Where are you right now? Are you at home? Are you in the office? Look around. Just briefly, how many toys are in the room with you? Even in a pretty sterile work environment, there might be six or seven. I don't mean the little clickity-clackity swinging ball toy your boss has on his desk, either.
I mean proper toys: troll dolls, GI Joes, those little horses that Bridgette from accounting collects. How many of those would it take to kill you, do you think? It's a compelling—and unsettling— question posed by many an artist. From the legendary producer Brian Yuzna to the completely underground master of outsider film Charles Novell Turner, “What if all these toys decided to kill me?” is a question that has apparently been plaguing mankind for most of the last century.
Figuring out who first truly asked that question is tricky – you might say “Tod Browning with The Devil-Doll (1936) duh,” but that wasn't a doll. That was just a really tiny dude pretending to be a doll. In fact, for whatever reason a ton of movies you'd see listed as being about “Killer Toys” are actually about itty bitty lunatics. In reality it might not have been until the late 60s that a movie was actually just straight-up about killer toys. House of Evil (1968) was a weird little low-budget Mexican horror movie somehow starring the Boris Karloff about a dead eccentric's toys coming to life and slaughtering his weirdass family. It's... interesting. It was one of Boris Karloff's last-ever movies. You should watch it, but... like, have an open mind. And be drunk.
The modern “killer toy” movie more than likely really started with the great, mostly overlooked Anthony Hopkins vehicle, Magic (1978) – but was that a killer toy, or just a psychotic ventriloquist? If you ask us, it's Stuart Gordon's fun-but-forgettable Dolls (1987). Juuuust beating out the masterpiece of the subgenre, Child's Play (1988) by a single year, Dolls features the stop-motion, practical-effect murderous toys we all think of when he think “killer dolls.”
Then again, ahead of them both is the oft-forgotten oddity that is Black Devil Doll From Hell, released in 1982. At HorrorRated we love us some overlooked classics and this one is a doozy. It's the kind of left-field madness that you either love or hate. It's the strangest of the strange, and we can't help but give it a shout out here. Don't read anymore about it, just go pull it up on Shudder.com and watch it with your friends. Maybe after you watch House of Evil, but before you black out.
If you've already seen all of these and still want more, we got it for you. Whether you want to scar your children, make your friends hate you, creep yourself the fuck out or even if you just always wished Toy Story was scary and violent, HorrorRated's got your back. Go ahead and peruse our extensive collection of creepy dolls, and don't forget to rate em after!