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Demonic Dummy

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"Tee hee! Penny likes you. ...But Mr. Bear HATES YOU!"
Penny, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

You've all heard of monstrous mimes and creepy clowns. Well, rounding out the Trilogy of Horror Vaudevillainy is the Demonic Dummy, otherwise known as the evil ventriloquist's doll.

A ventriloquist is an entertainer who tries to convince an audience that a non-living thing (in most cases, a puppet) is alive and talking. Now this act, though odd, probably wouldn't be too offputting an entertainment — except that nine times out of ten, when a ventriloquist's puppet appears in a series or movie, it will be a creature that crawled straight out of the Uncanny Valley. With its jutting eyebrows, shifting eyes and its sharp, mechanical rictus of a smile, the Demonic Dummy occupies a prominent place in the darker recesses of the human subconscious — it is nitro-burning Nightmare Fuel for viewers both young and old.

One of the most common twists in a story which features a Demonic Dummy, is to have the dummy be real, and the ventriloquist either be a wooden puppet or a hapless human under the dummy's control — in fact, many Demonic Dummies get the ability to turn people into People Puppets, sometimes literally. Another twist is to have both the ventriloquist and the dummy be two parts of a Split Personality, generally with the human personality being shy and nebbish and the dummy personality being loudmouthed and hostile. Other variations of the dummy/ventriloquist relationship exist as well.

Other types of puppet aren't safe either. Classical-style ventriloquist dummies are the most popular, but anything from a sock puppet on up can fall into this category.

And, of course, there are a good number of ventriloquist dummies that aren't evil at all. Some you could even call angelic!

See also Creepy Doll, Murderous Mannequin, Perverse Puppet, Killer Teddy Bear and Consulting Mister Puppet.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon:
    • Juri Katou from Digimon Tamers had a Hand Puppet that she used to talk by proxy. While not creepy by itself, it was reflective of deeper issues. Later, it transitioned into flat-out creepy at about the same time the D-Reaper made its first appearance. This is not a coincidence.
    • In Digimon Adventure, Pinocchimon (AKA Puppetmon) was one of the Dark Masters, and definitely lived up to this trope. He successfully manipulated Yamato into turning against the other Chosen, even briefly, and it led to a Divided We Fall situation for the rest of the Story Arc.
  • Karin gives us "Boogey-kun," the most frequently seen of Anju's dummies/Imaginary Friends. As the series progresses, it's increasingly implied that Boogey-kun may not be all that imaginary...
    • In the manga, Boogey-kun is explicitly revealed to be the ghost of a dead serial killer trapped in the doll.
  • Dolce from Geneshaft definitely qualifies for the split-personalities part.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has Chachazero, who rides the line between this and Perverse Puppet.
  • In PandoraHearts Break, while not adverse to insulting people directly himself, seems to do a lot of it and threats through Emily (who is probably an ordinary doll, though creepy)
    • The room "Alice" first appeared in was chocked full of this.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL: IV (Four) uses a Gimmick Puppet Themed deck; two of Numbers cards are Gimmick Puppet — Giant Killer and Gimmick Puppet — Heaven's Strings both of which are uber creepy.

    Comic Books 
  • The Ventriloquist, a.k.a. Arnold Wesker is a Batman villain whose multiple personality disorder led him to carry around an aggressive mafia-esque dummy named Scarface — which became the dominant personality of the duo, ordering Wesker around and verbally abusing him (even calling him a dummy). This makes Wesker a rather Tragic Villain. His core personality is mild-mannered and does not like what Scarface is doing or the abuse Scarface heaps on him, but cannot seem to break with the idea that he and Scarface are separate individuals. In one instance, Wesker actually shoots Scarface while the dummy is still on his hand, then fails to notice that his hand is bleeding. Wesker himself (occasionally) seems to think Scarface is not an alternate personality, but a case of demonic possession.
    • The second Ventriloquist was much the same, except we were told why she'd had a mental breakdown and taken over Wesker's schtick. Unless, of course, Scarface really is the combined ghosts of all the murderers hanged on the gallows he was carved from.
    • The New 52 version of the Ventriloquist has a dummy that has drills built into its hands, making it a threat in its own right. She also has telekinesis, so it really does look like Ferdie can move under his own power.
  • DC also has a Golden Age villain called The Dummy, who is Exactly What It Says on the Tin — a magically-animated ventriloquist's dummy.
  • Yet another obscure DC villain, Danny Matthews a.k.a. "Danny the Dummy", shares the Ventriloquist's gimmick but inverts the setup. (Danny is a little person who poses as a ventriloquist's dummy, with a manniquin called "Matt" as the apparent ventriloquist.)
  • Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #67: Jimmy stands in for a dummy version of himself when the ventriloquist loses it right before the act. Afterwards, the dummy begins stalking him, planning to kill him for taking its place. The final explanation is even weirder.
  • In Zatanna, Zee clashed with a demonic dummy who turned out to be a murderer magically transformed into a puppet by her father decades earlier.
  • In The Beano, General Jumbo commands an army of toy soldiers via a wrist-mounted computer. In one annual, one of his soldiers, named Pike, gained sentience and turned evil after being outfitted with a new form of Artificial Intelligence. He controlled General Jumbo and tried to kill people before being stopped by Billy the Cat.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Providing the image for this page is Hugo from Dead of Night (1945), a puppet whose ventriloquist Maxwell Frere believes that he is genuinely alive. The psychiatrist believes he is an embodiment of Frere's Split Personality.
  • Another example is in the 1964 movie Devil Doll, which was featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The twist here is that the possessed doll itself isn't evil. Rather, the doll (named Hugo) is the hapless assistant of an evil hypnotist/ventriloquist who trapped Hugo's spirit within the doll and then killed off Hugo's human body. The doll spends most of the time under the ventriloquist's control, but eventually gains enough self-awareness to fight back and give the ventriloquist a taste of his own medicine. After he killed the ventriloquist's assistant, of course.
  • The dummy Fats from Magic. Even Hopkins reportedly thought Fats was terrifying.
    • According to the IMDB, Anthony Hopkins was allowed to take the Fats dummy home to work with between shoots. However, he wound up being so unnerved by it that he called the consulting ventriloquist in the middle of the night, threatening to throw the dummy into the canyon if someone didn't come and get it immediately. Richard Attenborough ended up going to Hopkins' house to calm him down.
    • Gary Oldman depicted Fats for a 2011 New York Times piece. Just... see for yourself.
  • Dead Silence: The ghost of a ventriloquist uses her puppets (lots and lots of puppets!) as minions to do her dirty work so that when her victims scream, she can rip out their tongues and steal their voice and then it turns out the main character's wheelchair-bound father has been dead the whole movie, his "new wife" being a perfect doll, and operating him just like a puppet.
  • Child's Play: A serial killer transfers his soul into a Good Guy doll named Chucky to avoid death after getting gunned down in a toy store.
  • Billy the Puppet, Jigsaw's dummy in the Saw films.
  • The Puppetmaster series.
  • Fletcher in the German-produced film Making Contact (released as Joey in its native Germany), who looks like the love child of Charlie McCarthy and a deranged chimpanzee and wears a monocle. Among other things, the little nightmare puppet can shoot lightning out of his eyes, psychically control other toys and open portals to what appears to be limbo. And he tends to just growl like an angry dog in lieu of speaking (although he does have a few lines).
  • Although it's not meant to be creepy, John's doll in The Miracle Woman is freaky. All those dolls are nightmare-inducing.
  • The killer in Dario Argento's Deep Red uses an animatronic dummy to distract one victim. That the dummy itself doesn't kill anyone hardly stops it from being creepy as hell.

  • The Goosebumps Night of the Living Dummy subseries and its spin-offs. The main dummy, Slappy, is the most famous of the franchise's monsters.
    • Slappy's design in the television adaptation closely resembles the description of a different dummy, Mr. Wood, the antagonist of the first Night of the Living Dummy. Slappy became an Ascended Extra in its sequels.
  • In the children's fantasy novel Fablehaven, the witch Muriel has an enchanted, living evil puppet named Mendigo, whom she uses to do her evil bidding (since she herself is bound to a specific hut). She also attempts to use him to gain the trust of the main characters by making him "dance" and "do tricks" for them, but they're all put off by how unnatural his movements are. In the second book, he does a Heel–Face Turn and becomes a servant of the good guys. He's still creepy, but he's no longer evil.
  • Parodied in Our Dumb Century, within an article about Howdy Doody. They refer to his dangling above the ground as "levitation."
  • A more savage parody of Howdy Doody, "Howdy Dooit!" was done by MAD back in its comic book days. Howdy is depicted as manipulating the kids into following the advertising (including a creepy closeup where he demands they get their moms to watch one ad), and Buffalo Bill is the real puppet. Read it here.
  • The edges of this are explored in Book of the New Sun. Baldanders is the giant simple-minded puppet to the diminutive and foxy looking Dr. Talos, and they do work the stage, but Baldanders sometimes seems out of control. Baldanders is really the demonic genius, and Dr. Talos is his own creation. The real puppet (publicly puppet master) Talos has personal attributes of loyalty and lawfulness, and the real puppet master (publicly puppet) has the demonic and unpredictable nature. They share the attribute of complete ruthlessness, so fit the trope either way you look at it.
  • Downplayed, but still substantially creepy, example from Misadventures in the Interdimensional Black Market: in a bit of a supernatural hustle, some of Madame Tarsa's wares are ventriloquist's dummies which steal your ''voice'' to speak with; you can only get it back by buying the God-forsaken thing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?: The Crimson Clown, a Monster Clown, who comes alive and grows to human size to hunt children.
  • "Bill," a character on the demented Canadian television show Puppets Who Kill, is a psychotic ventriloquist's dummy whose partners keep having unfortunate 'accidents.' Although an episode never goes by without one of the four puppets who comprise the main cast killing someone, Bill is responsible for the largest portion of the body count.
  • Angel's "Smile Time" does this with puppets on a children's show.
  • A few years before, on Angel's parent show, Buffy, Sid the Dummy from Season 1 episode The Puppet Show ends up subverting the trope. He hits all the notes to make him seem demonic for the first half of the episode... but then turns out to be a good guy, albeit of the Chivalrous Pervert kind, and allies with the heroes to bring down the real Monster of the Week.
  • The Twilight Zone:
    • The episode "The Dummy" ends with an alcoholic ventriloquist and his fed-up dummy switching places.
    • "Caesar and Me", in which the titular dummy convinces his owner to commit a burglary, lets him get arrested, then offers to team up with a creepy little girl.
  • An episode of Fantasy Island featured a female ventriloquist whose dummy came to life and threatened to pull a similar switcheroo.
  • A really strange example is the Pushing Daisies episode "Dummy", in which a man claims to have been killed by a crash test dummy. As it turns out it was a Corrupt Corporate Executive disguised as a dummy.
  • The Middleman episode "The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation" has Little Vladdie, Vlad the Impaler's favorite ventriloquist dummy. Add in a dummy for Vlad's vampire bride, an entire dummy convention, and, briefly, two dummies for the Middleman and Lacey and that's a whole lot of dummies. Fortunately, only Little Vladdie (and his bride) is evil.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Mr. Marbles, Kramer's dummy that plagues Jerry in one episode of Seinfeld.
  • A comedic version is Franklin Bluth from Arrested Development. When GOB wears it, he tends to blurt out racist and sexist comments while Franklin speaks in Jive Turkey. Franklin is often used to knock out people by dipping his lips in ether and "giving some sugar" to the victim's nose.
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents:
    • The episode "The Glass Eye". The presence of Billy Barty in the cast should give you a hint.
    • The episode "And So Died Riabouchinska", based on a short story written by Ray Bradbury and previously adapted for radio's Suspense.
  • The spoof soap opera Soap had Chuck and Bob Campbell, an almost-inseparable ventriloquist act; Bob wasn't exactly evil but could express the smartass opinions Chuck was too meek to.
  • ALF had a ventriloquist puppet in one episode, with the puppet slowly taking the dominant part of the relationship. Though it is not entirely clear how much of that was just another of ALF's stunts to get attention and have someone to shovel the blame on.
  • An episode of Tales from the Crypt about a junkie ventriloquist. His puppet was actually his conjoined twin. He uses the drugs to keep his twin sedated.
    • Subverted in another episode. The puppeteer's puppet Coco does look pretty creepy, being a clown and all, and the puppeteer honestly believes that Coco is real. He turns out to be the kind of sorta good guy that kills the real villains (the puppeteer's wife and her lover) after they cause the puppeteer to suffer a fatal heart attack. It's also implied that Coco is being possessed by the dead puppeteer himself since his new face in the end looks just like the puppeteer.
  • On an episode of Two and a Half Men, Alan took up ventriloquism. The dummy kept suggesting that they kill Charlie.
  • As Oscar of Friday The 13th: The Series said, "Murder is easy. It's comedy that's difficult."
  • In Love Soup, Alice had a weird dream in which she sees a friend of hers as a ventriloquist. When she goes to see him after the show, it turns out he is being controlled by the dummy. It gets very weird when she sleeps with the dummy, and afterwards she goes to the lifeless body of her friend and manipulates him into kissing her.
  • Conky on Trailer Park Boys. Conky is basically a puppet version of Bubbles. Bubbles has a very peculiar bond with Conky. Ricky's paranoia and subsequent plot to kill Conky is priceless. In season 8, Bubbles makes a new puppet, Bobby Turkalino, to perform a drug awareness program at a school. He then makes a puppet of Ricky for the puppet.
  • Stevil and Carlsbad, seen in the Halloween Episodes of the final two seasons of Family Matters, were evil ventriloquist dummy versions of Steve and Carl. Of course, while the show got wacky in its later years, these episodes were All Just a Dream.
  • The Collector: The Devil took this form once. The human-looking ventriloquist was his dummy.
  • One episode of the German sitcom Hausmeister Krause features an Ax-Crazy serial killer, whose Kasperle hand puppet urges him to "play Hannibal".
  • In an episode of The Slammer, a fairy brings one of Peter Kokio's puppets, Naughty Thomas, to life. Naughty Thomas proceeds to run run amok, wreaking havoc during the Freedom Show.
  • Red Dwarf gives us Mr. Flibble, an evil penguin puppet created by Rimmer's psychosis after he contracts a telekinetic holographic virus. Provides the image for Consulting Mister Puppet.
  • The opening host segment for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "The Violent Years" involves Servo replacing his usual dome with a creepy ventriloquist doll head. Poor Crow is rendered near catatonic with terror.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The chief suspect in "Belly Speaker" is the weak milquetoast type with an abrasive dummy that keeps insulting everyone.
  • In the live-action J-Drama adaptation of Death Note, Mello appears as one of these, wielded by Near. It's implied that he may be a Split Personality, where Mello represents Near's evil side, though this has yet to be confirmed.
  • The Ghost Busters once had to face "The Phantom of Vaudeville" and his ventriloquist's dummy. The dummy turned out to be the real Phantom.
  • Freaky has on in the episode "Dummy". It goes as far as turning its owner into a second doll. A poster of him can be seen flapping from a telephone pole.
  • In the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Hell, No, Dolly!" a creepy sailor puppet in 19th century New Orleans is possessed by the ghost of a serial killer. The Legends think they've stopped it, but instead the spirit moves on to the Martin Stein puppet from the previous season.

  • Doctor Steel used to have a ventriloquist dummy as part of his stage show; on the DVD with commentary of his live performance he says regarding it, "As you may already know, ventriloquist dummies, all ventriloquist dummies, are inherently evil."
  • A dummy shares a limo with Annie in the video for Eurythmics' "Love Is a Stranger." While it's a Surreal Music Video, you could read the dummy as pulling off a kind of personality switch, resulting in her robotic movements at the end of the video.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One arc of the Dutch Heinz comics sees Heinz obtain a ventriloquist dummy, Toto, which is alive just because. His favorite insult is "knakworst" ("frankfurter") and his entire goal in life seems to be to push others into as deep a hole as he can dig for them. When Heinz takes him to a bar that serves quality beer, Toto orders them beaujolais nouveau. He insults others claiming Heinz's doing, resulting in firstly a beating and secondly an arrest. In jail, Toto proceeds to accuse Heinz of multiple accounts of murder, the judge of being drunk, and the jury of being bribed. In the end, Heinz may leave, but Toto is confiscated, finding a more suitable audience for himself at the police station.
  • Monty had a job as a ventriloquist, but his dummy's offensive wisecracks had him go from there to the employment office, to negotiating rent with the landlady, to begging in the street, where the dummy warned passersby that he'd only spend any money on booze.

  • The Suspense episodes "Riabouchinska" and "Flesh Peddler".
  • The CBS show Escape did a radio adaptation of the film Dead of Night.
  • "The Rival Dummy", on Molle Mystery Theater.
    • Later adapted for television's Studio One in the '50s.

  • Destroy the Godmodder had the creepy adrenaline rush. A player summoned a dummy of themself, it then proceeded to turn life into a nightmare for PG entities until it was destroyed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! monster card Malice Doll Of Demise is a demonic dummy and is a favorite of many Fiend-Type duelists.

    Theme Parks 
  • Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream had this as its theme in 2016, with the story being that said dummies were created by a man with sinister intentions, who then had to burn his place to the ground when the authorities began to grow suspicious of him. The dummies survived the fire, and through some means came to life on their own to wreak havoc, insisting that "the show must go on".

    Video Games 
  • The first boss in Pu·Li·Ru·La is a ventriloquist with a living dummy. He and the dummy look silly enough, but as soon as the ventriloquist is beaten (and becomes a parrot again) the dummy shows a demonic face and runs off with the time key the ventriloquist was in the process of stealing. He's confronted as the second-to-last boss and goes all out on his demonic look with wild eyes, unkempt hair, and claws on both hands and feet. Upon defeat, he turns out to have been a monkey all along.
  • The first boss of Stage 2 in Night Slashers is a duo consisting of an old man with a bell and a marionette who prevent the heroes from following the carriage. The marionette walks-or-dances around as if on strings, even though there are none. He sometimes throws his head to attack, laughs maniacally, and may temporarily fall apart if hit with a special move. He burns up upon defeat.
  • An experimental gigantic Tedi from Conker's Bad Fur Day, named The Experiment, was controlled by his puppet of a little squirrel girl, named Little Girl. The puppet used to be a normal child until she was turned into a puppet.
  • Mel from Suikoden III is a puppeteer who blames her puppet "Branky" for its rude behavior and puts it through a fair amount of abuse. (She also uses it to inflict violence upon her enemies.) This is one of those rare cases where a puppeteer is actually far more disturbing than the puppet.
  • A stock Castlevania enemy since Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow features a boss that uses these marionettes in battle, as well as placing voodoo dolls in iron maidens.
  • The king of the medieval-era area in Secret of Evermore spends his time watching a bizarre puppet show. Once the hero figures out that an evil creature is manipulating him, he fights it on the stage, while the puppets join in.
  • Shadow Hearts has one sidequest per game involving these. There's also an inversion in Covenant, however; Geppetto's puppet, Cordelia, has much more mobility than any puppet should (especially since, although Geppetto uses puppet string for a weapon, she doesn't have strings), but's she actually a very sweet girl. In large part because the soul of Geppetto's late daughter has taken up residence in her, and she was a very nice girl in life.
  • Case 3 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All introduces Trilo Quist, who isn't evil, but is pushy, loud-mouthed, and argumentative. He frequently bickers with, and even punches, his meek partner Ben.
    • But let's get to the creepy part. The reason Ben and Trilo were near the crime scene was that Trilo was going to propose to Regina. The puppet was going to propose. Regina seems to think this was perfectly normal, and we never get Ben's thoughts on the subject.
  • Mr. Bear the teddy bear from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (the American version of the game, anyways); at least if we take Penny's word for it. He seems to have his own agenda, however, making Penny give tactical advice to the heroes on how to defeat her, not ratting out Will during an infiltration mission and eventually convincing Penny not to collide a plane containing all of the protagonists and herself to kill them all. And no; he never actually talks, or does anything for that matter — Penny is just Ax-Crazy and delegates half of her mind to the inner voice of Mr. Bear.
  • League of Legends has "Tibbers", the teddy bear that Annie carries around with her — and turns into a giant, demonic version of itself when she uses her ultimate ability.
  • In The World Ends with You, Shiki has an adorable cat doll she made herself, named Mr. Mew. We don't get to watch, but upon entering the Reapers' Game, she animated him via a process called psychomancy. She later tells Neku that she only uses telekinesis to throw him around and levitate him in front of Noise—the doll apparently does all the slashing to ribbons on its own. Cue an ominous shot of Mr. Mew from behind.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, the Calcabrina, a set of magically possessed dolls that belonged to the dwarf princess Luca, were definitely working this vibe.
  • The Wracky species in Monster Rancher is a wooden puppet; not only does it have a creepy stare, but in its Idle Animation, it likes to start playing with enormous sharp knives out of nowhere. One of its "secret" forms even has the appropriate name of Satan Claus.
  • In Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, the power of Psychic Ventriloquism is granted by a creepy-looking dummy known as Charlie Ho-Tep. In "Beyond the Alley of the Dolls", he turns out to be alive and the mastermind between the army of Sam clones that have been turning the city upside-down in an effort to find the Toys of Power.
  • In Brain Dead 13, one puppet on a string in the conservatory will grab Lance by the neck with its strings, choke him, and pull him up offscreen into unseen death in one death scene.
  • Undertale has the Mad Dummy, who stops you at Waterfall. They're pissed that you killed, bored, or insulted their cousin you met in the Ruins. The Mad Dummy attacks with cotton, missiles, and knives. Well, one knife. In the extended Nintendo Switch version of the game, the character becomes more of a Perverse Puppet by possessing a Mew Mew Kissy Cutie doll.
    • Spamton G. Spamton from Deltarune is a more straight example, being a long-nosed, Billy-like dummy with the personality of a deranged salesman who tries to take Kris' soul to become a "BIG SHOT". In the Weird Route he plays an important role, while in the regular Route his side quest is optional.
  • Emily Wants To Play has Chester, one of Emily's "friends", a dummy that appears in random rooms in the house. If you spot him, you have to leave the room as soon as possible or he'll kill you.
  • Niles of Fire Emblem Fates mentions to Peri in their supports that he had heard rumors about her family having an "evil murder doll" and wanted to steal it, so he snuck into her house only to find nothing. He then correctly comes to the conclusion that the cursed doll was in fact Peri herself, after mentioning how a bunch of servants had been hired then mysteriously vanished...
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary campaign, the enemies include Puppits, dummies hanging from strings that attack with Wolverine Claws.

  • Lil' Cal of Homestuck seems to epitomize this trope the moment he appears in Dave Strider's home. His creepy, jarring, glass-eyed stare is bad enough. What's worse is that he seems to move around when Dave turns his back. However, by the time Dave fights Lil' Cal, this is subverted: Lil' Cal does not move autonomously, he is puppeteered by Bro with Flash Step finesse. Just because he looks creepy does not mean he is evil. Double subverted: He is evil anyway. Lil' Cal is a Soul Jar for no less than the Big Bad himself.
    • Played straighter when Gamzee gets his hands on Lil' Cal (or maybe the other way around). Gamzee, on an Ax-Crazy murderous rampage, seems to be Consulting Mister Puppet about the slaughter and hints that it was Lil' Cal's idea. Of course, it is hard to say if Cal is speaking or Gamzee is just insane. It is equally hard to say if we are seeing Through the Eyes of Madness when Lil' Cal gives Gamzee a conspiratorial wink. This gesture is enough to scare even Gamzee.
    • Lil' Cal is not only a Soul Jar, but a Dream Walker, Time Traveler and (in a way) Reality Warper. Through a combination of dream manipulation and Stable Time Loops, Lil' Cal becomes something like The Constant throughout the kids' session of SBURB.
    • One character calls Lil' Cal a juju (a unique magical artifact of untraceable origin), and says that Cal in particular is an Artifact of Doom. He tells Cal's current owner that it would be a good idea to destroy the dummy — though given the Stable Time Loops Lil' Cal is nested in, that would not work.
  • Alluded to in a Team Fortress 2 comic where Medic explains to Demoman why he stopped trying to restore the latter's missing eye. Every time he does, the new one comes to life in a different form on Halloween, one of them being a knife-wielding ventriloquist dummy.

    Web Original 
  • And for more of the evil sock puppet variety, there is this excellent animation by Patrick Smith.
  • "Your mother plays card games in Hell!"
  • The Dummy in Ruby Quest, although it's not a ventriloquist dummy. It's made of leather, has a noose around its neck, has eyes that glow in the dark, swivels to look at the camera without any outside influence, is probably stuffed with the flesh of an Eldritch Abomination...
  • Popsicle Pete, from Seanbaby's Man Comics series, may not be a dummy, but he certainly looks like one and is certainly demonic.
  • Fewdio's February 2013 offering is "Show Me." Whether the puppet was really demonic, controlled by his wife, or just a product of a mourning father's fractured psyche is up in the air.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • The episode "Krusty Gets Kancelled" features a dummy named Gabbo that can apparently move and think independently of its "master". (Either that or said "master", ventriloquist Walter Crandall, is an eccentric who knows a lot of FX tricks.) It's really more annoying than creepy.
    • See "Treehouse of Horror III" where a Krusty doll tries to kill Homer because someone set it to evil.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has ChefBob from the episode of the same name. It seems to have a mind of its own, insulting Krusty Krab patrons in comedic ways. While they enjoy it, it's much to SpongeBob's dismay to the point where he starts to fight it. The puppet can somehow hold and fight with a spatula perfectly. While SpongeBob wins in the end and ChefBob is thrown away, it's then revealed that the puppet is still alive and has its own TV show.
  • On a more humorous note, The Tick featured The Human Ton and Handy, a barely sentient 2000 lbs. Giant Mook with a green hand puppet that appeared to have a mind of its own and bossed The Human Ton around. Not to mention that Handy was considerably smarter than his handler - and all of the other supervillains they teamed up with for that matter. Intriguingly enough, for all the verbal abuse Handy put him through, The Human Ton's immediate reaction to having Handy removed was to scream loudly and faint. Its implied that Handy is simply the personification of The Ton's split personality, similar to The Ventriloquist from Batman, as he can't move or speak on his own, and when he attempts to use the Desirovac in "Grandpa Wore Tights", it doesn't work for him, implying that he doesn't have a mind of his own.
  • From South Park, Cartman's face-painted-on-a-hand Jennifer Lopez, although it's not entirely clear how much of that was "true" and how much The Plan to trick Kyle. Although it's a little more clear that this is the case when Jennifer Lopez and her alter-ego Mitch Conner reappear in the episodes 200 and 201. There it's revealed that Mitch Conner has been to Vietnam in 1977, knows Mr. Hat personally, and knows who Cartman's real father is. But, this brings up more questions than answers, as Lopez could not have possibly done all that while attached to a fourth grader's body...
  • In My Life as a Teenage Robot, one of Dr. Wakeman's very first creations was a ventriloquist dummy with a robotic skeleton and AI named Lil' Apple. However, a falling-out over their acts led Lil' Apple to seek revenge against his creator.
  • Flippy in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius was originally just a dummy owned by Jimmy's dad. Jimmy implanted him with a chip to make Hugh a good comedian, but the plan backfired and Flippy started to absorb his dad's brainpower.
  • An episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force has a pair of murderous ventriloquist dummies, who are only capable of saying "Kill" and "Die" respectively. Any and all attempts to destroy them only result in them reappearing good as new somewhere you can't immediately see them (to the point of parachuting in if need be). They fall in love after a knife standoff.
  • Batman: The Animated Series and The Batman have both used Arnold Wesker and Scarface (see entry in Comics section). In its last appearance Arnold finally guns it down with a machine gun before it falls into a high-speed fan.
  • An episode of Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels had a ventriloquist who was also a burglar. His gimmick was convincing people that he's a dummy (being a short person and wearing a wooden mask helped), and that his (human-sized and very lifelike) dummy is the actual ventriloquist, which lead to him getting placed in compartments with other people's belongings he would steal and escape through an air vent, leaving people puzzled as to how a burglar managed to take everything without opening the compartment, and why he bothered with stealing an ordinary dummy.
  • King of the Hill: Bobby's ventriloquist dummy Chip Block is certainly perceived as such by Dale Gribble, who is horrified by the thing's very existence due to a traumatic childhood memory of receiving a copy of it for his birthday. While the rest of the episode focuses on Bobby feeling overshadowed by the dummy's attention from Hank (as Chip's persona is the All-American sports star Hank admires), in Dale's head Chip is every bit a Demonic Dummy that must be destroyed.
  • In one episode of The Smurfs (1981), Jokey is practicing a ventriloquism act for the talent show the village is having, with a dummy made to look like Gargamel. Unfortunately, after he and the others successfully flee from the real Gargamel, he drops it, and the evil wizard finds it; furious at being made fun of, he uses an incantation from a book of spells to bring it to life as an evil creature and let Jokey find it, so it can wreak havoc in the village.
  • One episode of Total Drama features Vito chained up in Mike's mind, doing a ventriloquist act with a dummy. Mike, Svetlana and Chester want him to come with them to help them stop Mal from causing trouble as Mike, at which point the dummy appears to come alive and tells them that they can't stop Mal. Mal gave jobs to all of Mike's personalities, so the dummy coming to life is actually Mal's way of talking to Mike and his other personalities.
  • In the Back at the Barnyard episode "Dummy and Dummier", Freddy gets a dummy that begins terrorizing the other barn animals and leaving them to assume Freddy was doing it. As it turns out, the dummy was being controlled by the termites that were living in the tree the dummy was carved from and they were taking revenge for their tree being cut down.
  • An episode of Uncle Grandpa had Mr. Gus taking up ventriloquism and his dummy being brought to life with an Applied Phlebotinum before plotting to kill him.
  • In the American Dad! episode "The Talented Mr. Dingleberry", Roger pretends to be a ventriloquist dummy (or a manually-articulated performative kinesio-maquette, as he refers to himself) to help Steve for the school talent show, but when he's driven insane by the makeup he used being contaminated, he starts eliminating Steve's competition and later attempts to murder Snot.
  • Alluded to in Disenchantment: a Dreamland shop can be seen selling ventriloquist dummies, with advertisements reading "Haunted!," "Creepy!" and "Unpleasant!"
  • Big City Greens: In the episode "Hiya Henry", Tilly finds Gramma's old ventriloquist dummy Hiya Henry, and Cricket is completely and utterly freaked out by it.

    Real Life 
  • Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab acknowledges that people suffer Primal Fear. They have an entire line of fragrances called Monsterbait. One of these is Monsterbait: Ventriloquist Dummy.
  • Jeff Dunham is such a skilled performer that some of his livelier dummies seem to be their own entities (even, occasionally, when obviously being manipulated by Jeff, like when he reaches over to adjust the set of a foot). The most apparent case, Peanut, isn't evil and isn't as pushy as Trilo, but is decidedly weird and gets right up in Jeff's face a lot. Also, he and Jose the Jalapeno (onna Steek) tend to converse in Spanish, which Jeff claims he can't speak. Jose acknowledges this with a long, slow look at Jeff and the Twilight Zone theme. Dunham's puppets are a rare aversion to this trope, however: Whether the viewer finds them funny or not depends, but only the most timorous of weenies would find any of them scary.
    • Adding to the Nightmare Fuel is a short rant by Peanut (apparently ad-libbed by Dunham) during a stage show. The jokes were derived from a supposed argument between puppet and puppeteer, but Peanut then calmly explains to the audience that Jeff really does hate him, and would like to kill him, but can't because "that would be a form of suicide."
    • Career. He's referring to Dunham's career.
  • David Strassman uses a remote-controlled dummy to often disturbing effect.
  • Kevin Murphy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 admitted in an interview that he once took his puppet Tom Servo home with him. While he doesn't describe what happened, Murphy did mention that things started turning into the Anthony Hopkins film Magic and both he and his wife agreed that Tom shouldn't come home again.

Nice ventriloquist dummies:

  • One ad starring Budget Direct's Captain Risky shows him sharing his car with various persons that aren't advisable picks for driving. In order, they're a ventriloquist dummy, a young pizza delivery guy, an elderly lady too short for the steering wheel, and a bear.
  • A DirectTV Genie ad consists of comparisons that lead to Cutaway Gags. The first is "Cable's more irritating than...", which is followed by a ventriloquist dummy on a plane that annoys the other passengers with its mad laughter.
  • In a 1984 McDonald's ad, the dummy Lester gets angry at his partner Willie Tyler for not ordering a burger for him or otherwise sharing the one he bought for himself. He heads off to get his own burger, leaving Tyler behind in stunned silence.
  • One Slice It's Orange, Only Twisted ad features a ventriloquist, Leonard, having a hard time entertaining the audience. It ends with him knocking on his dummy, Rocco, and calling him a blockhead. The audience calls him out for bullying, because all of them are ventriloquist dummies.
  • A ventriloquist dummy, Gary, is among the monster cast of the [Competitor] Bad. Spectrum Good. commercials. He's rude but honest and like all the other monsters hates poor television and internet service.
  • In 2006, Sprint ran a commercial in which a ventriloquist comes home to his dummy berating him for missing out on a gig because he couldn't contact him. The ventriloquist resolves to switch over to Sprint, prompting the dummy to say that he's finally in control of something.
  • The 2016 ad "Benny & Lenny" by Great Clips starts with the dummy Lenny waking up alone on a stage in front of empty seats. He calls out for his partner, Benny, but Benny is nowhere to be found. Desperate yet determined, Lenny goes looking for him and finds him at Great Clips having just had his haircut. As the duo's look has always incorporated the both of them having an afro, Lenny faints upon realizing their act is over.
  • In the ad "Night Terrors" by Progressive Insurance, a man representing the competition has a nightmare about an ad featuring a live ventriloquist dummy, Kevin. He wakes up to realize it's a real ad and he tells the very dummy in it, who sleeps in the bunk bed above him, that he freaks him out.

    Comic Books 
  • In "The Dummy", published in Misty #4, Rhoda's father neglects her in favor of his ventriloquism act with the dummies Bertie and Samantha. Rhoda wishes he'd love her as much as he does the dummies, which leads to a dream in which she herself is a dummy, aware but powerless. She awakens screaming, prompting her father to rush to her because he had the exact same dream and has realized he needs to be a better father. Although neither Bertie nor Samantha are necessarily alive in the story, Bertie serves as the Horror Host, introducing the tale and winking in at the audience in the final panel.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the 2014-02-17 strip of Mother Goose and Grimm, a ventriloquist reading his morning newspaper is told by his dummy that the dummy's lips move when the ventriloquist reads.

  • Rocky from "Night of the Living Dummy III" of Goosebumps is brought to life to save Slappy's new owners from him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the contestants in Season 2 of The Masked Singer Australia is a Puppet. While he is portrayed as creepy, he means no harm and likes putting on a show for the audience. Doubly so when his identity is revealed to be Simon Price, one of the members of the new version of The Wiggles.
  • Rocky from "Night of the Living Dummy III" from Goosebumps is brought to life to be Slappy's servant. He is obedient until Trina and Dan remind him that he's family, upon which he turns against Slappy and "kills" him. Because Slappy gave him life, this means that Rocky goes back to being a regular doll.
  • In a guest star parody of Shari Lewis and her puppet Lamb Chope, "LambChops on the Menu" of The Nanny portrays Lamb Chop as able to act independently. She's a man-hungry diva who maltreats Shari.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Puppet Show", people are getting murdered around the school. One of Buffy's classmates, Morgan, is caught yelling at his dummy, Sid, in a way that implies that Sid is alive and murderous. Sid later attacks Buffy, but it turns out that the dummy is inhabited by the ghost of a demon hunter and that he thought Buffy was the one killing the other students.
  • What a Dummy stars Buzz, a living ventriloquist's dummy that lives with the Brannigan family after they inherited him from a (great) uncle. Buzz had been locked in a trunk for 50 years and started out cranky about that, but he quickly takes a liking to the family, even if his sarcasm doesn't always show it.

    Music Videos 
  • In "Sans Contrefaçon" by Mylene Farmer, a ventriloquist loses his home and takes his dummy along in search of a new one. They come across a circus of which one member steals the dummy and brings it to life. The ventriloquist finds them and, while the living dummy at first is frightened, they quickly recognize their former owner. However, by choosing him over the thief, the magic sustaining the dummy cannot last and they turn back to their old self, much to the despair of the ventriloquist.
  • In Once by Two Door Cinema Club, the band members are all second hat to their own ventriloquist dummies. The dummies get all of the credit for singing and performing and are the ones attended to by groupies, press, and the backstage crew. Eventually, the band members have enough and attempt murder several times before cutting off their own hands to be rid of the dummies.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The Far Side does an inversion in one strip, where a man washes up on a, well, "Far Side" Island, which is already inhabited by a crazed-looking man and his non-threatening dummy. The man tries to act friendly, while the dummy immediately warns the newcomer his 'partner' will kill and eat him the first chance he gets.

    Video Games 
  • Mr. Mime from Pokémon invokes this by having a recessed jaw and obvious joints.
  • The Jackbox Party Pack: One of the romance-seeking creatures in "Monster Seeking Monster" is the Ventriloquist Puppet (played by Billy O'Brian from You Don't Know Jack). His power is to get a bonus heart from dating other players who were rejected the previous night (because "sad people love puppets").

    Web Animation 
  • It's ambiguous what is going on in The Ventriloquist by Stefan Wernik and Jason J. Cohn, but it involves a wooden dummy that is alive and a human that may not be. The dummy lets her partner Ingrid have all the fame, but decides to standup for herself when she realizes just how ridiculous the situation is. Unfortunately, her agent thinks it's a new act in which Ingrid doesn't even have to be near the doll to handle it. The dummy just lets it be.


    Western Animation 
  • Dummy Girl of Casper's Scare School is a living doll who by size and behavior could be a ventriloquist dummy, but by the string on her back also could be a talking doll. She's a member of Thatch's gang and has a requited crush on Slither.
  • Mr. Hat from South Park fills the split personality role by becoming terribly jealous when Mr. Garrison leaves him behind. He also occasionally ventures off on his own, one time attempting to kill a celebrity for a perceived slight. He was briefly replaced by Mr. Twig, who served the same purpose.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Demonic Dummies



As a side-effect from Jimmy's invention, Hugh's dummy ends up taking control of his brain.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / DemonicDummy

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