Toy Terror: The toys are back in 2017 and ready to kill!
Horror fans have a sense of nostalgia for the films we watched during our childhood, and the ‘Toy Story’ films of my youth included Dolls, The Puppet Master series, Child’s Play and Demonic Toys. It was a creative time for horror movies, which were dominated by start-stop motion and special effect prosthetics.
With the evolution of horror, a lot of these films have been forgotten. But, with some exciting new titles coming out in 2017, it looks like the toy box has been reopened. With the welcome return of some of our old favorites, plus some new toys to terrorize, it’s time for Toy Story to move out of the way and let the living toys do what they do best.
Cult of Chucky
The Child’s Play series has gradually changed over the years, as the original horror elements present in the first film were replaced with a greater focus on Chucky’s wit and dark humor. Whereas, The Bride of Chucky found critical success by finding a perfect balance to rejuvenate the series with a fresh feel, the Seed of Chucky seemed to miss the mark. Moving further away from horror, it become a parody of the series with a crossover into reality with Jennifer Tilly playing herself and the introduction of the gender confused Glen/Glenda.
It looked as though the relevance of Chucky as a modern horror icon was beginning to wane, and a straight-to-VOD release for Curse of Chucky seemed to confirm that. However, despite a rather low-key release, the film soon found an audience due to its critical success. The film had a darker tone than the previous sequels and introduced us to a new final girl,with a great performance from Fiona Dourif. It proved once again, you can’t keep a good guy down for long — and suddenly Chucky was back in the running as everyone’s favorite killer toy.
Nearly 30 years since the original, Cult of Chucky is bringing together various characters from the series. This includes Alexander Vincent, who played Andy Barclay in the original, Jennifer Tilly as Chucky’s girlfriend Tiffany in Bride of Chucky and Fiona Dourif returning as Nica, after becoming the final girl in Curse of Chucky.
It’s hard to know what to expect with the latest entry. But with Don Mancini describing the film as “Chucky on drugs,” it will hopefully be a new twist on the series, which should get the fans excited again.
Annabelle (the possessed doll) was regarded as one of the highlights of The Conjuring, and it was inevitable that a spin off film would be made in an effort to further expand the series Conjuring universe. On its release, Annabelle may not have received the critical success they were hoping for. But with the excitement and high expectations following The Conjuring, it was enough to make the film a significant box office success.
In The Conjuring, scenes featuring Annabelle instantly became some of the most memorable, primarily due to her haunting appearance and the tense atmosphere which the film built up around her. The original Annabelle film lacked the atmosphere of The Conjuring. But with the prequel now in the hands of Lights Out director David F. Sandberg early reviewsand great buzz from , it looks as though the jump scares are once again in good hands for this toy terror.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Puppet Master was the first feature from Charles Band’s Full Moon Productions and became an instant cult hit following its direct-to-video release in 1989. The popularity of the Puppet Master series was at its height in the early 90s, but newer films continue to maintain a cult notoriety to this day. With 11 sequels, it is already one of the longest running horror franchises.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a new reboot to the series and has attracted horror veteran Udo Kier and a return to the series by Barbara Crampton, who fans will recognize from the original Puppet Master. Also returning are the original puppet characters Blade and Tunneler, who have been redesigned for the reboot, while maintaining their original characteristics. It is uncertain at this stage what other puppets may be returning, but we have been introduced to a new character, which looks to be a mixture of a frog and a clown.
With a script by Bone Tomahawk writer S. Craig Zahler and directors Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund taking the helm, this could be an interesting reboot, which may open the series to a wider audience.
Mandy the Doll (Current Working Title)
Product Productions are releasing several horror films in 2017, but Mandy the Doll looks to be one of the most anticipated. Based on real life events, the story follows a newly released prisoner named Amber Ross (Phoebe Torrance) who finds herself led back in to crime by her sister Carly (Amy Burrows) and her boyfriend Neil (Manny Jai Montana) for one last robbery. Taking a babysitting job, the plan is to rob the house while the owners are out. But, when the child they are babysitting turns out to be a doll who is very much alive, things don’t go according to plan.
Currently in post-production, Mandy the Doll is directed by Jamie Weston, who is no stranger to horror. Having already proven himself with his unique visual style in the tense slasher film Fox Trap, Jamie will be looking to recreate the same dark taut atmosphere. Working again from a chilling new script written by Scott Jeffrey, Mandy the Doll will hopefully deliver a fresh new take on the classic possessed toy story.