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.
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.
- Ridley Sheldon in the Toei Yu-Gi-Oh! anime is a puppet master. He has life-size dolls set up outside his house to resemble a large party, and impersonates the (female) school nurse with a puppet. Of course, his deck is also based on dolls.
- Somewhere in the Japan of Ranma 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.
- Marianne from Shakugan No Shana, servant of Friagne, Shana's first major opponent.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!: 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.
- 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.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has D'bo/Divo the Cursed. His stand, Ebony Devil, is essentially a possessed doll.
- One episode of The Slayers NEXT has the gang check out a tower supposedly occupied by a mad, misanthropic toymaker in order to search for a Claire Bible Manuscript, finding it full of animate and hostile dolls and puppets, all while being menaced by a creepy man in a jester's outfit carrying a strange doll. It turns out that the "man" is actually another puppet, being controlled by the real demon: the doll that "he" appears to be carrying around.
- In Vampire Princess Miyu, Ranka utilizes her Razor Floss to move around the mannequins she collects (which once were human students), using them as shields. Larva hits one of them accidentally and it bleeds and screams silently, to Miyu's horror.
- Rozen Maiden: Suigintou does this early in the story with a Doll (A Pooh Bear doll in the Manga) and Kirakishou probably fits this too.
- Lord Kuruku from Unico in the Island of Magic was originally an ordinary puppet that was mistreated and discarded by his owners, and was transformed by his hatred and desire for revenge. When Unico defeats him with The Power of Love, he turns back into an ordinary puppet.
- Even worse than that was the fact that the only reason he was alive was because of his hatred - he "died" once his hatred was taken away from him.
- Anju from Karin always carries an animated puppet with a meat cleaver.
- The Dollies of Dolly Kill Kill
- Pucchan from Best Student Council is not actually evil, but he is a possessed puppet with supernatural powers.
- 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.
- Drocell Cainz, in the anime of Kuroshitsuji. Complete with strings, Marionette Motion, and a good helping of Creepy Circus Music.
- Junji Ito drew a short called House of Puppets. A trade puppeteer decides it's the puppets who decide what to do, and they control the puppeteer so they can do whatever they want. He then decides to take advantage of this with his magic puppet Jean-Pierre. It ends predictably horribly.
- Spike: Shadow Puppets, an extension of the Smile Time episode of Angel.
- Played with in the Season 8 Buffy comics. In one issue, Dawn is turned into a porcelain doll. She's surrounded by other, living dolls, but they were made that way rather than being possessed. And none of them are particularly evil, just a bit unhinged.
- In the story "The Sun" from The Wretch, the titular evil art object convinces a little girl to mount it on a Power Rangers Zeo action figure, turning it into a killer doll. This is utterly terrifying.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: Zarekos compares Ami's use of golems and golem-derivative constructs to playing with dolls. What's worse: Alphel is attempting to reverse-engineer the Super Prototype stolen from Ami by the Dark God Azzaratha. Alphel intends to power said armor with hundreds of tortured ghosts.
- The "Little Me" doll in Coraline is a spy controlled by the Other Mother, who can see through its button eyes. Also, it can move around the house offscreen and lures Coraline to to the door to the Other World. Sweet dreams.
- For that matter, pretty much everything in the Other Mother's world has a doll-like aesthetic, what with the button eyes and all, and almost none of it is friendly.
- 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.
- The Puppet Master film series of course.
- The little girl's doll in the J-horror film Reincarnation (aka Rinne).
- The Asian horror film The Doll Master.
- "Billy", in the Saw films, whose image is used to relay to rules of Jigsaw's latest trap.
- Subverted in The Devil-Doll, in which the pocket-sized assassins are actually miniaturized humans, not dolls.
- Freddy Krueger appears as one in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors by manifesting himself through a marionette doll.
- The titular Black Devil Doll From Hell from the film by Chester Novell Turner (and its remake).
- 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.
- Mashenka, a One-Scene Wonder from the film adaptation of 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 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- Slappy the dummy from Goosebumps.
- 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.
- In Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages by Dean Koontz, the evil toys are led by a pair of wicked marionettes.
- The Crimson Clown in Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Bonus points for being a Monster Clown, as well.
- "The Talons of Weng-Chiang," a classic Doctor Who story, had an awesomely evil puppet controlled by Magnus Greel.
- One episode of Charmed, in which Piper contracted an obscure deadly illness, showed how using the sisters' powers for personal gain could backfire: the spell which removes her fever also places it in the body of a ninja doll...which then animates and runs around the hospital, infecting everyone it can with its little katana.
- "My name is Talky Tina, and I'm going to kill you."
- Night Gallery episode "The Doll". A British Army officer must deal with a murderous doll sent by an old enemy.
- One good character in the miniseries version of The Tommyknockers is killed when her doll collection animates and attacks her.
- The infamous episode Smile Time on Angel.
- In a Halloween Episode of Family Matters, there was an evil puppet-Steve named Stevil who wanted to steal Urkel's soul. Next year, Stevil returned, with a new one based on Carl — named Carlsbad.
- Friday the 13th: The Series had two: the china doll Vita and Oscar the ventriloquist's dummy (the latter animated by a silk boutonniere).
- Subverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where the puppet we are led to believe is a Perverse Puppet actually turns out to be a (still rather creepy) good guy.
- 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.
- In the video to Babes in Toyland's "He's My Thing," a Creepy Doll conjures up a Creepy Doll of her own, then mutilates yet another Creepy Doll out of jealousy.
- The video to "Insanity" by Oingo Boingo features a two-fer: a Sinister Minister puppet who sexually abuses his doll congregation, and the preacher's crazed monkey-doll minion who mutilates the "heretics".
- The Mutants & Masterminds META-4 universe (the default universe for 1E) had Gepetto, a psycho who could both animate puppets to make them murderous and use mind control to create People Puppets (who exhibited little glowing strings hanging from midair, controlling their motions). He's a somewhat tragic case in that the event which led to his power breakthrough also burnt down the orphanage he ran. In his mind, he's just trying to bring the children back.
- The Ravenloft setting of Dungeons & Dragons:
- The setting gives us the Doll Golem, a small variety of Golem looking like a child's doll that can be used for guard duties or assassination.
- It also has "Carrionettes", which are malevolent self-aware marionette puppets that can use magical needles to trade bodies with living people. Their true purpose in existence is to swap bodies with some poor sucker, so they can enjoy being flesh and blood, and thusly they only associate with other monsters in return for the prospect of being given a victim to take for their own. The most dangerous of these is Maligno, the darklord of Odiere.
- Then there's this little gem, from Exalted:
The Scripture of the Maiden on the Shelf:
''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.
- The Death Puppets of Duel Masters are an entire race of these, who feature in the Hidden Arsenal storyline.
- One monster appearing in the Troperiffic 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?"
- Mime Jr. and its evolution, Mr. Mime in Pokémon count. Mime Jr. is a fairly harmless hand-puppet-like clown, but Mr. Mime is a more dummy-like puppet straight out of the Uncanny Valley who can manifest invisible walls out of thin air. It doesn't help that both are Psychic/Fairy, a type combination that hints at an unnatural darker side.
- The Marionettes from the first Devil May Cry. They are string puppets controlled by lesser demons that wield scythes, knives, darts, and sometimes even shotguns.
- Later in the game, you encounter the Fetishes, which are basically fire-breathing voodoo dolls on steroids.
- Final Fantasy IV has Calca/Calco, Brina/Brena and their "fused" form Calcabrina/Calcobrena. Controlled by Golbez, the dolls attacked Cecil and Co. when they tried to retrieve the Earth Crystal. They even have their own musical theme called "Dancing Calcabrina".
- For Rydia's chapter of sequel, Calca and Brina are part of Rydia's party, and they're far less demonic-looking and scary, and they're pretty helpful, to boot. Makes you want to find the way to avert their Final Death.
- The Wracky species from Monster Rancher 2. The best breed of Wracky can be summed up perfectly by its name: Satan Claus.
- Super Mario RPG features two perverse puppets as regular enemies: Remo Con in Booster's Tower and Puppox in Smithy's Factory. But it also averts the trope by having Geno, a celestial being animating the body of a child's toy, as one of the heroes in your party.
- The first boss of SRPG Shining Force is a Marionette left by Wicked Witch Mishaela in the Circus at Rindo. Not only that, but the other monsters you face in said big top also include mannequins, spell-casting puppets and knife-wielding clowns.
- Elsie and Frances in Metal Gear Ac!d are a pair of bantering puppets who manage to hijack a plane. They're being controlled by Lena.
- In Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (known as Metal Gear Solid for the GBC), Snake has to fight an enemy called Marionette Owl, who uses two life-sized marionettes... made out from the body parts of people that Owl killed!
- The Smilin' Sam and Handsome Tom enemies from Earthbound.
- Killer doll enemies in Zombies Ate My Neighbors that throw hatchets at you. Sometimes when you kill them you have to fight their burning remains, which are faster.
- The "Puppit" enemies in the Subspace Emissary mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Their description just makes them creepier.
A marionette enemy, suspended from above by piano strings. A Puppit proves vicious with long, sharp claws and a mysterious beam emitted from its eyes. You would think, based on the exterior wood pattern, that it's made of wood, but no one is sure. More importantly, who is the one manipulating those piano strings?! What an enemy! Mystery abounds!
- Arcana Heart has Elfriede, Lieselotte's dead sister who possesses a legless marionette that Lieselotte carries around, giving it glowing eyes and an appearance that evokes the image of a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl as it crawls around on the floor with its long-read hair splayed all over its face, trying to claw at Liese's opponent while shrieking and cackling.
- The Pokémon Banette is apparently a toy brought to life by its grudge of being thrown away.
- Secret of Evermore had two marionettes, Mephista and Old Nick, who at first were merely corruptive influences on the King of Ebon Keep by keeping him hypnotized and watching their show endlessly while the false Queen ran the show. Later, they become possessed by a monster named Mungola and proceed to become a boss fight. Extra points because "Mephisto" (Mephista is a female doll) and "Old Nick" are both pseudonyms for Satan.
- Dragon Quest has a monster known (at least in one translation) as Puppetor. It serves as a boss monster (and potential party member) in Dragon Quest Monsters 2.
- Medicine Melancholy from Touhou is basically this. She is a sentient doll fueled with poison. Note that Alice's doll are technically not sentient.
- Baten Kaitos Origins has a heroic example in Guillo.
- The Magic Dolls in Tecmo's Deception, which can fire laser-like beams at you from a distance.
- Demon lord Nebiros of the Shin Megami Tensei series carries one. Pulling its strings is how he activates his magic, either damaging spells or summoning undead.
- Five Nights at Freddy's 2: Taking Foxy's torch as Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer is a creepy, black and white puppet thing that hands out prizes to the children, called simply the Marionette or the Puppet. It leaves you alone so long as its music box is playing; should it run down, brace for a scare. And just to make things worse, several death screen minigames imply it's the true Big Bad of the series. 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...
- 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.
- The Quicksilvers and Shriekers from Vagrant Story are knife-wielding string marionettes possessed by the souls of children that died to wars or diseases.
- 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.
- In Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki, the norse god Loki walks the earth in the body of a small plush cat.
- 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.
- Mr. Hat, Mr./Miss/Mr. Garrison's constant companion from South Park, is often hinted to be this. Though he is never shown to actually move by himself, he breaks Garrison and Chef out of Jail, and even disappears, ostensibly to attend a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, when Garrison turns his back.
- In an episode of Darkwing Duck called "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", the evil spirit Paddywhack possesses Quackerjack's doll, Mr. Banana Brain. As he causes trouble alongside the demented toymaker, he grows, feeding from the negative emotions around himself.
- In the "Treehouse Of Horror III" episode of The Simpsons, Homer buys a Krusty the Clown doll that turns out to be evil. And parodied, the reason its evil is because 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.)
- In the Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama, Drakken's world conquest plot involves mass marketing tiny toy puppets called Diablos, who turn into gigantic killing robots. There's a hilariously bizarre scene at the end when they are stopped and revert to their (arguably) cute puppet selves where a young girl who had just been menaced by one grabs the puppet joyfully as her mother looks on with disbelief.
- Yokie on Jimmy Two-Shoes, after Jimmy accidently reprograms it to be evil.
- Johnny Bravo did a parody of the Twilight Zone episode listed above with "Talky Tabitha".
- The Puppet King in the Teen Titans episode "Switched" was one of the worst. His origins were unknown, but he harnessed incredible potent sorcery, and planned to commit Grand Theft Me on all five of the heroes, then obliterate what was left of them to keep their bodies permanently. Why? They never actually figured that out. The only reason his plan failed is because a mishap in his spell let Raven and Starfire escape (but not unharmed, leaving them in a "Freaky Friday" Flip situation where each had to figure out how to use the other's powers, which was much harder than it seemed.)
- Worst of all, while the Puppet King was one of the army of villains recruited into the Brotherhood of Evil in the penultimate storyline and was defeated along with the rest, he was not among the ones who was frozen, suggesting he might have escaped.
- Strange Hill High: In "Mitchell Junior", the robot baby Mitchell gets in his Egg Sitting assignment turns out to be demon possessed.