

SAW – Billy

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With a total of eight films in the SAW franchise, slowly but surely we came to realise that it wasn’t Tobin Bell’s Jigsaw who is the creepy posterboy of the films. His methods of social rehabilitation are somewhat psychotic if not unconventional, instead it’s Billy the doll, a child-like figure often on a tricycle, with its white face and maniacal smile that adds layers of disquieting fear.

A deranged man putting his victims through a maze of traps a sadistic Kevin McCallister would be proud of is disturbing enough nevermind his mascot who is wheeled out sporadically. There’s also an underlying logic to his methods that almost make Jigsaw a character you sympathise with which adds a shade of unsettling complicity.

That’s why Billy popping up unannounced is creepy and adds a crucial element of irrational fear to Jigaw’s gruesome methods.

 

The Conjuring – Annabelle

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Patrick Wilson is fast becoming the go-to guy for films of a paranormal nature and it seems that cinema audiences are responding positively to his recent work. With the two Insidious movies and The Conjuring there is a psychological factor to his battles with the various ghosts and ghouls.

In The Conjuring elements of voodoo come into play where we discover the object that is the host of a malevolent spirit, in this case Annabelle the doll, who is responsible for all the poltergeist-esque happenings. It certainly answers the question of what can be creepier than unexplained bangs and moving objects? A not-so-harmless doll locked in a cabinet orchestrating it all.

Child’s Play – Chucky

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Here’s Chuckie, a murderous doll who comes to life to unleash his own brand of bloodlust hell. The mix of blue eyes, devious smile and crazed spikes of red hair all make for a disturbingly look for a doll supposedly made to appeal to children.

It’s been used many times before in the genre, and while it’s not the most believable of concepts (very little is in the horror genre) the thought of a doll coming alive and going on a rampant killing spree is unnerving especially when disguised to look wholesome and cuddly.

With countless sequels and talks of a remake, Chucky’s presence even extends into the world of professional wrestling after appearing on WCW to promote Bride of Chucky but also do a little bit of trash talking with Rick Steiner and “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

An appearance that is surreal and creepy – there is nothing nice about murder or innocent about child’s play.

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