They’re coming to get you… One ankle at a time. The attack of the killer dolls!!!

What makes these stories scary?
I don’t find the evil doll stories particularly scary. Maybe because it’s hard to be afraid of something so small and innocuous. I also never had dolls growing up, so I never had any experiences like lying in bed and having them stare at me, or having their eyes follow me across the room, so maybe I’m missing the visceral side of the phobia.
For example, in “Amelia” the monster was almost comical. A tiny angry spastic thing that seemed like it could easily be taken on if not for the irrational fear of its perceived ability to harm you. The only part I found scary in that bit was the end when the smoke possessed the girl, and she became the demon. That to me was scary because you can’t fight or stop smoke, and you don’t even know what’s happening until it is too late.
The twilight zone story was my favorite, even though the way the doll killed the husband was kind of cheesy, because that doll held real psychological power over the husband. I think the story would have been scarier if the doll had just leveraged this and tortured the husband into committing suicide after his family left. I can be scared of psychological torment from a small package, but laying inconveniently on the stairs and “murdering” him doesn’t really do it for me.
What makes them effective?
I think they can be effectively scary to some because dolls are something a lot of people actually have in their home. I can imagine if I had children and they had a doll sitting out while I was watching these becoming a little uneasy, and maybe keeping my eye on it.
I can also see it in a strange way as a personification of death. The doll is a small lifeless version of us, so in a lot of ways it resembles a corpse. The fact that when it animates and comes after us but still has that unchanging emotionless gaze is extremely creepy.
What doesn’t work?
I’ve already touched on this a bit, but I’ll beat that dead horse, because that seems pretty macabre. It’s difficult to take the threat seriously. The size alone makes it seem innocuous, and it doesn’t look outwardly threatening in most cases. Not to mention the items themselves are often trivialized as children’s toys, which in my mind, makes them seem like the safest things in the world. I mean, we’ve designed them specifically to give to children, they come with an inherent degree of trust. But I can see how betraying that trust and murdering everyone can add a bit to the unease and fear of the stories.
What is your favorite phobia?
My favorite phobia is papaphobia – or fear of the pope. It just seems so silly that it’s endearing. It makes me smile to image the nicest man in the world (the pope) chasing some scared dude down the street yelling “let me bless you my son!”
#phobia #ds106

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