One of the most popular horror films of the 1980’s is Child’s Play, a movie which glorified the concept of killer dolls and spawned a slasher franchise that’s just as popular today as it ever was. While Chucky, the killer doll from the Child’s Play franchise, isn’t a real life individual, he is actually inspired by an alleged true story.
The real events that helped inspire what would become the story for Child’s Play begin with the tale of Robert the Doll. While Chucky was just one of many mass-produced “Good Guy” dolls, Robert the Doll was a one-of-a-kind toy first owned and named by Florida painter Robert Eugene Otto.
There are several different stories regarding how Robert Eugene Otto was first gifted the doll in 1903. But the most popular story is that he was given the doll by a woman who served his family. She allegedly practiced voodoo and devised the doll as a way to get revenge for having been abused by the family.
Eventually Robert Eugene Otto loved the doll so much he would call it by his own name, going by Eugene for himself, and would often refer to the doll in the first person. He would also blame strange incidents around the house like rearranged furniture or destroyed toys on his doll, claiming that “Robert did it.”
There were many other reports as well which insisted Robert the Doll could move around freely and express himself as if he were alive. Some suggested the doll could blink its eyes are certain moments, or even run around with evil laughter.
Eugene eventually moved away as an adult, and even got married. Once his parents died, however, he inherited their house – this allowed him to rekindle his “friendship” with Robert. It was something that displeased his wife greatly, as she thought her husband was simply too attached to the doll.
Robert Eugene Otto died in 1974, and the house was sold soon after to Myrtle Reuter. As a result, she acquired the doll as well. She claimed that the doll could move around on its own, along with a variety of other strange reports. She finally donated the doll to the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida.
People still flock to the museum to see Robert the Doll today, and even continue to send him letters or gifts in the mail. Some say that by disrespecting Robert at the museum, they’ve fallen victim to a variety of misfortunes and bad luck. It just goes to show Chucky isn’t the only doll to look out for, as Robert the Doll – the true story behind Child’s Play – is just as chilling.