Maybe you weren't a total fraidy-cat like me, but being a kid is still a pretty terrifying experience.
While we all dream of going back to the days without work or responsibilities, we forget how scary it was just to walk down into a dark, empty basement when we were kids. Even playtime wasn't safe, because some of our toys could be downright disturbing. These 11 were the creepiest by far:
1. The Chatter Telephone
If your toddler has been fed, changed, taken his nap, and has eaten a full meal, but he still won't stop crying, it's probably because he found one of these in the toy box. It's amazing that in a room full of Fisher Price toy designers nobody said "Gee fellas, these unblinking plastic eyes sure are terrifying."
As if they weren't bad enough on their own, they actually flopped up and down as the phone rolled forward, like Chatter was looking up at you and judging you. You can tell by the cutesy makeover they gave the new model of Chatter that his original look just wouldn't fly today.
2. A Jack-in-the-Box
Yes, we usually only get one good scare per person out of these toys, but that's enough to last a lifetime. Everything from the surprising jump out of the box to the slow, eerie music seems like it was designed to give us nightmares. Plus, once the surprise wore off it wasn't even a real toy.
These toys have their own creepy origins too. They're connected to folk tales about devils and evil spirits trapped in boxes that are hundreds of years old. What a great inspiration for a kids' toy!
If you were lucky, a Furby was nothing more than a virtual friend, an adorable little animatronic pet who could talk back to you. But the randomness and the computer aspect of Furbys also made them the inspiration for countless creepy urban legends. Lots of people have reported their Furby acting strangely, or saying bizarre, haunting messages.
It turns out if you make a tiny mechanical gremlin that mimics human voices, it's a recipe for all kinds of seemingly evil shenanigans. The newer models are even worse, now that they're connected to the web.
4. The Playskool Rockin' Robot (AKA Mr. Mike)
"Pareidolia" is a psychological phenomenon where the human mind notices faces in symbols, shapes, or inanimate objects. And there's no example of this experience creepier that Mr. Mike and his huge, cassette-player eyes.
Sure, he had a funny cameo in Toy Story, but after playing with the Rockin Robot for a few weeks every kid decided to move him down to the crawlspace. Those eyes just never stopped staring at you...
5. Jill the Talking Doll
There was no shortage of talking dolls in the '80s and '90s, but none were as lifelike, chatty, and downright bizarre as Jill. Years before we met the Bride of Chucky, this almost-life size toy had the cold, lifeless eyes of a doll possessed by an evil spirit. "I'm a lot like you," Jill sings in the commercial, but she doesn't mention the part that's missing: a soul.
6. Teddy Ruxpin
Leave aside the fact that a talking teddy bear sounds like a premise for a horror movie, not a best selling toy. Ruxpin was creepier than most "talking" teddys because he specifically read you bedtime stories. Maybe that seemed cute to you, but a robot bear staring at me and singing lullabies until I go to sleep was never my cup of tea.
Wicked Cool Toys, who produced the latest model of Teddy, seem like they're just trying to make things worse. Now the chatty bear has evil, glowing eyes.