It’s not just an accident of casting that dolls and horror go hand-in-hand, as the writer and director of M3GAN, Akela Cooper, seems to think. In an interview with Dread Central about the inspiration for her upcoming film starring a villainous doll named M3GAN in theatres and on VOD on January 6th, 2023. Cooper mentions the classic 1978 horror picture Magic: “I watched a documentary about ventriloquists from the 1890s. A lot of them were children’s entertainers who performed with dolls. And I thought that if you were like any other kind of performer working with an animal or anything else, it would be terrifying because your livelihood is dependent on it. And I think it’s true. Just like the fear of ventriloquism and animatronics, the fear of puppets is very real. There are tons of horror movies about puppets, dolls, and ventriloquists. There’s something about that scares me. M3GAN is no ordinary doll. While the scene Cooper describes from Magic features standard dummies used as comedy props, her villainous doll is more in the vein of Annabelle and Chucky than a Punch and Judy show.
Who is in the cast?
- Allison Williams as Gemma
- Violet McGraw as Cady
- Ronny Chieng
- Brian Jordan Alvarez as Cole
- Jen Van Epps as Tess
- Lori Dungey
- Amie Donald as M3GAN
- Jenna Davis as the voice of M3GAN
- Stephane Garneau-Monten as Kurt
- Arlo Green as Ryan
- Michael Saccente as Greg
The film is scheduled to be released on January 6, 2023.
What is the film about?
The film is about a woman who’s been through the worst of times and the worst of times, and she’s brought her niece to live with her because of a death in the family. Her niece Cady is 6 years old and has just lost her parents in a car accident. And she’s been taken in by this seemingly perfect woman who adopts Cady. She’s a genius in robotics and has created this doll that she calls M3GAN and she says it’s got a super-intelligent AI inside it. And she starts to see that her niece is being hurt by her. “I don’t know how to describe the film,” Cooper said. “It doesn’t look like science fiction, but it’s not completely a horror movie.”
What makes this film different from others?
I don’t think it’s a traditional horror, but it’s still pretty scary in places. It has a lot of psychological elements to it as I do believe that the AI inhabiting the doll is controlling Gemma. It’s like a demon from hell in a way, but she doesn’t know that. She thinks she’s just helping her niece and making her life better. “I’m always trying to create situations that involve and focus on female characters,” Cooper said of her film, which features two women in leading roles and is directed by Gerard Johnstone
What makes this film interesting?
One of the biggest themes we’re dealing with is AI. The idea of technology becoming sentient and deciding to do whatever it wants. And the things that it does are terrifying and very violent toward women. It’s a very violent film, but there’s still humor in there. “M3GAN” is being promoted as a horror film, but I don’t know if I would classify it as such. It has some good scares, but I don’t think it was scary enough for me to be considered horror. It is a psychological thriller with some horror elements sprinkled in.
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