2023 will be an awesome year for movie lovers – especially horror fans, who are getting treated to a new scary killer doll movie already in early January! M3GAN is set for a release on January 6, 2023 (in most countries), and the trailer promises good effects, great animatronics, and a whole lot of fun!
The killer doll genre has been around since forever, and over the years, there have been numerous successful entries that fit right into that trope. So, without further ado, here are the ten best, scariest movies like M3GAN every horror fan needs to watch. The movies are ranked solely on their IMDb rating. Enjoy!
10. Annabelle (2014)
IMDb rating: 5.4/10
What’s it about: Mia is a vintage doll collector whose husband, John, gifts her a beautiful, rare, vintage doll in a wedding dress. Mia is thrilled, though it will soon become despair instead when members of a satanic cult invade their home and leave behind blood, horror – and a demon, who finds its host in the doll.
The dark, malevolent presence in the Annabelle doll begins to terrorize the couple, and there’s simply nothing they can do to stop the horror.
Why you should watch it: The Annabelle doll actually appeared in James Wan’s The Conjuring movie, and then spun off into its own franchise. This particular movie didn’t quite hit the mark with audiences, but there were some downright terrifying moments in the film.
Annabelle is, to this day, one of the most popular cursed dolls in film history, second only to Chucky. Given the fact that James Wan wrote both M3GAN and Annabelle, this one is certainly worth a watch.
9. The Boy (2016)
IMDb rating: 6.0/10
What it’s about: Greta Evans (Lauren Cohan) is a nanny who takes on a job in a secluded English village, at the mansion of a wealthy family. Things get weird quickly, as Greta realizes the child she is tasked with babysitting – is a doll named Brahms, sized exactly like an 8-year-old boy.
The family has the doll to cope with the tragic loss of their real son which happened 20-ish years ago. The nanny is weirded out by the strict rules about the care of their doll son, but when she breaks the rules, Greta soon realizes they are here for a reason. The doll might be alive…
Why you should watch it: I believe that the IMDb rating doesn’t do the movie justice. I mean, sure, there are tons of cliches involved, but there are cliches in every single horror movie ever, and this one doesn’t go overboard. Also, the twist, in the end, will certainly be amusing to you – and even creepier than you originally thought.
8. Dead Silence (2007)
IMDb rating: 6.1/10
What it’s about: There’s a legend surrounding the town of Ravens Fair – a legend of a mad ventriloquist, Mary Shaw, who went insane in 1940, and was accused of kidnapping a kid who yelled out she was a fraud at one of her performances. She was killed by the townfolks and buried with her dolls. But she and the dolls came back – back for revenge.
After a young woman named Lisa is brutally killed, her husband goes back to their hometown, Ravens Fair, and tries to get to the bottom of her murder. The mystery takes him back to Mary Shaw and the evil lurking in the shadows, all the while a cop follows Jamie, believing he was the actual culprit behind Lisa’s murder…
Why you should watch it: This was one of James Wan’s first projects after he became a hit in the horror industry with Saw. You can see and feel the inexperience, as the film feels kind of rough around the edges, but the overall story is quite creepy, and the directing is masterful, as it always is with James.
Dead Silence will be a treat for James Wan fans, and it’ll be so interesting to see the differences and similarities between this movie, and M3GAN, coming out almost two decades later.
7. Malignant (2021)
IMDb rating: 6.2/10
What it’s about: A woman wakes up in a hospital 27 years after a brutal incident at the Simion Research Hospital. Her existence is getting harder and harder to cope with, as visions of grotesque murders keep plaguing her. Is everything a figment of her imagination, or is there something far, far worse going on?
Why you should watch it: Again, we turn to James Wan, the guy who worked on the story, and produced M3GAN. Malignant was his big return to the horror genre after dabbing into different fields with Fast and Furious and Aquaman. And, while it wasn’t his best horror flick ever, it was surely one of the most terrifying.
There’s no killer doll here, but something much worse. What if the evil wasn’t lurking from within your home, but rather – from within yourself?
6. Dolls (1986)
IMDb rating: 6.3/10
What it’s about: A group consisting of five adults and a kid are stranded in the middle of nowhere due to a huge storm. They find refuge in the home of a seemingly sweet elderly couple, who are (or were) dollmakers. However, are they really dolls?
The child learns that the dolls are alive, and were once evil humans – now turned into killer dolls by the elderly couple.
Why you should watch it: Some consider dolls to be a cult classic in the killer doll genre, and I have to agree. I mean, the budget was obviously quite low, and the acting is below average, to say the least, but the cool stop-motion animation really brought the dolls to life. Give it a shot, you might like it!
5. Annabelle: Creation (2017)
IMDb rating: 6.5/10
What it’s about: A doll maker and his wife tragically lost their daughter, Annabelle, as she is struck by a car. Soon, what seems to be the spirit of their daughter asks if she can inhabit one of the dolls that the father created. The couple accepts but soon realizes the spirit was not their daughter. In fact, it was not a spirit at all…
Twelve years later, they open the doors to their home to an orphanage that was shut down, and soon, the Annabelle doll starts targeting the girls, especially the weakest one – Janice.
Why you should watch it: This was the second Annabelle movie that came out, but it was essentially a prequel to the first film, explaining the origins of the Annabelle doll and the malevolent entity inhabiting it. It was above and beyond a better film than the first one – more terrifying, and with a better story.
There’s a third Annabelle movie for 2019 named Annabelle Comes Home, but I honestly disliked it despite the connections to The Conjuring’s Ed and Lorraine Warren.
4. Happy Death Day (2017)
IMDb rating: 6.6/10
What it’s about: Tree Gelbman, a teenage high school girl, is trying to celebrate her birthday, but unfortunately gets murdered. However, she wakes up, on the morning of that very same day, and gets killed again.
She is forced to relive the day in a weird time loop, getting killed over and over again until she figures out who her murderer is. All she knows is that the person who killed her wore a hideous, terrifying giant baby costume.
Why you should watch it: So, the killer isn’t a doll, per se, but rather a person in a giant baby doll costume, but still, it will certainly give you the same creepy vibes. Happy Death Day was a pleasant surprise to me, as the horror-comedy mix works quite well, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as well.
3. Child’s Play (1988)
IMDb rating: 6.6/10
What it’s about: Charles Lee Ray is a psychopathic serial killer who is chased and gunned down by a cop, Mike Norris. Before dying, Charles uses dark magic to bury his soul into a Good Guy Chucky doll. The doll is then gifted to a young boy named Andy by his mother, and Chucky starts committing murders yet again, making them look like accidents.
Nobody believes Andy when he says the doll is alive, and when they start to believe, it’s already too late – Chucky’s murder spree is out of control.
Why you should watch it: You didn’t think we’ll skip past Chucky when talking about the scary killer doll genre, did you? Granted, most of the entries in the Child’s Play/Chucky franchise are horror comedies – and most of them are just plain bad – but this one is the original, and it’s still the best in the series.
There were some nice newer entries, however – Cult of Chucky (2017) was okay, but the best one for me that even got close to being as awesome as the original was the 2021-22 TV series, Chucky. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it, you’ll be positively surprised!
2. Magic (1978)
IMDb rating: 6.8/10
What it’s about: Corky (Sir Anthony Hopkins) is a magician’s assistant, whose first solo act ends miserably. To improve, Corky is given a ventriloquist dummy called Fats. Corky trains, and becomes quite good at it, but not just because of his talent, but because of the dummy’s talents, too. Yes, Fats has a mind of his own.
As Corky rises to stardom, Fats wants to control his master instead in a series of horrifying events as Corky tries to reconnect with his old lover from high school.
Why you should watch it: First of all, I have to say just how weird it was to me seeing Sir Anthony Hopkins with black hair. We all know him as a grey, older man, but his career started much, much earlier, and Magic is still one of my favorite Hopkins movies to date.
The plot is pretty straightforward, but there are some plot twists and some downright terrifying scenes. I still hate ventriloquist dummies because of this one.
1. The Conjuring (2013)
IMDb rating: 7.5/10
What it’s about: In the early 1970s, the Perron family moves into a new, big home in a rural Rhode Island farmhouse. All seems well, but soon, strange, violent things start happening in the house, as they find out it was once owned by a believed-to-be-witch, Bathsheba, who hung herself on the property.
As the situation escalates, the Perrons call Ed and Lorraine Warren for help, but the malevolent entity might already have too much of a hold on Carolyn, the mother of the family…
Why you should watch it: Anyone who enjoys paranormal horror has to watch The Conjuring, as it’s undoubtedly one of the best movies of the genre. It was also written and directed by James Wan, and based on a true story.
Now, killer dolls might not be the focal point of the film, but this is where the Annabelle doll first appeared, at the very beginning of the movie. Also, there’s a scene where the spirit of the evil witch, Bathsheba, is sitting in a rocking chair, stroking Annabelle’s hair with a brush. It still gives me nightmares, and is, to me, one of the best scenes in the entire movie.