The CHILD’S PLAY movies have been terrorizing audiences for almost 5 decades and show no signs of slowing down. Thanks to the creepy doll brought to life with Brad Dourif’s sharp tongue in cheek delivery and the ever-evolving nature of the franchise, the franchise has become the creepiest doll to ever plague the silver screen. Sorry Annabelle. Spawning 6 sequels, a well received remake, an upcoming TV series- good or bad, this series has brought us life for over 30 years. To be clear, there’s not a bad film in this franchise. Some are just stronger than others.
8. CHILD’S PLAY 3 (1991)
It pains me to put Chucky’s third go-round at the bottom of the list. But like all good bottoms CHILD’S PLAY 3 is wildly entertaining, loud and named Tyler. I felt like everyone shouted a lot throughout the movie. For this installment, the action is transplanted from Chicago and wherever part 2 took place to a military academy. A now 16-years old Andy Barkley (Justin Whalin) comes face to face with Chucky after he thought he was long dead. How Chucky mailed himself to the Military Academy is anyone’s guess . However this time Chucky sets his sites on a new kid named Tyler, who he marks as his new conduit. CHILD’S PLAY 3 is generally dismissed by the fans but I happen to love it. Chucky was just as sinister and vulgar as he was in the previous films and there was some cool kills and a dark presence throughout the film. Still, the running out of ideas is pretty evident in this film and considering it came out just 9 months after CHILD’S PLAY 2 you can’t help but notice that writer Don Mancini was probably forced to rush the script.
7. CURSE OF CHUCKY (2013)
Even though CURSE OF CHUCKY is a favorite amongst fans, I had a hard time getting into this movie. I’ve seen it twice and just couldn’t connect with the film. The pace of the movie coupled with the dark look and cold feel of the movie put me to sleep both times. Then finally, on my third viewing I actually stayed up throughout the entire movie (thank you red bull-tinis). CURSE is the second film in the franchise to completely shift the tone of the recent entries and give Chucky a soft reboot. This is the back to basics Chucky. He’s mean, violent and thanks to a revealing backstory the audience gets another sense of how evil and demented the man himself, Charles Lee Ray, really was. CURSE also has some of the most inventive kills in the series and more twists and turns than an episode of TIGER KING. We also get a new protagonist in Nica played by Fiona Dourif, daughter of Brad Dourif who is of course Charles Lee Ray and the voice of Chucky. Confined to a wheelchair Nica proves to be a formidable foe against Chucky that continues into the next film…
6. CULT OF CHUCKY (2017)
After the franchise was breathed new life with the darkly comical CURSE OF CHUCKY, series creator Don Mancini returned to the director’s chair for one of the most polarizing films in the franchise this side of SEED OF CHUCKY. Fiona Dourif and Alex Vincent return to battle the now cloned Chucky as he murders his way through a psychiatric hospital. Not since Westin Hills in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 has an established horror villian chopped his way through an entire facility where people were already, mentally, on edge. Thanks to a “you have to see it to believe it” ending, CULT pushes the series to move in a new an uncharted territory which we’ll see play out in the upcoming TV series. I enjoy an artist that likes to take chances and subvert audiences expectations and CULT certainly sets up a new story for Chucky.
5. CHILD’S PLAY (2019)
The Chucky saga gets a new facelift thanks to this controversial remake. The latest film takes the basic plot of the original and gives it a modern spin. Single mother gifts her son Andy an toy doll for his birthday and of course, the doll has blood on the brain. Throwing away the sketchy use of voodoo, the new Chucky isn’t evil due to a soul transference from a serial killer. He’s evil because he learned how to be evil from the people around him and his safety perimeters were disabled. Using themes of nature versus nurture and the influence of media, CHILD’S PLAY 2019 turns our possessed doll into an evil smart toy that wants to please his master. By making Karen and Andy Barkley and Mike the Detective radically different from their 1988 counterparts refreshing take on the original story this new CHILD’S PLAY is better than it had any right to be.
4. SEED OF CHUCKY (2004)
Loved by some (me) yet hated by most. 6 years after the breaththrough return of Chucky, SEED explores what parenthood means for Chucky and his bride, Tiffany. While horror and suspense are thrown out the window in favor of over the top kills and borderline slapstick humor, SEED OF CHUCKY is one of the best John Water’s films he never made thanks to the subversive, almost parody-like tone of the film. It’s part satire of the politics of Hollywood, part exploration of gender expression, and full on balls to the wall anarchy. Chucky and Tiffany are at the center of the most violent and gruesome deaths in the entire franchise.
3. BRIDE OF CHUCKY (1998)
After laying dormant for 7 years Chucky was resurrected for the big screen. However this time, things would be a little different. Chucky is joined by his estranged wife Tiffany, played by Oscar nominee Jennifer Tilly. Thanks to a little BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN influence and still problematic fetishization of Voodoo, Tiffany’s soul is transferred to a doll just like Chucky. ‘BRIDE’ marked a sharp turn in the series which previously had been a mostly grounded horror series. Thanks to the mega-success of the horror satire, SCREAM, ‘BRIDE’ did an about face and satirized its own saga resulting in a refreshing horror-comedy hybrid. By acknowledging the ridiculousness of the series plot, the new film moved the series into a new direction. No longer is Chucky obsessed with transferring his soul into Andy Barkley. Instead, he and Tiffany are focused on continuing their reign of terror as serial killers…while maintaining a healthy marriage.
2. CHILD’S PLAY (1988)
The OG in the series is the most grounded, at least compared to the other entries, and is the only film in the series that plays as genuinely suspenseful horror film with the exception of ‘CURSE OF CHUCKY.’ This first entry lays the groundwork in establishing Chucky’s initial motive and gives a quick backstory on how Charles Lee Ray becomes Chucky. After 30 years, this film holds up surprisingly well and it’s no surprise why Chucky became an instant horror icon who holds up well amongst his peers on Elm Street, Campy Crystal Lake, and Haddonfield. The personality of Chucky was different from other horror villains. Sure, he and Freddy had a sinister sense of humor when offing their victims, but Chucky possessed a blue-collar weathered streak who couldn’t mask his disdain for women and children even when he wasn’t in kill-mode. CHILD’S PLAY is one of the best horror films of the 1980s and is usually considered the best by most folks…
- CHILD’S PLAY 2 (1990)
…But other folks like me prefer the energetic, less stuffy sequel. Trading in the gritty downtown Chicago for the sanitized yet colorful suburbs, CHILD’S PLAY 2 let’s Chucky have more fun since it doesn’t have to deal with a pesky backstory. Everything is more amped up for the sequel. Andy’s sanity is constantly in question by his new foster parents. We also get introduced to Kyle- Andy’s wayward foster sister who becomes his new protector and a new adversary to Chucky. Also, lets not forget about the imaginative kills. Though tame by later installments, you can’t discount faithful classics like death by yardstick, death by broken neck, nor death by getting your eyes gouged out in a toy factory. CHILD’S PLAY 2 puts Chucky on a path of vengeance against Andy in a way that wasn’t present in the original which makes this early sequel the best in the series.