Certain movie characters are guaranteed to scare audiences of every age. Creepy clowns, possessed children and rabid zombies are regular staples of the horror movie genre.

However, some of the most terrifying films have featured a seemingly innocent object that has the ability to scare the living daylights out of just about everybody.

A horror doll is the stuff of nightmares, and this list counts down 15 of the most terrifying examples that nobody ever wants to get for Christmas.

1. Annabelle


The Annabelle doll from The Conjuring was actually based on a true story.

Two nursing students found themselves terrorised by a Raggedy Ann doll that would wander around the house whenever they went out and write messages on pieces of paper that read “Help Us.”

After a series of creepy incidents, the girls called in a priest who informed them the doll had a demon attached to it that was attempting to take possession of a human soul.

Rather than chop the doll into pieces and then leave the country as most of us would have, the students preserved Annabelle in a glass case where she remains to this day.

2. Dolly Dearest


Despite the cute name, Dolly Dearest was a pint-sized nightmare.

An evil spirit is set free by an archaeologist during an expedition to open an ancient Mayan Tomb. The spirit heads straight for a nearby toy factory and sets up shop inside the dolls.

The unlucky family that have recently taken ownership of the factory are then subjected to repeated assassination attempts from one of the dolls that has been brought home by their young daughter.

Rip Torn appears as an archaeologist that attempts to discover exactly what his colleague unleashed during his fatal expedition to open the ancient tomb.

3. Billy


Dead Silence featured an insane ventriloquist named Mary Shaw who was hunted down and killed by the townsfolk who accused her of the murder of a young boy.

Mary was buried in the town along with her collection of dolls including the scariest member named Billy.

The creepy puppets then rose from the grave to seek vengeance for Mary’s death and began running amok through the town. Anyone who laid eyes on a doll would almost immediately meet a grisly end.

The movie follows a widower who is attempting to discover the true fate of his wife who fell victim to one of the murderous dolls.

4. The Clown from Poltergeist


They’re here. The creepy clown from poltergeist had only a minor role in the 1982 horror classic.

However, it left a lasting impression on movie fans and helped to make clowns one of the most terrifying creatures that ever lived.

During one of the most famous scenes in the movie, Robbie throws his jacket over the clown after becoming unnerved by its dead-eyed stare. After returning to his room the next night, the clown is gone but reappears to drag Robbie under the bed.

Collectors of creepy movie memorabilia can even purchase their very own poltergeist clown from eBay if they dare.

5. Everybody From Dolls


A young girl and her parents, two British punk rockers and a kindly businessman named Ralph find themselves stranded in the English countryside after a particularly violent storm.

The group finds refuge in an old mansion inhabited by a seemingly charming elderly couple who hide a dark secret.

The house is filled with hundreds of sinister-looking dolls that are actually the imprisoned souls of formerly evil people that were lured to the house by the elderly couple.

If the guests are pure of heart and respect the magic of childhood they are free to go. If not, then they will meet their death at the hands of a killer doll.

6. Tiffany


Even homicidal dolls get lonely sometimes.

Tiffany was the former squeeze of psychopath Charles Lee Ray, the serial killer whose soul was trapped inside the infamous Chucky Doll.

Tiffany, played by Jennifer Tilley, brings Chucky back to life during a voodoo ritual. Chucky then murders Tiffany and traps her spirit inside a doll.

The gruesome twosome set off on a killing spree across America in an attempt to locate an amulet that was buried with Charles Lee Ray’s body that will enable them to inhabit human bodies. However, the dolls are thwarted just before they can carry out their plan, but not before Tiffany gives birth to what will become The Seed of Chucky.

7. Blade


Blade was the most terrifying puppet from The Puppet Master franchise.

The doll was based on the appearance of actor Klaus Kinski and was the leader of the murderous puppets.

Blade had a pale, gaunt appearance with black hollow eyes and an ever-present smirk which made him look like the lovechild of The Grim Reaper and The Joker. He had a hook in place of his left hand and a knife where his right hand should be.

If this wasn’t terrifying enough, Blade also had silver eyes shaped like bullets that would pop out of head at various moments during the film.

8. Cindy


SimPal Cindy was never actually intended as a horror doll, but managed to steal the show from Arnold Schwarzenegger due to her weirdly realistic facial features.

The Sixth Day was an action thriller set in the future that saw humans being cloned without their permission.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays an ordinary family man who finds himself replaced by his clone who he must find and kill.

Arnold purchases Cindy, an animatronic doll that seems to have come straight from hell as a gift for his daughter. The hideous creation appears in multiple scenes in the movie and scares the bejesus out of everybody except the movie’s characters.

9. Zuni


The Zuni doll from the Trilogy of Terror starring Karen Black is one of the tiniest yet most terrifying horror figurines.

Karen returns from shopping with a package containing the Zuni fetish doll complete with spear and a mouthful of razor sharp teeth.

After a phone conversation with her overbearing mother, Karen sets the doll on the table and leaves the room. Later on, Karen discovers that the doll has vanished and searches the house only to be attacked by the demonic creature with a carving knife.

An almighty battle ensues with the spirit of the doll eventually entering into Karen herself.

10. Billy From Saw


The Saw franchise managed to make both dolls and tricycles terrifying with the Billy Doll, the ominous messenger of Jigsaw.

Once a character heard the squeaky wheels of Billy’s tricycle, they were in for some very, very bad news.

Billy appears in every one of the Saw movies and has even crossed over to other movies written by Leigh Whannel such as Dead Silence, Death Sentence and Insidious.

Whilst he is never referred to by name in any of the movies, Billy was given his name by his creator James Wan. Billy merchandise has become extremely popular amongst movie fans wanting a macabre souvenir from the Saw franchise.

11. Pin


Pin is a Canadian movie that was released in 1989 and quickly gathered a cult following due to its deeply disturbing storyline.

Pin is a medical doll that Dr Frank Linden uses to explain the facts of life to his two small children.

Frank’s son Leon is suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenia and soon begins to believe that the doll is alive.

After Frank dies in a mysterious car accident, Leon’s relationship with Pin becomes even more sinister as he starts to take orders from the plastic doll.

The movie is made even more terrifying after Leon begins dressing the doll in latex skin and his dead father’s clothing.

12. Fats


Magic is a 1978 horror starring Anthony Hopkins.

The trailer for this movie had to be banned from TV after angry parents flooded the networks complaining that it had scared the life out of their children.

Anthony Hopkins plays Corky, a failed magician who needs a gimmick in order to revive his act.

He returns with Fats, a cursing ventriloquist’s dummy who turns him into an overnight success. It soon becomes evident that Corky’s mental health is extremely fragile, and he is unable to control Fats’ behaviour both on and off stage.

This movie is singlehandedly responsible for terrifying an entire generation of children.

13. Chucky


Chucky is possibly the most recognisable horror doll in movie history.

Chucky burst onto our screens as the main protagonist in the hit film Child’s Play released in 1988. The first three movies in the Chucky franchise were horrifying tales that terrified audiences worldwide.

By the fourth instalment, the franchise began to veer towards a spoof-horror theme that introduces Tiffany and Chucky’s son Glen.

However, Chucky’s legacy is still alive and well, and a prank involving an actor dressed as Chucky leaping out from behind a movie poster towards members of the public is one of the most terrifying pranks in history.

14. Talky Tina


Talky Tina was the very first psychopathic doll that appeared on-screen in an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled Living Doll.

The episode aired in 1963 and led to every parent suddenly keeping an extra close eye on their kid’s Barbie.

Talky Tina never actually sprang to life but she was able to talk by winding up a key on her back. Tina was given to a young girl named Christie as a gift from her mother.

Sensing hostility between Christie and her new stepfather, Tina slowly begins to drive him insane with phrases such as “My name is Talky Tina and I’m beginning to hate you.”

15. Fletcher


Fletcher was a demonically possessed ventriloquist’s dummy that terrorises a young boy named Joey using his telekinetic powers.

The movie was released in 1985 under the titles of Making Contact and Joey. It was directed by Roland Emmerich who is the man behind Independence Day starring Will Smith.

After Joey’s father dies, the boy soon realises that he has begun to develop psychic powers. He even manages to communicate with what he believes is his father using a small plastic telephone.

However, the voice on the other end turns out to be Fletcher, the evil doll that looks like a terrifying cross between Frank Sinatra and Montgomery Burns.