A demonic entity lurks within the toy industry. Dressed in human skin, it hawks its kiddy wares to unsuspecting parents and tricks them into inviting unspeakable evil into their homes. It then gorges on the unceasing nightmares of their children — forever.
Well, that's one theory anyway. How else do you explain the terrifying playthings below? These ads and images are not spoofs or snippets from horror movies — they are actual commercial products that were intended for small children. If you really hate your kid niece or nephew, get them one of these plastic abominations for Christmas. Baphomet will be proud.
Baby Secret [AKA Chucky's more evil sister]
If you were remotely freaked out by the killer doll in Child's Play or Annabelle, you might want to start running now. Baby Secret was released by Mattel in the 1960s. The doll's central gimmick was its whispering voice box and moving mouth; perhaps the most terrifying combo in the history of toy making. Seriously, what were they thinking? You could turn the above commercial into a horror movie simply by adding a sinister soundtrack. No other alterations would be necessary.
Who wouldn't what this whispering secrets in their ear?
I'm no toy expert, but ginger dolls with dead, unblinking eyes that whisper secrets into the ears of your children seems like a pretty bad idea. We wonder how many people this thing sent into therapy? To this day, they're probably still checking under the bed.
Jolly Chimp (AKA the simian death stare)
You may recall this cheerful fellow from the movie Toy Story 3. The character is actually based on Musical Jolly Chimp; a real-life toy that was manufactured between the 1950s and '70 by Japanese outfit Daishin C.K.
The Toy Story 3 version was toned down, if anything.
We're not sure what possessed Daishin to give their monkey such a needlessly terrifying visage. The only explanation we can think of is that they really must have hated kids. Either that, or the demonic entity thing.
Sixfinger [AKA That's not a finger]
We have nothing to add to this.
Pregnant Midge (AKA Teen Preggers Barbie)
In 2003, Mattel launched a new Barbie line dubbed 'Happy Family'. The star of this new collection was the heavily pregnant Midge doll who sported a miniature baby inside her removable, magnetic womb. No really.
Now there's nothing inherently wrong with the concept of a pregnant Barbie doll (well, apart from encouraging awkward questions from kids.) However, the presentation was all kinds of wrong — to extract the baby, you literally had to pull out Midge's stomach cavity. Instead of celebrating the miracle of birth, it reminds me of the chest-burster scene in Alien. Plus, there was the fact that the character was unmarried and had previously been marketed as a teenager: America's God fearin' Bible Belt were not amused.
Facebank [AKA 'Japan']
We probably could have filled this entire list with Japanese toys, but Facebank deserves special mention for making (failed) inroads into the West. As you can see, it's a big face that you feed coins to. Only in Japan. Bonus points for having a motor that sounds like Leatherface's chainsaw.
Erwin the Little Patient [AKA the serial killer starter kit]
Erwin the Little Patient is an educational toy that purports to teach kids about human anatomy. It comes with colour-coded organs that children are encouraged to fish out with surgical instruments. If you see your kid combining this with their cooking playset, you may want to call in a therapist. (Also, was it really necessary to give Erwin a sewn-on penis?)
Baby Laugh A-Lot [AKA Your imminent doom]
If the mountain men from Deliverance were reborn as malformed, plastic blobs, this is what they would look like. Baby Laugh A-Lot has become something of an urban legend, in no small part thanks to its disturbingly off-kilter commercial. But the doll was a real product — it was produced by Remco in 1971. Perhaps not unrelatedly, the company filed for bankruptcy in the same year.
If you gaze long enough into Baby Laugh A-Lot's maw, the maw will gaze back into you.
In the intervening years, Baby Laugh A-Lot has become even more terrifying, thanks to a surge of YouTube videos featuring the doll laughing on dying batteries. Click here if you dare.