Creepy dolls

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz -

TAKE away a vam­pire’s teeth and he’s just a goth that can’t han­dle gar­lic.

Wait for some de­cent cloud cover and your av­er­age were­wolf is about as scary as Lassie.

But there is one en­dur­ing hor­ror trope that can have grown men and women gnaw­ing at their finger­nails when things go bump in the night – the creepy, haunted child’s toy.

From malev­o­lent teddy bears and pos­sessed clowns to mur­der­ous porce­lain dolls rock­ing men­ac­ingly in their chairs, these evil char­ac­ters have be­come a multi-mil­lion dol­lar sta­ple adored by fans and stu­dio ex­ec­u­tives alike.

The creepy killer toy res­onates so pro­foundly be­cause of the cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance in­volved in the idea of a child’s cud­dly toy go­ing rogue, ac­cord­ing to film ex­perts.

“There’s some­thing very pri­mal about ab­sur­dist fears, which is some­thing I posit that most of us never com­pletely grow out of,” Shawn Rob­bins, chief an­a­lyst at film in­dus­try num­ber cruncher Box­of­fice.com, told AFP.

“In a twisted way, that just makes it more fun for adults when it comes to these types of movies.”

Annabelle Cre­ation, which has blown away crit­ics and earned a 100% rat­ing on reviews web­site Rot­ten Toma­toes ahead of its sum­mer re­lease, is the lat­est ex­am­ple of a genre span­ning more than 100 movies.

Ori­gin story

Killer toys have been scar­ing the be­jeezus out of the­atre­go­ers since Lionel Bar­ry­more played a cross-dress­ing fugi­tive sell­ing life­like dolls that were ac­tu­ally shrunken humans in The Devil-Doll in 1936.

Child’s Play (1988) in­tro­duced per­haps the most fa­mous evil doll of them all, Chucky – a crude, hard-drink­ing misog­y­nist who went on to ap­pear in four the­atri­cal se­quels and two straight-to-DVD movies.

Af­ter a fal­low pe­riod, Aus­tralian film­maker James Wan res­ur­rected the creepy toy trope to huge suc­cess with Billy, the Jig­saw Killer’s pup­pet in Saw (2004) and its se­quels, aswellasin Dead Si­lence (2007).

His most sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion, how­ever, has been Annabelle, a haunted porce­lain doll first seen in The Con­jur­ing (2013).

Based on a real, sup­pos­edly haunted “Raggedy Ann” doll that can be vis­ited in a mu­seum in Con­necti­cut in the United States, Annabelle – an al­to­gether darker prospect than Chucky – is re­garded by many as the creepi­est doll in cin­ema his­tory.

Annabelle, a com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful but crit­i­cally un­ad­mired spin-off, came out in 2014.

Wan is the pro­ducer on the much more im­pres­sive ori­gin story Annabelle Cre­ation, due out in the US on Aug 11.

Filmed over the sum­mer of 2016 at the Warner Bros lot in Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia, the de­li­ciously blood­cur­dling pre­quel fo­cuses on a doll­maker and his wife, whose daugh­ter died 20 years ear­lier.

Mur­der and may­hem en­sue as they de­cide to open their home to sev­eral girls from a shut­tered or­phan­age, only to reawaken the doll­maker’s pos­sessed cre­ation.

“Annabelle just has such a rich his­tory,” 36-year-old Swedish di­rec­tor David Sand­berg told re­porters at a pre­view screening at the Los An­ge­les Film Fes­ti­val re­cently.

“She’s based on a real doll, and James did such a good job set­ting her up in The Con­jur­ing that peo­ple just as­so­ciate her with evil.”

Emmy and Golden Globe-win­ning Aus­tralian ac­tor Anthony LaPaglia, who plays the doll­maker, said he chose not to get to know the movie’s tal­ented young fe­male cast – led by Lulu Wil­son, 11, and 15-year-old co-star Talitha Bate­man – so that he “could be ex­tra creepy” on set.

“I al­ways like im­plied vi­o­lence as op­posed to see­ing a sword go through some­one’s head, and this has a lot of im­plied vi­o­lence that is way scarier,” he told re­porters on the red car­pet.

“For me the best part was go­ing to work and just scar­ing these kids every day.” – AFP

— Hand­out

Annabelle Cre­ation is sched­uled to open in Malaysia on Aug 10.

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