Movie history is populated by the weird and the freaky – and nothing is scarier than a creepy doll. They don’t just crop up in horror movies or shows either – there’s an infamous episode of Sex and the City that features a whole bunch of them. One of the most famous examples is in the teen romance vampire movies Twilight – in which Edward and Bella’s daughter Renesmee turned out to be a unintentionally horrifying CGI creation, after actors refused to work with the even more unsettling mechanical doll they tried to introduce on-set.
In terms of scary movies for kids – there’s the Goosebumps series with the evil ventriloquist doll Slappy. Sometimes a baby or young child is not supposed to be a doll in the world of the movie, but a doll is required for various reasons. In the case of Twilight, Renesmee is supposed to be an unusually advanced baby, then toddler, who grows extremely quickly.
In the 2004 movie version of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, each of the orphaned Beaudelaire children has a different skill. Violet is an inventor, Klaus is a speed-reader with a photographic memory, and the baby Sunny has an abnormally strong bite.
Because Sunny needed to be able to do things that a normal toddler can’t, an animatronic doll was used for some of the scenes where she performs stunts – such as hanging off a table by her mouth.
Special effects technician Kevin Yagher has posted a video on Instagram of his old Sunny animatronic puppet from the 2004 movie, saying “it’s still hanging on after all these years.” Yagher is the designer and executor of maybe the most famous doll in movie history – Chucky. The video has gone viral, and even Rick Baker has commented on it saying; “she is awesome!” which is high praise, indeed.
Horror movie dolls are not going anywhere, and it looks like we’ve got a very special one to look forward to in M3gan, which comes out in January. If you’re a fan of Lemony Snicket, check out our guide to the best fantasy series.