After a midnight screening of A24’s much-hyped feature “Hereditary” at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, horror-loving cinephiles woke up to some terrifying new “gifts” waiting for them on their doorsteps. “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins was the first to publicize the receipt of a genuinely chilling doll, seemingly ripped right from the prop stores of Ari Aster’s new film, which arrived at his hotel mere hours after he’d watched the chilling film. The filmmaker put it succinctly: “Y’all play WAAAAAAY tew damn much.”
Other movie fans also received their own hand-spun freak doll (including IndieWire’s own Eric Kohn), which all appeared to be dispatched for maximum discomfort. And the indie distributor isn’t done yet. For their latest bit of marketing wizardry, A24 has begun sending out smaller, mass-produced versions of the dolls — in the film, doll craftsmanship is one of the favored hobbies of breakout star Milly Shaprio, who plays creepy young Charlie in Aster’s film about a family on the brink of something horrific — which also include a business card instructing recipients to check out an Etsy door where “Charlie” is hawking more of her gross wares.
The shop, “Charlies Creations by CraftsByCharlieG” doesn’t currently have any dolls for sale — 18 of them are marked as “sold,” though they apparently replenish each week — but interested shoppers can peruse each doll to get a sense of, ahem, Charlie’s particular aesthetic. Each doll has its own special name — from “Mr. Slicer” to “Miss Needle” to “The Biter” — with one simple description: “Will you take care of me?”
Even better, the shop also provides another way into Charlie’s psyche by way of her own set of “liked” Etsy items from other sellers, including artwork and jewelry dedicated to the love between a grandmother and granddaughter, bracelets to help warn of her vicious nut allergy, and even a bright orange hoodie that will likely haunt the nightmares of anyone who sees Aster’s film. There’s no overt spoilers, but it’s a neat bit of slice-of-life marketing that only increases the unease surrounding Aster’s wild film.
Visit “Charlie’s” Etsy shop right here to get a glimpse of some of her (sadly, “sold out”) dolls, along with some cutting insights into her process and even a handful of her very favorite Etsy items.
“Hereditary” opens on Friday, June 8.