Forget vampires, zombies, or preternatural serial killers. Do you want to know what the scariest horror movie villains are? Dolls. Even in the chilling USS Indianapolis monologue from “Jaws,” Robert Shaw’s crusty seafarer Quint likens the black, hollow eyes of a hungry shark to those of a doll, just to make it clear how terrifying they are to behold.
To be fair, movie dolls don’t entirely deserve their bad rap. Some of them are simply misunderstood and yearn for someone to love them just the way they are, flaws and all. Other ones? Not so much. There’s the possessed murderous Good Guy doll from “Child’s Play” (aka Chucky), the deadly magical playthings from “Puppet Master” — and who could forget that clown toy from Hell in “Poltergeist?” The 2000s and 2010s provided even more nightmare fuel for those of us with pediophobia in the forms of Billy (the puppet with red spirals on his cheeks from the “Saw” movies), creepy ventriloquist dummy Billy from “Dead Silence,” and yet another evil-possessed child’s toy in the shape of Annabelle from “The Conjuring.”
And don’t think I forgot about you, Brahms the Boy! I see you sitting over there, with your villain
Multi-hyphenate James Wan is, of course, the common denominator for “Saw,” “Dead Silence,” and “The Conjuring.” Tellingly, he’s also involved with “M3GAN,” the upcoming horror film about an advanced robotic toy — Model 3 Generative Android or M3GAN — who takes the job of protecting her child owner a little (okay, way) too far. Wan produced and co-wrote the movie alongside screenwriter Akela Cooper, with Gerard Johnstone (the director of the utterly wild 2014 horror/comedy film “Housebound“) calling the shots. As it turns out, Cooper can credit her own fear of dolls to the classic Anthony Hopkins horror movie “Magic.”
Abracadabra! I Sit On His Knee.
Released in 1978, “Magic” stars Anthony Hopkins as Charles “Corky” Withers, a struggling magician who gets more than he bargained for when he integrates a ventriloquist dummy (dubbed “Fats”) into his act. If the premise alone doesn’t get the hairs standing on the back of your neck, perhaps the film’s trailer will:
Helmed by Richard Attenborough (the director of “Gandhi” and star of “The Great Escape” and “Jurassic Park”) from a script that “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Princess Bride” scribe William Goldman wrote based on his own novel, “Magic” left an impression on a young Akela Cooper. “My thing was ventriloquist dummies,” Cooper told Empire Magazine. “I saw the Anthony Hopkins movie ‘Magic’ at a really young age and that cemented the creepiness in my brain. I was a big ‘Child’s Play’ fan, too. It was always my dream to create an iconic monster of my own.”
Cooper herself is coming off penning the gloriously twisted, bizarre love letter to Giallo films that is “Malignant,” which James Wan also directed and had a hand in writing. It seems the pair are determined to outdo themselves by teaming up with Gerard Johnstone on “M3GAN.” The movie’s trailer is full of outlandishly creepy moments, be it a scene where the titular doll tries to rip a kid’s ear off or attacks someone with a nail gun. Then there are the glimpses of M3GAN performing some kind of tripped-out dance, which has already become a popular meme on social media. Cooper, for her part, told Empire she’s “looking forward to people hearing the song choice” in the actual film.
“M3GAN” hits theaters on January 6, 2023. As for “Magic,” that film is in the early stages of getting a remake from Sam Raimi.
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/Film – ‘Slash Film: M3GAN Screenwriter Akela Cooper Was Influenced By The Classic Horror Movie Magic’
Author: Sandy Schaefer
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November 22, 2022