Serial killers come in all shapes, sizes and creatures; Pinhead, Michael Myers, Freddy and Jason to name but a few classics, but who would have ever thought a toy the size of a doll, well actually a doll itself could become a serial killer. In the case of Chucky, it can be.
This year celebrates three decades since Chucky the killer doll made its first appearance in Childs Play and thirty years later, the tales and adventures, murders and slayings by Chucky are still going strong and intriguing (or should that be repulsing) the minds of generations after generations of horror fanatics. But where did it all start for this killer doll and what made this such a cult classic.
Chicago 1988 and the Lakeshore Strangler, Charles Lee Ray (a name possibly derived from the notorious killers Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray) was on the run from the police and after taking refuge in a toy store, the fatally wounded killer searched for a human body to transfer his soul into but with no human in sight, he opted to use the then-popular Good Guy Doll. One voodoo chant and a bolt of lightning later, the transfer was complete and the human Charles Lee Ray was no more; his soul was now in the Good Guy Doll.
Throughout the first two Child’s Play films, Chucky chases after a boy named Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) as he was the first person he told his real name to as a doll. In the course of the chase, Chucky goes on to kill numerous people before getting his comeuppance. He is burnt, has all his limbs shot off and melted. With a new body in Childs Play 3, he goes after a new child but of course, Andy Barclay gives Chucky what for at the end, where half of his face is slashed off by a scythe before being sliced and diced by a fan.
At this time many of us thought that was the end of the Chucky and the Child’s Play stories. We were wrong as there have been countless sequels made about the Chucky Doll, starting with Bride of Chucky back in 1998. It is here that things move away a little from Chucky’s ambition to once again become human, with the main focus of the story being on his personal relationship with Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly). Audiences come to realise while Chucky has been off killing and attempting to transfer his soul, his voodoo obsessed girlfriend Tiffany has become fanatical with finding him. After a fairly sever disagreement, Chucky kills Tiffany and brings her back as a women’s bridal doll and the two embark on a journey to find a way out of the plastic and back into a flesh and bone body. As you would expect, things don’t always go to plan and with a surprise birth at the end, a sequel is expected and what a let-down the sequel was.
Seed of Chucky is where things begin to feel awkward in this movie franchise. It has been six years since the Chucky/Tiffany offspring was born and it has somehow made its way through the world not knowing who its parents were. Once discovered, the offspring heads out to resurrect its parents. Unlike the previous films, this one puts quite a large emphasis on gender as the offspring has none. What should it be called? Glen (Chucky wants a boy) or Glenda (Tiffany wants a girl). The story at this point becomes very outrageous and bizarre as Tiffany and Chucky devise a plan to transport their souls into humans while also “creating” though a voodoo pregnancy a body for their child. When there is a twin birth (boy and girl), Glen/Glenda has the choice of which sex to become. This tough decision is just too much pressure for Glen/Glenda and when Chucky proceeds to try and kill Tiffany the offspring is mortified and attacks Chucky in a true comical fashion, resulting in Chucky losing his head, not for the first time.
The first four films were met with moderate success and developed a cult following among fans of the horror genre. There were gruesome areas, comical killings and murder scenes that kept you on the edge of your seat. However, Seed of Chucky could be called a failure and appeared to offer up too many questions as well as some confusing elements. Why is their offspring British? Why is it green? Why was there a need to bring gender into the equation? The silly “comedy” parts made this film a laughing stock. To have Britney supposedly drive off a cliff with ‘oops, she did it again’ said was an awful attempt at humour. The Chucky franchise has been known for its controversial use of gruesome displays of violence and this is what makes the films part of the horror genre and attract fans across generations. Fans expected limbs being cut off, blood and gruesome images such as previous films had presented but unfortunately we didn’t get this. This film had nothing over the previous four films, and was a big disappointment.
Unfortunately rather than letting sleeping dogs lie and leaving the story at that, for some unknown reason, the franchise has received yet another two instalments. These two new movies are filmed as a continuation with the latter taking things to a whole new level. Taking place 25 years after the events of the first Childs Play movie, Chucky torments wheelchair-bound Nica Pierce who is implied to be his
daughter (that is the human Charles Lee Ray’s daughter). The second instalment sees an institutionalized Nica and the return of adult Andy Barclay in attempt to stop Chucky and his identical cohorts once and for all. Having spent thirty years in the limelight, the franchise finally comes to an end with an achievement that Chucky has always wanted – a human body, although it is female.
As the movie draws to a close fans of the franchise are left pondering, if this is truly the end of Chucky and his murderous rampage or will his reuniting with Tiffany result in yet another strange and unusual spin off. Only time will tell…