Haunted Dolls that Terrorize us in Horror Films and Real Life

Horror Films About Haunted Dolls

Horror films featuring haunted dolls have both amazed and terrified audiences throughout the decades. Chucky, the evil doll from the classic horror film Child’s Playis an iconic horror villain. Additionally, there are a few other horror films that feature haunted dolls; 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 inspired these film characters.

Robert the Doll

The most famous of all these haunted dolls is Robert the Doll. This toy has terrified people for over 100 years and was the inspiration behind the horror film character, Chucky. However, unlike Chucky, Robert resembles an early 20th-century American sailor. to legend, a painter and author, Robert Eugene Otto, owned the doll as a child. Robert lived in Key West, Florida with his family and got the doll as a gift from one of the family servants in 1906. She was, reportedly, mad at Otto’s family and cursed the doll before she gave it to him.

After some time, family servants began hearing two voices coming from Otto’s room. They assumed that the second voice was coming from the child, but this 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 what happened, he claimed Robert did it.

When Otto grew up, he inherited his family’s house…and Robert. Otto’s wife, however, demanded that the he stash the doll away in the attic. It remained there until Otto’s death in 1974.

Shortly after his death, a new family moved into his childhood 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’d see Robert scurrying around her bedroom. Sometimes the doll would even attack her.

Where’s Robert Now?

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.


The Conjuring (2013) and its sequel Annabelle (2014) are horror films also inspired by a real doll. Annabelle’s story is depicted in The Conjuring at the beginning and throughout the film. However, 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. to legend, Annabelle was given as a gift to a girl named Donna from her mother in 1970. The college student and her roommate, Angie, loved the doll and kept it. At first, the doll was normal but after some time the doll started to move on its own. It would switch sitting 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. The last straw happened when Donna woke up in the middle of the night to find Annabelle lying next to her. When she turned on the lights, a red substance that looked like blood was leaking from Annabelle.

Donna and Angie’s friend, Lou, convinced them that something was wrong with the doll, so they called a medium. 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. He then noticed Annabelle on the floor. He also got the strange feeling that someone was behind him, but when he turned around, nothing was there. It was at this moment, that something attacked Lou. He doubled over in pain, bleeding on the floor. Seven claw marks appeared on his back and 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 (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.

After taking the doll, the Warren’s immediately began to have problems. They had car trouble on the way home and the doll began to levitate and still moved on her own.

Where’s Anabelle Now?

Currently, Annabelle is on display at the Warren Occult Museum in Moodus, Connecticut. The Warrens placed her in a glass case, doused in holy water, and she has remained there ever since.

Horror Films About These Haunted Dolls

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 around children.

The film begins with 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 based on these haunted dolls and remember, if a doll ever asks you to play with it, just say no.

For a list of other haunted dolls, visit these websites:

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