Creepiness is a pretty vague concept. You can't quite put your finger on it, but for some reason someone or something makes you feel a little bit uneasy. As a child, there were certain toys that I was sure were live and in action when I wasn't looking. Not in a cute, Toy Story way, but rather in a oh-my-God-they're-going-to-kill-me-in-my-sleep sort of way.
Perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration. I doubt these toys were actually out for blood, but they did seem potential candidates for ascendance to global domination. Their cuteness only mollified us, pacifying us for their inevitable toy rebellion. You didn't quite know when or where or why, but somehow, at some point, these placid little plushies were going to turn on us.
While none of these toys have actually confirmed my panicky suspicions, I remain on edge whenever I see their glassy little eyes staring at me with what is supposed to be innocence but more closely resembles blind, spare-no-prisoners ambition. I won't be fooled, creepy toys. I'm onto you.
Geez, even this commercial is terrifying. At what ad agency are the idea people sitting around, asking each other, "What kid does not love a Frankenstein-style reanimation with the probes and the levers?" I'm guessing these ad people have never even seen a child, or else they would know that this is not the way to their story-loving hearts.
My uncle bought one of these for my sister back when they came out. He was so excited to finally see her reaction when she ripped off the Happy Birthday wrapping paper. Unfortunately, that reaction was irrepressible panic. She screamed, she cried, she hid under a table. Eventually I inherited the thing, and we were pals while it was light outside. As soon as the sun went down though, you can bet Teddy was shackled to a table in the playroom.
We've all heard urban legend-style horror stories of these things developing personalities or talking after their batteries had been removed. Furbies were intelligent toys built to learn and grow each time you interacted with them, meaning they became more and more capable of global domination with each passing play-date. One day they're learning basic words, and the next they're conquering militarily significant regions of Turkey. Scary.
Furbies are, of course, inherently creepy by design. Those giant, blinking eyes and moving mouth are enough to make even the most scare-proof among us a little bit jittery. A friend of mine had a Furby that mysteriously turned itself on in the middle of the night, babbling happily from its secluded location on the shelf. This, of course, marked the end their toy/owner relationship. After an ill-fated attempt to light the thing on fire, we settled for a proper burial in the dumpster behind the mall. I'm pretty sure it still knows where I live.
To read the full post on Furbies, click here
The puppy dolls themselves aren't so inherently creepy as is the action of reaching up inside of them and rifling through their baby-filled innards. These hollow stuffed animals contained an indeterminable number of babies (that was the surprise) that you could extract by unhinging a velcro flap in its nether regions. The toy was cute, yes, but I always felt a little dirty after shoving the babies back in for storage.
To read the full post on Puppy Surprise, click here
I'll admit it, these gooey insects made the list largely on moniker alone. I mean, the word creepy is right there in the name. How could I exclude them? They were, to their creepy credit, stomach turning in their own way. I wasn't afraid my oozy bugs would come to life, but was more just generally grossed out by their existence. I don't like real centipedes, so why do I delight so much in playing with semi-solid gelatinous ones? It's one of life's little mysteries.
To read the full post on Creepy Crawlers, click here
My Size Barbie
What more could you want from a doll than the chance to share clothes and tiaras? My Size Barbie stood at around three feet tall, so "My Size" is pretty relative. Sure, now I tower over the thing, but back in the day she was like a peer. We could sit around for hours chatting about the latest fashions in ball gowns and whether or not they'd ever make a My Size Ken so she wouldn't have to die plastic and alone. Well, she'd probably be plastic regardless, but you get the idea.
Looking back, this thing scares the crap out of me. It's like a little person.
Introduced in the 80s, these Glo Worms were supposed to serve a surreptitious nighttime function as a nightlight for wimpy children. The idea was that you put your kid to sleep with the cute little snuggly worm and its internal glow would somehow comfort them in the night. I don't know if you've ever woken up next to a glowing doll, but the effect is pretty eerie. What was cute during the daytime becomes a sort of radioactive alien life force cohabiting in your bed, shining its unnatural light from a mysterious place deep within its plush frame.
My Twinn Doll
This video is more recent than the 90s, but I just couldn't deprive you of the creepiness. Seriously? Are you watching this? Run!
I'm all for self esteem and liking oneself, but to create an actual tangible doll version of yourself to befriend? A little creepy. Created in 1992, the process behind My Twinn is you basically send them a photo, choose your specifications (see more at their website here) and you get a doll that looks exactly like you within 3-4 business weeks. You can even buy matching outfits. I know we're supposed to be teaching kids how special they are, but $150 for an eerily twinned doll is probably overkill. You might as well have just gone for the pony. Sure, there's more cleanup involved, but you won't have to deal with your child's eventual raging narcissism. Sounds like a good deal to me.
No doubt the makers of these toys had the best intentions in mind when formulating these ideas, something just went a little haywire in the implementation. Some frontiers just aren't meant to be explored, or at least not by impressionable young children. It might seem cute at first, but don't be fooled--these toys will probably eat you in your sleep. Don't say we didn't warn you.