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Name That Trauma :: Reader Kathryn K. on the Movie That Inspired Her Lifelong Pediophobia

August 10th, 2011 by aunt john · 7 Comments

… Apparently pediophobia means “fear of dolls,” not fear of children. Although little children can be scary, too, especially when they have glowing yellow eyes, or dwell in the corn. But I digress.

This movie was probably made in the 1970s and has all but faded from my memory, except for the terrifying killer doll (pre-Chucky!) at its core. I think it was called “Lights Out: When Widows Weep,” but “Lights Out” may have been a TWILIGHT ZONE-type T.V. show.

A woman somehow bought or was given a pair of old-fashioned, Victorian-style dolls, a man and a woman. Something happened to the male doll, and the female doll went on a killing spree. She somehow caused the woman’s husband to die, then began haunting the woman.

I don’t think we ever SAW the doll killing people. There would be a scene with someone putting the doll in the car and driving away, and next we would see twisted, smoking wreckage–but the doll would be there, mysteriously intact. Possibly even smiling.

The woman kept trying to get rid of the doll by throwing it in the river, etc., but it ALWAYS returned to her. At the end it killed her–perhaps in that car wreck.

I was REALLY young when I saw this, so I don’t remember much of it beyond the killer doll element and the creepy way the doll kept coming back no matter how the woman tried to destroy it. What I do remember, vividly, is that shortly after I watched this movie (no doubt without parental supervision), a family friend sent me a package for Christmas … an old-fashioned, Victorian-style DOLL. I became terrified of this doll and insisted that my mom hide it in the closet. Then I’d be afraid to walk past that closet, lest it jump out at me. She offered to take it to work with her and give it away, but I refused, of course, knowing that if she drove off with it in her car, the car would immediately burst into flames. I’m not sure what eventually became of the Doll of Doom, but I’ve found dolls creepy and frightening ever since.

Does anyone remember this movie (or T.V. show) or know anything about it? I know I never saw it again (though once was clearly enough to traumatize me for life). It was NOT the KAREN BLACK movie about the African totem doll, but it may have been from around the same time.


Kathryn K.

UNK SEZ:: Thanks Kathryn! I do not know the answer to this Name That Trauma! but if it involves killer dolls I’m dying to find out too. Hopefully your description will ring a bell with one of our readers. In the meantime allow me to cruelly leave you with a scene featuring a scary doll from VACACIONES DE TERROR (1989)…

Tags: Name That Trauma!

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 TristanNo Gravatar // Aug 10, 2011 at 11:31 am

    It’s listed on imdb:

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Aug 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Wow! Great job Tristan! That sounds like it. Man, I wish that I could find it on Youtube!

  • 3 Brother BillNo Gravatar // Aug 10, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    While poking around the internets looking for more info, I found this pretty thorough list of “living doll” movies and TV episodes… Kinderfavorites Living Dolls, Where the Woodbine Twineth, Asylum and Dead of Night are all there, plus a bunch more…

  • 4 Brother BillNo Gravatar // Aug 10, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Looks like “Lights Out” was the name of a spooky radio show going back to the 1940s… the 1971 movie was actually a pilot for an attempted reboot of the series as an anthology show for TV. The title of the “dolls” pilot was “When Widows Weep”… a poster (or something) for the series can be found here:

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Aug 11, 2011 at 12:03 am

    That’s a great list! Thanks BB! Glad to see the “Smile Time” episode of Angel there!

  • 6 PinchyNo Gravatar // Aug 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Anyone interested in the Arch Oboler radio program can find many episodes available here:

  • 7 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Aug 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Lights Out is pretty much the best of the old radio horror shows. For one thing they have a somewhat more experimental approach and are famous for their great use of sound effects.
    There’s an episode called ‘The Dark’ where they used wet leather to conjure a very nasty image of a man being turned inside out.

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