The Child’s Play franchise kind of fascinates me. Personally, as a kid of the late ‘80s–early ‘90s, the first three films were staples of my childhood. I also think it’s very unique (and kind of great) for a horror franchise to run for 26 years without including a remake, prequel or reboot. But most of all, rarely has the overall tone of a horror franchise varied so drastically. The Child’s Play films have gone from dead serious to moderately humorous, silly to absurd, parody to dead serious (again). And look, by no means am I saying that these films are good, I’m just saying that, more often than not, I tend to have fun with them.
So basically, Child’s Play is about a doll killing a shitload of people all in an effort to take possession of a kid’s body. One of the best things about Child’s Play is that for the first several minutes, you’re not sure if the Good Guy doll is really possessed, or if this Andy kid is just seriously whacked. Now, of course we all know that Chucky is the one wreaking havoc, but I respect the filmmakers for trying to throw us off, if only for a few minutes.
Best kill: Chucky offing his witchdoctor with a voodoo doll is arguably the best kill of the entire franchise.
Child’s Play 2 (1990)
Two years later: Andy is living in a foster home while his mother withers away in a mental institution. Chucky, invigorated with a new doll body, manages to track Andy down and the game of possession starts yet again. Child’s Play 2 is essentially more of the same, that is until its amusing conclusion set inside a Good Guy doll factory. As Andy and his foster sister try to outrun Chucky within a maze of dolls, we’re playfully reminded of the end of The Shining. The camera position, the wide angle lens, the gliding movement – it’s actually a pretty solid and respectable homage.
Best kill: I can’t decide between two. The first is Chucky beating Andy’s teacher (Beth Grant) to death with a… yard stick (I mean really), and the second is a factory worker falling onto a conveyer belt and having his eyes replaced with Good Guy doll eyes. Poor bastard.
Child’s Play 3 (1991)
The movie itself, set eight years after the conclusion of Part 2, wherein Chucky tracks the teenage Andy down at military school and continues to terrorize him, is often regarded as the weakest of the Child’s Play films. Franchise creator Don Mancini has even publicly stated that it’s his least favorite Chucky film. And while I get where he’s coming from, for better or worse (as silly as this sounds), I'll always be indebted to Child’s Play 3.
Best kill: Easy, torturing the CEO of the company that makes Good Guy dolls using various toys. “Doooon’t fuck with the Chuck.”
Bride of Chucky (1998)
The movie is about a former girlfriend of Charles Lee Ray, Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), who summons Chucky back to life and is herself turned into a doll. The two soon venture to Jersey to find an amulet that will return them to human form once and for all, killing any and everyone who gets in their way. Again, Bride of Chucky is a complete farce whose sole intention is to make money (which it did) by shocking people with B-movie gore, and making them laugh with cheap toilet humor.
Best kill: A cop takes a bunch of nails to the face. It’s awesome.
Seed of Chucky (2004)
And if the flick sounds absurd, that’s because it intends to be. I haven’t even mentioned the artificial insemination via turkey baster, the killing of Britney Spears, John Waters’ perfect cameo, and on and on. If Seed of Chucky works, it’s because it unapologetically owns up to itself. And I respect that. I’ve see a lot of very bad horror films that take themselves far too seriously, so a movie like Seed of Chucky can be oddly refreshing. If nothing else, the film is a ridiculous farce that never pretends to be anything but.
Best Kill: Spoiler alert – Gotta be Waters getting a bottle of acid poured onto his head. His death scream is hilariously unconvincing.
Curse of Chucky (2013)
Best Kill: A hatchet to the face splits a man’s tongue in half. The severed side comes flopping out and everything. Pretty wicked.
My Rankings (best to worst)
Child’s Play 3
Seed of Chucky
Child’s Play 2
Bride of Chucky
Curse of Chucky
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