By: Alexis Low
Horror has become a genre that is viewed in varying methods of text. Through these texts we become connected to the victim, more so connected to the fear. As humans, we empathize and the fear experienced by the victim is manifested within us as well.
There is something about inanimate objects that become animate killers that just terrifies me. My mother is a fan of horror, and introduced me to old films that were of that genre. We would have marathons of horror movies such as the 1968 version of The Night of the Living Dead, Psycho, and The Twilight Zone.
The first time I was terrified, was when my mother decided that we would have a marathon of The Twilight Zone, and the first two episodes she showed me were called “The Living Doll” and “The Dummy”.
In, “The Living Doll”, the doll, Talky Tina, would become more animated as the stepfather became more verbally abusive to the stepdaughter. Tina would talk to the girl, threaten the father, and mysteriously move; when the stepfather feels that the doll is threatening his sanity and his family, he tries to destroy her with a torch, squeezing her head, throwing her away, but the doll remains unscathed. As a doll, that has become animated, she still remains the figure of the innocent pure doll, yet creepily says without moving her lips, through a phone, “My name is Talky Tina, and I am going to kill you!”
In “The Dummy”, a second-rate ventriloquist believes that his dummy, Willie, is alive; he believes that there is a difference between Willie and other dummies. Willie taunts the ventriloquist left and right, and no one else sees that Willie is alive. The ventriloquist was right. In the end, their roles become reversed and Willie becomes the ventriloquist.
The dolls fed off the energy of the men, this states that one can create their own demon.
The thing that is horrifying about the Twilight Zone (besides dolls) is that it is a portal fantasy, that has no apparent visible portal; there is no rabbit hole, or a stranger named Morphious giving you a choice between a red pill and a blue pill. Rod Sterling, the creator, with his famous lines, says that the characters, (mysteriously) “…crossed over into The Twilight Zone.” You never know if you are living a nightmare.
You can imagine, after watching these episodes that every Baby Alive, Bratz, Barbie, and stuffed animal was packed into bags, and thrown into the garbage. It was the night I would have my first nightmare, or at least the first one I recall.
I thought that I would be done with that nightmare, until I went to Arkansas to visit my grandmother. She had a room in her ranch house that was cut off from everyone. One day I decided to explore it. I let myself into that room, and saw a sepia colored scene of gifts she forgotten to give, memories, memoirs, expensive cigars, wine, and candy. As I crossed the room to get to the candy I suddenly became terrified. For around the room and on the couch were dolls of every size, shape, color, gender, and historical date. One sitting on the ground, the biggest one, looked like the reincarnation of “Talky Tina”, (the doll was even named Tina) she had the same creepy smile, and her eyes blinked.
At that moment I proceeded to scream and run out the room. My grandmother, not even two hours later, would take me back in there to show me that her eyes can’t move, and that she is just a doll. The thought of the doll being just a doll didn’t make sense. You give life, you give purpose to anything that you give energy to, whether using the inanimate object as part of your job or as your friend. My grandmother was a connoisseur of dolls for years, and she expects me to think that its just a doll. Like the ventriloquist said in the episode, “I can tell when something is a dummy, and that ain’t no dummy.”