James Wan, A Man Of Good Taste, Thinks Of Himself As 'A Bit Of A Creepy Doll Aficionado’

Creepy dolls have been a part of horror movies for decades, but few horror filmmakers have embraced the trope as much as James Wan has. The director has just come off of producing "M3GAN," a treatise on killer dolls in a post-AI world, but Wan has been intimately familiar with designing terrifying toys ever since he first started working. It's become a calling card for him at this point in his career, as producer of many a James Wan project James Blum pointed out.

Wan's debut feature, "Saw," introduced the world to the tricycle-riding, spiral-cheeked Billy the Puppet. Although Billy was the vocal and visual conduit for the human Jigsaw Killer, played by Tobin Bell, the ventriloquist iconography was unsettling enough to become the unofficial mascot of the horror movie franchise. Speaking of ventriloquism, Wan also directed "Dead Silence," about the vengeful ghost of a ventriloquist whose appearance eerily resembles one of her dolls, as well as "Insidious," which briefly features a whole family of doll-like spirits. Of course, it would be remiss to not mention creepy doll superstar Annabelle, who first appears in Wan's "The Conjuring" and would go on to star in a series of films of her own to become a modern horror movie icon.

James Wan, Lover Of Toys

In an interview with IndieWire, Wan admitted that he's "a bit of a creepy doll aficionado." He spoke about how he loves exploring the different ways a toy could come to life, through a myriad of different ways:

"I just love the idea of an inanimate object that looks like it could be alive and may actually have life within it. Whether it's life that has been imbued by a supernatural entity or you, with your broken mind, project life into it. One is more supernatural and the other is more psychological, but I'm drawn to both aspects of the genre."

He chalked up his obsession to a viewing of the Tobe Hooper/Steven Spielberg classic "Poltergeist" in which a clown doll attack became one of horror's greatest jump scares, telling Yahoo!:

"That was definitely a very influential film for me, and I saw it at a very young impressionable age, and it made a huge impression on me, and that creepy clown doll definitely scarred me for life."

Wan also mentioned that he has a genuine appreciation for toys, mentioning that his action figure collection serves as an inspiration to him, "and so naturally, the idea of making movies based on one of these things coming to life is exciting ..." "M3GAN" strays away from the supernatural and instead approaches the killer doll idea from a science-fiction angle, further broadening Wan's scope. Despite their differences in origin, we can only wait until the day when the titanium M3GAN takes on the demonic Annabelle.

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