The Dwarf* in the Closet – Little Things Mean a Lot of Fear

Imagination is a wonderful gift until you hear something in the dark.

The best thing to do is to name it and then deal with what you think it is. Be it werewolf or vampire or zombie or mummy, once you identify it, you know the rules for escaping or defeating. Silver bullet, wooden stake, headshot, just run because mummies are slow. If there is something large or human size coming at you, you can easily see and hear it.

BUT – What if it’s the dwarf in the closet?

See, he is small. He can hide in small spaces. He can hide under the bed and slice your hamstring. He knocks at night just to remind you not to visit the bathroom. He steals your shiny stuff so you crouch to his level to search for it, then he attacks.

*Now I am not speaking of smaller humans, little people. Everyone is made differently and I respect that.  This is a DWARF – who should not be in this realm of all things good. Who definitely should find whatever cosmic portal he dropped through and vacate my closet and my imagination.  I picture him solidly in my  mind’s eye: He has dirty fingernails, fangs, big angry eyebrows, a corkscrew dagger at the ready.  And he has homicidal thoughts about the humans who tramp about above his crawlspace during daylight.  He is a culmination of all the “Little Things” in lore, legend, books and film that have horrified us over the years.

With Hallowe’en approaching, here are my top ten scary little things:

10. Let’s get the campy ones out of the way: Leprechaun, Children of the Corn, Village of the Damned, Dolls, Chucky from “Child’s Play”, Gremlins, Ghoulies and “It’s Alive!”

9. Resurrected Gage from Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary”.  He is a cute little guy and so beloved in the book before he “comes back”.  But the old Indian burial ground does bad things – the horror lies in both his familiar sweetness. his pallid adorable face, and his sudden adept talent for murder.


8. The rage children from “The Brood”.  If you think PMS is bad, what if you literally had a baby every time you got really angry.  Nola, the lead character, is the controlling mother of disfigured, faceless manifestations of her own wrath,  Yes, they travel in a pack and she can order them to kill.

the brood

7. Annabelle the doll.  One of those “based on true experiences” stories.  Annabelle is part of the Ed & Lorraine Warren history. She is housed in a glass box in the Warren’s Occult Museum.


6. Robert the doll – another “based on true experiences” story.  Robert is now housed the East Martello Museum.  It is said that you must ask his permission to photograph him or bad things will happen to you. I am not sharing his picture, but you can google him.

5. The puppets from “Puppet Master”.  They are savage and creative.  The franchise is endless, but I really liked the first movie and “Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge” which gives us the origin stories for the main puppets and their creator.

puppet master

4. Rumplestiltskin.  Yes he starts out all helpful.  Then he wants to steal your baby.


by Arthur Rackham

3. Olivia from “The Haunting of Julia” (aka “Full Circle”).  A murderous little girl died once.  But he ghost is still hanging around and would like some attention.


2. Fats the dummy from “Magic”.  Sir Anthony Hopkins is brilliant in this. His face is amazing and he is able to embody painful shyness and heartbreaking dependency on his wooden self.  The dummy is the evil mirror of Hopkins very sweet and open face.


1. The serial killing dwarf from “Don’t Look Now”. The movie itself is more of a drama, but that last 8 minutes had me gripping the chair arms and I did not sleep for 3 nights. It’s the kind of linger fright where you feel like you’ve been slapped and it tingles for days.

don't look now



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