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Doctor Munoz
08-24-2005, 07:20 AM
A possible goal of this thread would be to provide a place to post about our encounters (either literary or real life encounters) with the menacing or unnerving side of dolls, puppets, and mannequins, since they are so an important motive in Ligotti’s writings.

By the way, Chucky admirers not allowed. :)

The idea came when reading a story by one of the weirdest sci-fi writers, Cordwainer Smith. “The Lady Who Sailed The Soul” seems to me a little maudlin but it contains a most intriguing prop: the “spieltier”, a shape-shifter pet animal who can be transformed from chicken to rabbit or whatever out of whim by the child owner. Keep in mind we are talking about 6000 AD.
At the end of the story the “spieltier” is very old and has outlived its changing capabilities. Alas its last shape is most unpractical: that of a doll. The pet drags itself across the carpet on all fours. The mock human face look up with blind eyes and squeak for food.

In spite of the thread title, here the victim is the doll like in “The Brave Lead Soldier” by Andersen.

G. S. Carnivals
08-24-2005, 08:26 PM
From the periphery of the topic:
When I was living in the dorm at college, a guy from the Upper Peninsula (see a Michigan map) named Fred had a prized possession: a life-sized cardboard photograph of Cybill Shepherd straddling a bicycle. Fred had wheedled this advertising display from a hometown drugstore. Every time I went across the hall (from 320 to 319), there she was, staring seductively at the camera which was me. Once, Cybill was kidnapped and held for ransom. (Cybill's safe return undoubtedly involved drugs and/or alcohol.) She was held in the room which I shared with the perpetrator--which made me an accessory. My penance was her gaze. She looked so real.

Trainwise
08-26-2005, 06:37 PM
I treasure every moment of my life spent in terror of puppets or dolls. One of my favorite movies (and a GREAT malicious-mannequin-movie) is TOURIST TRAP (which I'm sure has been discussed elsewhere on the site...maybe even by me).

I also adore mechanical haunted houses for similar reasons, though I'm often too freaked out by all the killer puppets to actually experience anything definite.

Example: Once, my partner and I went to this haunted house (since torn down to become a sub-par video arcade) with all of these mechanical bogey-creatures in it--the kind that are set off by motion sensors to 'pop out' at you. Lots of buzzers and sirens.

I'd been once when I was, like, five. On this, my second visit, I was pushing thirty, and I remembered from my youth that there had been this vague phosphorescent form toward the end of the attraction. It popped out at me when I was a kid and I crumpled into a terrified ball and had to be carried out. I never really got a good look at it, and it (whatever IT was) had freaked me out ever since...precisely because I COULDN'T TELL WHAT IT WAS.

Thinking of Sartre's NAUSEA, I decided I wanted to go back in the haunted house (actually, it was called THE HAUNTED CASTLE, and then renamed THE HAUNTED MAZE) to get a look at this amorphous horror. Pin it down with some comfortable words and phrases, maybe even a name or two. Claim it intellectually, at long last.

I made it through most of the attraction, which was serviceably creepy, and toward the end, the thing suddenly appeared--I saw it through my peripheral vision. I don't even think it was behind a grate like the other things in the castle. It was painted in tacky day-glo and segmented somehow and it was just there, lumbering forward in place, like a cross between a serpent and a toy pony...RIGHT NEXT TO ME.

I ran. I never got a good look at it. Now I'll never know what the hell it was, or what to call it. But my fear of the thing has this odd patina of nostalgia since the CASTLE/MAZE is gone.

My sister and I, on a related topic, were watching unlabeled videocassettes we'd found in our family's basement this week. (Presumably looking for Sadako.) Well, we came across one tape that, so help me, had an episode of Howdy Doody on it. It was a kind of acid-trip Christmas special where Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob had to save Santa Claus from a would-be do-gooder who had mistaken Santa for a burglar and citizen's-arrested him.

Anyway, we'd never seen a real Howdy Doody episode. So we'd never realized that, on occasion, Howdy Doody will walk and even CRAWL around the set. And there was this one moment where he just hunched over and crawled down from his post to join the rescue, and he moved like some kind of broken mechanical spider...his strings suddenly growing so much longer than my sister or I had ever realized. We both started laughing because it was one of the scariest things we'd ever seen. I started freaking her out by shambling toward her and dangling my limbs and lolling my head the way Howdy Doody had. "STOP it!!!!!"

Anyway, after we were finished laughing, I told her about Ligotti's DR. VOKE AND MR. VEECH. Can't wait for her to read it.

I've got another story about a teddy bear that my dying grandmother lived in fear of, but I'll leave that for another time...

Nemonymous
08-29-2005, 07:37 AM
hey, I have a copy of THE DOLL WHO ATE HIS MOTHER signed:
"For Des Lewis - a chewy volume by (signature:) Ramsey Campbell 25/2/78"

Very proud of that. A great book.
des

Nemonymous
08-29-2005, 07:43 AM
BTW, one of my doll stories is reprinted here (DOROTHY ALONE):
http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2004_07_01_weirdmonger_archive.html

barrywood
08-29-2005, 07:55 AM
Interesting read, Des. Thanks for sharing!

Barry

P.S. Pretty cool about the signed book above as well by Ramsey Campbell.

G. S. Carnivals
09-14-2005, 10:14 PM
I've been disconcerted for the last week or so. On my way to work (not a short jaunt) I spotted a figure sitting in a lawn chair near the road in the pre-dawn twilight. Fine. Someone waiting for the school bus. But why are they wearing sunglasses? It's more dark than light.... Someone (more or less in the middle of nowhere) has placed a jauntily-clad mannikin in a chair by the road in their front yard. Realistic in every superficial aspect. Except movement. She's been sitting there for a week. Messing with the minds of passersby. I figure they can only get me on petty theft if I take the option of starting a new collection. I'd leave the chair. And who can afford interstate flight from justice with the cost of gasoline these days? I'll just confess in advance.

See You in the Exercise Yard,
Phil

G. S. Carnivals
09-15-2005, 08:33 PM
My (?) mannikin of the previous post has disappeared. She was there this morning as I passed by on my joyful way to work. She's gone tonight, alas. She's either been removed by the owner or has fallen into the nefarious hands of teenage thrill-seekers. Either way, her absence is as intriguing as her presence was.

Oh, the Days of Eggs and Spray Paint,
Phil

G. S. Carnivals
11-27-2005, 03:50 PM
Earlier this morning (after making some film noir suggestions for ventriloquist's viewing pleasure), my amnesia disappeared. Stanley Kubrick's 1955 film noir "Killer's Kiss" has a climax rife with mannikins and their various parts. Our "hero" rescues a damsel in distress from her captor in a warehouse full of mannikins! But not before a fight amid an array of torsos, arms, legs, and heads, some of which are wielded as weapons! The B & W is sumptuous in the figurative sense, and lends to the seedy look and feel of the film. I should have remembered this one earlier, but I grow old, alas...

"Killer's Kiss" and "Eyes Wide Shut" are Kubrick's most unusual films. One each at either end of his career. See "Killer's Kiss" for the mannikins if nothing else.

unknown
11-27-2005, 11:15 PM
From the periphery of the topic:
When I was living in the dorm at college, a guy from the Upper Peninsula (see a Michigan map) named Fred had a prized possession: a life-sized cardboard photograph of Cybill Shepherd straddling a bicycle. Fred had wheedled this advertising display from a hometown drugstore. Every time I went across the hall (from 320 to 319), there she was, staring seductively at the camera which was me. Once, Cybill was kidnapped and held for ransom. (Cybill's safe return undoubtedly involved drugs and/or alcohol.) She was held in the room which I shared with the perpetrator--which made me an accessory. My penance was her gaze. She looked so real.


I have a friend whose parents are from Michigan (specifically the Upper Peninsula), so he goes there a lot. he has this sweater that says, "THE U.P: Where the strong survive and the Weak are Killed and Eaten". Your story does not surprise me at all


Anyway. When I was a small child, I had a marionette that my parents bought me from Mexico or something along those lines. It was a scronny mexican guy with a sombrero on. I found it amusing for a while, but soon it terrified me so I kept it in the bottom of toy chest so I wouldn't see it at night.

Now that I am slightly older and having read TL, I have a bizarre fascination with human effigies.

G. S. Carnivals
09-04-2006, 05:22 PM
I just found out today (thanks to the classified ads in my latest issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction) that The New York Hall of Science in New York City has an exhibition called "Alluring Androids, Robot Women, and Electronic Eves" which runs through September 10. A brief description of the exhibition is here:

http://www.nyscience.org/nyhs-visitor-groupinfo/vi-publicevents.html

Only a few days left, alas. I would walk the great distance to see this one (if I had more time)!

paeng
08-19-2007, 09:30 AM
I don't know why, but I can still barely watch that episode about a doll coming to life from Asylum, which was shown frequently on local television when I was very young together with films like The Omega Man.

simon p. murphy
08-20-2007, 06:19 PM
Close to the my city limits just before the highway heading north there is a marked police car routinely parked on the left side of the road by a pottery place. Presumably he's there to discourage speeders; anyway, about half of the time I see the car there is a real police officer in the driver's seat. The other half of the time there is a revolting dummy with sunglasses and no (visible) mouth. He/it looks reasonably convincing when he's wearing a police hat, or when you are speeding, but up close ( as I've had the courage to do on one occasion) he looks like a bunch of old stockings filled with butcher's scraps.

G. S. Carnivals
11-05-2007, 08:29 PM
For those who don't know already, candy and I are coworkers. We usually eat lunch together in one's building or the other, then take a short ride in the car to get out of the cage for a bit. Today, after eating leftover homemade lasagna (I had prefabricated just-add-water pasta), candy found a curious item in the parking lot not far from my car. Enclosed in a plastic sheath bearing stickers declaring an apparent dealer item number and price was the July 1946 issue of Raggedy Ann and Andy Magazine published by Dell. And in relatively fine condition, too! The price sticker says "$50." A quick check of similar items on the net reveals the September 1946 issue available for $100 in VG+ condition. candy says she'll wait a few days to see if anyone claims it as a lost item. What a strange find. The true Ligottian significance of the find was not appreciated until I arrived home after work. Keep your eyes peeled for a patchwork windfall!

G. S. Carnivals
08-07-2008, 09:50 PM
For those who don't know already, candy and I are coworkers. We usually eat lunch together in one's building or the other, then take a short ride in the car to get out of the cage for a bit. Today, after eating leftover homemade lasagna (I had prefabricated just-add-water pasta), candy found a curious item in the parking lot not far from my car. Enclosed in a plastic sheath bearing stickers declaring an apparent dealer item number and price was the July 1946 issue of Raggedy Ann and Andy Magazine published by Dell. And in relatively fine condition, too! The price sticker says "$50." A quick check of similar items on the net reveals the September 1946 issue available for $100 in VG+ condition. candy says she'll wait a few days to see if anyone claims it as a lost item. What a strange find. The true Ligottian significance of the find was not appreciated until I arrived home after work. Keep your eyes peeled for a patchwork windfall!
I neglected to mention that candy gave me this item as a Christmas gift in 2007. It was meant to be, apparently. The issue yielded a rather odd piece which I have placed within the Puppet Passage of the Day thread. Life is often stranger than it needs to be...

Puppet Passage of the Day... - The Nightmare Network (http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=1725)

Odalisque
08-08-2008, 07:55 AM
I just found out today (thanks to the classified ads in my latest issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction) that The New York Hall of Science in New York City has an exhibition called "Alluring Androids, Robot Women, and Electronic Eves" which runs through September 10. A brief description of the exhibition is here:

http://www.nyscience.org/nyhs-visitor-groupinfo/vi-publicevents.html

Only a few days left, alas. I would walk the great distance to see this one (if I had more time)!

I don't see that exhibition listed on your link. :confused: Maybe the exhibition has finished and material about it removed from the site. :(

G. S. Carnivals
08-08-2008, 01:12 PM
I don't see that exhibition listed on your link. :confused: Maybe the exhibition has finished and material about it removed from the site. :(
Another one of those ephemeral sites... :o