Most of the kids-plus-monsters movies I post about have the two sides opposing each other. That is, after all, the heart of Little Fears: kids fighting monsters. But the below film, A Monster Calls, is all about a boy who has a monster on his side. I won’t say anything more other than to implore you to watch the trailer below.
A friend just forwarded me the following trailer and I had to update this site as soon as I could.
Stranger Things, a Netflix Original homage to the supernatural thrillers of the 80s, drops July 15th. I don’t know much about this series—and kinda don’t want to yet—but the trailer has me super intrigued. And it looks like prime inspiration for Little Fears.
An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.
For Little Fears fans, The Boy stands on familiar ground: an old isolated house, a creepy doll, a protagonist nobody believes. In fact, if you age down the main character to 12 or so, you can lift this wholesale for your own Little Fears episode. It is so relevant to the game, that I wrote one of The Boy‘s inspirations, Robert the Doll, as a monster back in Halloweek 2012.
So, consider this one to be a top inspiration. If you get a chance to watch it, I highly recommend you do so. Or, at the very least, check out the trailer below:
“This is the new Gremlins,” I said to my 12yo as we walked out of our viewing of Krampus.
I stand by that statement. While there’s no adorable Mogwai at the heart of this film, it is a fabulously dark Christmas fable with a lot of heart, charm, and atmosphere.
And it’s perfect Little Fears material. There are plenty of creatures besides the titular German demon to source for your own Little Fears games. I won’t go into details, because they’re best left unspoiled, but my mind was racing with ideas for new monsters.
I highly recommend catching it while it’s theaters. If you’re not familiar, check out the trailer below.
Back in 2005, writer/director Jennifer Kent put out a short film titled Monster. The movie focused on a mother, trying to soothe her son’s fear of the creatures in his closet, who becomes aware of a sinister presence that may be all too real. Kent has expanded that idea, with the help of a successful Kickstarter*, into a full-length feature called The Babadook.
While I haven’t found a slated release date yet, it will show at some festivals this year. I really hope it gets a wide release or, at the very least, a DVD/BluRay release. It looks fantastic, and I love the mythology the trailer hints at.
You check out the trailer below.
The blurb on the Kickstarter says:
THE BABADOOK is a psychological horror about a mother who becomes possessed by a monster that wills her to kill her 6-year-old son.
Which, for the record, you’ll find in Book 3: Blessed are the Children, which focuses on souls and ghosts and possession and the kids stuck in the middle of that mess. I cannot wait to see this film.
*I’m kicking myself for not having run across the Kickstarter when it was going. How did I miss it?
Guillermo del Toro has inspired many with his incredibly imaginative films. But a couple of filmmakers found their inspiration from Guillermo’s childhood fears. The result, an 11-minute film titled SHHH, is a wonderful source of inspiration for your own Little Fears episode. You can watch the movie in its entirety below, and check out the page I found it on over at FearNet.
It’s hard to think of creepy dolls and not have slasher film icon Chucky spring immediately to mind.
Introduced in 1988’s Child’s Play, Chucky began life as a just another Good Guys doll until serial killer—and voodoo practitioner—Charles Lee Ray, bleeding to death in the aisle of a store, transferred his soul into the toy. Soon after, single mother Karen Barclay buys the now-possessed doll for her son, Andy*, and gives Charles Lee Ray the opportunity to continue his murder spree, starting with the boy’s babysitter.
I have a particular soft spot for the Child’s Play films. Over the course of six films, the series gets increasingly campy and outlandish (see Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky especially) but once you’ve bought into the idea of a guy putting his soul into a toy thus transforming it into a living plastic killing machine, it’s really hard to pick nits, isn’t it?
The films are decidedly Rated R, which puts them outside direct influence for a Little Fears Nightmare Edition campaign but they do provide a great starting point for including evil dolls in your game. Charles Lee Ray could easily be a guy who was temporarily possessed by a monster that, seeing its host dying in a toy store, transferred itself to the nearest object: a child’s doll.
If you haven’t seen it, entries 2 and 5 are available on Netflix, and the whole set was recently released on Blu-Ray and DVD.
*A name shared with the boy from Toy Story, another film about a child whose toys come to life.
Once up a time, three little girls were playing on the island when one of them drowned. The girl’s body was discovered by a reclusive man named Julián Santana Barrera who tended one of the chinampas (floating gardens). Believing that the girl’s spirit, angered by her death, would haunt the island, the man began collecting lost and abandoned dolls that washed up in the canals or were found in the trash and hanging them from the trees around the island. Santana Barrera believed these dolls were still alive, though they had been forgotten by their families. In addition to appeasing the dead girl’s spirit, he believed the dolls came to life at night to kill predatory animals and helped the crops in his chinampa grow.
Santana Berrara passed away in 2001. One story goes the man drowned himself, having been driven mad by the island. Another goes that he was killed by the dolls. Who’s to say which is true.
The dolls are still on display, and visitors travel by boat to see them. For obvious reasons, guests are not allowed to visit at night.
While this place exists in our world, I can easily imagine this island appearing, in some form, inside Closetland. Perhaps these dolls are alive, as Santana Barrera believed, inhabited by spirits either human in origin or born from our own fears. Perhaps they are totems, hand-me-downs infused by the man’s own Belief? Many possibilities exist on the island of dolls.
Released in 1890, Edison produced 2500 of these dolls, foreseeing them as must-have items for children. Unfortunately for him, only 500 of them were sold. And many were returned by customers unhappy with their purchase.
You see, unlike the other dolls available then, these dolls talked. A tinfoil phonograph, actuated by a wooden crank that played a fragile wax record, projected a high-pitched nursery rhyme. You had to crank the handle at the speed you wanted the doll to talk, but those phonograph machines were hard to turn so mostly the dolls sounded like possessed creatures screaming in terror.
You can see for yourself in the video below.
Only a dozen or so of these dolls are still in existence. The one above, about as bare bones as you can get, netted close to four grand. I can only imagine what a doll with mechanism, record, and full outfit would catch on the market.
I imagine some grandparents of Little Fears characters may have one of these stowed away in their attic, passed down to them from their mother who got it from their mother who got it from their mother. I wonder what would happen if one of those characters tried to use the doll today.