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Creepy Doll

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A child's porcelain doll went missing one night, as did a pair of kitchen shears and the town magistrate.
And there's a creepy doll
That always follows you
It's got a ruined eye
That's always open

Dolls are perceived as harmless, and they can be gorgeous and/or adorable, but there's still something scary about dolls. It's probably because many of them fit squarely in Uncanny Valley territory. The blank gaze and unmoving stare reminds us too viscerally of corpses, perhaps. This goes even more when the doll is damaged in some way, such as missing limbs or eyes, or having holes in its head.

Another way to do it is make it a clockwork toy (usually an organ-grinder's monkey with cymbals); something that moves on its own when someone winds the key, then not have it wound up for years, and have it click its cymbals in a haunted, mechanical rendition of Terrible Ticking.

In horror, dolls are often used as part of the scenery to help establish the mood, even providing a theme for The Doll Episode. Like clowns, what should be a silly, innocent bit of childhood fun can make a scene ironically unnerving, depending on where they're placed, what they're doing, or even simply how they're lit. They may even be the antagonist or be used by the antagonist. Despite how ridiculous a doll trying to kill people should be, it's still seen as quite frightening. A similar idea lies behind the Demonic Dummy and Scary Scarecrows.


The Vengeful Abandoned Toy is a specific type of this trope, who is angry at having been abandoned or forgotten by their owner.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 
  • In one 1998 ad for Hostess cupcakes, a boy torments a doll by fake-feeding it a cupcake toy. The doll angrily comes to life demanding to get a real Hostess cupcake with the creamy filling. She's placated at the end when she gets her treats.
  • Parodied in a fake French commercial under the brand of "Dolls Klaus Barbie". At that time, Klaus Barbie was a former Nazi being tried for crimes against humanity.
  • One U.S. Postal Service ad has a family creeped out by a clown doll that follows them around places. The mailman initially doesn't think it's that bad... until the doll moves from its previous place to appear right in front of him.


    Comic Books 
  • One of DC Comics' stranger creations was Brother Power the Geek, a tailor's mannequin brought to life by a combination of bloodstained clothing and a bolt of lightning. Essentially a human-sized living doll, he moved by shambling around bonelessly and when wounded, he remained alive and could be repaired by being sewn back together, leaving him covered in Scary Stitches. Being a doll, the Geek was completely unaware of how horrific he seemed to other people — which only made him more horrific for his innocent obliviousness. Strangely, the Geek was not a proactive character: he was literally only a doll, with the plot revolving around people's reaction to him. The character was revamped by DC's Darker and Edgier Vertigo line in the 1990s and became, somehow, even worse, gaining the ability to invest his spirit into any other doll, which would then bear his voice and his face. Ironically, the original character was created during The '60s to warn people that drugs can make you do weird things.
  • In an issue of the revamped CREEPY comics there was a story called "The Doll Lady". Needless to say, it was creepy.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac: Johnny is constantly tormented by two vaguely human-shaped dolls called the Doughboys, which may or may not be alive. They're eventually confirmed to be extensions of the thing in Johnny's wall, working to drive him even crazier and/or render him suicidal for the sake of releasing it.
  • The Tails Doll from Sonic R made an appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), being guarded by Cream the Rabbit. In the issue prior to the Mega Man crossover, Team Freedom discovered its true identity as a Badnik and moved to attack it — only for it to transform into a Mechanical Abomination. The fight was cut off just after its transformation by the Genesis Wave that started the Mega Man crossover, and since the reboot at the end of that arc, hasn't been revisited.
  • One of V's targets in V for Vendetta has a huge doll collection. When V abducts the man, the punishment he devises for the ex-concentration camp official is to populate a mock concentration camp with the dolls and send them all to the ovens. It successfully breaks the man's mind, and the effect on the reader of all those dolls burning is none too pleasant either...

    Fan Works 
  • In Aeon Natum Engel, the cultist suffers a nightmare, where she hears a sobbing of a little girl. When she reaches the source, she finds five dolls, a large one and four smaller ones, laying broken before the large one. And then the larger doll starts screaming while sinking into the void. It Makes Sense in Context. Too much sense.
  • This is Naruto's reaction in the Naruto/Negima crossover "Happy Families Are All Alike" when he meets Chachazero. Not that she didn't have plenty of that to begin with...
  • In Harry the Hufflepuff 2, Harry gets some help charming a life-size mannequin so it can take his place in History of Magic classes. Dubbed "Larry" by Luna, it gives everyone but the two of them an inexplicably creepy feeling.
  • In Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, the side-story Month of Sundays has Damballa, a Serpent who transforms people into creepy dolls. The people he transforms: Kamen Riders. He's made Shotaro into a marionette with nails for teeth and Haruto into a cloth doll with gold button eyes. He then transforms Eiji into a porcelain doll before sending them off to be killed by the Cosmic Hunting Dogs.
  • It's Always Spooky Month: The Happy Fella, or Todd, breaks many things and scares Monster multiple times, all while getting Skid blamed for all of it. It also moves, usually when nobody is looking at it. According to Pump, it kills people that it doesn't consider its best friend.
  • "Prisoner of the Magic Kingdom" turns It's a Small World into an army of these. "You've been a very wicked man, Jacob..."
  • Rotting Camellias has Mimi, Mayu's stuffed rabbit that is featured in her knife-throwing act.
  • In The Secret Life of Dolls, it's particularly bad with Tonner Edward Dollen, but at first when Anna Dollerious says what she thinks about getting The Littlest Edward:
    "[I'm] not so lonely that I wanna go to sleep and have THAT lurking over me when I wake up. And you know he'll, like, imprint on one of us or some shit—knowing your luck, E, he'll imprint on Cleo, and he'll just sit on her pillow all night, rocking back and forth."
    And we all shudder together. It's a nice feeling, sisterly solidarity.
  • Seventh Endmost Vision makes this a cultural thing; while people from the Eastern Continent don't have many hangups along these lines, people from the Western Continent all share the sentiment that human-shaped dolls are inherently disturbing. This is apparently universal; Tifa, Dyne, and Yuffie all think of dolls as creepy at various points, and they come from Nibelheim, Corel, and the Wutai diaspora, respectively! The reason is tied to Western beliefs in a "Lady Jenny", who is a Death figure, and the idea that she takes offense to human-shaped dolls; she'll take control of them and kill those who dare piss her off by making them. Tifa saw an early model of Cait Sith and was bewildered by him, despite being a SOLDIER. It's implied to be cultural memories of Jenova taking over other humans.

    Films — Animation 
  • 9 has The Seamstress. It's a giant snake with a porcelain doll's head that grafts the corpse of 2 onto her tail and uses it to hypnotize 8 into submission, before sewing him inside her body and dragging 7 away and boasts numerous appendages just designed for slashing up the skins of the stitchpunks; thus rendering them immobilized.
  • Club of the Discarded features a variation — mannequins. The whole film features mannequins with unchanging facial expressions repeating the same mechanical motions every day. Unlike other examples of this trope, the mannequins are not actual monsters seen in horror; they are more Uncanny Valley types.
  • The doll that the Other Mother frequently remakes in Coraline. All of the Other people invoke this themselves, with their creepy button eyes. The Other Mother's true form is especially doll-like, with cracked porcelain skin.
  • Ghost in the Shell (1995):
    • The gynoids in Ghost in the Shell: Innocence are modeled after Hans Bellmar's Uncanny Valley doll-sculptures, and are every bit as creepy.
    • There's also the hacker Kim who lives in a (possibly virtual) giant dollhouse, and has his cybernetic body made to resemble a life-sized ball-joint doll and is more than eager to lampshade his creepiness at every opportunity.
  • One of the modern monsters in Monster Mash (2000) is an evil wind-up doll named Chicky, the Doll of Destruction. She's a Captain Ersatz of Chucky, only differentiated by her green skin and other gender. She wears her hair in Girlish Pigtails, but one of the tails is the wind-up key. Her weapon of choice is a remote control with which she can change the environment around her.
  • In Monsters University, the walking girl doll that Mike and Sulley use to creep out the human police.
  • The Princess and the Frog: As Dr. Facilier is being dragged away by his "friends", some of them take the form of voodoo and rag dolls.
  • Toy Story has one, although it's the face of a doll on top of metal spider legs. It's not exactly evil but it's still fearsome. The other toys can also be this way if they choose, as shown when they rebel against Sid.
  • Toy Story 3 has an even scarier doll in "Big Baby", as well as... the monkey. It takes the point further that while Sid's toys look creepy but are ultimately friendly in spite of their bad situation, Big Baby and the monkey are working for the film's villain until the very end.
  • Unico in the Island of Magic: The main villain embodies the creepy doll trope. The evil Lord Kuruku plans to turn all living creatures, animals and people alike, into "Living Puppets" and he himself is a puppet who was mistreated by his owners and discarded. He washed up at the edge of the world — where all unwanted "junk" ends up eventually — and was brought to life, determined to take revenge on the human race.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Borderline example in Casey, Newt's doll in Aliens. It's just a hollow plastic head, which probably used to belong to a baby doll. The girl comforted it when she was nervous to try to reassure herself.
  • In Amusement, there is a scene where a babysitter goes to bed in a room filled with creepy clown dolls. She is so disturbed that she complains on the phone to the parents of the kids she's watching, especially about one freaky life-sized clown doll sitting in a chair. The parents reply that there is no "big" doll. It turns out it's a killer in disguise, which the kids have for some reason let into the house because he said he wanted to play.
  • Ant-Man: The bunny doll that Scott gives to his daughter for her birthday looks like it came straight from Monty Python. She loves it.
  • Baby Jane, a 2011 parody remake of the original Whatever Happened To Baby Jane, featured a creepy Baby Jane doll that would inexplicably animate itself in various scenes, culminating in the final scene where she comes to life and repeats a line said by Baby Jane earlier in the film.
  • The razor-toothed killer dolls from Barbarella.
  • Black Devil Doll is a Blaxploitation slasher flick with a radical black activist being reincarnated as the eponymous doll.
  • In The Blair Witch Project, the group is camping in the forest and encounters a bunch of stick-doll effigies hanging from the trees.
  • The Boy prominently features one of these in Brahms, an effigy of a nine-year-old boy who died years ago. However, that the movie is actually a subversion, and there's nothing supernatural about the doll whatsoever, because the real Brahms didn't die at all, and is in fact now a grown Psychopathic Manchild making the doll move when no one is watching.
    • In the sequel, this is retconned into a straightforward example — apparently, the doll was possessed by a supernatural creature all along, and the previous movie was just one in a long line of incidents caused by the doll.
  • Cain Hill: When Marcus is walking around the upper floor of the asylum gathering footage, he enters a room, and the camera (the movie's camera, not the one that Marcus is holding) zooms in on a creepy doll sitting in a chair. The doll shows up at the end of the movie with a number next to them, possibly as a piece of crime scene evidence.
  • Child's Play:
    • A dying serial killer Charles "Chucky" Lee Ray transfers his soul into a doll, and continues to cause havoc as he searches a proper new body.
    • There's also Tiff and Glenn from the same series. However, Glenn is somewhat of a subversion and Tiff is... Tiff.
  • Clown Motel: There are plenty of creepy clown dolls on the property. The camera shows a couple of shots that just show the dolls.
  • The Conjuring and its spinoff Annabelle features a truly creepy doll by the name of Annabelle that has been possessed by a demon, and is apparently based on a real-life case (see Real Life below).
  • In Dead Birds, Clyde finds a ragdoll with stitching that makes it look like the eyes and mouth have been sewn shut. This turns out to be Foreshadowing as Clyde is eventually strung up as a Scary Scarecrow with his eyes and mouth stitched shut.
  • Dead Silence is a good example of how creepy a doll can really be even when not possessed by evil spirits bent on ripping out your tongue and making you into part of its collection.
  • Deep Red: the walking deformed doll provides a Jump Scare.
  • Doll Factory: The titular dolls are little grey bald-headed people in black dresses who are trying to collect souls for their master.
  • Dolls has several people taking refuge in an old mansion filled with all sorts of dolls. Turns out that they are inhabited by supposed "fairies" (in truth, evil men), which start attacking the characters.
  • Full Circle features a cymbal-clapping clown doll, whose cymbals are dangerously sharp. Sharp enough, it turns out, to slit a throat...
  • The titular carnival attraction in The Funhouse is filled with them.
  • In It's Pat!, Kyle's obsession with Pat includes him having a Pat doll.
  • Killer Under The Bed: The antagonist of the film is a doll with white skin, white clothes, very little hair, a Mouth Stitched Shut, and long limbs. It has the power to either bless or curse anyone its owner wishes, but the wishes grow in intensity over time. Oh, and the doll can move around and possess people.
  • Lost Creek: The mummy Halloween decoration with the large eyes and smile becomes this when it starts moving around Peter's room all by itself.
  • The functional equivalent thereof in Mad Love, in which Dr. Gogol, having been rejected by a pretty actress, buys a wax dummy of said actress. And has his maid brush the dummy's hair. And buys a negligee for the dummy.
  • Maniac! (1980)'s Frank Zito keeps various mannequins in his apartment as odd trophies that wear the clothes and scalps of his female victims. In the ending, he has a hallucination where they come to life and rip him into pieces.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger often decorates his victims' dreams with mutilated dollies, and is occasionally seen holding one by its legs or hair. A symbolic nod to his past killings of young children, which we never actually see on-screen.
  • In Onryō! Azawarau Ningyō, Junichiro is killed because he's got evidence of a huge case of fraud by a colleague of his, Kitahara, who incidentally also is a former rival over Kumi, Junichiro's wife. The only thing of Junichiro that makes it back home is a doll he bought for his daughter Yukari. Said doll becomes a vessel for Junichiro's spirit, enabling him to protect his family from Kitahara and obtain justice for his murder. It kills Kitahara in an act of defending Kumi and Yukari when Kitahara's scheme comes to light. Thereafter, the doll returns to normal.
  • Subverted in Pinocchios Revenge, a B-slasher film. The kid had a Split Personality which she projected onto her doll.
  • The Clown Doll from Poltergeist (1982). For the first half of the movie, it just sits on a rocking chair, doing nothing. Then it disappears....
  • All of the puppets from the Puppet Master franchise.
  • Razors: The Return of Jack the Ripper, the ghost of the little girl is carrying a porcelain doll. When the protagonist find the doll in the attic it is even creepier close up, with a maze of cracks running through its face. The flickering light causes its eyes to appear completely black.
  • The second film adaptation of Red Dragonnote  focuses on a Serial Killer who murders families in their beds. While at one particular crime scene, the camera would often dwell on the creepy old antique dolls of a murdered child. The Uncanny Valley effect of the dolls' eyes actually helps the hero to figure out part of the killer's motivating fantasy.
  • Reincarnation (a.k.a. Rinne) features one of the creepiest damn ones you may ever see.
  • "Billy", in the Saw films, whose image is used to relay to rules of Jigsaw's latest Death Trap.
  • In Scrooge (1951), Tiny Tim is first seen gazing into a shop window with (authentic Victorian) mechanical toys, including a laughing-man doll that's pure nightmare fuel — although Tim seems to find it charming.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) has a creepy bobble head doll called "the littlest elf" in the rear-view window of Count Olaf's car.
  • Shallow Grave features a perfectly normal laughing doll. It still manages to get a creepy scene.
  • Sheitan: Eve's father owned a doll store, and the house contains a dollmaker's workshop full of partially-built dolls and doll parts, and his collections of antique marionettes and giant dolls in the attic. All of this is quite creepy. Additionally, Marie is sneaking around the house assembling a doll with a broken head that she keeps attaching human parts to.
  • Subverted in Summer School when the male lead is seen slicing the head off a Raggedy Andy doll. This could've been creepy, had he not immediately offered the cloth head to his dog, whose favorite doll-head chew toy has been misplaced.
  • The abandoned baby doll in Johanna's bassinet from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It's decayed with age and probably smoke damage/mildew and is damn scary. (This scene also serves as an Empathy Doll Shot for Johanna's current plight.)
  • The opening of Titanic (1997) features a group of divers exploring the Titanic wreck. A few shots pan across some of the destroyed trinkets and other such former valuables scattered across the ocean floor. One shot reveals an eerie white face that resembles a child and for a moment you think it's a child's detached head, but it turns out to just be a lone face separated from a doll. Based on a Real Life story. Bob Ballard on his first visit to the wreck by manned submersible encountered a disembodied doll's head just like the one in the Cameron film. The sub's crew of three hardened explorers freaked out at this discovery.
  • In the miniseries for The Tommyknockers, police officer Ruth has a collection of creepy dolls in her office. After she finds out what's going on with the town, the aliens make the dolls come "alive" and attack her, to prevent her from phoning for help. The scarecrow doll is especially scary.
  • The various mannequins in Tourist Trap, which are controlled by their owner.
  • The Zuni Fetish Doll from the last segment of Trilogy of Terror, which comes alive after a certain necklace is removed from its neck and starts vehemently chasing the main character.
  • Underworld U.S.A.: After Cuddles passes out, she wakes up on the bed in the room that houses Sandy's doll collection; which are staring at her unnervingly.
  • The Woman in Black just loves this trope. Everywhere you look in the spooky ole house, there's a doll on a shelf with a truly hideous face. Even the 'normal' kids at the start of the film are playing with some creepy dolls.

  • One of the urban legends in Japan is about Mary-san, a French doll.note  She's loved by her owner, but said owner loses her at some point. Then one night, when the owner is home alone, she gets a call from Mary-san, who notifies her she's at the city dump. This call is followed by more, with Mary-san each time announcing she's at a location closer to her owner than the last, until she tells her owner to turn around. Her owner is found dead the next morning.
  • Another one of the urban legends in Japan is about Okiku, a traditional Japanese doll. In 1918, the doll came into the possession of a young girl who shortly after died of a cold. Her family made her a shrine and added the doll to it. Then the doll's hair supposedly started to grow, causing the family to conclude it held part of the girl's spirit. The family moved away some decades later and left Okiku with the local Mannenji Temple, where it's still on display. The doll isn't dangerous and likes being maintained by the monks.

  • In one 87th Precinct novel, a doll has a recording of an actual murder in it.
  • The dolls in William Sleator's book "Among the Dolls" belong to a girl who makes their lives as depressing as she thinks her own life is. Somehow she is turned into a doll herself and trapped in their house. The dolls, now fully alive, are definitely not pleased with her. The Tagline for the book: "Now she's their toy."
  • J.R. Lowell's Daughter Of Darkness is about Willie, a super-intelligent little rich girl who collects dolls — not the cute kind, either — from all over the world. The maid refuses to clean Willie's room because she feels like the dolls are "watching" her. She's right.
  • The Birthing House features one of these during one of the first nights Colin spends in the house.
  • In the Deptford Mice book The Crystal Prison, the well-meaning Audrey creates a corn dolly as a decoration for the Hall of Corn in Fennywolde. Without her knowledge, it is brought to life by Jupiter's dark magic and becomes a serial killer that strangles several mice to death.
  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, Greg recollects about a baby doll called Alfrendo his mother gave him in order to train him for being an older brother to his yet-unborn younger brother Manny. The doll is already rather unnerving, having huge eyes and being rather realistic looking in-universe, but then things get worse when Greg stumbles upon it in the basement several years after it disappeared.
  • "Doll Bones" by Holly Black is centered around a china doll made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. The children have to find the girl's grave and bury the doll or be cursed/haunted forever.
  • In Betty Ren Wright's The Dollhouse Murders, the dolls themselves aren't exactly creepy, but their actions are: every night, they reenact the murder of the main character's grandparents, arranging themselves in the same rooms and positions in which the bodies were found. Even creepier, the main character discovers this when she wakes in the night to hear the dolls sobbing in terror.
  • Elijah of Buxton: Emma Collins' doll is made from a sock that had rope tied around the neck to form a head. It also has two big brown buttons for eyes, and six little buttons for teeth. Elijah thinks it's scary.
  • The psychological horror book "Frozen Charlotte" by Alex Bell features a collection of creepy dolls. The author based it on a real creepy doll.
  • The action figure in the short story "Good Friends and Good Family" (scroll down) by Desmond Warzel isn't particularly creepy at first, but it gets worse.
  • Terry Berger's The Haunted Dollhouse may have the dollhouse's owner turning into one of these.
  • The dolls in M. R. James' "The Haunted Dolls' House", which come alive to reenact a murder and its aftermath.
  • Josh Malerman's "The House of the Head" is an unusual twist on the trope: a creepy doll's head menaces not the story's protagonist, but the dolls in her dollhouse.
  • Horror novelist Ruby Jean Jensen wrote extensively about creepy dolls: Annabelle, in which a small girl discovers a collection of living dolls in an abandoned mansion with a past; Victoria, where the killer doll has a good twin; Mama, where a mangled, barely mobile doll still manages to drag herself around and hug people to death; The Living Evil (spoilers: the evil is a doll); and Baby Dolly (self-explanatory), among others.
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer has one of these as a prize in the title character's demonic carnival.
  • Stephen King:
    • In the story The Sun Dog, a character thinks that a toy (not exactly a doll, but a stuffed panda, that talks) that her niece has is very creepy, and imagines that one day, it will say stuff like: "I think tonight after you're asleep, I'll strangle you to death" or "I have a knife".
    • The Monkey, about a doll-like toy whose clanging on its cymbals signals someone's death. Even if you throw it away.
    • In The Tommyknockers, Ruth McCausland has a doll collection which frightens two children and gives her brief uneasy feelings before the Becoming. After the Becoming first starts, they begin talking to her...
  • The young woman in Robert Holdstock's Lavondyss has a good reason for making her masks and figurines, but the old caretaker thinks he's on to her. "There's dolls you play with, and dolls you pray with..."
  • In The Lonely Doll, the doll herself isn't so creepy, but her situation is. The doll starts off apparently abandoned in a high-rise penthouse, and when she finally gets company, there's a lot of disapproval and spankings.
  • In Richard Matheson's short story "Prey", a young woman is terrorized by an African Zuni warrior doll that she brings home as a gift for her boyfriend, and which subsequently comes to life. (The story was memorably adopted as part of Trilogy of Terror.)
  • The Ragwitch: The titular Creepy Ragdoll is an Evil Overlord that takes over the body of the protagonist's sister, turning her into a half-human, half-cloth thing and forcing her to watch helplessly from inside as the Ragwitch resumes Her interrupted reign of terror.
  • Robopocalypse: Baby Comes Alive turns into this.
  • The House of Dolls in Septimus Heap is filled with these, to the point that even the protagonists find it creepy.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Pretty Penny, a doll that Aunt Josephine gave Violet in The Wide Window.
  • In Elizabeth A. Lynn's The Silver Horse, a world of animate toys includes broken dolls who are very, very bitter about the wrongs committed upon them by careless children.
  • In the "Tamir Triad", gifted dollmaker Princess Ariani begins to produce mouthless but otherwise perfect dolls in response to the death of her newborn son. This behavior culminates in the creation of a ragged, smelly, faceless doll that contains the soul (and bones) of her dead son. As bad as the nobles thought the mouthless dolls were, the faceless doll is seen as a definitive sign of madness from just about everyone who knows her.
  • The War Against the Chtorr: McCarthy becomes a Parental Substitute for several traumatized orphans, one of whom keeps a stuffed bear with its head missing. McCarthy thinks of sewing another head on the bear but is warned against it by the other members of the orphanage, who explain the child is likely to freak out if his toy suddenly has unfamiliar features.
  • One of Gahan Wilson's cartoons, which was used as the cover and the title of a collection of his works, shows an attic with all the broken toys — rocking horses with broken legs and teddy bear without an eye or an arm. And the teddy bear is telling the others: "Someday when he's old and weak, he'll get nostalgic and come up here to see us. Then we'll get him."

  • The video to the song "He's My Thing" by Babes in Toyland, as well as some of the cover art for their albums.
  • The Birthday Massacre:
    • The video to the song "Blue" is about one.
    • There's another one in the video for "In the Dark".
  • David Bowie's video for "Love Is Lost" features puppet versions of two past characters: the Thin White Duke and the Pierrot from the "Ashes to Ashes" video. The clown is the less creepy of the two.
  • Laura Branigan's song "Self Control" begins and ends with a shot of a rather creepy doll.
  • As you can see at the top of the page, Jonathan Coulton has a song about this very trope. In fact, it's the Trope Namer. It tells a story in the second person about how you buy a rustic cottage with your "bag of big-city money" and discover a doll in the attic with "a ruined eye that's always open" and "a pretty mouth to swallow you whole." The doll begins popping up everywhere, tormenting you, and then the two of you die in a fire. This may or may not be all in your head. Sleep tight!
  • The video to the song "Technologic" by Daft Punk. It should be creepy — it's the animatronic Chucky doll used in Child's Play (mentioned above) with its silicone skin removed.
  • The Dresden Dolls have a song called "Coin Operated Boy" while not wholly about a doll, the boy is a life size puppet of sorts that ran by dropping a quarter into its pay slot.
  • Ice Nine Kills' Assault & Batteries features a plot out of Child's Play, except the doll comes pre-damaged/patched up, and the whole band has clothes and makeup to make them look like said doll to up the creepy factor.
  • Kerli's Walking on Air video.
  • The video to the song "Clown" by Korn has both creepy dolls and Monster Clowns. Plus a lot of insanity.
    • The MTV special editions for Issues had one of these.
  • The Finnish band "Lordi" have a song called Schizo Doll. Also, their keyboardist Hella acts as a living doll.
  • The doll family on the album cover of Marilyn Manson's Portrait of an American Family.
  • The artwork within Music for Children by John Zorn shows a lot of creepy dolls, including the one on the original album cover, which was replaced on some copies for being too disturbing. It features a nude female doll with breasts.
  • There's a few of these in the P!nk video "Please Don't Leave Me" starting at 2:22. Notice all the dolls in the audience and then the close up on them. Brr...
  • Rasputina's "Gingerbread Coffin". Kids find an old doll and say a black mass around her. Despite the subject matter, neither the music nor the lyrics are at all eerie.
  • Elise from Sound Horizon's Märchen is an animated china doll that constantly compels the eponymous Märchen to enact revenge.
  • The video for Velvet Eden's "..And schism".
  • Vocaloid:
    • At least two PVs for Rin and Len's "Trick and Treat" contain creepy dolls. In the second example, Rin and Len turn out to be Miku's old dolls that she threw away in favor of a new Luka doll. At the end of the video, Len rips out her heart.
    • Evillious Chronicles: "Heartbeat Clocktower", composed by mothy, is about a clockwork doll covered in burn marks who apparently needs (and inevitably gets) a human heart so that she can keep "living." Also mentioned is a theatre populated by dolls who are the "vessels" of sin.


  • The Adventure Zone: Dust has Uncle Oni, a creepy Bunraku puppet.
  • A few are set up in the The Shining room in the Cool Kids Table game Creepy Town. A giant one that looks like Die appears and kills Stacey near the end.
  • The Magnus Archives:
    • The first of the strange bin bags in "Thrown Away" is full of detached doll heads.
    • In "Strange Music" the narrator finds in her dead grandfather's loft a trunk full of antique dolls with mouths like those of a ventriloquist's dummy, all but one of which are missing their lower jaws; the one with its jaw intact is a clown doll with a splash of red paint giving it an ugly smile. It seems to be able to escape from the closed trunk. Later she notices another doll, jaw intact, that resembles her ex-boyfriend — who is then found dead with his lower jaw torn off.
  • The Sick Sad World episode "Creepy Stories — It Happened To A Friend Of A Friend" starts with a story about a dancing baby toy Mari had, which Jasmine calls nightmare fuel. It's described as pale, half-naked, and having emotionless eyes. It also seemed to have moved on its own.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Hellin, from the Atmosfear series. Due to being a poltergeist, she possesses one of these in order to give herself a physical form.
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill has an event called "Creepy Puppet". The description: "You see one of those dolls that gives you the willies. It jumps at you with a tiny spear."
    • The Legacy version has a Porcelain Doll omen that counts as a ghost on the doll owner's turn and the chapter that introduces that omen has two possible creepy doll-themed haunts: either the traitor is summoning an army of singing dolls to kill everyone else or the traitor wants to feed a hungry doll the blood of others until it grows big enough to burrow underneath the house.
  • Then there's this little gem, from Exalted:
    The Scripture of the Maiden on the Shelf:
    Once, there was a maiden...
    ...who sat on a child's shelf and watched the entire world.
    Her eyes were made of glass,
    And their pupils were red.
    Her mouth was sewn on.
    For years and years, she did not move.
    Then, when necessary, she was gone, and the head of that child with her.
    "Survival is control," she said.
  • Magic: The Gathering has the Stuffy Doll, which is apparently a living Voodoo Doll. Which is completely indestructible. It's a reference to the doll's appearance in (and survival from) previous cards, starting with Black Vise and The Rack.
  • Pathfinder has Soulbound Dolls, crafted from a fragment of a creature's soul — either donated, or taken forcefully. In theory, they're Empty Shells, but in practice they retain some of the donor's personality, and it's not predictable which personality traits will appear. On top of that, they're the only construct that's vulnerable to mind-affecting effects, so even if they start out okay, they could still become Brainwashed and Crazy later.
  • Promethean: The Created has the Galateids, Prometheans who appear to be extremely beautiful and perfect. When their Deformities are revealed under the right circumstances, they resemble dolls or mannequins with glass eyes, plastic skin, and fake hair, reflecting their artificial nature.
  • The Ravenloft setting is home to doll golems, animated toys which cause uncontrollable laughter with their bite, and 'carrionettes', sentient puppets that can swap minds with their victims.
    • The short story included with the first adventure in the Strange Aeons adventure path features soulbound dolls constructed by a dollmaker who had become a cultist of Nyarlathotep (now driven half-mad with guilt for what he's done). The narrator, who owned one such doll as a child, has a flashback to a repressed memory where it drove her to dismember a stray cat with a butcher's cleaver.
    • Halflings have an alternate racial trait named "Creepy Doll" that gives a halfling character a pale skin tone and glassy eyes. It removes size penalties on Intimidate checks made on larger humanoids and gives the ability to pass for a porcelain doll when sitting idle and thus use Stealth with no need of cover or concealment.
  • Ghostrick Doll, a member of the Ghostrick archetype in Yu-Gi-Oh!, is based on a Bisque Doll, a doll made mostly or entirely of bisque porcelain and characterized by their highly realistic features and skin-like texture. These dolls were at their most popular in the late 1800s, and are now considered highly valuable among collectors. In addition, due to their eerie wide-eyed stares and historical nature these dolls have recently become pop culture fixtures in horror movies — often related to the ghosts of young girls.

  • Ride the Cyclone has the trope pull double duty for the character of Jane Doe, a teenager who lost her head (and all her memories of her life on Earth) in a roller coaster accident. Arriving in the afterlife, Jane carries a headless "dolly" dressed in stuffy, victorian clothing. The makeup used on the actress playing Jane Doe is meant to evoke a creepy doll (with the implication being that Jane Doe is using the doll's head a replacement for her own lost skull). Most productions include porcelain-pale skin, blacked-out contact lenses, and a pale blonde wig styled in tight ringlets.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Spirit Hunter series has two dolls based on well-known urban legends, namely those of Mary-san and Okiku, though the latter is a much more liberal take on the respective urban legend than the former:
    • Spirit Hunter: Death Mark has Mary, a human-sized talking doll that belonged to the late Saya Kujou. She has a habit of startling those who meet her for the first time, though fortunately she's on the protagonist's side. Or not; she's actually the Big Bad who feeds on the pain and despair of her victims.
    • Spirit Hunter: NG:
      • Akira realises that Big Bad Kakuya is a doll due to her ethereal appearance and her tendency to speak without moving her mouth, which just highlights her Lack of Empathy and general inhumanness.
      • A chilling trio appear in the Screaming Author case. When Akira returns there the second night, he finds life-sized dolls wearing masks and posed like humans. Each of them represent the tortured victims of the house owner, and Akira must figure out how to pacify them so that they can move on and he can retrieve their masks. It's later revealed that Yakumo turned the girls into dolls in order to offer them up to Kakuya, appeasing her for another ten years.
      • One of the toys collected in the Demon Tsukuyomi case is a girlish doll with a chilling, high-pitched laugh.

  • Eerie Cuties has Blair, a girl doll possessed by a male spirit. He's rather stupid and very, very perverted one, at that. However, he's annoying rather than creepy and ends up as The Chew Toy.
  • In Frankie and Stein, there's SUTURE tm, this little doll "stitched together out of love, respect for your elders, and the remains of other stuffed toys."
  • Homestuck:
    • The Smuppets, made and owned by Bro. They are not objectively ugly or disturbing, but Dave treats them that way. Bro uses them to make "video content" for his websites — in other words, niche pornography for people with a puppet Fetish. In light of this, Dave's revulsion is understandable.
    • Lil' Cal, a Demonic Dummy, is also owned by Bro. His creepy, jarring, glass-eyed stare is bad enough. What's worse is that he seems to move around when Dave turns his back.
    • The Squiddles are among Jade's toys. They are plush, smiling, tentacled friends. It is implied that their creation was inspired by the Horrorterrors, Dream Walkers that exert an unconscious influence on humanity: the cute Squiddles are the softened avatars of Eldritch Abominations. It is easy to agree with fans who always found them creepy.
    • The Manthro Chaps, also Jade's. They feature grotesque Furry Reminders (and a Continuity Nod to the author's previous comics). Jade does not mind.
    • The duttle.
      You made a DUTTLE!
      The duttle is weirding you out a little. You believe you will keep your distance from the duttle.
  • Hetty, Reynardine's "friend" in Gunnerkrigg Court, who like him, seems to be some kind of spirit or demon trapped in an object.
  • In Minion Comics, the protagonists have Tur-Tor, a stuffed turtle with drugged-out eyes that plays tapes of gangster rap songs about children committing domestic violence.
  • In Not a Villain, Bloody Mary uses a pair of them in her special attack.
  • Inverted in The Order of the Stick, in which the Perky Goth undead-phile Tsukiko keeps a doll of Xykon (who is creepy) in her bedroom. The doll, in contrast to the actual Xykon, is a cuddly plush toy.
  • Silent Hill: Promise has a terrifying kewpie doll.
  • Wapsi Square: Tina's muñeca para el Dia de los Muertos looks outright hideous! Its true nature (assuming it is in fact more than a decoration for the Day of the Dead) has yet to be revealed, although given Tina's backstory, it is easy to develop some theories about this.

    Web Original 
  • Very Creepy Doll Commercial From The 60's [sic] and Extremely Creepy Doll Commercial.
  • Toki's new doll. The one who owned is looked the similar and was obviously suffering similar to her.
  • BuzzFeed Unsolved: Shane and Ryan (along with local BuzzFeed reporter Pepe) attempted to spend the night on Isle of the Dolls in Mexico.
  • Chad Vader has Baby Cookie who seems to be trying to the creepiest of creepy dolls. She wears nothing but booties and a zorro mask while making her chosen minion play, dance and kill.
  • Desert Bus for Hope had a creepy doll which was actually named Creepy Doll. He also goes by the name Harry.
  • Doctor Steel makes several of these.
  • The... odd-looking... figurine from Doom House. It haunts the protagonist by appearing wherever he goes.
  • Fred Finds A Creepy Doll: An officially licensed Fred doll, which he thinks is a Voodoo Doll of him. And then it starts talking...
  • YouTuber Grav3yardgirl collects creepy antique dolls, but one case, an eerily humanlike cloth doll she dubbed Robertina (in reference to Robert the Doll) seemed to be haunted, giving her extreme anxiety and having a history of returns. It wound up in a creepy museum after she too gave it up, and it probably doesn't help that it was theorized to be a stand-in for a deceased child, wearing their clothes.
  • How to Hero mentions an old doll from the 1830s that leaks black liquid from its eyes as a potential superhero weakness.
  • In Marble Hornets, the Slender Man doll Jay finds in an abandoned house may or may not count, but the baby doll in totheark's "Indicator" video definitely does.
  • Mortasheen has an entire sub-category of monsters based on this, some examples being a ragdoll stuffed with mind-control parasites and a teddy bear that manipulates emotion.
  • Neopets: A Malevolent Sentient Poogle Plushie looks like a patchwork plush toy, but with red eyes and a grinning mouth full of sharp teeth.
  • Nightmare Beings:
    • One user's nightmare involved a slimy baby doll on the ceiling with empty black eye sockets and an enormous wide mouth with More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
    • The Nan Dumpster from Luke Harrap's dream in 2018 is a rusty dumpster with arms and legs made from multiple doll limbs, a tongue made from doll hair, and teeth made from giggling doll heads.
  • Open Blue v2 had Vice-Amiral Swasou, who owned a lot of creepy dolls. Even creepier is the fact that they appear to go places when nobody's looking.
  • PlayStation Access: In a playthrough of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, Dave finds a map with "Doll Shrine" marked on it. His immediate reaction is "Doll shrine? TURN AWAY."
  • Any of Salad Fingers' three finger puppets can be this. Hubert Cumberdale can become human-sized, gain red eyes, and scream for no apparent reason, as well as randomly turn into a black liquid that burns at the touch. Marjory Stewart-Baxter jealously watches Salad Fingers have a picnic with a little girl through the window. Jeremy Fisher can also become human-sized, stores a weird green fluid in his plugged-up mouth, and can suddenly transform into a second Salad Fingers to get eaten alive by the first.
  • SCP Foundation contains a number of anomalous dolls:
    • SCP-693 is a set of string dolls that can "attune" themselves to a human and start imitating their movements and speech. However, the dolls will eventually begin tormenting their "owner" (the person who did the attuning) by misrepresenting the actions of whoever they are attuned to.
    • SCP-707 is a matryoshka doll that disassembles you.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Creepy Child Rebecca has a teddy bear that speaks in a demonic voice, worships Satan, and makes death threats to the other characters.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Robert the Haunted Doll is a doll on display at the Fort East Martello Museum. It is the former doll of painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. When he was a child, Otto was given the doll as a gift from a servant who, according to legend, used black magic to curse it. Later research by the museum, however, contradicted this with the belief Robert was purchased as a birthday gift by Eugene's grandfather in Germany. However, there doesn't seem to be much to indicate whether he was bought or a custom order. As such legend now wonders if he came "haunted" or was made "haunted" because he was special to Gene. Through the years, family members reported hearing Otto speaking to the doll, and hearing a strange, inhuman voice answering back. They also reported that the doll seemed, at times, to move. Reports of the doll's activities continued by others even after Gene's death. People who visit the doll where it currently resides sometimes claim the doll moves and that, if they want to photograph it, they need permission first otherwise their cameras don't work.
    • Even worse is the fact that the doll's owner's wife (who hated the everyone else) apparently starting haunting their old house. Robert's old room, to be exact. This Travel Channel clip insinuates that she has no choice in the matter. Oh, also, Robert ages, apparently. His hair's gone white and he's got liver spots now...
  • Related to Robert The Haunted Doll is Annabelle the Haunted Doll., whose story would become the basis of The Conjuring and its spinoff Annabelle. Possibly even more terrifying than the former, this Raggedy Anne doll was first owned by a woman by the name of Donna, whose mother purchased the doll from a hobby store in the 1970s. She and her roommate were cool with having the doll at first... until freaky things started happening in their apartment, where the doll not only supposedly moved on its own, but also wrote messages. When a medium was consulted, she said that the doll was being inhabited by the harmless spirit of a girl named Annabelle who died on the property, and Donna and her roommate felt compassion for the spirit. However, Annabelle the Doll was not what she seemed as she reportedly violently attacked one of Donna's friends. After two incidents, the famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were consulted and eventually came to the conclusion that the doll was being haunted not by the spirit of a little girl, but by a demon. The doll was eventually relocated to the Warren Occult Museum in Moodus, Connecticut, where it is reported that the doll still moves and growls at visitors on occasion from behind its glass case.
  • One thing that can make dolls really creepy in real life is the fact that kids aren't gentle with toys. If you ever see a doll in a kid's playroom, stuffed uncomfortably in a toy box, or in the middle of a toy pile, often getting "crushed" under other, heavier-looking toys, and still having that smile, it becomes a quick way to convince anybody to clean that room. This can even happen with innocent cloth dolls if their fabric has been torn or damaged.
  • How about this commercial for PS3?
  • The Struts fashion doll line. Toy ponies with big come-hither eyes that can be dressed up Barbie-style. No, really.
  • The Doll Face video features a doll face on a jack in the box type contraption that mimics images on the tv screen trying to find the perfect visage for itself. The worst part is the fact that the thing is apparently sentient, and it falls very very deep into the Uncanny Valley once it paints its face with makeup to give it such a healthy glow that it resembles a human face.
    • This might help, although it does increase the tear-jerker quality. If nothing else, the song is amazing.
    • If it makes you feel any better, it is a human actress' face on the doll.
  • When author H. Rider Haggard was a boy, his nanny used to own a creepy doll called "She-who-must-be-obeyed" which she used to get him to behave. This was at least partly the inspiration for his novel She.
  • Surrealist artist Hans Bellmer combined this trope with the bodies of pubescent girls for maximum creepiness. His dolls inspired the Silent Hill 2 Mannequins. See a Not-Safe-For-Work-Or-Sanity photograph.
    • Allegedly, he developed his "thing" for ball-jointed dolls after meeting his 15-year-old niece. Thankfully he felt his feelings for her weren't appropriate and switched to the "poupee" (puppet) instead. From Bad to Worse after his wife died.
  • It's Baby Laugh'a'Lot!
  • This YouTube user lampshades this trope to its fullest.
  • Some ball-jointed doll owners embrace this to the fullest. Onegreyelephant's doll mods are something between art objects and Eldritch Abominations... and still more than a little cute.
  • Any doll that has a function (most commonly crying) and being given to someone without being warned about it will cause distress and alarm in the unsuspecting recipient.
  • Then there's that ghost story...Dolly one-step, dolly two-step, Dolly's gonna get you...Don't tell me you weren't scared of that as a kid!
  • A lot of people find the Doll Room in House on the Rock to be hard to get through.
  • Aaron Spelling's mansion had a room especially built to house a huge doll collection; unfortunately the kids it was intended for found it to be a little creepy.
  • The marionettes used in the OP of the Chilean Soap Opera "Los Titeres". Brrrrr!
    • The lyrics of the song skyrocket it into scary: "You are not the owner of your life/We are puppets and nothing else/Our threads are Fate/Which moves us at its will"...
      • Not helped by the very Creepy Monotone singing voices and the just as terrifying background music.
  • Clown dolls, invoked by this USPS commercial.
  • Little Miss No-Name
  • Truth in Television moment about these things, it turns out according to one "study" we perceive what is alive and what is inanimate by the look of the face and eyes more then anything else, so now we know the human truth. Dolls are just freaky soulless things!
  • The Japanese toy company Kaiyodo came up with an horrifyingly creepy Woody toy It's so creepy that it's the cover picture for Memetic Molester!
  • "My Buddy, My Buddy...wherever I go, he goes..."
  • The Island of the Dolls (“La Isla de la Munecas”) south of Mexico City. Featuring trees decorated with hundreds of mutilated dolls. It also has a reputation of being haunted
  • Mattel's Saucy doll. The website is appropriate. Look at that face.
  • Deliberately invoked by Imezco with their Living Dead Dolls, and BeGoth's Bleeding Edge dolls-these are dolls that take the idea of Creepy Dolls and run with it. Living Dead Dolls come in coffin-shaped boxes and have dates of death, while the Bleeding Edge dolls are pierced and have odd eyes. Not surprisingly, both of these kinds of dolls are very popular with Goths.
  • The creepy-weird avatar of the mysterious Parent Child Testing Product. Reviewers are still trying to figure out what it does as well as why it's only sold in a 5-pack.
  • A scary Georgian era mechanical puppet found in Portsmouth Dock's museum. quite unnerving.
  • Laughing Sal
  • Porcelain dolls by Marina Bychkova, a Canadian artist of Russian descent, are beautiful beyond any words - and creepy beyond any words, as well. Here's Salome, here are Snow White and her prince (look at Snow White's neck - it's pretty obvious that she is dead) and here is Bychkova's tribute to breast cancer patients - beautiful, scary, heartbreaking (the dolls expression has a bit of sadness about her situation to it) and heartwarming at the same time.
  • Some Japanese dolls can be very creepy-looking. The aforementioned ichimatsu ningyou are the most famous examples, but Iki-ningyou and some Bunraku puppets aren't slouches on this either.
  • Older "talking dolls," especially those made in the 80s. The problem lies in their distorted voices: for example, Talking Pee-Wee Herman has the character's trademark "Secret Word Scream," which sounds more like a bloodcurdling roar. The official Sheriff Woody doll averts this because it uses a state-of-the-art voice chip instead of the old miniature record player.
    • To be more specific: How they (that is, the string-operated ones) normally work is that pulling on the string winds up an internal clock spring, which when released causes a miniature record disc to revolve at a certain speed. Trouble is, they usually play back too fast, resulting in a screechy, garbled voice that you can only avoid by manually holding the string back. Case in point. Made even worse when the dolls start getting on in years, and the sound units start suffering from the usual age-related degradation, which can result in the voice becoming even more distorted or even skipping between different lines.
  • A group of high schoolers in California once reported finding a doll that would make lightbulbs near it explode.
  • Numerous Halloween props and animatronics have been made from this concept. Many of them use an antique aesthetic with cracked skin and missing eyes.
  • Tattered Rags, the brainchild of Jodi Cain, who specializes in creepy rag dolls with many different designs. All of the dolls are made for display and made to order if the customer chooses.
  • Little Apple Dolls is a line of collectable horror dolls about children (almost all girls) who died, usually due to supernatural means.
  • My Friend Cayla became this not necessarily because of any horror stigma (though the Machine Monotone voice is a little unsettling), but due to concerns regarding the digital assistant technology used, as its cloud-based nature and the fact that the doll's Bluetooth stack is insecure (!) made it a subject of criticism from cybersecurity firms and watchdog groups.


Video Example(s):


Chip's "Collection"

Victor and Valentino - Ep 12 [The Collector]: Valentino meets a creepy collector name Chip who offers him a replacement for a valuable coin that his brother, Victor, spent. However in exchange Chip takes Victor for himself. Valentino goes back to the shop to cancel the deal, but finds, not only his brother turned into a doll, but he wasn't the only one that has made a bad deal with Chip.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / CreepyDoll

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