Name That Trauma :: Reader Beth on a Malevolent Mannequin Maker

Hi Kindertrauma,

I was wondering if you could help me find the name of the very first horror movie my brother and I saw as very young kids, hiding behind the couch while our babysitter watched this movie. We were born in the ’80s, and what I can remember of this movie it seemed like an ’80s flick, but it may have been from late ’70s too.

The plot I recall was some creepy dude living in the basement of a department store who would kidnap women and turn then into mannequins. However, I have seen clips from TOURIST TRAP, MANIAC, and even the MANNEQUIN movie with KIM CATTRALL and none of these seem like it, the movie definitely had a department store connection, many mannequins, and was scary as hell (at least, to a 6-year-old).

This has been bothering us for more than 20 years, so if anyone could help us out that would be great.



UNK SEZ: Beth, I think I know this one! In fact, it was a Name That Trauma of my own once (check the comments section HERE!) Luckily our stalwart kinderpal Mickster was able to track this short film down. It’s called LIVING DOLLS and it seems to have been used often as filler between shows in the early days of cable. You may not believe this… but unlike the last time I looked for this film on YouTube, this time I found it!

I just watched it myself and I think it’s even creepier than I remembered. More frightening still, as the film ends, it is followed by an episode of MY SISTER SAM which I’ve decided is proof that not only does the Devil exist, but he also truly does enjoy manifesting in the form of JENNY O’HARA. Yikes and yikes! Watch below…

UPDATE: Reader Beth emailed this:

Sorry for the delay in response; I have been waiting for my brother’s opinion, and unfortunately the conclusion is that we’re not sure if this is it. There is something familiar about it (and as a side note I do agree heartily that HD is not good for horror films), however what I recall of the plot was that the man was the villain and was actually turning live women into mannequins. But I may just be remembering incorrectly. Sorry I couldn’t give you a definite yes or no about Unk’s kind contribution to my question.

Thanks so much!


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11 years ago

Holy Jeeze! I’ve never seen that before, but I love it! It creeped the Hell outta me, and it’s broad daylight outside now! Something about how its all grainy (HD has ruined horror) makes it even spookier. Why oh why don’t they re-air these kinds of shorts late at night on TV, or even better, around Halloween?

Thanks for posting the vid, Unk. I’ve always been freaked out by mannequins (thanks to that old Twilight Episode with the lady trapped in the department store who’s actually one of ’em… “Marsha!”), so that one hit the spot.

And to Pam Dawber… thank you for everything. 🙂

David Fullam
David Fullam(@fb1004515993)
11 years ago

A truly awesome short.

11 years ago

Yay! I can’t wait to watch it when I get home! Unk, I am so glad you found it on YouTube because I couldn’t find it last time I looked.

11 years ago

Could be the old Night Stalker episode, “The Trevi Collection” That one had some murderous mannequins….

11 years ago

Geez wiz! No wonder so many people remember this creepy short film! Mannequins creep me out as much as clowns! Yikes!

Philip Mertz
Philip Mertz(@fb1445487988)
11 years ago

USA Saturday Nightmares was so awesome. I wish they would bring it back with the original intro that went through the halls of an old, scary house with shots of Freddy, Jason, ect. on the walls.

11 years ago

Reminds me a bit of ‘Evening Primrose’… another creepy ‘people in a shopping mall get turned into mannequins’ story.