Since the 1970s, ventriloquist dummies have become far less spooky than they used to—be it in comedy clubs or other venues—and rightfully so. It’s a well-known fact that lap dummies in the school of Charlie McCarthy are carved from the bones of Jungian childhood fears, and who wants to creep out their audience at an improv club?
Right off, prime examples of spooky dolls come to life spring from the 1963 “Twilight Zone” episode “Living Doll” with Telly Savalas, and the clown attack from the 1983 movie “Poltergeist” which I found more goofy than scary when I first saw it.
However, far above the pantheon of Hollywood demon dolls lies the 1978 feature “Magic” starring Anthony Hopkins as a troubled ventriloquist (is there any other kind?) who returns to his hometown to escape his success, and perhaps rekindle a relationship with an ex-sweetheart (Ann-Margaret) only to find that his dummy, Fats, may not like his partner going solo.
I can still recall the movie’s TV ad, which scared the hell out of me at age 10, but today isn’t so creepy.
Check it out below. And should you have any nightmares afterwards, you’re very, very welcome.