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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Twilight Zone- Living Doll

      For some downright weird and chilling terror, sometimes you just cannot beat "The Twilight Zone".  I distinctly remember many Friday nights staying up late and getting the crap scared right out of me by an old "Twilight Zone" episode.  I've been going back and re-discovering some old episodes- and I must say, wow.  This was a great and inventive show that many times ventured into outright horror, and I'm going to start highlighting some of the scariest and most chilling episodes ever filmed.  I think I'll start with one of the best and most well-known.

     "Living Doll" tells the story of little Christie, who desperately wants the new "TalkyTina" doll.  Her mother, Annabelle, buys it for her, much to the displeasure of her ogre of a husband, Erich- played by Kojak himself, Telly Savales.  Apparently, he's a total douchebag, and the doll, who normally says "My name is Talky Tina, and I love you very much!", instead tells Telly "My name is Talky Tina and I don't think I like you".  The doll actually seems to be telling Erich that she senses that he doesn't like her, so in turn she doesn't like him.  Erich, in a fit of rage, simply thinks that because he's the new stepfather, mother and daughter are playing a trick on him.  He soon comes to realize though that mother and daughter are not involved- and that's there's something supernatural going on here.

     "Living Doll" actually pre-dates "Trilogy Of Terror" and "Child's Play"( both of which obviously were inspired by this tv classic...)-long before Chucky became a household name in the late 80s, there was Talky Tina.  Many people have a deep, dark fear of dolls, and this episode plays off those fears quite well.  It's a thoroughly entertaining and chilling little exercise in imagination and fear, and one of the best "Twilight Zone" episodes ever. Guaranteed to give you a grand case of the creeps, this is one of the best killer doll stories ever done, besides "Trilogy Of Terror".  I'll take Tina over Chucky anyday- I personally find "Child's Play" one of the cheesiest and most stupid horror films of all time.  This is done much better, I think.  Besides, the great Bernard Herrmann creates a sinister score for the episode, and his presence is always a plus.  The doll used to play Talky Tina is actually Brikette, made by the Vogue Doll Company.  Brikette doesn't actually talk, but the doll was inspired by Chatty Cathy, which was made by Mattel.  June Foray supplied the voice for both Tina and Cathy, and you may recognize the voice, as it's the same one for Granny and almost all of the female characters on "Looney Tunes" and "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show".  Talky Tina made such an impact on pop culture, you can now buy an exact replica of Tina, done in a talking, resin bobble head.  Great, spooky stuff!

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