Follow TV Tropes

Following

Voodoo Doll

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lechuck_guybrush_voodoo_doll3.jpg
Great for giving your enemies a very annoying migraine.

Morris Bradbury: Time was you had to look a man in the eye before you could kill him. You owed him that.
Phil Lovecraft: Yeah, now with the nerve and a little know-how, you can do it by tyin' six knots and a piece of string. Ain't modern livin' grand?
Advertisement:

A stock trick in any Hollywood Voodoo practitioner's arsenal is the Voodoo Doll, a tiny figurine or stitched-up cloth doll created to vaguely resemble another person (sometimes using that person's hair or blood) which is then tormented in various ways, such as by being held over a fire or jabbed with needles. As the doll is damaged, so is the person connected to it, making it a wonderful long-range means of revenge.

In reality, so-called "voodoo dolls" are not a part of Vodou at all. They originated in Europe where they were called poppets, just as likely to be used for long-distance healing or simple communication. Vodou's actual use of dolls (which have nothing to do with sympathetic magic) was most likely mistaken for this by European onlookers. And contrary to what Hollywood shows, they aren't just for torture. Some places in New Orleans and Haiti do sell "voodoo dolls" marketed to ignorant tourists, though.

Advertisement:

Occasionally Played for Laughs in which the victim jerks around like a puppet when the doll is moved.

Incidentally, there is a real Vodou practice involving sticking nails into dolls, but all they do is nail them to trees to serve as guides to wandering spirits.

If you see someone pounding nails to a straw doll in anime or manga, in most cases it's not Hollywood Voodoo but a Japanese curse ritual called ushi no toki mairi ("Visit to a Shrine at the Hour of the Ox"), so named due to the ritual being traditionally carried out between 1 and 3 AM, which is the Hour of the Ox. The straw dolls involved are called wara ningyo. There are also paper dolls known as katashiro.

It can be considered a type of a Reality Changing Miniature. For another way of taking out frustrations on an image of an enemy, see Dartboard of Hate.

Advertisement:

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Many commercials like using voodoo dolls for humorous effect, such as the Sprint Commercial with the guy sticking pins into dolls representing overages and roaming fees.
  • One old Lipton Iced Tea commercial had a jilted bride turn to a mambo to torture her fiance. The mambo sticks a voodoo doll of the guy into a fire, making him feel like he's burning... until he drinks a bottle of Lipton, which puts the mambo's fire out. The mambo is nonplussed for a time before smirking and pulling out a pin...
    • There's a similar advert to the one above only it's a beer advertisement. Notably, it doesn't work as intended as it affects everyone who is drinking the beer instead of the cheater.
  • This ad for insurance company Central Beheer has a man at a museum manipulate Bill Clinton's movements by moving a figure that he finds near a picture of Clinton.
  • Happens in a Capital One commercial, involving former SNL actor David Spade.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kasumin: In Episode 18, a wara ningyō befriends Prince Dragon. It's a match made in hell because the wara ningyō is sad that no one uses it to place curses anymore and Prince Dragon is sad that no one wants to play word games with him anymore. Prince Dragon, of course, gets the doll to cast a bunch of humiliating but harmless spells. Yet while the wara ningyō is not a bad weirdling, being used for evil rubs off on its demeanor and it turns on Prince Dragon when he refuses to place harmful curses. Much of the Mistin household gets cursed so that whoever loses at a word game gets turned to stone, but Misty turns the curse on the wara ningyō by insisting it plays too. It loses and becomes stone, but the curse isn't lifted until Prince Dragon's tears of remorse spill on the doll. Misty, aware the doll isn't evil, curses it with the desire and power to spread luck, giving it a new purpose in life.
  • Lime-iro Senkitan's Kinu Fukushima has personalized voodoo dolls for everyone aboard the Amanohara, and non-personalized ones for other occasions. Her favorite thing to do with them is stab nails through them to stop her friends from getting in her way, for love or otherwise.
  • Nagasarete Airantou: Machi often uses this to cause pain whenever someone upsets her even for minor things. Especially on her little sister Ayane.
  • Hidan from Naruto can turn himself into a human voodoo doll if he obtains some of his target's blood. He kills people by inflicting wounds on himself that would be fatal to anyone who isn't immortal like him.
  • The Wara Wara no Mi is a Paramecia-type Devil Fruit in One Piece that grants its consumer control over straw. One was eaten by Basil Hawkins. He uses the straw to create Voodoo Dolls, which he stores inside his own body. When attacked, he remains unharmed no matter the impact as any and all violence is redirected to the nearest bystanders. They don't tend to survive that. Basil furthermore can enhance his weaponry with the straw and on occasion covers himself in straw to turn into a giant effigy with metal nails for claws.
  • Skip Beat! gives us Kyouko, who has quite the spread of voodoo dolls based off Sho. In the early part of the manga, she also has a large amount of Ren-themed ones as well.This later becomes a point when she gives Maria a realistic Ren-doll for her birthday. In more recent arcs, she has created a Reino doll in around 7 minutes.
  • One chapter from Urusei Yatsura has Lum use a clay-like substance moulded in the shape of Ataru to make him fly across his bedroom. Ataru attempts to use this substance as a voodoo doll against Cherry, but fails since he doesn't have something of Cherry's physical being to make the doll work.
  • Rurumi from Brynhildr in the Darkness has the power to use an ordinary doll like this.
  • Bleach: Szayelaporro Granz, one of Aizen's minions, possesses the ability to make anyone into a voodoo doll. Like traditional voodoo dolls, he can cause them pain by hitting the doll. However, he takes his ability a step further. He can pull the doll apart and destroy any internal organs and bones by crushing the pieces in his fingers. This is the perfect way of torturing his victims before killing them. That opening the dolls doesn't hurt the victim is briefly played as a joke.
  • Kain of Fairy Tail has a doll that will control whoever has their hair tied to it. Unusually, he uses it most effectively on himself, as it replicates a wide variety of enchantments he can put on the doll (like turning it into iron to make himself more durable). He's actually defeated when this is turned against him, which Natsu uses to turn Lucy into a human fireball.
  • In an episode of Digimon Adventure, Puppetmon uses dolls that look like the protagonists to control their movement and position in the forest.
  • A straw doll very similar to the wara ningyo is used in every covenant with Enma Ai from Hell Girl. Upon pulling the red string on the doll, the target of the client's revenge is Dragged Off to Hell, with the price of this act being the client's own damnation upon death.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Nobara Kugisaki's Cursed Technique is based around this. By using a straw doll, a nail, and any part of her enemy, she can damage her opponent by striking the nail. She later demonstrates that if needed, she can use herself as a doll, amplifying the effectiveness of the technique.
  • The Unpopular Mangaka and the Helpful Onryo-san: Onryo-san gives Hakuu a straw doll for Christmas, which she promises to "make good use of", presumably on her ex-boyfriend.

    Comic Books 
  • Hellblazer: In All His Engines, John makes a deal with an Aztec Death God to rescue Chas' granddaughter from a demon. When the god refuses to leave, John pulls out the teddy bear with a braid of her hair on it and threatens to set it on fire. After the god mocks him, knowing John would never do that, John says she's dead anyway and lights it. He gets punched out by Chas for his trouble when the god flees, which is when John reveals it was a wig.
  • In one issue of The Spectre, the eponymous hero fights against a Gypsy who uses one of these to attack people for no good reason.
  • In the Tintin story Prisoners of the Sun, the Incas reveal this was how the seven archaeologists were tortured remotely. When the dolls are destroyed, the archaeologists are released from their trances.
  • Baron Sunday, a minor Superman villain from the 80s, was a crimelord who used voodoo dolls to assassinate his competitors.
  • In a Richie Rich comic book story, Richie's father was the victim of a voodoo doll.
  • In The Vault Of Horror tale "Daddy's Lost His Head," a little girl being abused by her vicious stepfather is befriended by her elderly neighbor (Mrs. Thaumaturge). The old woman gives the girl a doll made of caramel. The girl, noticing the doll resembles her stepfather, decides she wants to save it and play with the doll because she has no other toys. One night, after not receiving any food, the girl eats just one of the doll's hands, and sure enough, her stepfather loses a hand in an accident. The stepfather starts accusing the girl and the neighbor of being responsible, and to prove the doll is just candy, the girl bites off the head...
    • This like many EC Comics tales is based on a short story, "Sweets to the Sweet" by (of course) Robert Bloch (more under Literature). EC's version makes the child completely innocent. Bloch has her knowing what she's doing.
  • In one The Brave & the Bold issue, Batman and The Phantom Stranger are fighting a voodoo crime lord who murders people by using voodoo dolls (although Batman insists it's all just power of suggestion). At the end of the story, the villain attempts to kill the stranger by plunging a needle into the heart of a doll of the Stranger, only to drop dead himself.
  • Sussudio in Scud the Disposable Assassin uses one of these, oddly enough, on the eponymous character (who happens to be a robot). After she catches feelings for him, she ends up tearing it in two and giving it a kiss to break the spell (which Scud unknowingly responds to with warm fuzzies in the heart and a tingly feeling below).
  • The sculptor Stefan Clatrow in "Beware the Graveyard Clay" in Baffling Mysteries #14 has little regard for superstition and therefore takes some quality clay he finds home with him regardless of the fact he finds it at an ancient cemetery for wizards and witches. After creating a figurine of himself, he discovers that whatever happens to the figurines he makes with the clay also happens to the person they resemble. His plan becomes to use a figurine to murder his rich sponsor so he can marry his daughter for the money. So far so good, but then the old man comes back as a ghost and manipulates Clatrow into knocking over his own figurine, breaking both of their necks.
  • In one MAD article about things you don't need to know, the entry about how much better a student your sister was than you is accompanied by a father lecturing his son about how the boy's sister Henrietta knew when Christopher Columbus sailed for Guam, while the boy surreptitiously puts pins in a doll labeled "Henrietta." Another article has a doll of Alfred E. Neuman stuck with pins labeled with various humorous curses.
  • The gimmick of The Fantastic Four villain Puppet Master. He uses a special radioactive clay and his telepathic powers to make people do his bidding.
  • In Archie Comics, Jughead's nephew Souphead is convinced that voodoo dolls are real, so Jughead makes dolls resembling his friends to prove him wrong. After poking the Archie and Reggie dolls with pins to no effect, Souphead is convinced, and angrily kicks away the last doll, in the likeness of Mr. Weatherbee. Cut to Mr. Weatherbee in his office, shouting in sudden pain.
  • In a Don Rosa comic, Scrooge and Donald are captured by a Haitian witch doctor, who begins making voodoo fethishes in their likeness. Donald, angry at Scrooge for getting them into the situation, starts kicking Scrooge, claiming the doll is making him do it, until the witch doctor calls him out. Later, after the spell has taken effect, the pair try to escape the hut they're trapped in by having Scrooge throw the Donald doll out the window while Donald is holding the Scrooge doll, with the end result that they all go flying out the window. They end up confronted by the witch doctor, who throws the dolls into a boiling pot. Scrooge and Donald cry that they can feel themselves melting away, until the doctor explains that destroying the dolls broke the spell, as the nephews had explained to him that they weren't their enemies.
  • An early Star Trek: The Original Series comic book features a voodoo doll of Earth used to topple monuments on the real planet.

    Fanfic 
  • In The Secret Life of Dolls, Anna uses a mini crocheted version of this she bought from Etsy to torture Tonner Edward. Upon first acquiring Tonner Edward, Cleo promised not to use him as a voodoo doll of Robert Pattinson.
  • Raven's skeleton plush/purse in the Our Own League books. She fears dipping too deep into her powers since her demonic father is the source, so she uses the doll as a conduit and Power Limiter. When she moves it with telekinesis, the intended target is manipulated as well. After becoming a patron of the Goddess Hecate, less evil magic becomes available to Raven and she no longer depends on the doll.

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Great Mouse Detective, Ratigan has a voodoo doll of Basil with several pins poked into it.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, among Dr. Faciller's "Friends on the Other Side" are enchanted voodoo dolls that beat on drums whenever he works his voodoo. He also had a traditional voodoo doll of Big Daddy LeBuff that he intended to use to kill him the moment Lawerencenote  and Charlene were married, thus enabling him to get control of the LeBuff fortune.
  • In Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, the bad guys have ones of most of the heroes, made of wax and bits of hair/cloth collected from the intended victims.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Blair Witch, the group wake up to find their camp surrounded by stick figures hanging from the trees, one of which has a clump of Talia's hair woven into it. Later, Ashley angrily snaps this figure in half, which breaks Talia's spine.
  • In the first Child's Play movie, Chucky uses a voodoo doll to torture his former mentor into telling him how he can become human again.
  • Creepshow's framing story ends with two trash collectors finding the kid's comic book that his Jerkass father had thrown out, with one of them noticing an ad for a nifty voodoo doll, but someone had already clipped out the order form. We then cut to the kid's father having severe chest pains as his kid upstairs furiously jabs a needle into the doll.
  • In Dogma, Loki constructs a voodoo doll of the chairman of Mooby's board of directors, and after a "The Reason You Suck" Speech (to the entire board), smashes it. The chairman recoils in fear, but is unharmed. "Come on, I don't believe in voodoo," Loki says, as he walks out laughing. (He comes back in with a gun – "But I do believe in this." – and shoots almost everyone.)
  • From Beyond the Grave: In "An Act of Kindness", Emily produces a miniature doll of Mabel, and holds a knife to it. She asks Lowe to order her to do his will. Lowe agrees that she should cut the doll. When she does, a drop of blood appears from its mouth. A disturbed Lowe dashes home to find Mabel dead.
  • The House That Dripped Blood: The European 'poppet' version is used in "Sweets for the Sweet", with Jane fashioning an effigy of her father out wax and imbuing it with hairs stolen from his razor. She causes him heart pains by stabbing it with a needle and later tosses it on to the fire.
  • Indecent Desires: A creepy weirdo named Zeb picks a doll out of a garbage can, and somehow links the doll to a Sexy Secretary named Ann whom he sees walking down the street. From that point forward, whenever Zeb fondles the doll, poor Ann can feel invisible hands caressing her, and occasionally sending her into sexual ecstasy. Things turn darker when an angry Zeb burns his doll with a cigarette and Ann feels the pain.
  • The young Maharajah in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom uses one to cripple Indy as he's busy fighting with a Giant Mook, requiring Short Round to step in and save Indy from certain head-squishing death. Yes, yes; the Thuggee cult didn't use voodoo dolls in real life, preferring to strangle their victims with scarves, but it should be obvious by now that Indiana Jones isn't a documentary anyway.
  • Killer Under The Bed: The Creepy Doll that Kilee finds in the tool shed of their new house is called the "Voodoo Baby Doll". Whenever Kilee makes a wish and sticks a pin with someone's personal belongings on it into the doll, that person is effected by whatever Kilee wished. Then, over time, the wish grows in intensity.
  • Wu Mo from Legendary Weapons of China ends up falling under a voodoo doll's control halfway through the film, where his movements are limited to those performed by the doll representing him. Hilariously enough, Wu Mo is somehow able to fight off a whole bunch of mooks by having his voodoo doll mimicking fighting moves. And then hilarity ensues when three of Wu's incompetent sidekicks get their hands on the doll and start passing around themselves, which translates in Wu Mo hopping, skipping, and sumersaulting himself all over the place in a ridiculous mamnner. The doll's spell is broken when Wu, being maniipulated by the doll, crashes into his partners and sends all of them, doll included, into a creek, where the spell is dispelled by water.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Blackbeard made a voodoo doll of Jack in order to keep him under control. It was thrown over a cliff to see if Jack would survive the jump and didn't appear again until The Stinger where it ended up in Angelica's possession.
  • This is how one of the witches defeats Septimus in Stardust. She then uses the doll to make the corpse a puppet to fight Tristan.
  • The World's Greatest Athlete: Gazenga makes a Nanu doll to sabotage him during a decathlon. Later, Milo makes a Gazenga doll in order to stop him. When Sam dismissively tosses it away, Gazenga flies into a pool.
  • In Sugar Hill (1974), Sugar kills George by setting his doll on fire, compelling him to stab himself. Later, she has the zombies pin King up against a wall while she slashes at his doll with a razor, causing bleeding gashes to open up on his body. When Sugar tells Baron Samedi to put Valentine out of commission but not kill him, he sticks a pin in his doll's leg, causing him to suffer a Staircase Tumble and break his leg.

    Literature 
  • In Another Note, the Serial Killer's Calling Card is a wara ningyo doll nailed into the wall, much in the way such a doll would be traditionally nailed to a tree to wish harm to whoever was being targeted. This leads to In-Universe speculation that the killer either is Japanese or has a grudge against Japanese people or both. It turns out, however, that the dolls serve as a sort of countdown; the first crime scene has four, then three, two, and Naomi and Rue have to try and stop the last one. That one is Rue, or rather Beyond Birthday, though it doesn't go according to plan...and yes, there is a wara ningyo in that room.
  • Little Willie Connolly uses poppets to cause sickness and pain in J.R. Lowell's 1972 thriller Daughter of Darkness. At one point she uses a photograph. While she refers to "African voodoo" when she goes to the library, she is enough of an anthropologist to understand that what she's doing isn't voudun.
  • In The Devil On The Road by Robert Westall, the protagonist finds that his motorbike and wristwatch have stopped working. Later, he discovers why. His lover, who's a witch, has made a wax doll of him astride the bike, with two pins in it: one in the wrist, one in the spark plug that represents the bike's engine.
  • Discworld: In Witches Abroad Mrs. Gogol has a voodoo doll intended to be Lily, but when Granny Weatherwax gets in her way she makes it of her instead (which works because Lily and Granny are sisters), stabbing it in the leg and making her stagger. Granny Weatherwax deals with it by sticking her hand into a torch, causing the doll to burst into flame, while she's left unharmed.
  • In The Dresden Files, thaumaturgy is one of the most common forms of magic used. Harry Dresden describes it as doing something small and having it happen big, and frequently uses Voodoo Dolls as an example of the concept. When actual dolls are involved, their exact shape and size is irrelevant provided they approximate whatever is supposed to be affected, and they are connected through blood or hair to the affected party.
    • The villain of Storm Front used live rabbits in his thaumaturgic death spells. When he scooped the rabbit's heart out with a spoon, the target's chest would explode.
    • In Fool Moon, Harry uses the principle to temporarily disable a very powerful loup-garou. The doll he uses is a stuffed plush toy from the Special Investigations office that is otherwise used to amuse children waiting for their parents.
    • In the time between Fool Moon and Grave Peril, Harry used a Ken doll as the focus for his spell to bind the powers of a warlock that he and Special Investigations were pursuing. He later makes the joking insult that the spell worked so well because it was anatomically correct.
  • Lulu, the villain of "The Bad Baby-sitter" from The Haunting Hour, creates "mud cookies", which are shaped like crude gingerbread men and employ a piece of the designated target to function as voodoo dolls. She does this explicitly to torture people.
  • One of these is used in the novella "Magic, Inc." by Robert A. Heinlein. Oddly enough, although that story is firmly in Magitek territory—blatantly magical powers are an everyday part of life in the setting, with no hint of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane—it is stated that voodoo dolls work only by the power of suggestion (although they do work very well by the power of suggestion).
  • Karl Edward Wagner's story "More Sinned Against" gives this an especially warped twist. The victim is an actor and his abused and exploited girlfriend works at a toy manufacturing company. Just think of all those action figures and what kids typically do to them...
  • Exaggerated in The Picture of Dorian Gray and adaptions of the book or the character. Dorian himself is completely immune to everything harmful, both natural, self inflicted and attempted by others, due to the magic of the painting, and only damage to the titular picture can hurt him.
  • Simon Ark: In "The Witch of Park Avenue", a pair of European-style manikins are found in labeled with Lyle and Eric's names: Lyle's doll has a sliver of glass in its throat and Eric's has a pin stuck in his left arm where he was injected with cyanide. However, these were planted by the killer to make it look like the men had been hexed.
  • Swallows and Amazons: In Swallowdale, Titty makes a wax doll of the Amazons' great-aunt, hoping to use it to weaken her and stop her spoiling her great-nieces' holiday. When she accidentally melts the doll, she's terrified that she's killed the great-aunt. Fortunately, This Is Reality and her attempt at magic has no effect.
  • In Robert Bloch's "Sweets to the Sweet", Creepy Child Irma makes a wax doll of her abusive father, rendering him bedridden and unable to carry out his regular beatings of her. When his equally Jerkassish brother figures out what's going on, she claims the doll's just a bit of candy, and bites its head off to prove it...
  • That Hoodoo Voodoo That You Do has effigies used by several of the ritual magicians involved in the anthology. Given it's an anthology about occult horror, they tend to work pretty well.
  • Tortall Universe: In In the Hand of the Goddess, the second book of Song of the Lioness, Alanna discovers that Duke Roger has made dolls of every important member of the royal court, including herself, and that he's been placing the queen's doll under running water to make her sicken and die. All of the other dolls were bound up in a veil so the people represented by them couldn't see what he was up to.
  • Andrei Belyanin's Tsar Gorokh's Detective Agency: In Bride Elimination, princesses from various countries arrive to the Russian capital to marry Tsar Gorokh. Among them is Tambamba Mumumba, one of the daughters of the ruler of Nigeria. When someone starts poisoning the princesses, the African girl is the first suspect. Baba Yaga sneaks into her room and finds dolls made to look like all the other princesses and numerous other attributes commonly associated with Hollywood Voodoo. The protagonist (a modern-day cop) immediately calls it Voodoo (despite voodoo being a New World religion, although its roots do stem from West Africa where Nigeria is located). It's even pointed out that Voodoo only works on someone who knows what it is (i.e. it's all in their heads). Tsar Gorokh becomes enamored with the girl after meeting and speaking with her (she speaks bad English, and Gorokh is an Omniglot). The protagonist goes to her room and finds a doll of the tsar, which he breaks to find pieces of hair and fingernails. Naturally, the tsar only fell for this after she explained it all to him.
  • In The Wise Man's Fear, mommets (figurines made of wax or clay and using bits of hair or blood) are key components in Malefesance magic. Kvothe uses an even more grisly version, stabbing an actual human corpse to maim people nearby.
  • In The Witches of Eastwick, the titular women make a wax doll to curse their romantic rival, Jenny Gabriel. The film version changes the victim to Darryl Van Horne presumably to keep them sympathetic.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agatha Raisin: While investigating apparently supernatural goings-on in "Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam", Agatha finds a doll of herself with nails stuck into it.
  • American Horror Story: Coven:
    • Queenie describes herself as a human voodoo doll; whatever she inflicts on her body appears on anyone she chooses, while causing no pain or injury to herself.
    • Marie Laveau uses an actual voodoo doll on Hank Foxx as punishment for not killing the witches of Miss Robichaux's Academy.
  • Angel. After Team Angel takes over Wolfram & Hart, Gunn fires half his staff for being too evil, and later finds one of them trying to smuggle in a voodoo doll of a black man in a pin-striped suit.
  • In one episode of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, a woman creates a voodoo doll of her Jerkass boss and jabs a needle into its arm. And it works.
  • A witch's poppet brings about the death of the Witchsmeller Pursuivant in an early episode of Blackadder.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Shakespeare Code", the trio of alien witches have one that they use to injure and kill people, which is activated by acquiring a bit of hair from the victim. There's also a more complex puppet used on Shakespeare as part of their plan.
  • Mimi once used one on Drew in an episode of The Drew Carey Show. Oddly it causes him pain in his arm although she's stabbing the doll somewhere further south.
  • In the Gilligan's Island episode "Voodoo", a Witch Doctor used voodoo dolls to control the castaways (and turn the Professor into a zombie). At the end of the episode, Gilligan decides to get back at him by making a voodoo doll of him and, despite Skipper saying it takes years of practice to make voodoo work, Gilligan inadvertently drove the witch doctor from the island when he stabbed the doll with a pin in the butt.
  • On Good Eats, Alton sticks metal skewers (the kind used for kabobs) into a doll made to look like W. As he analyzes what's wrong with each kind of skewer (wrong shape, not sturdy enough, too sharp, not sharp enough, etc.), he causes W lots of pain.
  • On The Grand Tour, James and Richard find a voodoo doll of James (among other items) while demolishing Jeremy's house.
  • M*A*S*H: The episode "Preventative Medicine" has a subplot concerning yet another of Klinger's crazy schemes to get a Section 8 — he goes around putting Voodoo curses on Col. Potter, and even has a poppet made in Potter's image. The scheme backfires when the main plot intervenes: Hawkeye and BJ drugged a overzealous colonel to get him to fake gastritis/appendicitis in a bid to take him off the line before trying another suicidal attack on a Communist-held position so he can win more fame and glory. The effects of the drug kicked in just as Klinger stuck the first needle into the Potter poppet, leading Klinger to think he somehow accidentally cursed the wrong colonel and he ends up abandoning the "voodoo" curse game out of severe remorse.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "Big Easy Murder", a voodoo doll is placed next to the Victim of the Week to make his murder look like it was part of a series of underworld-related voodoo murders.
  • During a host segment on Mystery Science Theater 3000, the 'bots use an Ernest P. Worrell doll to curse the main character of the movie they are watching (Gamera).
  • On Salem, Mary makes a poppet and plants it in Anne's room. She later uses it to threaten Anne's life to gain leverage over the magistrate and make him follow her order.
  • In an episode of Seed, Zoey's grandmother erroneously believes that Harry is the man who knocked Zoey up and left her to raise the child alone for nine years (Zoey is actually a lesbian and Harry was just the sperm donor). She puts a curse on Harry and makes a voodoo doll of him. When Harry gets hold of the doll he decides to store the doll between two Playboy magazines just in case it really works.
  • In one episode of Tales from the Darkside, "Baker's Dozen", an evil hoodoo witch and her slimy business partner sell gingerbread men that act as voodoo dolls. The hoodoo witch also regularly torments her assistant by using the magical dough to turn him into a mouse. In the end, both of them get a nasty Karmic Death. The witch sneaks a gingerbread man of her partner into his belongings with a lipstick stained napkin. The man's wife sees this and crushes the cookie in a fit of jealousy. Cut to the man in the shower screaming in agony as blood fills the tub. The witch laughs in triumph and turns her assistant into a mouse again just for kicks. Suddenly she starts to get a headache. As the pain worsens, she realizes that her assistant must have baked a thirteenth cookie (hence a baker's dozen) that represented her. She shrieks off-screen while the camera focuses on a mouse nibbling the gingerbread man's head off...
  • In one episode of Derren Brown's Tricks of the Mind, he uses a doll to demonstrate to a New Age practitioner how easy it is to make someone have a physical reaction to something that might not have any basis in fact. He takes the girl's ring and puts it inside the doll before using a piece of string to tie off the doll's legs, arms, and neck. In each case, the girl appears to be unable to walk, move arms, or speak. After the trick is over, he reveals that he never even took her ring, which is still on her finger.
  • For all the liberties they take with the various mythologies their Monster of the Week episodes are based on, The X-Files actually gets this one right on two occasions.
    • One episode involving actual Voodoo has no mention of dolls at all as far as villains and evil are concerned. But a kid tries to sell Scully a doll that should protect her. Mulder buys it from him for Scully.
    • Episode "Theef" has poppets used to inflict harm from afar used not by a Haitian witch doctor but a practitioner of Appalachian folk magic.

    Music 
  • In the video of "No Light, No Light" by Florence + the Machine, a voodoo doll is used against Florence, causing her to fall off a skyscraper.
  • The subject of the Ozzy Osbourne song "Little Dolls".
  • In the video for Snoop Dogg's "From Da Chuuuch to Da Palace", a young boy uses an action figure of Snoop to (unwittingly) cause all sorts of mayhem.
  • Russian nu-metal band Slot has the song "Кукла Вуду", which literally means "Voodoo Doll".
  • They Might Be Giants' "My Evil Twin" implies that the evil twin "cut the arm off a voodoo doll that resembles a Republican president from long ago".

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Masque of the Red Death setting for Ravenloft, certain voodoo-inspired magic users can do this.
  • Scion features voodoo dolls as a possible Relic for a child of the Loa; however, as the authors have done their research, they swiftly outline that the dolls are associated with hoodoo, but some of the Loa have picked them up for laughs. The description notes that they can be used to channel the Health Purview "and be sold to tourists for an outrageous markup."
  • Gloomweaver from Sentinels of the Multiverse has these in his villain deck to either disrupt a hero's turn or directly cause some damage. The dolls themselves are targets that can be destroyed, thus removing their curse.
  • A number of cards from the early days of Magic: The Gathering (such as Black Vise and The Rack) feature a poppet getting maimed somehow to represent effects that targeted your opponent. The poppet itself got its own card in Time Spiral, Stuffy Doll.
    • Not to forget the actual Voodoo Doll card itself, which plays up the "black magic" theme despite being an artifact by putting demands on its user as well — the cost to activate it goes up each turn (as does the damage it inflicts), and once the player can no longer pay it it's apt to blow up in their face if they have no alternative method of keeping it tapped.
    • Lynde, Cheerful Tormentor is shown with a doll designed to look like the "Unluckiest Planeswalker", a fan-beloved character shown on a cycle of curses from an earlier release, for example this one.
  • Malifaux: The katashiro are paper dolls brought to life with magic. They are low investment troops who also can fold themselves into cranes to fly wherever they need to go. As both constructs and oni, they're enlisted by Minako Rei and Asami Tnaka alike.

    Video Games 
  • These crop up fairly often in Monkey Island games. They tend to work at a limited range, and the spell to make them is a riff on the "Old, New, Borrowed and Blue" quatrain.
  • In StarCraft II Gabriel Tosh has a thing for these, and if you chose to side with Nova instead of him he tries to use one on Raynor. It gets Tychus instead. And Nova decides to stab it on her goodbye.
  • The title character of Voodoo Vince is a voodoo doll (per the opening narration, the third best one in his owner’s shop) who can perform Limit Breaks based on doing absurdly violent things to himself. Boss battles are fought by finding the right way to exploit the environment to damage yourself.
  • The Voodoo Doll is one of Caleb's many weapons in Blood. Unlike other voodoo dolls, it basically hurts whatever is in front of Caleb when he stabs it with the pin, instead of being keyed to a single being. You can also rip the doll's head off to do extremely high damage to every enemy in front of you. If you use the doll and there's nothing in Caleb's line-of-sight, it damages Caleb instead.
  • Dragon Age: Origins - The Feastday Pranks DLC gives each party member two special gifts, one that puts their approval through the roof and one that reduces it by the same amount. Morrigan's gift is a voodoo doll of Alistair. Its effects include "Burning Sensation", "Two Left Feet", and "Strangely Stimulated".
  • Elements has the card "Voodoo Doll", which inflicts all damage and harmful effects onto the opponent.
  • Terraria has the Guide Voodoo Doll, which will allow you to harm the guide. However, he respawns after you kill him. If you throw it in lava while in the Underworld, it causes Wall Of Flesh to spawn in addition to killing the guide normally, which turns on hardmode for your world if defeated.
    • There's also the Clothier Voodoo Doll, which lets you kill the Clothier, which also summons Skeletron when done at night.
  • Touhou:
    • Alice, a character specializing in creative use of dolls, has been shown performing the Japanese ritual at least once.
    • In Subterranean Animism, Parsee's "Midnight Anathema Ritual" is derived from the Japanese version. In this case, she's skipped the doll and is trying to pound nails into you directly, but the idea is there. As a result, she's often shown with such dolls in fanart.
  • The Pokémon Banette is inspired by these dolls.
  • Mojo from Chrono Cross is a human-sized one with a giant nail through his chest.
  • In Evil Genius, Hollywood Voodoo wizard Montezuma uses a voodoo doll as a weapon, stabbing it to inflict harm on his enemies at range.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has a voodoo doll minion card, which binds itself to another minion when summoned and kills that minion when the voodoo doll is killed.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 5 introduces voodoo doll enemies based on the party. Attacking them deals damage to their counterpart, so it's not a good idea to use powerful attacks against them.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean Online, these can be unlocked and used once your pirate reaches level 5. By attuning it to an enemy, you can cast strong voodoo hexes, ranging from simple pokes to stealing the foe's life energy. You can also attune allies with it, allowing you to heal them in the middle of combat.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Bernadetta is The Shut-In, so rumors spread that she uses dolls to curse others. In reality, dollmaking is an innocent hobby of hers. It doesn't help that her dolls look frightening enough to be haunted, as she's a Nightmare Fetishist.
  • Voodoo dolls are part of the Infernal Supernatural powerset in Champions Online, and they are used both for blocking purposes and to curse enemies. One is also used at one point by Foxbat in Vibora Bay to try to get Sapphire to marry him.
  • One of Ashrah's fatalities in Mortal Kombat: Deception. She takes out a doll and uses her kris to stab it. This causes her defeated opponent's arms to break off. She then stabs the doll's torso, which causes her opponent to gush blood and fall dead to the ground.
  • In Persona 5, Mudo, a Curse-element skill with a chance of killing an enemy instantlynote , has a visual effect of pins being stuck into a voodoo doll. The Straw Doll is an item that, when used, has the same effect as Mudo.
  • Simon the Sorcerer uses a voodoo doll as part of a puzzle - Simon needs the help of an adventurer who's been paralyzed by a bad back, se he creates a voodoo doll of the adventurer and presents it to an acupuncturist in order to treat him from a distance.

    Web Animation 
  • The premise of the online animated short, Voodont revolves around a voodoo doll brought to life and trying to warn the person it was made to torture. By the end, it sides with its creator and rips its own arm off to cause the victim suffering after being insulted by the victim.

    Webcomics 
  • In an early Swan Eaters comic, Clover finds an old voodoo doll of Offal. This is used as a running gag- Clover practices command spells and accidentally makes Offal dance, then sleep because she messes up the stop command.
  • Gwynn of Sluggy Freelance made one of Riff and had some fun poking it in the eye, microwaving it, and throwing it in a desk drawer.
  • The Repository of Dangerous Things has a few including one "living" doll. It's kind of cute, but smacking it around turns out to be a very bad idea, as it can choose whom it depicts and is capable of self-mutilation (the doll can be repaired later, after all).
    • For 25 cents Mama Zora can make a reversible version of this (see next pages).
  • Yvette has not been proven to build one of these yet. But there have been two dolls she's made (of Ursula and Ms. Monster) that are implied due to the lock of hair thing. (Ursula, as far as we know, didn't donate; Ms. Monster's wasn't really asked for hers..)
  • Homestuck:
    • Die has a voodoo doll which erases people from the timeline altogether until the pin representing them is removed from the doll. This may take effect retroactively or not, and can be used to kill people or bring them back from the dead (by placing their pin on the doll after their death, then removing the pin). It's later revealed that it doesn't really kill/resurrect someone, but transports the person holding the doll to an alternate timeline where that person is already dead/alive.
    • Stitch has effigies that represents people whose hats are placed on them. The effigies reflect the injuries of the people they represent, and vice versa. Stitch uses these effigies to patch up his allies remotely, although can also do the classic depiction of this trope by harming the effigies. If the person that the effigy represents dies, the effigy will burn up and become scorched.
  • Parodied in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, "Voodoo". "I'm shortening the doll's lunch break from 30 minutes to 29 minutes." Works much better on this particular target.
  • Critter Coven: After their first meeting Arepo makes poppets of the other coven members in a creepy attempt to make friends. The informational page at the end of the chapter explains the difference.
  • One Oglaf comic has the Invincible Shield Maiden, whose body works similar to Hidan's (see Anime & Manga above). Any wound dealt to her will instead appear on the person who inflicted it. A clever knight has sex with her, allowing him to literally screw himself at the same time.

    Web Original 
  • Gary, My Possession is a short film shot from the perspective of a kid using a voodoo doll to torture another kid that he really, really, doesn't like.
  • Smosh has an episode where Anthony uses a voodoo doll of Ian to sabotage Ian's job interview. He later gets one of himself and uses it for...other reasons.
  • Played for Laughs in Teen Girl Squad Issue 12. Early in, The Ugly One is seen sticking a series of pins into a doll resembling the Arrow'd Guy. Later on, the Arrow'd Guy jumps up from behind a skeleton with an Ugly One voodoo doll, screaming "BAD JUJU!!!"

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series subverted this trope in the episode "The Worry Men", a mystical doll that supposedly gives you good dreams and takes your worries away when you put it under your pillow while you sleep.note  One of Bruce Wayne's wealthy friends buys some of these "worry men" dolls on a trip to Central America, and distributes them among Gotham City's when she returns home. However, the worry men are actually infused with the Mad Hatter's mind control technology, which he uses to manipulate the wealthy Gothamites into robbing themselves. Batman wrecks the plan and captures the Mad Hatter, and as Bruce Wayne pays to fly the legitimate Hollywood Voodoo practitioner who the Hatter forced to help him back to Central America. The worry men's magic turns out to be Real After All when the practitioner gives Batman a worry man that helps him sleep...and also gave the Mad Hatter a different type of worry man that gives him nightmares.
  • A variation is shown in Darkwing Duck episode "Bad Luck Duck". Negaduck happens upon a witch doctor who possessed a mystic amulet which can enchant clay figurines to control whatever real object they resemble. After witnessing the witch doctor use it to tame an erupting volcano, Negaduck steals the amulet to use it for chaos, using statues made of kooky clay to create several Animate Inanimate Objects, including bringing to life a lion statue and the hippo-shaped burger stand Hamburger Hippo.
  • One Cold Open for Earthworm Jim featured Evil the Cat using one of these on Jim. 'Aw, sympathetic magic sucks!' Then he found out it worked both ways...
  • A variation appears in an episode of Fairly OddParents called Yoodoo Dolls, which had all the same abilities as regular voodoo dolls with the addition of being able to make people talk.
  • In the Kaeloo episode "Let's Play Figurines", the main four get figurines of themselves. Stumpy makes a Deal with the Devil to turn them into voodoo dolls so he can inflict pain on anyone who doesn't obey him.
  • In Martin Mystery the episode "You Do Voodoo" was all about a shaman who made voodoo dolls that were affecting the town. Amusingly, the day was saved because Diana had recently given herself a makeover and thus the shaman based the doll on her new look. By reverting to her old look, the spell of the doll no longer affected her and she was able to free the others.
  • Filmation's The New Adventures of Superman episode "The Deadly Super-Doll". A supervillain named The Sorcerer is a master of the ancient arts of wizardry, occult ritual and Black Magic. He creates a Superman doll from the magic clay of the ancient wizard Philbias and uses it to control the Man of Steel's body.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • In the episode, "Birthday Bash", The Amoeba Boys give the girls voodoo dolls of themselves for their birthday. Mojo Jojo then points out to them that they're not supposed to give the girls the dolls, they're supposed to keep the dolls and stick needles in them.
    • Played straight in the episode, "I See a Funny Cartoon in Your Future'', when Madame Argentina buys three voodoo dolls of the girls and uses them to torture them. The girls get back at her by buying a voodoo doll of her duck sidekick, Fred, and barbecuing it.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • In one episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the gang search a hutch owned by a witch and find a bunch of voodoo dolls that look like them, made by the witch to scare them away. Scooby decides to see if they actually work by poking a pin into the butt of the Shaggy doll. Shaggy actually yelps in pain and holds his butt, thinking that he's "been voodooed," but it turns out he just backed up into a fork.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Near the end of episode "The Joy Of Sect", Moe pokes a voodoo doll of Barney in the belly with a miniature beer bottle, which makes Barney crave a drink.
    • In "Homer and Apu", when Homer falls sick with food poisoning, Dr. Hibbert suggests it was caused by either spoilt food or voodoo. Patty and Selma refute this, claiming "We've mostly been working the eyes" while taking out a voodoo doll of Homer with pins stuck in its eyes.
  • A variant of this trope appears in The Smurfs episode "Denisa's Greedy Doll" when Gargamel puts Greedy's apron on Denisa's doll and casts a spell on it so that whatever happens to the doll wearing the apron also affects Greedy. The Smurfs turn the tables by having the doll wear fabric from Gargamel's robe.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Massacre", Nightsister leader Mother Talzin uses one to torture Count Dooku from across the galaxy, in a rather nightmarish scene.
  • In Underdog, a witch doctor named Justin Case enchants a doll, leaving Underdog helpless as whatever happens to the doll happens to him. The doll is given to a gorilla to play with, and after abusing it for a while, the ape decides to throw the doll into a nearby volcano. Underdog is only able to overcome the spell by taking one of his power pills, the boost in strength causing the doll to explode.
  • A Super Chicken cartoon has him and his opponent The Fat Man fighting by hitting and twisting voodoo dolls of each other.
  • An episode of Tak and the Power of Juju had the chief of a rival tribe uses one of these on the chief of Pupanunu tribe in order to discredit him and stage a take over.


 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

Meg's Voodoo Doll

If you had someone like Lois for a mom, you'd want one too.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / VoodooDoll

Media sources:

Report