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Perverse Puppet

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This doll is killer.

"How evil can a doll be, anyway?"

A Sister Trope of Creepy Doll, Killer Teddy Bear, Demonic Dummy, Murderous Mannequin, and the evil version of Living Toys.

Dolls, marionettes, and puppets that are either possessed by a bigger evil like demons or ghosts, or alive with a murderous streak, mindlessly attacking anything in sight.

In Video Games, they usually appear as the Big Bad's basic Cannon Fodder army or just lesser enemies that just get into the heroes' path and are dispatched without much effort. In other media, they may be featured as the main antagonist.

Though to be clear, not all puppets are perverse. There are pleasant puppets that are nice or just try to go about their day.

See Evil Puppeteer for cases where the one controlling the puppets is evil. Not to be confused with Bro Strider's lucrative puppet pornography business.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Drocell Cainz, in the anime of Black Butler. Complete with strings, Marionette Motion, and a good helping of Creepy Circus Music.
  • Digimon:
    • Puppetmon is one of the four Dark Masters and is essentially a fully autonomous marionette.
    • There's an entire family of puppet digimons in the verse. Interestingly enough, almost all of them are classified as viruses.
  • The Dollies of Dolly Kill Kill
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has D'bo/Divo the Cursed. His stand, Ebony Devil, is essentially a possessed doll.
  • In the Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection short story "Marionette Mansion", a trade puppeteer decides that it's the puppets who decide what to do, and they control the puppeteer so they can do whatever they want. He then decides to take advantage of this with his magic puppet Jean-Pierre. It ends predictably horribly.
  • Anju from Karin always carries an animated puppet with a meat cleaver.
  • Yuji Yata from the manga The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service claims to use his sock puppet to channel a snarky, foul-mouthed alien who answers to the name Kere Ellis.
  • Akatsuki member Sasori from Naruto creates puppets out of people, and uses them in battle. He later turned himself into a living puppet.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Chachamaru Zero, a.k.a. Chachazero, who at least has a decently strong sense of free will above mere "puppet". That scale of free will just happens to be on the line between grimly humorous and psychotic. Fortunately, she's not able to move under her own power unless there's a great deal of magic in the air or she's getting supplied by Eva. Interestingly enough, there are real toy versions of her in the magic world, as seen during Setsuna and Konoka's most definitely not a date.
  • Somewhere in the Japan of Ranma ½, there exists an inn famous for its haunted doll. After Ranma breaks it accidentally and reassembles it, its spirit possesses Akane, switching places with her so that Ranma's fiance is turned into a living, silent doll. Meanwhile, the original spirit plots to kill Ranma using her body.
  • One episode of Slayers NEXT has the gang check out a tower supposedly occupied by a mad, misanthropic toymaker in order to search for a Claire Bible Manuscript, finding it full of animate and hostile dolls and puppets, all while being menaced by a creepy man in a jester's outfit carrying a strange doll. It turns out that the "man" is actually another puppet, being controlled by the real demon: the doll that "he" appears to be carrying around.
  • Lord Kuruku from Unico in the Island of Magic was originally an ordinary puppet that was mistreated and discarded by his owners, and was brought to life by his hatred and desire for revenge. When Unico defeats him with The Power of Love, he turns back into an ordinary puppet.
  • In the fifteenth chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the penalty game inflicted on the Puppeteer is a hallucination in which he is attacked by a puppet resembling himself.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Always Visible: Galbraith's nightmare mentions a wooden dummy of Schaeymoure, which doctor Baselard made in order to simulate communication with the mister chief inspector (and ultimately blow off his head).
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Zarekos compares Ami's use of golems and golem-derivative constructs to playing with dolls. What's worse: Alphel is attempting to reverse-engineer the Super Prototype stolen from Ami by the Dark God Azzaratha. Alphel intends to power said armor with hundreds of tortured ghosts.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The titular Black Devil Doll From Hell from the film by Chester Novell Turner (and its remake).
  • Chucky from the Child's Play series is a Serial Killer whose spirit winds up in a doll and proceeds to go on a killing spree. Even though he dies in every film he stars in, and his daughter Glenda is worse, though his son Glen has a good heart.
  • Annabelle from The Conjuring would be terrifying even as a Creepy Doll. Being the conduit for an evil spirit makes her a powerful and malevolent foe, although she isn't related to the main haunting in the story.
  • Billy and the other puppets from Dead Silence.
  • Subverted in The Devil-Doll, in which the pocket-sized assassins are actually miniaturized humans, not dolls.
  • The Asian horror film The Doll Master.
  • The antagonist of Dolly Dearest, the 1991 Gender Flip Mock Buster of Child's Play.
  • Perchta the Cherub from Krampus is one of Krampus' evil minions: an extremely creepy Living Toy in the form of a demonic-looking cherub doll. Made even creepier by the fact that it appears to be molting.
  • M3GAN centers around a case of this that also happens to be a robot, meaning its evilness starts with its AI taking the wrong decisions.
  • Freddy Krueger appears as one in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors by manifesting himself through a marionette doll.
  • Mashenka, a One-Scene Wonder from Night Watch and a Wicked Witch's familiar. Normally disguised as a mildly eerie-looking but harmless doll, Mashenka can sprout a set of sharp metallic spider legs on the witch's command.
  • The titular puppet Possum. Despite the name, it is more akin to a human head on a giant spider's body. Across the film, it harasses its creator Philip. Worse is that Possum is just a coping mechanism for the sexual abuse Philip suffered under his uncle Maurice.
  • The Puppet Master film series of course.
  • The little girl's doll in the J-horror film Reincarnation (2005) (aka Rinne).
  • Billy and Mr. Snuggles in SAW.
  • In The Theatre Bizarre, the host of the theatre, Peg Poett, is either a human-sized self-animated puppet, or human made up to appear to be a giant puppet. Either way, he is creepy as hell (being played by Udo Kier helps), and at the end of the film he transforms Enola into a giant puppet and puts her into a trunk.
  • In The Wiz Dorothy and her companions get in trouble when they arrive to a Sinister Subway, with the opening horror being a peddler with two tiny bouncy dolls that start moving on their own before attacking them after growing giant.

  • One of the urban legends in Japan is about Mary-san, a French doll. 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.

  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Nightmares: Mr. Punkerino in Give a Puppet a Hand, an obnoxious living puppet who takes over the hand of whomever wants him, and can't be removed until someone else asks for him. Jeremy still feels sorry for him when he ends up on the hand of one of the meanest people Jeremy knows.
  • Book 8 of The Dresden Files has a thinly-veiled Chucky parody named "Bucky the Murder Doll." It promptly gets its ass kicked. As Harry remarks, "Personally, I can't see how anyone could find that thing scary."
  • Extra Normal has Miss Sinister. Downplayed in that she's more cursed/annoying than evil. Charlie's mother absolutely adores her. The family treats her as more of a rambunctious pet than anything, as she regularly bites people, steals things, and when the family orders pizza she likes to take the anchovies and hide them behind the couch.
  • In The Girl from the Well, ghosts are often bound into dolls to render them harmless until they can be exorcised. However, The Suffering opens with some amateurs who did the ritual improperly, resulting in it becoming a dangerous killer doll until Tark can finish the job.
  • Slappy the dummy from Goosebumps.
  • In Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages by Dean Koontz, the evil toys are led by a pair of wicked marionettes.
  • Point Horror Unleashed has a whole host of these in The Carver with them sneaking into the protagonist's house from the nearby copse. Turns out they're being carved by a homeless boy who's being controlled by them.
  • The African Zuni warrior doll in Richard Matheson's short story "Prey". Memorably adapted as part of the made-for-TV film Trilogy of Terror with Karen Black in the '70s.
  • Marianne from Shakugan no Shana, servant of Friagne and Shana's first major opponent.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead gives us 'Ashy Slashy', an insane asylum therapy puppet who is not only perverse, but utterly insane and bloodthirsty as well — which is to be expected given the amount of demonic possession going around in the series.
  • The Crimson Clown in Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Bonus points for being a Monster Clown, as well.
  • One episode of Charmed, in which Piper contracted an obscure deadly illness, showed how using the sisters' powers for personal gain could backfire: the spell which removes her fever also places it in the body of a ninja doll...which then animates and runs around the hospital, infecting everyone it can with its little katana.
  • Referenced in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend when Rebecca sings a song about hating her mother less, and apparently this trope is an upgrade for her:
    Rebecca: Maybe old age has tamed this witch and made her a doll!
    Backup singers: But like one of those evil, haunted dolls.
  • "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", a classic Doctor Who story, had an evil puppet controlled by Magnus Greel.
  • In a Halloween Episode of Family Matters, there was an evil puppet-Steve named Stevil who wanted to steal Urkel's soul. Next year, Stevil returned, with a new one based on Carl — named Carlsbad.
  • Friday the 13th: The Series had two: the china doll Vita and Oscar the ventriloquist's dummy (the latter animated by a silk boutonniere).
  • One of Legends of Tomorrow's recurring villains was the ghost of a serial killer who posessed a puppet modelled on Martin Stein.
  • Night Gallery episode "The Doll". A British Army officer must deal with a murderous doll sent by an old enemy.
  • A character in the miniseries version of The Tommyknockers is killed when her doll collection animates and attacks her.
  • Rex from Victorious might be an example of this, as the series does hint he might have a personality all of his own. He does encourage his puppeteer, Robbie, to do morally questionable things. In addition, he's been show to do bad things on his own initiative.

    Music Videos 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show: In the episode with Señor Wences, Fozzie decides to do an act with a dancing clown marionette. He's thrilled with the feeling of power that controlling the Clown gives him. The Clown, though, quickly tires of this and pulls Fozzie down by the strings. The next time we see them, Fozzie is the one with the strings and the Clown is the one controlling him, echoing Fozzie's line about the feeling of power.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Blackbirds RPG: Fliberdijiberit is an Outsider who appears as a clown-like hand puppet in the likeness of whoever's hand he appears on, and as a member of the Court of Joy his ultimate goal is to drive everyone to madness where they are no longer able to distinguish truth from figment.
  • The Death Puppets of Duel Masters are an entire race of these, who feature in the Hidden Arsenal storyline.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dragonlance has kani dolls, simple figurines of people or animals made by rustic folk across Krynn. They're meant to be good-luck charms that enhance an ability associated with their shape - rabbit-shaped dolls are associated with speed, lions with courage, turtles with defense, etc. - and some have indeed been enchanted by hedge mages to grant a tangible stat bonus to their young owners, and give them a protection from evil effect when their child sleeps at night. But about one in ten kani dolls ends up possessed by an evil spirit, becoming animate, murderous monsters whose bites drain the associated ability from their victims. Other evil kani dolls are created on purpose, and enchanted to animate a set time after being gifted to someone.
    • The Ravenloft setting gives us the doll golem, which looks like a child's doll but can serve as a hidden guardian... or assassin. Another creature is the "carrionette," malevolent, self-aware marionette puppets that can use magical needles to trade bodies with living people so they can enjoy being flesh and blood. They only associate with other monsters in return for the prospect of being given a victim to take for their own. The most dangerous of these is Maligno, the darklord of Odiere.
  • Then there's this little gem, from Exalted:
    The Scripture of the Maiden on the Shelf:
    ''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.
  • One monster appearing in Grave Robbers from Outer Space is "Killer Toys."
    ''It's a doll. Why don't we just kick it across the room?"
    "We can DO that?"
  • The Mutants & Masterminds META-4 universe (the default universe for 1E) had Gepetto, a psycho who could both animate puppets to make them murderous and use mind control to create People Puppets (who exhibited little glowing strings hanging from midair, controlling their motions). He's a somewhat tragic case in that the event which led to his power breakthrough also burnt down the orphanage he ran. In his mind, he's just trying to bring the children back.

    Video Games 
  • The boss of Level 3-3 of Apidya is a discarded, naked, straw-filled doll. There's no reason given why she's alive, but she's one of several objects that are. She has laser eyes, a hand on a spring, and a spit attack.
  • Arcana Heart has Elfriede, Lieselotte's dead sister who possesses a legless marionette that Lieselotte carries around, giving it glowing eyes and an appearance that evokes the image of a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl as it crawls around on the floor with its long-read hair splayed all over its face, trying to claw at Liese's opponent while shrieking and cackling.
  • There are nine flavors of marionettes of Asheron's Call: the default Marionette, the Dark Marionette, the Mad Star Marionette, the Cursed Marionette, the Damned Marionette, the Fallen Marionette, the Malignant Marionette, and the special mobs the Puppeteer and Yaja the Shepherd. Marionettes are magic-using constructs that appeared in Dereth in Portal Year 12. They are suggested to be linked to the Virindi.
  • Fantoccio of Billie Bust Up! is a marionette who also controls two giant floating marionette hands to turn others into marionetted with. Fantoccio was magically brought to life, but shortly after locked away in his theatre for a good 15 years.
  • There's a marionette in the conservatory in Brain Dead 13 that tries to strangle Lance with his strings. If Lance escapes him, the marionette gets tangled up in them instead.
  • Castlevania has two kinds of perverse puppets:
    • Haunted French dolls are introduced in Castlevania Chronicles. They either act on their own, floating around and being evil, or they're under the control of the Puppet Master. The Puppet Master can make more French dolls on the spot, giving the advantage of numbers.
    • Marionettes, later known as killer dolls, debuted in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. They also float and predominantly attack by body-slamming into their target.
  • The indie found footage-style horror game, The Classrooms, where you explore an abandoned school trying to find out the truth behind the disappearance of several students. Turns out the school is haunted by a living marionette where you spend the entire game trying to avoid and survive the night, only to be eventually chased into the loo and cornered by the killer doll. Then the game ends.
  • The Magic Dolls in Tecmo's Deception, which can fire laser-like beams at you from a distance.
  • Deltarune: Spamton G. Spamton is a small Billy-esque fellow who's been driven to complete madness by...someone. His Establishing Character Moment sees him hop out of a dumpster, ranting about how his life's fallen apart, then attack Kris in an attempt to force them into some sort of "deal" that involves stealing their SOUL. All of the items he sells in his shop are either garbage or outright harmful. The puppet-ness gets amped up a lot once he gets his NEO body, which is basically a garishly-colored version of Mettaton NEO hung up by several wires. He appears to be an actual puppet to someone as well, heavily implied to be the same person who drove them to madness, as most references to "LOVE" or a "SOUL" are replaced with "[Hyperlink Blocked.]", and he's blasted by one of his own attacks once he tries to ask Kris if they want to be something more. He takes an outright malevolent stance in the Weird Route, where he enables you to keep pushing Noelle to become a killer by selling you the ThornRing, then seizes Queen's castle after Noelle freezes Berdly with SnowGrave.
  • The Marionettes and the Fetishes from the first Devil May Cry are lesser demons that inhabit puppets to exist in a physical state. The Marionettes inhabit human-made marionettes dressed in medieval-style clothing and fight with scythes, knives, darts, and sometimes even shotguns. The Fetishes inhabit demon-made dolls, breathe fire, and are stronger than the Marionettes.
  • Dragon Quest has a monster known (at least in one translation) as Puppetor. It serves as a boss monster (and potential party member) in Dragon Quest Monsters 2. There's also puppet rope, a puppet made of rope.
  • The Smilin' Sam and Handsome Tom enemies from EarthBound (1994) are hostile marionettes.
  • Final Fantasy IV has
    • Calca/Calco, Brina/Brena and their "fused" form Calcabrina/Calcobrena. Controlled by Golbez, the dolls attacked Cecil and Co. when they tried to retrieve the Earth Crystal. They even have their own musical theme called "Dancing Calcabrina".
    • For Rydia's chapter of the sequel, Calca and Brina are part of Rydia's party, and they're far less demonic-looking and scary, and they're pretty helpful, to boot. Makes you want to find the way to avert them being Killed Off for Real.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 2:
    • Taking Foxy's torch as Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer is a creepy, black and white puppet thing that hands out prizes to the children, called simply the Marionette or the Puppet. It leaves you alone so long as its music box is playing; should it run down, brace for a scare. And just to make things worse, several death screen minigames imply it's the true Big Bad of the series. However, the third game shows that he's actually the closest thing the series has to a Big Good.
    • And of course there's also the other nine or ten murderous animatronics.
  • Frenzy! have a Toy Time level, "Splinter Wonderland" whose boss includes a giant puppet mecha dangling on strings.
  • Kabuki Rocks: Douke Kugutsu are enemies first encountered in the Mosaic Cave on Awa. They are dressed as jesters.
  • Kingdom Hearts III introduces the emblem heartless known as the marionette. It's a heartless that resembles a dark cloud carrying a ring from which a button-heavy marionette hangs. They take control of the toys at Galaxy Toys, notably the nearly child-sized Angelic Amber doll.
  • Metal Gear has two examples of perverse puppets:
  • The Wracky species from Monster Rancher 2. The best breed of Wracky can be summed up perfectly by its name: Satan Claus.
  • 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.
  • Dancer Marionette and Father Marionette are the two companions of Simeon during his boss fight at the Everhold Amphitheatre in Octopath Traveler.
  • The Pokémon Banette is apparently a toy brought to life by its grudge of being thrown away. It actively seeks out its old owner.
  • 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.
  • Marionetta is the guardian form of Dolce in Rune Factory 4. She's a marionette who resides in the Obsidian Mansion. In battle, she throws cards, locks the player in a box and pierces them with swords, throws furniture, and kicks a lot.
  • Secret of Evermore had two marionettes, Mephista and Old Nick, who at first were merely corruptive influences on the King of Ebon Keep by keeping him hypnotized and watching their show endlessly while the false Queen ran the show. Later, they become possessed by a monster named Mungola and proceed to become a boss fight. Extra points because "Mephisto" (Mephista is a female doll) and "Old Nick" are both pseudonyms for Satan.
  • The first boss of SRPG Shining Force is a marionette left by Wicked Witch Mishaela in the Circus at Rindo. Not only that, but the other monsters you face in said big top also include mannequins, spell-casting puppets and knife-wielding clowns.
  • Slashout have an evil puppet called a "Marionette" as the second boss. It's appropriately fought inside a haunted mansion.
  • Demon lord Nebiros of the Shin Megami Tensei series carries one. Pulling its strings is how he activates his magic, either damaging spells or summoning undead.
  • Spiritual Assassin Taromaru have a sentient Karakuri puppet as one of the many Boss Bonanza foes in the final stage. She's built into a wall and attacks either by lashing out with her limbs or using projectiles, but dealing damage will actually make her bleed. And when her body is destroyed, the Karakuri then detaches her head to continue the fight.
  • Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion: Specimen 6, the toymaker. As long as he's being watched, he can't move aside from turning his head to look at you, but like the Weeping Angels he moves very quickly while your back is turned. If he catches you and depletes your health, he'll make you one of his puppets in the game over.
  • Super Mario RPG features two perverse puppets as regular enemies: Remo Con in Booster's Tower and Puppox in Smithy's Factory. But it also has a pleasant puppet in Geno, a celestial being animating the body of a child's toy, as one of the heroes in your party.
  • The "Puppit" enemies in the Subspace Emissary mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Their description just makes them creepier.
    A marionette enemy, suspended from above by piano strings. A Puppit proves vicious with long, sharp claws and a mysterious beam emitted from its eyes. You would think, based on the exterior wood pattern, that it's made of wood, but no one is sure. More importantly, who is the one manipulating those piano strings?! What an enemy! Mystery abounds!
  • The final puzzle in We Were Here requires a story to be played out with the props available in a theatre haunted by a marionette. Said marionette will steadily get closer and the story needs to be finished before the marionette comes too close and it will fatally finish the scene for you.
  • The Quicksilvers and Shriekers from Vagrant Story are knife-wielding string marionettes possessed by the souls of children that died to wars or diseases.
  • Killer doll enemies in Zombies Ate My Neighbors that throw hatchets at you. Sometimes when you kill them you have to fight their burning remains, which are faster.

    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.
      • One of the toys collected in the Demon Tsukuyomi case is a girlish doll with a chilling, high-pitched laugh.

    Web Animation 

  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
    • Reynardine from is a body-snatcher who spends most of the story trapped in a stuffed wolf doll.
    • Chapter 43 introduces Hetty, an animated porcelain doll and Renard's acquaintance, who bears an inexplicable grudge against her owner, a young boy named Adam. She quickly goes from slightly creepy to absolutely terrifying.
  • Homestuck: Lil' Cal is a marionette that seems to move and fight on its own, and seems to have a will of its own. Cal lurks in Dave Strider's nightmares. It turns out that Cal is a vessel that grows into Lord English, a terrifying demon and the Big Bad of the series. Certain iterations of Cal literally contain English's soul and have hypnotized people into acts of violence. The subtle influence of the bad version of Cal may have promoted Beta!Bro Strider's abusive tendencies.
  • In Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki, the norse god Loki walks the earth in the body of a small plush cat.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In the American Dad! episode "The Talented Mr. Dingleberry", Roger poses as a ventriloquist dummy to help Steve win the school talent show. Of course, Roger lets his persona go wild that he ends up killing most of Steve's expendable opponents until Steve manages to save Snot from drowning in his water cage trick that Roger shut its door of escape with a broom. Roger later says the mascara cream was what drove him crazy.
  • In an episode of Darkwing Duck called "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", the evil spirit Paddywhack possesses Quackerjack's doll, Mr. Banana Brain. As he causes trouble alongside the demented toymaker, who fails to realize his doll is possessed, Paddywhack grows, feeding from the negative emotions around himself.
  • In the GrojBand episode "No Strings Attached", Trina recalls being terrorized by three puppets — two marionettes and one dolly — in a toy store when she was little. It is left unanswered whether the puppets were truly alive or if someone was messing with her.
  • Yokie on Jimmy Two-Shoes, after Jimmy accidentally reprograms it to be evil.
  • Johnny Bravo did a parody of the Twilight Zone episode with "Little Talky Tabitha!".
  • In the Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama, Drakken's world conquest plot involves mass marketing tiny toy puppets called Diablos, who turn into gigantic killing robots. There's a hilariously bizarre scene at the end when they are stopped and revert to their (arguably) cute puppet selves where a young girl who had just been menaced by one grabs the puppet joyfully as her mother looks on with disbelief.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "Treehouse of Horror III", Homer buys a Krusty the Clown doll that turns out to be evil. And parodied, the reason its evil is because it's set on "Evil Mode" and not "Good Mode". They solve the problem by calling the company.
    • Also on The Simpsons, the fictional movie The Redeadening featured one of these.
    • And the doll Funzo, which destroys other toys. (It was programmed to do that, however, and has no will of its own.)
  • Mr. Hat, Mr./Miss/Mr. Garrison's constant companion from South Park, is often hinted to be this. Though he is never shown to actually move by himself, he breaks Garrison and Chef out of Jail, and even disappears, ostensibly to attend a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, when Garrison turns his back.
  • Strange Hill High: In "Mitchell Junior", the robot baby Mitchell gets in his Egg Sitting assignment turns out to be demon possessed.
  • The origins of the Puppet King in the Teen Titans (2003) episode "Switched" are unknown, but he harnessed incredibly potent sorcery, and planned to commit Grand Theft Me on all five of the heroes by sucking their souls out and trapping them in matching puppet figures, then obliterating said puppets to keep their bodies permanently. Why? They never actually figured that out. He nearly got away with it, too, as he managed to possess Robin, Beast Boy, and Cyborg; the only reason he failed was Raven's desperately casting a spell just before the soul-sucking machine hit her and Starfire, which allowed the two girls to escape and save the others. Even better, while the Puppet King was one of the army of villains recruited into the Brotherhood of Evil in the penultimate storyline and was defeated along with the rest, he was not among the ones who was frozen, suggesting he might have escaped.

Examples of nice puppets

    Anime & Manga 
  • Pucchan from Best Student Council is a possessed puppet with supernatural powers.
  • In One Piece, Thunder Soldier is a toy soldier who attacks with lethal force. He targets only those who had conquered his homeland of Dressrosa as the country's Vigilante Man. Inside of Thunder Soldier is the soul of Kyros, a former street thug the king personally raised and trained and thus feels incredible gratitute for the king and his country.
  • Rozen Maiden: A Rozen Maiden is a female, ball-jointed doll created by the dollmaker and alchemist Rozen to replace his dead daughter Alice. The Rozen Maidens are brought to life with a Rosa Mystica and, as none live up to Alice, are made to fight each other for their Rosa Mysticae in order to become the perfect girl.
  • Hinano of Trouble Chocolate is a tree spirit who possesses the body of a wooden puppet after a magic spell goes awry. She gets romantically involved with Cacao, the one who did the spell.
  • In Vampire Princess Miyu, Ranka utilizes her Razor Floss to move around the mannequins she collects (which once were human students), using them as shields. Larva hits one of them accidentally and it bleeds and screams silently, to Miyu's horror.

  • The Marionette Queen of The Haunted House: The Secret of the Ghost Ball is a woman who died and whose soul go trapped in her music box as the head ballerina, a wooden marionette. She abducts other women to complete the music box's number of dancers. While initially violent, she only wishes to move on. The protagonists help her out by completing the number of dancers required.

    Comic Books 
  • In one issue of Season 8 of Buffy, Dawn is turned into a porcelain doll. She's surrounded by other, living dolls, but they were made that way rather than being possessed. They're a bit unhinged, but okay folk.
  • "Voice of Vengeance", published in Ghosts #13, features the Giovanni Family. They are a beloved group of marionette performers not only because they are entertaining but because they also somehow always know what's going on wherever they visit. With this noted seer aspect, one day they accuse a banker of theft and to avenge himself he damages Signor Giovanni's vocal cords. Yet the next day, his marionette talks and tells the audience what the banker did. The banker destroys the marionettes in rage before his arrest, but is left bewildered just who was speaking for Signor Giovanni's marionette.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The cast of Strings (2004) are marionettes, who know they're marionettes and who view their unseen handlers as gods. Their strings are called their life lines and execution or murder happens by cutting those.

  • Pinocchio of The Adventures of Pinocchio is a wooden puppet who was alive even before being carved into his current form by Gepetto. This isn't anything unusual in the setting and Pinocchio does meet other living puppets at the Great Marionette Theater. Five of them are identified: Harlequin, Pulcinella, Signora Rosaura, and two officers, and the lot of the is owned by Mangiafuoco. Mangiafuoco captures Pinocchio after his presence at the theater causes problems and intends to burn him to cook his meal, which is something he's implied to do regularly to his puppets. Pinocchio successfully pleads his case, but volunteers to burn when Mangiafuoco says that Harlequin then has to die. The puppeteer is moved and spares everyone.
  • Fablehaven's first book has Mendigo, a human sized lumberjack animated by the power of a demon working for the villain. However during the second book when he is released again some faeries change his loyalty to the heroes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Puppet Show", the puppet we are led to believe is evil actually turns out to be a good guy.
  • Howdy Doody and a number of other marionettes are alive in Howdy Doody.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of The Nanny which featured special guest stars Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. The episode depicted Lamb Chop as an entirely separate entity from Shari who bossed her around, apparently controlled their company ("Don't forget who owns fifty-two percent!"), and had a less-than-age-appropriate crush on Maxwell. At the end of the episode, Maxwell offers to have a private meeting with the pair. Fran and C.C. are promptly kicked out of the office...and a few seconds later, Shari is, too.
  • Talky Tina from the The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Living Doll" is kind as long as she's met with kindness. If she's not or a person who treats her with kindness is threatened, she proves capable of murder.

  • "Funeral March of a Marionette" emotes the story of a dead marionette who is carried to their grave by their peers.

  • The WrestleCrap Radio podcast has had a literal example (i.e. not evil, but actually perverse) since 2008 in Stubby, the ventriloquist dummy who really enjoys his drugs and has few qualms about what he's willing to do to obtain them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The game has one of these: Malice Doll of Demise] (Used to combo with Ectoplasmer, which was released in the same set.)
    • There is now a whole archetype of these called the Shadolls.
    • Ghostrick Doll is either a ghostly doll or a doll-like ghost.

    Video Games 
  • Baten Kaitos Origins has a heroic example in Guillo.
  • The Doll of Bloodborne is a bisque imitation of Lady Maria made by Gehrman. He rejected her as fake and she was left at Hunter's Dream where the protagonist finds and revives her.
  • Katherine from Broken Puppet is the discarded former diva of the puppet theatre. She wants to get back in the spotlight, no matter the cost, but in her defense she lives in a Crapsack World with rules barely any of her fellow puppets seem to comprehend.
  • Marionette of Darkstalkers is a hybrid of a marionette and a wind-up toy. She's a Ditto Fighter and at the start of a battle, she's depicted as being lowered into the body of the fighter she's imitating.
  • The cast of The Gunstringer are living puppets of all kinds: marionettes, paper figures, voodoo dolls, a tube man and so on. The story exists both in its own reality and as part of a performance. The main character, a marionette, breaks free after the performance and rides off on a dog.
  • Marionette is among the common cards of Kingdom Corps. It's a female puppet dressed fancily and held up by wires.
  • The hero quartet of The Ninja Kids and everyone else encountered are puppets, specifically marionettes. This is only truly clear during the character selection screen, where the strings of the hero marionettes are visible.
  • Mime Jr. and its evolution, Mr. Mime in Pokémon. Mime Jr. is a fairly harmless hand-puppet-like clown and Mr. Mime is a more dummy-like puppet.
  • The main character of Puppeteer (2013) and mostly everyone he meets are puppets in a stage play.
  • The cast of Showdown Bandit are living marionettes who try to survive both their own world and the cancellation of their show.
  • The Wilikin of Skylanders are wooden dolls made and given life by Kaos during his childhood to be his friends — he literally made friends. Fearing his mother's reaction to his ability, he also created a switch to affect reality and turn the Wilikin back into lifeless dolls. His mother found out because the switch affects reality in multiple ways and allowed Kaos to keep his friends. As Kaos moved to villainhood, he abandoned the Wilikin to his castle and their own home, Wilikin Village. The childlike Wilikin always kept a soft spot for him, though not for his smell, which they shouldn't have been able to perceive but they did.
  • Medicine Melancholy from Touhou Project is basically this. She is a sentient doll fueled with poison. Note that Alice's doll are technically not sentient.
  • In WitchSpring 3, living dolls replace the pets of previous games as party members. Most start out as lifeless dolls owned by Eirudy, the Marionette Witch, and are in storage at the Marionette House. By defeating enemies, Eirudy collects vitality to awaken her dolls with. She also can acquire ones not yet in her collection.

    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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Evil Doll, Killer Doll


Charles "Chucky" Lee Ray

The main antagonist of Child's Play, as well as the most recurring character. Originally a human serial killer from Chicago known as "The Lakeshore Strangler" who practiced Voodoo, he was chased down by the cops one night that resulted in him being shot by Detective Mike Norris in a toy store. Wanting to escape death, Chucky proceeded to use a Voodoo spell to transfer his soul into a Good Guy Doll. Ever since, Chucky has continued to rack up a body count in his quest to find a human host suitable for him to transfer himself back into while also getting revenge on those he feels has wronged him.

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