With the return of Chucky and Annabelle plus Toy Story 4’s Gabby Gabby, the freaky kids’ toy is terrorising our cinemas again
It is an image straight out of a horror movie: an army of identical ventriloquists’ dummies in their little suits and bowties, shuffling towards you like floppy zombies, jaws clacking open, malice gleaming in those big, blue, glass eyes. Except it’s not a horror: this is Toy Story 4, and the sinister hench-dummies of a manipulative antique doll named Gabby Gabby. This is supposed to be a children’s movie, for God’s sake!
An army of scary dolls really is descending upon us. Back from the dead last week was Chucky, the sadistic antihero of the Child’s Play films, in a gleefully gory new reboot. In July we’ve got Annabelle Comes Home, the third solo outing for another doll (“based on a true story”) who just refuses to die. Rather than destroying her, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga think: “We’ll just put Annabelle in this cabinet in the home we share with our curious teenage daughter. It will be fine.” Later this autumn, we have a sequel to The Boy, the 2016 horror about a woman hired by a weird family to nanny a doll as if he were their living son.