We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here
A Sister Trope
of Creepy Doll
, Killer Teddy Bear
, Demonic Dummy
, and the evil version of Living Toy
Dolls, marionettes and puppets that are either possessed by a bigger evil like demons or ghosts, or alive with a murderous streak, mindlessly attacking anything in sight.
In Video Games
, they usually appear as the Big Bad
's basic Cannon Fodder
army or just lesser enemies
that just get into the heroes' path and are dispatched without much effort. In other media, they may be featured as the main antagonist.
Not to be confused with Bro Strider's lucrative puppet pornography business
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Ridley Sheldon in the Toei Yu-Gi-Oh! anime is a puppet master. He has life-size dolls set up outside his house to resemble a large party, and impersonates the (female) school nurse with a puppet. Of course, his deck is also based on dolls.
- Somewhere in the Japan of Ranma ˝, there exists an inn famous for its haunted doll. After Ranma breaks it accidentally and reassembles it, its spirit possesses Akane, switching places with her so that Ranma's fiance is turned into a living, silent doll. Meanwhile, the original spirit plots to kill Ranma using her body.
- Marianne from Shakugan no Shana, servant of Friagne, Shana's first major opponent.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! gives us Chachamaru Zero, aka Chachazero, who at least has a decently strong sense of free will above mere "puppet". That scale of free will just happens to be on the line between grimly humorous and psychotic.
- Evangeline has also hinted that current Big Bad Fate is actually a puppet or construct of some sort. He even, at several points later in the story, refers to himself as a doll/puppet (though Tsukuyomi disagrees, and succeeds in getting him to show some strong emotion (anger at her threatening to steal his kill)).
- Puppetmon was one of the four Dark Masters and was essentially a fully autonomous marionette.
- There's an entire family of puppet digimons in the verse. Interestingly enough, almost all of them are classified as viruses.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has D'bo/Divo the Cursed. His stand, Ebony Devil, is essentially a possessed doll.
- One episode of The Slayers NEXT has the gang check out a tower supposedly occupied by a mad, misanthropic toymaker in order to search for a Claire Bible Manuscript, finding it full of animate and hostile dolls and puppets, all while being menaced by a creepy man in a jester's outfit carrying a strange doll. It turns out that the "man" is actually another puppet, being controlled by the real demon: the doll that "he" appears to be carrying around.
- In Vampire Princess Miyu, Ranka utilizes her Razor Floss to move around the mannequins she collects (which once were human students), using them as shields. Larva hits one of them accidentally and it bleeds and screams silently, to Miyu's horror.
- Rozen Maiden: Suigintou does this early in the story with a Doll (A Pooh Bear doll in the Manga) and Kirakishou probably fits this too.
- Lord Kuruku from Unico in the Island of Magic was originally an ordinary puppet that was mistreated and discarded by his owners, and was transformed by his hatred and desire for revenge. When Unico defeats him with The Power of Love, he turns back into an ordinary puppet.
- Anju from Karin always carries an animated puppet with a meat cleaver.
- Pucchan from Best Student Council is not actually evil, but he is a possessed puppet with supernatural powers.
- Yuji Yata from the manga Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service claims to use his sock puppet to channel a snarky, foul-mouthed alien who answers to the name Kere Ellis.
- Drocell Cainz, in the anime of Kuroshitsuji. Complete with strings, Marionette Motion, and a good helping of Creepy Circus Music.
- Junji Ito drew a short called House of Puppets. A trade puppeteer decides it's the puppets who decide what to do, and they control the puppeteer so they can do whatever they want. He then decides to take advantage of this with his magic puppet Jean-Pierre. It ends predictably horribly.
- Spike: Shadow Puppets, an extension of the Smile Time episode of Angel.
- Played with in the Season 8 Buffy comics. In one issue, Dawn is turned into a porcelain doll. She's surrounded by other, living dolls, but they were made that way rather than being possessed. And none of them are particularly evil, just a bit unhinged.
- In the story "The Sun" from The Wretch, the titular evil art object convinces a little girl to mount it on a Power Rangers Zeo action figure, turning it into a killer doll. This is utterly terrifying.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: Zarekos compares Ami's use of golems and golem-derivative constructs to playing with dolls. What's worse: Alphel is attempting to reverse-engineer the Super Prototype stolen from Ami by the Dark God Azzaratha. Alphel intends to power said armor with hundreds of tortured ghosts.
Live Action TV
- The Crimson Clown in Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Bonus points for being a Monster Clown, as well.
- "The Talons of Weng-Chiang," a classic Doctor Who story, had an awesomely evil puppet controlled by Magnus Greel.
- One episode of Charmed, in which Piper contracted an obscure deadly illness, showed how using the sisters' powers for personal gain could backfire: the spell which removes her fever also places it in the body of a ninja doll...which then animates and runs around the hospital, infecting everyone it can with its little katana.
- "My name is Talky Tina, and I'm going to kill you."
- Night Gallery episode "The Doll". A British Army officer must deal with a murderous doll sent by an old enemy.
- One good character in the miniseries version of The Tommyknockers is killed when her doll collection animates and attacks her.
- The infamous episode Smile Time on Angel.
- In a Halloween Episode of Family Matters, there was an evil puppet-Steve named Stevil who wanted to steal Urkel's soul. Next year, Stevil returned, with a new one based on Carl — named Carlsbad.
- Friday The 13th The Series had two: the china doll Vita and Oscar the ventriloquist's dummy (the latter animated by a silk boutonniere).
- Subverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where the puppet we are led to believe is a Perverse Puppet actually turns out to be a (still rather creepy) good guy.
- The Mutants & Masterminds META-4 universe (the default universe for 1E) had Gepetto, a psycho who could both animate puppets to make them murderous and use mind control to create People Puppets (who exhibited little glowing strings hanging from midair, controlling their motions). He's a somewhat tragic case in that the event which led to his power breakthrough also burnt down the orphanage he ran. In his mind, he's just trying to bring the children back.
- The Ravenloft setting of Dungeons & Dragons gives us the Doll Golem, a small variety of Golem looking like a child's doll that can be used for guard duties or assassination.
- It also has "Carrionettes", which are malevolent self-aware marionette puppets that can use magical needles to trade bodies with living people. Their true purpose in existence is to swap bodies with some poor sucker, so they can enjoy being flesh and blood, and thusly they only associate with other monsters in return for the prospect of being given a victim to take for their own. The most dangerous of these is Maligno, the darklord of Odiere.
- Then there's this little gem, from Exalted:
The Scripture of the Maiden on the Shelf:
...who sat on a child's shelf and watched the entire world.
For years and years, she did not move.
"Survival is control," she said.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has one of these, surprisingly enough: Malice Doll of Demise (Used to combo with Ectoplasmer, which was released in the same set.)
- There is now a whole archetype of these called the Shadolls.
- The Death Puppets of Duel Masters are an entire race of these.
- The Marionettes from the first Devil May Cry. They are string puppets controlled by lesser demons that wield scythes, knives, darts, and sometimes even shotguns.
- Later in the game, you encounter the Fetishes, which are basically fire-breathing voodoo dolls on steroids.
- Final Fantasy IV has Calca/Calco, Brina/Brena and their "fused" form Calcabrina/Calcobrena. Controlled by Golbez, the dolls attacked Cecil and Co. when they tried to retrieve the Earth Crystal. They even have their own musical theme called "Dancing Calcabrina".
- For Rydia's chapter of sequel, Calca and Brina are part of Rydia's party, and they're far less demonic-looking and scary, and they're pretty helpful, to boot. Makes you want to find the way to avert their Final Death.
- The Wracky species from Monster Rancher 2. The best breed of Wracky can be summed up perfectly by its name: Satan Claus.
- Super Mario RPG features two perverse puppets as regular enemies: Remo Con in Booster's Tower and Puppox in Smithy's Factory. But it also subverts the trope by having Geno, a celestial being animating the body of a child's toy, as one of the heroes in your party.
- The first boss of SRPG Shining Force is a Marionette left by Wicked Witch Mishaela in the Circus at Rindo. Not only that, but the other monsters you face in said big top also include mannequins, spell-casting puppets and knife-wielding clowns.
- Elsie and Frances in Metal Gear Ac!d are a pair of bantering puppets who manage to hijack a plane. They're being controlled by Lena.
- The Smilin' Sam and Handsome Tom enemies from Earthbound.
- Killer doll enemies in Zombies Ate My Neighbors that throw hatchets at you. Sometimes when you kill them you have to fight their burning remains, which are faster.
- The "Puppit" enemies in the Subspace Emissary mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Their description just makes them creepier.
- Here, let me help. A marionette enemy, suspended from above by piano strings. A Puppit proves vicious with long, sharp claws and a mysterious beam emitted from its eyes. You would think, based on the exterior wood pattern, that it's made of wood, but no one is sure. More importantly, who is the one manipulating those piano strings?! What an enemy! Mystery abounds!
- Arcana Heart has Elfriede, Lieselotte's dead sister who possesses a legless marionette that Lieselotte carries around, giving it glowing eyes and an appearance that evokes the image of a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl as it crawls around on the floor with its long-read hair splayed all over its face, trying to claw at Liese's opponent while shrieking and cackling.
- The Pokémon Banette is apparently a toy brought to life by its grudge of being thrown away.
- Secret of Evermore had two marionettes, Mephista and Old Nick, who at first were merely corruptive influences on the King of Ebon Keep by keeping him hypnotized and watching their show endlessly while the false Queen ran the show. Later, they become possessed by a monster named Mungola and proceed to become a boss fight. Extra points because "Mephisto" (Mephista is a female doll) and "Old Nick" are both pseudonyms for Satan.
- Dragon Quest has a monster known (at least in one translation) as Puppetor. It serves as a boss monster (and potential party member) in Dragon Quest Monsters 2.
- Medicine Melancholy from Touhou is basically this. She is a sentient doll fueled with poison. Note that Alice's doll are technically not sentient.
- Baten Kaitos Origins has a heroic example in Guillo.
- The Magic Dolls in Tecmo's Deception, which can fire laser-like beams at you from a distance.
- Demon lord Nebiros of the Shin Megami Tensei series carries one. Pulling its strings is how he activates his magic, either damaging spells or summoning undead.
- Five Nights at Freddy's 2: Taking Foxy's torch as Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer is a creepy, black and white puppet thing that hands out prizes to the children, called simply the Marionette or the Puppet. It leaves you alone so long as its music box is playing; should it run down, brace for a scare. And just to make things worse, several death screen minigames imply it's the true Big Bad of the series.
- Mr. Hat, Mr./Miss/Mr. Garrison's constant companion from South Park, is often hinted to be this. Though he is never shown to actually move by himself, he breaks Garrison and Chef out of Jail, and even disappears, ostensibly to attend a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, when Garrison turns his back.
- In an episode of Darkwing Duck called "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", the evil spirit Paddywhack possesses Quackerjack's doll, Mr. Banana Brain. As he causes trouble alongside the demented toymaker, he grows, feeding from the negative emotions around himself.
- Note that Quackerjack failed to realize that Mr. Banana Brain was possessed.
- In the "Treehouse of Horror III" episode of The Simpsons, Homer buys a Krusty the Clown doll that turns out to be evil. And parodied, the reason its evil is because its set on "Evil Mode" and not "Good Mode". They solve the problem by calling the company.
- Also on The Simpsons, the fictional movie The Redeadening featured one of these.
- And the doll Funzo, which destroys other toys. (It was programmed to do that, however, and has no will of its own.)
- In the Kim Possible movie So the Drama, Drakken's world conquest plot involves mass marketing tiny toy puppets called Diablos, who turn into gigantic killing robots. There's a hilariously bizarre scene at the end when they are stopped and revert to their (arguably) cute puppet selves where a young girl who had just been menaced by one grabs the puppet joyfully as her mother looks on with disbelief.
- Yokie on Jimmy Two-Shoes, after Jimmy accidently reprograms it to be evil.
- Johnny Bravo did a parody of the Twilight Zone episode listed above with "Talky Tabitha".
- The Puppet King in the Teen Titans episode "Switched" was one of the worst. His origins were unknown, but he harnessed incredible potent sorcery, and planned to commit Grand Theft Me on all five of the heroes, then obliterate what was left of them to keep their bodies permanently. Why? They never actually figured that out. The only reason his plan failed is because a mishap in his spell let Raven and Starfire escape (but not unharmed, leaving them in a "Freaky Friday" Flip situation where each had to figure out how to use the other's powers, which was much harder than it seemed.)
- Worst of all, while the Puppet King was one of the army of villains recruited into the Brotherhood of Evil in the penultimate storyline and was defeated along with the rest, he was not among the ones who was frozen, suggesting he might have escaped.
- Strange Hill High: In "Mitchell Junior", the robot baby Mitchell gets in his Egg Sitting assignment turns out to be demon possessed.