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DID YOU READ

10 Puppets That Will Give You the Creeps

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With their dead eyes and permanently frozen smiles, puppets tap into our deep-seated fear that at any moment our childhood playthings could come alive and seek revenge for dressing them up in cutesy outfits. It also doesn’t help that their lack of a soul makes them easy vessels for demons or the spirits of serial killers. Basically, puppets are terrifying.

In honor of Billy, that ironic torture-loving puppet from the Saw franchise, here are 10 pop culture puppets that still give us the heebie jeebies.

10. The Crypt Keeper, Tales From the Crypt (1989- 1996)

We’ll be honest — we put the Tales from the Crypt host on this list just so we could share the above video of his many delicious puns. Warning! Severe pun-ishment ahead.


9. Aughra, The Dark Crystal (1982)

You thought we were going to pick the Skeksis, didn’t you? While they’re pretty freaky, Aughra is easily the most horrifying thing to ever come out of the Jim Henson Workshop. She’s like the demon spawn of The Cryptkeeper and Yoda with the voice of Maggie Smith from Downton Abbey.


8. Blade, Puppet Master

To be fair, all of the puppets in the Puppet Master franchise are pretty creepy. (Well, except for Kamikaze. He’s just uncomfortably racist.) But we have to give the nod to Blade, the leader of Andre Toulon’s army of killer dolls. Is it us, or does he sort of look like Edgar Winter?


7. Dolly Dearest, Dolly Dearest (1991)

The female answer to Chucky, Dolly Dearest was a Betsy Wetsy-type doll that came to life thanks to an evil Mayan spirit. Unlike Chucky, she pretty much stayed in the ’90s.


6. Zuni Doll, Trilogy of Terror (1975)

The Zuni warrior doll famously menaced Karen Black in the 1975 TV movie Trilogy of Terror, aka the movie that caused many a child to wonder if their Major Matt Mason figure was watching them while they slept.

5. Fats, Magic (1978)

Richard Attenborough, aka the old guy from Jurassic Park, directed a young Anthony Hopkins in this psychological thriller about a ventriloquist dummy named Fats who becomes obsessed with its owner. The trailer, where Fats’ eyes roll back in his head, was supposedly pulled from TV airings after parents complained that it was giving their kids nightmares.


4. Tiffany, Bride of Chucky

After multiple sequels, Chucky isn’t all that scary anymore. But we still can’t get the image of Tiffany, the titular bride of Chucky, out of our brain. It’s like someone mashed together Sharon Stone circa 1993 and a Bratz doll and called it a day.


3. Pinocchio, Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996)

This twisted take on the classic children’s story finds a family plagued by a Pinocchio puppet that’s been possessed by the spirit of a child murderer or something. Here’s something eerie: it was released the same year as the Jonathan Taylor Thomas vehicle The Adventures of Pinocchio. Looking back, the JTT Pinocchio is actually far more horrifying than the Chucky wannabe in this low-budget horror flick.


2. Greta, Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

Basically the Smurfette of the Gremlins-verse, Greta is the only female Gremlin and also the only one who is attracted to humans for some reason. Since we never got a third Gremlins movie, we can only assume she’s currently living a quiet life in the suburbs with her husband Forster.


1. Hugo, Dead of Night (1945)

Before Fats there was Hugo, a fussy ventriloquist dummy who drives his owner mad. He earns our top spot for paving the way for evil snarky puppets everywhere.


Catch a Saw marathon today, starting with Saw at 4:15p followed by Saw III, Saw IV and Saw V. Speaking of Saw, ever wonder what it would be like if it was a game show?

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.