Hell Dolly

Channing Tatum just had an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in which she asked him about his greatest fear.

His answer? Porcelain dolls.

"I just think they're freaky," he said.

"They have, like, real eyes! I just imagine when I walk by them, their heads turn with you the whole time."

That a manly man like Tatum could be scared of a doll shouldn't come as a huge surprise.

Pediophobia - fear of dolls - is a relatively common disorder.

This is obviously the main reason we get scary doll movies like Annabelle popping up in theatres from time to time.

A spin-off from last year's horror hit The Conjuring, Annabelle is about a couple (Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton) whose home is invaded by a bunch of Satanists. (Is there not a spray for that?)

As if being attacked in your own home weren't bad enough, the Satanists also conjure a demon that possesses the wife's vintage doll. Dang Satanists.

Annabelle is the latest in a long and not particularly illustrious line of scary doll movies. There's the Chucky movies; the Puppet Master movies; Dead Silence; Magic; Dolly Dearest; May; The Doll Master.

The list goes on.

Thing is, with all the thousands of movies I've seen, I haven't seen any of these flicks. Dolls scare me too! At least the creepy ones do.

Of course, not all dolls are creepy. There's a Russian-Canadian doll artist named Marina Bychkova who creates porcelain dolls of singular beauty.

Her creations inspire wonder rather than fear. I love the idea of artificial humans - androids, puppets, Muppets, bioroids, clones, replicants. Especially replicants.

I love creating online avatars - pixel dolls - in games such as Guild Wars 2.

The "uncanny valley" - the term to describe the revulsion some of us feel for faux humans - doesn't really faze me at all. That said, creepy dolls are just creepy.

I have no doubt that Annabelle will be one of the scariest movies of the year.

It's being produced by James Wan, the maniac who brought us The Conjuring, Insidious and the Saw movies.

The trailer is absolutely bonkers, the sort of trailer that is more of a test to see if you have what it takes to see the film.

Annabelle wants to play.

Do you have the guts to join her?

This article was first published on September 17, 2014.
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