Horror Films About Haunted Dolls
Horror films about dolls have both amazed and terrified audiences throughout the decades. Chucky, the evil doll from the classic horror film Child’s Play, is one of the most iconic horror villains. This franchise is huge as fans all over the world love to hate that evil and maniacal doll. Additionally, there are a few other horror films that feature a haunted doll; The Conjuring (2013), Annabelle (2014), and later this year, Annabelle 2.
The idea that a doll can come to life and kill someone is pretty creepy when you really think about it. What’s even more disturbing, however, is that real dolls were the inspiration behind these films.
Robert the Doll
The most famous of all these haunted dolls is Robert the Doll. The toy has terrified people for over 100 years and was the inspiration for the iconic horror film character, Chucky. However, unlike Chucky, Robert resembles an early 20th-century American sailor and has become tattered throughout the years.
According to legend, the first owner of this haunted doll was a painter and author, Robert Eugene Otto. Robert lived in Key West, Florida with his family and was given the doll in 1906 when he was just a child. A family servant who, reportedly, practiced the dark arts and voodoo cursed the doll before she gave it to Otto because she was angry with his family.
Servants began hearing two voices coming from Otto’s room. They assumed that the second voice was coming from the child. This, however, wasn’t the case.
Neighbors claimed to see the doll running around the house when the family wasn’t home. The family also began to catch glimpses of the doll running from room to room, messing everything up in the process. They’d hear a terrifying giggle and vases would then be smashed. At night, Robert terrorized Otto by throwing his bedroom furniture around. When Otto’s parents asked him to explain what happened, he claimed that Robert did it.
When Otto grew up, he inherited his family’s house…and Robert. Otto’s wife, however, demanded that the doll be stashed away in the attic. It remained there until Otto’s death in 1974 when a new family moved into the home. They had a little girl who became the doll’s new owner. Horrifying things started to happen again. The girl began screaming in terror at night when she would see Robert scurrying around her bedroom. On some occasions, this haunted doll would even attack her.
Robert is now on display at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida. Visitors from all over come to look at him. Legend has it that if someone takes a photo of Robert without asking permission first, he’ll curse them. In order to lift the curse, they must write a letter of apology. All of these letters are on display at the museum. Probably a museum gimmick, but guests claim to have seen Robert blink or even change his facial expression before their eyes.
The Conjuring (2013) and its sequel Annabelle (2014) are recent horror films that are also based off a real doll. Annabelle’s story is depicted in The Conjuring both at the beginning of the film and throughout it. However, like Childs Play, the real doll doesn’t resemble the one featured in the films. She looks like any other Raggedy Anne doll…but doesn’t act like one.
According to the story, Annabelle was given to a girl named Donna as a gift from her mother in 1970. The college student and her roommate, Angie, loved the doll and kept it in Donna’s room. At first, the doll was normal, but after some time the doll started to switch positions or move around in the apartment when the girls weren’t looking. As the weeks went by, the doll’s movements began to increase. Notes that read, “Help me,” started to appear on parchment paper around the apartment. If that wasn’t strange enough, neither of the girls ever bought parchment paper.
While the girls were skeptical, their friend Lou was convinced that something was wrong with the doll. The last straw was when Donna awoke in her bed to find Annabelle next to her. When she turned on the lights, a red substance that looked like blood was leaking from Annabelle.
Terrified, the girls decided to call a medium to solve the problem. The medium reported that the spirit of a seven-year-old girl named Annabelle Higgins possessed the doll. The girl claimed that she felt safe with Donna and Angie and asked if she could stay with them. When they agreed, things got worse.
Annabelle continued to move on her own and Lou began to have nightmares. In his nightmares, Annabelle would crawl up his leg and try to strangle him. Then one night, when Lou and Angie were planning a road trip, they heard a noise coming from Donna’s room. Lou went to check it out only to discover that the room was empty. After noticing Annabelle on the floor, he got the strange feeling that someone was behind him, but when he turned around, nothing was there. It was at this moment, that deep cuts resembling claw marks appeared on Lou’s chest. He doubled over in pain, bleeding on the floor. These seven claw marks healed in just two days.
The girls reached out for a second opinion. They contacted a priest who reached out to Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were well-known paranormal investigators at the time. The Warrens discovered that Annabelle tricked the girls. The doll wasn’t possessed by a ghost, but by a demon who wanted to take possession of Donna’s soul. Donna immediately wanted to get rid of the doll, so the Warren’s took it to investigate further.
The doll immediately began causing trouble for the Warrens. Not only did they have car problems on their way home, but the doll began to levitate and continued to move on her own in their home.
Currently, Annabelle is on display at the Warren Occult Museum in Moodus, Connecticut. The Warrens placed her in a glass case that they doused in holy water, and she has remained there ever since.
Horror Films About These Haunted Dolls
There are some similarities between the horror films and the legends of these dolls. Mentioned earlier, Annabelle’s story is told in the beginning of The Conjuring, and throughout the film. The sequel, however, isn’t based on Annabelle’s real story.
Additionally, there are also similarities between Robert the Doll and Chucky in Child’s Play. Both dolls could talk and ran around terrorizing people and both dolls interacted with a boy. However, Robert never killed anyone…that we know of.
Intrigued by these stories? You’ll be excited to hear that later in 2017, Annabelle 2 is set to hit theaters. The film is in production and stars Miranda Otto (weird coincidence with the last name, right?), Stephanie Sigman, and Talitha Bateman. It’s also written by Gary Dauberman and directed by David F. Sandberg and like the other films before it, centers on children.
The film centers around a doll maker and his wife, who open their home to a nun and several orphans. The doll maker’s creation, Annabelle, begins tormenting the young girls shortly after they move in.
To prepare for Annabelle 2, watch the horror films that are based on these haunted dolls. They’re extra terrifying as they aren’t based on your traditional ghost story. However, in real life, the lesson here is if a doll ever asks you to play with it, just say no.
For a list of other haunted dolls, visit these websites: