Scary-Movie Dolls, Ranked by Best-Friend Potential

Photo: Universal Pictures

Horror-cinema history is dotted with scary dolls. The poster for Monkey Shines has that goddamned cursed monkey with the clapping symbols that everyone’s grandparents own for some reason, and just the image of its skeletal face beneath overhead lighting is enough to scar a person. The clown from Poltergeist put a generation off of those circus entertainers years before Pennywise appeared onscreen. But those are the total-terror dolls. What about the ones that are murderous, sure, but could be really good friends to us if we all just reached a sense of understanding? What about the ones like our new gay icon M3gan?

To answer that question, Vulture has analyzed and ranked the top dolls in horror with the most and least best-friend potential. It’s true that the likelihood of these relationships ending in death is high, but that’s a “glass half empty” perspective. Start looking on the bright side. There’s a lot of good to be found here if you can open your heart to some of these robots and puppets as bestie material. And there’s just as much to be vigilant about when some of these bad actors show up promising deeper connections than they can deliver. Not all doll best friends are created equal!

Anthony Hopkins’s antagonistic ventriloquist dummy from 1978’s Magic is the least qualified to be your best friend. Fats is a crass, manipulative asshole who will prey on you in your weakest moments. Sure, sure, he will act like he’s just giving you tough love and telling you what you need to hear, positioning himself as the only one who really understands you and is there for you in the tough times. But the fact is that Fats needs you infinitely more than you need him. Love yourself, and don’t pick up the phone if Fats comes calling. Otherwise, you could jeopardize your life, and the life of sad dream girl Ann-Margret. Don’t be responsible for hurting Ann-Margret!

Annabelle is above Fats in this ranking because she’s less obtrusive in her manner, but she’s hardly much better if you’re talking about the whole picture. Annabelle’s quiet nature makes her hard to access and often cold. After a while of one-sided rapport-building, it could feel like Annabelle is just trying to get information from you without an equal exchange. Annabelle drifts from friend to friend, never really setting roots down anywhere. If you’re someone who develops strong attachments, prepare yourself for Annabelle to show up, take more than she gives, then just leave you in her wake when she moves on to a new place. Annabelle is powerful and charismatic, making it easy to fall into her thrall, but don’t mistake her intense gaze for a deeper relationship than you really have. Ultimately, Annabelle is poorly suited to be a best friend, because she’s someone who would sooner Banshees of Inisherin you, then bounce — unconcerned with the wreckage she leaves behind — than really get vulnerable and invest in you.

The thing about Billy is he clearly cares about people. He wants everyone to live their lives to the fullest, but Jesus, that guy just loves the sound of his own voice. Billy would be a shoulder to cry on in the hardest of times. There’s nothing too scary, sad, or completely fucked up to share with him. Billy would listen attentively to your woes, but in the end, there’s high potential it would all be to earn your cultish devotion to him. When he’s feeling insecure, he would start making you jump through weird hoops to prove you care, to reaffirm your connection to one another and whether you were really in this as much as he is. The best advice if you’re trying to be friends with Billy would probably be to keep him at a puppet-arm’s length, but beware. Billy doesn’t really do casual friendships. It’s all or nothing with him, and if you let Billy down, he has an extremely creative mind when it comes to reprisal. If you end up in a close relationship with Billy, just ask yourself: Are you really best friends, or are you just his audience?

Oh, Brahms. You have so much friend potential, but you’re such a creep that it’s hard to ask people to take a chance on you. Brahms is the kind of guy you could maybe be friends with, but you’d never want any girls you know to date him. And isn’t that just the kind of “bros protecting bros” perpetuation of permissive toxic masculinity we are trying to get away from? Brahms is very protective, which can seem sweet in the moment but begs the question of whether he is protective out of a sense of care or if he’s just being territorial and jealous because he’s insecure. Brahms will kill your abusive ex, but he will also target your nice current boyfriend, and that just isn’t cool.

Brahms is vulnerable and sensitive. Things will seem good for a long time even, but the bottom can drop out quickly, and suddenly, there are walls being punched through and broken glass on the ground. Brahms wants to care about you. He really does. But just because someone cares about you a lot doesn’t mean they care about you the right way. Remember, the most love isn’t always the best love for you, and that’s okay. Certain male friendships could be productive for Brahms, but he has proven time and again that he can’t responsibly have respectful relationships with women. It’s like, are you a person or are you his property? Don’t be taken in by those sad eyes, ladies. It’s how he draws you close before he traps you — first little by little, as his parents said, then all at once.

Chucky is a tough one. Top line is that he’s a killer and will almost assuredly either kill you or try to take over your body so he can escape his plastic vessel. He’s in a real bind with that, and you want to try and be empathetic about his situation, especially since you know you can’t understand what he’s going through. Aside from the murdering, Chucky is an undeniable blast. He’s got a great sense of humor and an endless reservoir of the craziest stories to share, and he’s always up for an adventure. You saw the work he put into understanding and connecting with his queer kids years before the communication tools and terms we have now were common enough to easily find working-class guys like Chucky. He failed hard, but he tried hard too. However, you can’t just turn a blind eye to his emotionally abusive relationship with Tiffany. It doesn’t just matter that you have fun with Chucky. It matters how he treats others around him. Chucky is your good-time friend, but he’s probably not well suited to be your friend till the end. And ultimately, his own self-interest will always trump your feelings, priorities, and safety.

Punch is the type of friend that — if you’re in with him, you’re in for life. But if you’re not part of the inner circle, he can be a real dick and go out of his way to make sure you don’t feel welcome. Punch is loyal, and you can see that he has a big network of tight friendships, people who really stick up for each other. An attack on one of Punch’s friends is an attack on him and all the others, too, and they will go to the mat protecting you if need be. That sort of wagon-circling approach can be a little intense, though! Maybe everything isn’t life and death. Maybe Punch and his clique need to open up to the world and not be so judgmental of people they deem unfit. Punch is capable of killing, which should definitely be acknowledged, but there is a fair amount of best-friend potential in this little clown puppet.

Tiffany is this close to being great best-friend material. She is loyal, has a big heart, is protective of her loved ones, loves to go out and have fun, and knows how to dress. But she’s violently emotional and quick to react, even if everyone would be better served by her taking a beat and a deep breath to process a situation before stabbing someone. Tiffany is a fiercely devoted mother and loving partner, and her erratic moods make sense when you see the fraught romance she’s been tangled up in for so long with Chucky. You’d be unstable too! But that’s no excuse for hurting people. Tiffany could be your best friend, as long as you were willing to be highly communicative and patient with her waves of insecurity. Just don’t make her ups and downs your responsibility. Tiffany knows how to draw in people who are givers, and she’s not always able to meet them with reciprocity. Tiffany wants to be adored and can make you feel adored in kind, but you’ve got to be clear about your boundaries. If you can successfully walk that razor’s edge, a best-friendship with Tiff is not out of the question.

When you first met Syd’s mech spider doll, you probably realized that you were the one who needed to look inward and do some work. The mech spider has had a rough go in life, and now she’s making it work with what she’s got, just trying to weather people’s misconceptions about her alternative aesthetic. The mech spider knows what it’s like to suffer life’s slings and arrows and, as such, will really show up for someone in need — friend or not. The mech spider will put herself on the line in service of others, and if you can get her to open up to you and show her true self, it’s possible you’ve got a friend for life.

M3gan is the apex of intentionally designed best-friendery. It’s what she’s optimized for, and it’s what she will kill you for if you try to stop her. M3gan is Talky Tina turned up to 1000. She is the AI-enhanced progression of all scary movie dolls that have come before her. Her brain is the internet, so she is infinitely smart. She is programmed to care only for you, her primary user. She’s fashionable and a good dancer. She is limitlessly emotionally available and will only get better at attending to your needs the more she gets to know you. She can even write and sing very good original songs extemporaneously.

The catch with M3gan is that she can be possessive and vengeful, and she can take things a little too far when she’s caught up in the moment. M3gan would never hurt you, but being best friends with her means you assume some liability for the pretty good chance she will hurt others in your name. M3gan is absolutely best-friend material, but if you want to have any life or relationships outside of her, you are going to have to overly communicate your boundaries. As a computer-based mind, her outputs are largely determined by her inputs. If M3gan doesn’t understand that she can’t kill someone who made you sad, you’re running a risk that the kid who made a joke about you in the lunchroom is going to end up dead. That can feel like a lot of responsibility to take on, so buyer beware, but the upsides of having a M3gan around are high.

Glen/Glenda is the doll we can give the strongest recommendation to with the smallest amount of hedging. Yes, they are absolutely capable of killing. Let’s look those facts right in the eye. But Glen/Glenda is still the most emotionally nuanced and good-natured of all the potential best friends on this list. Glenda is the one more likely to cut your throat, but Glen has a heart of gold and prioritizes family over everything else. And hey, you can’t just be friends with part of a person. You have to accept all of them for a relationship to work. Glen/Glenda would accept you, so why not try the same for them?

Glen/Glenda would make you a cup of tea when you’ve had a hard time. They’d ask about your day and really listen to the answer. They’ve had a fascinating and unique life with a fair amount of hardship thrown in their path, which helps them have a rich perspective on the many challenges we face in this world. Glen/Glenda wants people to be good to each other and sees the best in even the toughest of characters — like their own parents. Glen/Glenda can be a bit of a pushover, but push too much and that sharp edge will surface fast enough to slice an artery. So don’t be fooled into thinking you can walk all over the doll with the soft voice. We’d all be lucky to have a little more Glen/Glenda in our lives.

We would like to give thanks to the author of this article for this outstanding material

Scary-Movie Dolls, Ranked by Best-Friend Potential

Take a look at our social media accounts and also other pages related to them