When I was around four or five years old I watched a movie called MAGIC starring ANTHONY HOPKINS. The plot, as I remember it, involves HOPKINS giving in to the will of his evil ventriloquist dummy after which murder and mayhem ensue. The visuals alone are enough to, even now, make me panic. The dark seventies era cinematography coupled with the hideously creepy dummy have warped me for life. I have nightmares of a dummy, dressed in his little tuxedo, walking around the house of his own volition ready to overpower me. Sometimes he is armed with a knife. Even while typing this letter, my heart rate has increased. Of course, once my older brothers discovered my irrational fear, they used it against me as much as they could. I can remember my older brother holding a ventriloquist dummy while chasing me around the house as I screamed and cried. Recently, when the movie DEAD SILENCE (about a woman and her creepy dolls) was released, I had to change the channel every time the commercial appeared on T.V. My psyche will never be the same.
UNK SEZ: Emily you are not alone in your distaste for ventriloquist dummies, many folks seem to share your point of view. For a quick overview of the cinematic history of these little wooden terrors, I suggest you check out the wonderfully named blog THE UNHEIMLICH. On the surface these tales seem akin to the killer doll sub-genre, but they actually have a consistent psychological subtext all their own. Often the ventriloquist dummy is used to represent the dark side of their master’s nature, a shadow identity bent on gaining absolute control. Coincidentally, I recently came across just such a tale in the unlikeliest of places, in an episode of FANTASY ISLAND! The one and only ANNETTE FUNICELLO played the ventriloquist “Maryanne” whose meek personality begins to get overtaken by that of her brassy MAE WEST-talking, moxie-filled puppet named “Valerie” (I swear to God, I’m NOT making this up!). Bizarrely, Mr. Roarke’s solution is to turn the doll into a real person and let the two cat-fight it out. After some crazy strobe light effects that include ANNETTE shooting lasers out of her eyes, the dummy turns into none other than the most beautiful woman in the galaxy, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA‘s MAREN JENSON, strangely clad in top hat and pantless tuxedo. Now alive, Val point blank informs Roarke that she means to kill Maryanne the first chance she gets. On evil Val’s actual to-do-list, murdering Maryanne comes AFTER screwing Maryanne’s boyfriend and humiliating her in front of a room full of swirling, laughing phantom faces like the kind found at the beginning of NIGHT GALLERY. Luckily, sweet Maryanne gets the upper-hand before “De plane!, de plane!” comes back to pick her up. I can’t say the show was all that scary, but last night I made a vow to myself that Mr. Roarke must be honored as an Official Traumatizer in the near future. That guy is nuts!!!!!! Plus you all DO realize he’s got some serious magical powers, right?
Special thanks to the second loveliest woman in the galaxy, Candace Vivian for taking this photo right off the T.V.!!! Candace is also a big fan of FANTASY ISLAND, but her favorite episode involves a shirtless JOHN SAXON and a conniving mermaid!
LOADS MORE DUMMIES:
Cool dummy pix swiped from HERE
In the “and you thought MADAME was scary” department: