Categories
Featured Indie Horror

Be Cautious of The Dollmaker (2019)

If you hadn’t noticed by now, we really enjoy what Horror Short Film producers ALTER have been putting out into the horror universe, so much so that some of us dedicate a good amount of time just going through their content every week, just for fun. Even if you haven’t heard of ALTER until now, this is a great one to start with. Who knew such a wealth of horror culture would lay within the confines of the lower-budget, self-produced content of YouTube? Well, we did, but now you do too!

ALTER’s The Dollmaker (2019)

Almost a year to the day ALTER came out with what can only be described as one of the creepiest, blatantly paranormal films yet. We won’t spoil the story for you, so let’s just leave you with this–a mother’s love is eternal.

Mother grieving
Photography by Kat Jayne

The question that this short horror film leaves us with is, to what lengths would a mother go in order to preserve the memory of her lost child? Grieving the death of a child is a long and arduous journey; it ruins marriages and it can ruin lives, with some people never fully recovering from the pain. So to cope with that loss, it’s not incredibly difficult to believe that a grieving mother would turn to the supernatural to bring back some semblance of normality after her child was taken from her. The Dollmaker (2019) shows us the gritty and uncaring attitude that would accompany the kind of person willing to take monetary advantage of someone who is suffering this kind of loss, but it also shows us what can happen when we don’t seek the help we need. Both psychological and supernatural influences are at work in this simple, yet incredibly complex story and hopefully it freaked you out as much as it did us. You can find ALTER’s Youtube channel here, if you’d like to check out what else they’ve produced.

Movies That Capture the Disintegration of a Family After Loss

Pet Sematary (1989)

Based upon the Stephen King’s Pet Semetary (1983) novel, where the regular American family by the name of the Creeds move into their perfect home in the countryside. What they don’t know is that they have moved in right next door to a pet cemetery that was built on an ancient Indian burial ground, which is revealed to them by their mysterious neighbor just after disaster has struck their happy home. What evil have they awakened?

Pet Sematary IMDB Listing

The Ring (2002)

Based on the Japanese movie, Ringu (1998), if you’re not old enough to remember the sensationalism that surrounded this movie when it first came out, you certainly missed some pretty great scares. I’ll never forget after watching that movie, I would randomly get calls from friends telling me in a creepy gravelly voice that I had, “seven days.” The story starts off with a bang, as we see the fate of a teenage girl who has watched the mysterious videotape–those who have the misfortune to watch it will be doomed to die within seven days. We follow a journalist, that we know is the aunt of the teenager we saw die at the beginning of the movie, as she investigates the videotape and races the clock before she suffers the same fate as her niece.

The Ring IMDB Listing

Orphan (2009)

After the heartbreaking experience of losing a child just before it has been born, the Coleman’s decide to adopt a nine-year-old who is the picture of perfect manners and an amiable, talented girl. We start to see the dark nature that plagues this girl as she hides her behavior in front of her adoptive parents.

Orphan IMDB Listing

The Babadook (2014)

If you ever come across a disturbing storybook called, “The Babadook,” that has randomly turned up in your home, it’s probably a sign that something sinister is afoot. The story takes place six years after the violent death of, our protagonist, Amelia’s husband and she is still plagued by his memory. Amelia also happens to be struggling to discipline her six-year-old son, Samuel, who she believes has been hallucinating about a monster who he says has invaded the house. When Samuel tells his mother that the Babadook is coming to kill them both, she ends up getting her son medicated–she could have never imagined what would happen next.

The Babadook IMDB Listing

The Witch (2015)

Not quite in the same line of grief and loss as the rest of the movies in this list, The Witch (2015) still deals with a certain type of grief–the anger that comes when people place blame for the death or loss of a child. This period-piece is as dark and nail-bitingly exquisite as they come, from the perspective of typical New England colonialists we get witchcraft, black magic, and possession. We see a family of farmers who have moved to an unconquered plot of land that sits on the edge of a dark and dreary forest. Is evil looming within its shadowy depths? You bet your ass it does, watch it and see just how messed up Robert Eggers’ debut film that still left me rooting for the Witch of the wood.

The Witch IMDB Listing

Hereditary (2018)

The Graham family has suffered the loss of one of its most beloved members, the grandmother, and matriarch–Ellen. This is when things start to turn creepy for them because it’s only then that the family begins to find out mysterious and dreadfully frightening new things about their family’s ancestry. Once they realize the malevolent destiny that they have inherited, we see the breakdown of each and every character within the movie.

Hereditary IMDB Listing

Pet Sematary (2019)

A remake of the original Pet Sematary (1989), there are a few swap outs when it comes to the characters that we knew from way back when, but this movie actually had a lot more mixed reviews that you might expect. Not everyone was a fan to see this one remade for the big screen, but it was actually still pretty compelling.

Pet Sematary IMDB Listing

Check out a couple of other ALTER shorts we loved!

Check out our other articles about creepy dolls!

Are you a fan of creepy dolls and the roles that they play within supernatural and paranormal horror lore? Well then take a moment to read these articles, we guarantee you’ll learn something new!

Categories
Horror Mystery and Lore

The Real Annabelle and Other Truly Haunted Dolls

Close up view of a creepy dirty porcelain doll
Photography by Patrick Hendry

Any object can be haunted, but perhaps due to the fact that dolls are physically modeled to bear a resemblance to human beings, they have more of a proclivity to be vessels of spirit possession. According to Ghosts in Popular Culture and Legend, “haunted dolls are either possessed by malign, nonhuman entities or earthbound spirits—who are usually female—either children who died as a result of a horrific accident or women who are the victims of domestic violence. In both instances, prospective buyers are cautioned to treat the dolls with respect and to rehome them with another buyer if the object becomes too much to handle; destruction would free the spirit and either cause it distress or make it more dangerous.”

The Real Annabelle doll locked up in the Warren Occult Museum
Artwork by Mary Farnstrom

An exception to the gender stereotype that plagues the haunted doll theory, is Robert the Enchanted Doll. This particular doll has been located in Key West, Florida since 1904 and is still on display in the Fort East Martello Museum. The original owner of Robert was a four-year-old boy named Robert Eugene Otto—Gene to his family—the doll was given to him by the family’s maid and activity started immediately after Gene came into possession of the doll. While the doll’s name is Robert, little is known about the spirit that haunts the doll, all is known are the stories that are told about its activity. During Gene’s childhood, Robert was frequently blamed for items being scattered across the home, as well as upturned furniture. As an adult, Gene maintained ownership of the doll, but knowing what it was capable of, he locked it in the turret of his home, where neighborhood children said they saw it staring at them from the windows, often changing places on its own.

It’s unclear as to why people still insist upon wanting to own spirit-possessed dolls, but what is clear is that it’s sure to be a trend that continues on for quite a while. One possible reason why these things continue to be items that are sought after is that there are a lot of would-be paranormal investigators who have little to no experience dealing with spirits in the first place. They get the idea that they can collect evidence and make it big if they come into ownership of a doll, simultaneously proving the existence of ghosts and the dolls they haunt, as well as making a name for themselves. Whatever their motivation, it feels like they lack the guidance to understand what they are getting themselves into and therefore are making decisions without knowing the full risks of their endeavors.

Annabelle the Doll: The Origins Documentary

The True Horror Story Behind Annabelle

Annabelle (2014) Trailer

Haunted dolls are considered a commodity in today’s culture, due to popular horror culture making them popular with horror films like The Conjuring (2013), Annabelle (2014), Annabelle: Creation (2017), and the most recent horror movie Annabelle Comes Home (2019). People enjoy the fictional horror stories so intensely that they feel a connection to haunted objects without realizing the perils that can be attached to them. The story behind The Conjuring and Annabelle franchise though is actually more real than many people realize—sure the movies are amped up to create the thrills and adrenaline rush that people so desire, but these movies were based on true accounts of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Annabelle: Creation (2017) Trailer

The Warren’s Museum of the Occult contains more haunted and cursed objects than any other museum presently known, which serves as evidence of the paranormal and supernatural forces that are at work within this world. Although I have never been to the museum myself, it is said that the collection is dominated by dolls that are haunted or inhabited by evil spirits—the most well-known of which is actually the real Annabelle doll. There is a rather long and convoluted history about the doll and its origin, which is further convoluted by the fictional embellishments added to the movies.

Annabelle Comes Home (2019) Trailer

What has been alleged is that the doll’s original owner consulted a medium who said the doll was actually inhabited by an evil spirit and not a ghost at all—which is when the Warrens took possession of it, had it exorcised, then locked it in a blessed cabinet to ward off any potential activity from starting at their own house. The whole story is spoken of in-depth in the book The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The real Annabelle is quite a bit different from her presence in the films, where she is portrayed as a fragile, yet incredibly creepy porcelain doll with exaggerated features. In reality, she is what seems to be a run of the mill Raggedy Ann doll, the same type that many of us girls owned as children, something that would seem soft, safe, and cuddly.

Dolls like Robert and Annabelle remain objects of scary stories and fascination for a lot of people across the world and while the idea of them definitely belongs to the public, the dolls belong in a place where they can be properly warded and kept away from unsuspecting bystanders.