Everyone’s favorite killer doll returns to the big screen on June 21 – Chucky‘s back! In this reboot/reimagining of the classic horror franchise Child’s Play, Chucky‘s got some new tricks up his sleeve, and a brand new voice: Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. In honor of your “friend to the end,” we’re headed into the world of fictional business with some of our favorite horror products of all time. In fact, a few of these are so beloved that they actually spawned real world versions.
10. Buddi/Good Guy Doll (Child’s Play)
Whether we’re looking at the original iteration of the “Good Guy” doll from the 1988 series, or the reimagined Buddi doll of the 2019 version, Chucky has become one of those horror icons that transcends their own films. If you go back and watch the original Child’s Play, the movie spends a long time questioning whether or not the doll is even alive. Maybe Andy (his owner and, oddly enough, also the name of the central figure in the Toy Story films) is actually the murderer? It almost seems quaint to watch at this point, knowing what Chucky is and how he operates.
The Child’s Play films have seen their share of ups and downs, but Chucky can still be a terrifying presence. There aren’t too many among us who will gladly sit in a room with a doll and keep our back to it for an extended period of time, and Chucky is a big part of that.
9. Talky Tina (The Twilight Zone)
“My name is Talky Tina, and you better be nice to me!”
It’s doubtful we’d have Chucky without Talky Tina, however. The episode “Living Doll,” from the original anthology The Twilight Zone, introduced us to Talky Tina, a cute, unnerving talking doll. It actually features a fairly similar plot to the original Child’s Play film, albeit with much less child endangerment.
The episode toys with the idea of “Either the doll is really alive and terrifying, or the main character is losing it,” just like Child’s Play. Even though the truth is revealed at the end of the episode, “Living Doll” is still a masterclass in suspense and one of the most memorable episodes of The Twilight Zone. If you’re going to stoke your irrational fear of talking toys from somewhere, Talky Tina is a good place to begin.
8. Stay Puft Marshmallows (Ghostbusters)
“What did you do, Ray?”
You know a movie has created a memorable fictional product when you meet people who swear they remember it, and that’s exactly what Ghostbusters did with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Sent by Gozer to destroy the world, Mr. Stay Puft is immense, destructive, and can only be stopped by an incredibly dangerous act of crossing the streams from our heroic foursome’s proton packs.
The mascot and idea for Stay Puft Marshmallows were actually so memorable that a real version of the product was released in 2010. Mr. Stay Puft himself has gone on to become a bit of an icon, as well – he has appeared as multiple action figures, Halloween costumes, and even as a Build-a-Bear. Not bad for something Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis randomly came up with during the initial script writing for Ghostbusters.
7. Silver Shamrock Masks (Halloween 3: Season of the Witch)
“It’s almost time, kids. The clock is ticking!”
Halloween 3: Season of the Witch gets a bad rap, most likely because it doesn’t continue the story of the first two films. It is an exceptionally dark and creepy piece of horror cinema, however, and actually holds up surprisingly well. A big part of that is due to the absolutely bonkers plot, which features (deep breath) a television signal murdering thousands of children by channeling the energy of Stonehenge into their Halloween masks. It also transforms their corpses into rats and insects, which will go insane and kill anyone nearby.
It’s bananas, a lot of fun to watch, and damn if that Silver Shamrock commercial doesn’t have a catchy jingle. We dare you to watch it and not get the song stuck in your head. Impossible.
6. Soylent Green
“People were always rotten.”
Another one you probably know the twist to at this point – Soylent Green has been parodied and satirized so often that you probably know it even if you don’t realize it. Watching the dystopian future of 2022 (which was fifty years in the future when the film was made!) descend into madness when supplies of Soylent Green run out is glorious. And seeing Charlton Heston’s Detective Frank Thorn slowly unravel the horrors of how Soylent Green is actually made echoes pretty well in our current world.
Soylent Green might just be the best example of “I like hot dogs, but I don’t want to know how they’re made” ever put to film. The final scene, as Thorn tries to warn everyone about the horrors of the “miracle” food they crave, is still fantastic.
5. The Stuff
“Are you eating it? Or is it eating you?”
Schlock master Larry Cohen put forth one of his best satires with 1985’s The Stuff, another film about consumerism run rampant and the dangers of corporate greed. The Stuff is an addictive, alien substance that slowly eats people from the inside out – it is also extremely delicious, affecting people more like a drug than a food. It has to be good – it single-handedly destroys the ice cream market, after all!
The Stuff is definitely silly and definitely low budget, but it also tells a pretty impressive tale about what greed has done to our culture and lives. The hopeless vibe it ends on also rings as a strong warning about where society is headed, even decades after the film’s release.
4. S-Mart Superstore (Army of Darkness)
“Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.”
This one is cheating a little bit, as I’m unaware if Ash Williams‘ place of employment actually makes any products. But the S-Mart store from the Evil Dead franchise get mentioned often enough and hosts one of the most memorable scenes in Army of Darkness that it would be criminal not to include it.
S-Mart actually played a much bigger role in the comic book realm of Evil Dead, but references to it had to be dropped in Ash vs. Evil Dead due to licensing issues. However, you will still find plenty of horror aficianados who would love to tell you about their 12-gauge, double-barreled Remingtons.
3. Umbrella Pharmaceuticals (Resident Evil)
“Our business is life itself.”
You want to talk about bonkers storylines? Let’s talk about the Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking the movie or the video games, but Umbrella is bizarre. Do they sell beauty products? Medicine? Bio-weapons? Black trenchcoats? Yes, dummy, all that and more.
Look, we all need some mad science on occasion, and the Umbrella Corporation has that covered very nicely. They will pretty much be involved with whatever the plot tells them to be involved with, and their scary reach and omnipresence makes them an unpredictable and powerful antagonist. Grab your first aid spray – you’ll thank us later.
2. Tru Blood (True Blood)
“All flavor. No bite.”
Ever want to be a vampire without all the pesky “murder the innocent and drink their blood” hang-ups? True Blood had that idea covered with the synthetic blood substitute “Tru Blood.” The product was designed as a substitute blood product for vampires, satisfying their thirst and providing all the nutrients they would otherwise get from drinking the blood of the living.
Tru Blood did a pretty good job of skewering consumer culture – offering different flavors for different blood types and suggesting the ideal temperature to enjoy the product (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The show went a bit off the rails by the end, but True Blood generally had some pretty good bite to its humor.
1. Cyberdyne Computer Systems (Terminator)
“Hasta la vista, baby.”
A manufacturer of computer products, microprocessors, and (apparently?) robot endoskeletons, Cyberdyne fits into the same mold as Umbrella – doing whatever the plot needs them to do. However, it is apparent early on the Cyberdyne is on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence and defense contracting, meaning they are probably a pretty major player in the tech world of the Terminator franchise.
Most likely, Cyberdyne products were in a lot of homes and everyday things that people use in the world of the Terminator films, plus they gave us some seriously memorable characters. Robert Patrick’s T-1000 was, visually, the most impressive villain we saw for a long time, and the visual effects used to bring him to life are still pretty impressive. And you can’t forget Arnold’s T-800, both the villainous and heroic versions. Thanks for the robots, Cyberdyne!
Any we missed? What are your favorite fictional companies and products from horror? Let us know on our Twitter, the official NOFS subreddit, and Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club, and stay tuned for more fun horror features.