Today we’re going into pretty weird territory for the slasher movie genre: Child’s Play.
This series may not be the first “evil doll” story, but it is one of the most iconic. It is pretty weird to have an “evil doll” slasher film though. Most of these type of stories focus on just how creepy dolls are. Very few of them have the doll cutting people apart. To be fair, the majority of “evil doll” stories are made up of jump scares, and the Child’s Play series is not exception to this rule.
The star of the franchise is the demonic doll known as “Chucky”, which is short for the killer’s real name, Charles Lee Ray. I guess the filmmakers were Ray Charles fans or something. On an interesting note, I think there was a toy company that actually made Chucky dolls at one point. It’s a great gift for any child, assuming you want that kid to never sleep again.
1988’s Child’s Play introduces us to career criminal Charles Lee Ray. He is shot by a police officer inside a toy store, because otherwise the film would have nowhere to go. Realizing that he’s dying, he uses a Haitian Voodoo spell to transfer his soul into a nearby children’s toy called a Good Guy doll. I don’t think the movie ever explains why a serial killer just so happens to know a spell for transferring his soul to objects, but I could be wrong.
The possessed doll finds it’s way into the hands of a six-year old boy named Andy. Chucky proceeds to kill and terrorize people, with Andy taking the blame for his crimes. As the film goes on, Chucky learns that his new body is becoming more human, meaning that he can now be killed by all the things that could kill him before. He tries to steal Andy’s body, but is shot and killed during the climactic fight with Andy and Andy’s mother Karen.
In 1990’s Child’s Play 2, the company that made the Good Guy dolls decided to rebuild the Chucky doll, because no character in a horror movie has ever watched a horror movie before. Chucky tracks down and finds an 8-year old Andy, who is now being raised in a foster home after Karen was committed. Chucky terrorizes the foster family with Andy taking the blame.
Eventually, Chucky convinces Andy to go along with the soul transfer. He makes Andy take him back to the toy factory for some reason and begins the ritual. Once the ritual has been completed, Chucky realizes with horror that his soul can’t leave the doll because he’s been in that body for too long. Well gee Chuck, maybe you should have spent less time slashing people then!
The climax of the film has Chucky chasing Andy and his foster sister Kyle through the factory. When it looks like Chucky is finally dead for good, he rises one more time to try to kill Kyle. She then kills him in the most cartoonish way possible. Seriously, if you haven’t seen this film, you should watch it for Chucky’s death scene alone.
As goofy as this film was, it made the studio a lot of money, so they proceeded to make 1991’s Child’s Play 3. In this film, the toy company that made the Good Guy dolls once again start making the toys again. Because the leaders of major corporations never learn. Seriously, it’s almost a relief when Chucky kills the head of the company early on.
Chucky tracks down the now 16-year old Andy, who is now in military school. While I have to admit that this is a unique premise, it’s kind of weird to watch a horror film take place in a military school. Especially one that revolve around a killer doll. At the end of the film, Chucky is killed again and Andy is taken into police custody. I kind of like the fact that no one ever believes Andy about the fact that a doll was running around murdering people. It adds an air of realism to the films.
The next two films were largely more comedic than the original series. 1998’s Bride of Chucky has Chucky turn his girlfriend Tiffany into a doll like him, and they eventually are tricked into betraying and murdering each other. 2004’s Seed of Chucky takes place five years later, with Chucky and Tiffany retrieving their son Glen. Chucky finally decides to stop trying to turn back into a human in this film, which leads to a confrontation with his family that ends with Glen killing Chucky.
The next film saw a return to the series’s darker roots with 2013’s Curse of Chucky. In this film, Chucky starts killing the members of a family that otherwise doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the series. Eventually he reveals that he was a friend of the family, but was betrayed by them which led to his original death. His revenge is completed when the last of the family, a paraplegic girl named Nica, is framed for killing the others and committed to a mental institute.
The last film was 2017’s Cult of Chucky. This film sees Chucky track Nica down to the mental institute that she was sent to. This film states that Chucky was somehow able to split his soul into multiple bodies, and so there are multiple possessed dolls running around. The film doesn’t really explain Chucky’s motive for trying to kill Nica in this film, but I guess otherwise there wouldn’t be a movie.
That was the last of the Child’s Play series, sort of. The owners of the franchise are supposedly working on a remake of the first film, which we all know is a terrible idea. Seriously, horror movie remakes never work. Besides, this is one of the few horror franchises that is younger than I am, so it doesn’t really need a remake.
Wow, I’m starting to run out of iconic slasher movie monsters. I’m going to have to go into obscure territory if I want to stretch this subgenre a little longer. To do that, we’re going to have to leave Halloween aside for a while in order to focus on some other holiday themed killers. Tomorrow, we’re going to open our Christmas presents early with a pair of killers you may not have heard of before: the Chapman brothers from the Silent Night, Deadly Night series.