Ventriloquists' Dummies

McAvennie

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#1
I hate them. Any kind of lifelike dolls and things freak me out.
The movie 'Magic' with Anthony Hopkins and several others from days gone by deal with the tale of Ventriloquist's dummies coming to life or ventriloquist's falling under their control.
Anyone know of any real life basis for such tales or if it is all just vivid imagination that creates these ideas of the little bastards coming to life and stoving people's heads in with their gottle of geer.
 

OneWingedBird

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#2
I hate them too, scary things.

Didn't the Dr Who story The Tallons Of Wen Chiang feature a living vent dummy, haven't seen it since the 70's so my memory is hazy, definitely scared the sh*t out of me though.

Marie
 

beakboo1

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#5
I was at a friend's house this evening, and there were these....shudder....dolls, with parodies of human faces, she said they were called Rose and Jim, and belonged to her daughter. I made her cover them with a cushion.
I have nothing intellectual to add to this thread.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#6
I have only vague memories of the Hopkins movie but I think it
wasn't half so horrid as Michael Redgrave's take on the theme.
It comes in the 1945 portmanteau horror Dead of Night. :eek:
 

Rrose_Selavy

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#7
I had one when I was a kid.I know what you mean, Apparently ventriloquism is more an optical illusion rather than an aural illusion. You can't throw your vioce in total darkness as it would be easier to tell where from the sound is coming from. Fraudulent spirit meduims would always have some lighting to aid the effect when they used this method to project a voice. Or so i read.
 

OneWingedBird

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#8
Surely automotaphobia is a fear of automotons generally rather than specifically vent dummies?

The Abominable Doctor Phibes features an orchestra of clockwork dummies that were pretty creepy.

Marie
 

MrRING

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#9
Ventriloquists talk about improving their image here:

http://www.geocities.com/ventriloquist1/improvingimage.html

Here is an interesting history from: http://or.essortment.com/ventriloquismhi_rlty.htm


Ventriloquism got its start in ancient times, somewhere around the sixth century BC, it is believed, when it was used to supposedly communicate with the dead. The first known ventriloquist of this type was Louis Brabant. He was in the court of the French King Francis the First. It became a widespread belief that the spirits of the dead went to the stomachs of the prophets and continued to exist there. The prophets were then able to foretell the future by the spirits who were speaking from his or her belly. Hence the name "ventriloquist" which means "belly speaker" in Latin. Of course, it was the prophets themselves who had learned the art of ventriloquism so they could fool their listeners and claim to have divine powers.
 

Dennis_De_Bacle

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#10
BlackRiverFalls said:
I hate them too, scary things.

Didn't the Dr Who story The Tallons Of Wen Chiang feature a living vent dummy, haven't seen it since the 70's so my memory is hazy, definitely scared the sh*t out of me though.

Marie
Yes it did, A future dictator 'the Butcher of Brisbane' fled through time to Victorian London bringing his assassin 'the Peking Homunculus', an automaton with a pig's brain. There were also unconvincing blue screen giant rats IIRC.
 

liveinabin

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#11
The Talons of Weng Chiang is now out on DVD!

The dummy is played by a small indian actor called Deep Roy. He can also be seen in Lord of the rings, I believe, as a hobbit body double.
 

The_Discordian

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#12
Caroline said:
Yes it did, A future dictator 'the Butcher of Brisbane' fled through time to Victorian London bringing his assassin 'the Peking Homunculus', an automaton with a pig's brain. There were also unconvincing blue screen giant rats IIRC.
IIRC (raises eyebrow)? You seem remarkably well-informed about story details for somebody whoclaims to be unsure as to the veracity of their memories;). Are you sure you're not an in-the-closet Doctor Who fan?
 

kiel_d

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#13
I saw an episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater on Sci-Fi the other week and the plot was something like this (forgive my shakey hung-over memory)

An ventriloquist fell in love with a chorus line girl, they got together, maybe married, but he was extremely jealous and one night in a fit of rage killed the girl and instead of disposing of the body enbalmed and preserved it and used it as a dummy for many years.

Seemed almost plausible, i mean who gets close enough to those dummys to see if they're real or not other than the operator.... spooky thought......

In the episode the dummy had retained the conciousness of the woman and it became seperate entity to the operator (seems to be a common theme in the scary ventriloquist arena) and his act became world famous but nobody knew it was actually him just sitting there and the ghost of the woman doing the work.

And IIRC there was a Batman Villain who was a dummy of an Al Capone style gangster (possibly even caled "scarface") controlled by a mild mannered butler who claimed we wasn't in control of it.

Like the fear of clowns this one has always interested me.....
 

JamesWhitehead

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#14
I think on another thread Carole shared with us the fact that
she had once met Lenny the Lion!

It must have been a severe trauma for he was an ultra-weird
creation. He was a lion of sorts but "enhanced" with clown's
make-up around the lips. It resembled a baboon's arse.

Add to that a camp mid-Atlantic accent and a catch-phrase of
"I'm soooo embawwethed!" and you may begin to imagine the
things kids had to deal with before they invented that vile
duck in a nappy. :eek!!!!:
 
A

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#15
kiel said:
Like the fear of clowns this one has always interested me.....
i know a few people who are scared of clowns. whilst i find clowns both pointless and sinister i can't really think why some one would develop a fear of clown.

any one have any ideas on how this strange phobia develops in people?
 

kiel_d

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#16
An Article in a (very) old FT suggested a possible link with tales (UL?) of roaming gypsies who would dress as clowns to attract children who would then be snatched from their families and never seen again. But why this old (and decidedly european) crime spree would linger in collective conciousness to this day isn't suggested.

I think it could just be to do with the concealed faces. Two of my close friends (in their 20's) are terrified of clowns, still.

anyway, back on topic, i read an article (i think from the the front page of this website) that a ventriloquist has made an act where by he controls a lot of puppets at the same time having them all networked together and feeding information/commands from a computer... in my mind thats not really ventriloquism just good wiring.
 

escargot

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#17
Clown phobia- easy.

Kid is taken to circus/street theatre/carnival and forcibly introduced to the 'nice clown' who incorporates him/her into their routine, eg by pretending to break eggs on child's head, and child is petrified and humiliated at the same time.

Worked for me.:D

My father made a horrible vent dummy for my older sister when we were kids and our youngest brother was absolutely terrified of it. Its name was 'Gertrude' and though ostensibly female, with pageboy hairdo and school uniform, it looked more like some kind of mutant lesbian zombie. :eek:

As Kid Bro would have shrieking panic attacks at the slightest threat of Gertrude's appearance, her name was never spoken: she was called 'X's Doll', pronounced in an undertone. In fact, just muttering any old words near Bro could induce wet pants as he'd think you were referring to Gertrude.

He's 40 next year.
Should Gertrude send him a card? :rofl:
 
A

Anonymous

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#18
And now, in the depths of memory, I recall a mention of a psychotic animated clown doll somewhere on ghosts.org. The story was, astonishingly, called 'Clown Doll'. Not precisely a vent, but not far off.

I've never heard of any posessed vents per se, but it's only a matter of time. That said, it is a good opportunity for lazy hack writers to hall a button pushing monster out the closet. The notable exception being the dummy on Buffy, which turned out to be the hero.

And you'll be pleased to know that Mr Sin makes a return appearance on CD in The Year of the Cat, a Faction Paradox story by the estimable Lawrence Miles. A whole army of the little buggers, owned by George III, I'm led to believe.
 
A

Anonymous

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#19
James Whitehead said:
I think on another thread Carole shared with us the fact that
she had once met Lenny the Lion!
I remember Lenny the Lion as a kid....

Even then I used to think his 'partner' Terry Hall was something of a charlatan (he used to place Lenny's enormous head in front of his mouth).

As a matter of interest Mr Hall is now a successful writer of children's books. Christ knows what's happened to poor Lenny!
 

Timble2

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#21
philfort said:
I remember Lenny the Lion as a kid....

Even then I used to think his 'partner' Terry Hall was something of a charlatan (he used to place Lenny's enormous head in front of his mouth).

As a matter of interest Mr Hall is now a successful writer of children's books. Christ knows what's happened to poor Lenny!
I'd forgotten about him until this came up. I used to like him and used to attempt completely rubbish ventriloquism with a glove puppet.

Remembering him really gives your age away...better change the subject before this thread turns into 'Children's TV of the early 1960s'

BTW I do think humanoid ventriloquists dummies are creepy, as mentioned earlier the John Mills segment of 'Dead of Night' is one of the scariest thing committed to film.
 
A

Anonymous

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#22
beakboo said:
I was at a friend's house this evening, and there were these....shudder....dolls, with parodies of human faces
Similarly, a friend showed me a catalogue which included dolls supposedly playing hide and seek- very much like these:

http://www.dreamproductscatalog.com/details.cfm?item=1337

As they were intended to be placed facing the wall, they had no faces. They were one of the creepiest things I have ever seen.
 

evilsprout

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#23
philfort said:
Even then I used to think his 'partner' Terry Hall was something of a charlatan (he used to place Lenny's enormous head in front of his mouth).
I'm guessing it's not the same Terry Hall that was in two-tone heroes The Specials?!
 
A

Anonymous

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#24
Evilsprout said:
I'm guessing it's not the same Terry Hall that was in two-tone heroes The Specials?!

Christ in a bag! He'd be scarier than any dummy he could possibly use in his act...

And now I have a mental image of ventriloquist's dummies singing the "Ahhh- ah-ah-ah-aaahhhh!!!" bit from 'Ghost Town'. I think I'm going to shit myself.
 

evilsprout

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#25
"This Ventriloquist's Dummy is becoming like a ghost Ventriloquist's Dummy..."

"Bands don't play no more, too many Ventriloquist's Dummies on the dancefloor!"
 
A

Anonymous

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#26
philfort said:
Even then I used to think his 'partner' Terry Hall was something of a charlatan (he used to place Lenny's enormous head in front of his mouth).
thank god some one pointed out that this isn't the guy from the specials, an ex-girlfriend was a big fan of his stuff and i was close to emailing her and asking if you knew anything about him being a ventriloquist.

i would have looked a very silly boy.
 

Jerry_B

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#27
Reminds me of a sketch from the first series of 'Big Train', where a ventriloquist's dummy is in an office phoning up a friend: 'Yeah, look, I can't come out this weekend, because I've turned into a ventriloquist's dummy...yeah...yeah, one of the scarey ones...'. Or one of Harry Hill's series where the head of Channel 4 is also a ventriloquist's dummy, who keeps saying mournfully 'Why do they stare...?' :)
 
A

Anonymous

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#28
I think in Barbarella near the start of the film, Jane Fonda gets attacked by killer dolls with VERY SHARP TEETH. After shes rescued she has proper sex for the first time with her rescuer, as opposed to 30th Century space-sex!
 

carole

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#29
James Whitehead said:
I think on another thread Carole shared with us the fact that
she had once met Lenny the Lion!

It must have been a severe trauma for he was an ultra-weird
creation. He was a lion of sorts but "enhanced" with clown's
make-up around the lips. It resembled a baboon's arse.

Add to that a camp mid-Atlantic accent and a catch-phrase of
"I'm soooo embawwethed!" and you may begin to imagine the
things kids had to deal with before they invented that vile
duck in a nappy. :eek!!!!:
I was bloody terrified at the time if I remember. I was in fear of him starting to cry (he often used to do this - water would squirt out of his eyes in two great jets . . .)

However, I used to like Nookie Bear, but was adult by then. I can remember seeing an 'out take' of his . . . 'What are you going to do for Christmas, Nookie?' 'I;m going to crack my nuts, pull my cracker and f**k off back to bed . . .'

Carole
 
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