Yeah, we’re all afraid of clowns. But you know what’s worse? Dummies. Ventriloquist dummies, to be exact. Ventriloquist dummies are so scary that they have their own phobia: automatonophobia.
Now I’ve been scared of ventriloquist dummies for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure why. It could be the piercing eyes or the childlike yet cruel mouth. But more than likely it’s the many evil dummies that I saw in the TV shows and movies of the 80s and earlier, evil dummies such as these:
Willie from The Twilight Zone episode “The Dummy”. Is there anything freakier than that lost shot where Willie, having taken the place of his human operator Jerry, looks directly into the camera.
Okay, so maybe Hopkins is psycho and the dummy isn’t evil at all. Still, it’s on screen and that’s scary enough.
And, worst of all, this one:
This was a short shown on USA’s Saturday Nightmares. It doesn’t seem nearly as horrifying now, but it terrified me as a kid. The dummy gets up! Even without its head!
I’m sure there were others from this period I have forgotten, and I know there were some in the modern period, including Dead Silence and an episode of Tales From The Crypt (which I never saw back then and so couldn’t include on this list). Still, this is enough to prove the concept. Ventriloquist dummies are not just real dummies, but real scary dummies!