Chucky may be small in stature, but he’s a heavyweight in the pantheon of horror movie villains, capable of going toe-to-toe with the worst of them. Child’s Play (1988), directed by Master of Horror Tom Holland, is a paradigm of 1980’s era horror; legions of followers propelled the franchise through 5 sequels (most recently, Curse of Chucky in 2013). Last February, original Chucky scribe Don Mancini teased fans by hinting a 7th installment is in the works, first tweeting “ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT #CHUCKY7 #ComingSoonish”, and later, “SO… SHOULD WE SHOOT CHUCKY 7 IN CAPETOWN? HE’S BA-AAAAAACK (SOON) #Chucky7.” Before Part 7 arrives, let’s delve into some lesser known facts about horror’s favorite dastardly doll.
Chucky is Not Based on Robert the Doll
Robert the Doll is a staple of American paranormal folklore. Supposedly bequeathed to an 11-year-old boy named Eugene, Robert was infused with a curse, courtesy of a disgruntled housekeeper who dabbled in voodoo. Before long, Eugene was blaming the doll for all sorts of damage and mischievous trickery. While his claims obviously met with skepticism, Robert has since been accused everything from broken bones to car crashes (and even divorce!) over the past century. He currently resides in a museum in Key West where he continues to exert his evil influence from behind a glass case. Despite what you may have read on other websites (including Wikipedia), Chucky was not inspired by Robert the Doll. Tom Holland recently set the record straight on Twitter (below).
Chucky’s Full Name is a Combination of 3 Infamous Serial Killers
Chucky’s full name, Charles Lee Ray, is an allusion to 3 notorious serial killer: Charles Manson (who needs no introduction), Lee Harvey Oswald (the sniper who assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963), and James Earl Ray (the man who assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr.).
Chucky was Originally Written as a Manifestation of Andy’s Rage
Don Mancini’s first draft of Child’s Play was called Blood Buddy and didn’t have anything to do with a disembodied “Lakeshore Strangle”. In that version, Andy was a very creepy kid with some serious anger issues. After developing an unhealthy attachment to a doll, his teachers, bullies, and even his mother are attacked by a diminutive villain. At first, it’s ambiguous as to whether the doll is doing Andy’s bidding, or if Andy’s displacing his actions on an inanimate object; in either scenario the toy is a metaphorical manifestation of the child’s rage.
Real Crimes Blamed on Chucky
While conservatives have long purported a link between violent films and violent behaviors, few fictional villains have taken more heat for real-life crimes than Chucky, especially in the UK. Child’s Play 3 was cited as a motivating factor in the abduction and murder of 2-year-old James Bulger by a pair of 10-year-old boys; prosecutors claimed throwing blue paint on their victim was a reenactment of a specific scene in the movie. Later, in Manchester, a young woman was tormented and abused by a pair of assailants who continually quoted the film, repeating the catchphrase “I’m Chucky, wanna play?” In yet another case, a South London teen was killed by her boyfriend, a lowlife who proudly sported a Chucky tattoo. Chucky was let off the hook for these and other incidents when cooler minds agree that a killer doll is nothing but an easy scapegoat for youth crimes.
Geto Boys Rapper Uses Chucky as Alter Ego
Troubled rapper Bushwick Bill from the East Coast hip hop crew Geto Boys (popular in the 1990’s) is a lifelong horror fan who feels a special connection with Chucky. He told Vice last October: “Chucky, he was my size! I was joking around with the idea—wouldn’t it be funny if Chucky was ghetto? What would he sound like and what kind of situations would he deal with? So I sat there and watched the movie over and over again, and in my mind instead of looking at Chucky being white I looked at him as being ME.” Check out the fan-made video for his song, Chuckie, on You Tube (lyrics NSFW).
“Chucky” was Axed from Original Soundtrack
If you think lyrics in Bushwick Bill’s tribute are silly, you’ll die when you listen to Simon Stokes’ song Chucky. Commissioned for the final credits of the original Child’s Play, the producers wisely axed this ditty from the final cut, reasoning it made the killer doll seem silly. We can thank (or blame) Joe Renzetti for the lyrics, which include cheerleader style chants like: “C-H-U-C-K, Y don’t you come out to play?” and, “Chucky Chucky go away, You’re to rowdy when you play!”
Chucky Invades Other Horror Movies
As part of a promotional push in advance of the DVD release for Curse of Chucky, Universal released a series of short videos that features Chucky invading other famous horror movies. The one above is a reimagining of Psycho; you can also see Chucky slicing and dicing his way through The Purge, Mama, and Drag Me to Hell.
That Time Chucky Crashed SNL
Long before he invaded our favorite horror movies, way back in 1998, Chucky crashed Episode 449 of Saturday Night Live, where he attempted to kill newscaster Colin Quinn. It was part of a promotional tour in advance of Bride of Chucky.
Chucky of the Corn
John Franklin is best known to horror fans as the actor who played the chilling child preacher Isaac in Children of the Corn (1984), but many don’t realize he also has a small but integral role in Child’s Play. I’m not talking about a bit part or a cameo; for a few fleeting moments, he was Chucky himself. Franklin was employed whenever it was necessary to show the doll running or walking. Obviously, his face is never shown. He’s listed in the credits as Walkabout Chucky.
Chucky’s Oscar Nod
Most people don’t just how accomplished Brad Dourif, the actor who voices Chucky, actually is. He was first recognized for his outstanding portrayal of Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975); the performance earned him a Golden Globe and BAFTA Award, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Besides Child’s Play, he’s done plenty of horror, including The Exorcist III, Body Parts, Urban Legend, and Rob zombie’s Halloween. But he’s also a respected dramatist, as proven by his work in Mississippi Burning, Lord of the Rings, and in his award-winning portrayal of Amos ‘Doc’ Cochran through three seasons of Deadwood on HBO.
There Could Have Been an Army of Chuckys
Child’s Play 2 (1990) concludes with a battle in the factory that first cast the Good Guy doll Charles Lee Ray inhabits. After destroying his heart, it seems like Chucky’s gone for good, but viewers soon discover his plastic body was melted down and mixed into hundreds of new Good Guys. The implication, of course, is that we could be facing a veritable army of Chuckys, and Don Mancini has stated this was his ultimate intention; it simply wasn’t possible to produce on the film’s $13M budget.
Chucky Lives (Finally!)
2013’s Curse of Chucky may have the inauspicious distinction of being the only film in the Child’s Play franchise to go straight to DVD, but it’s already become a fan favorite—and I’d reckon it’s Chucky’s favorite chapter too. It’s the only one where he isn’t killed, mutilated, or otherwise defeated at the end.
Chucky’s complicated, and I’m not just talking about Charles Lee Ray’s disturbing psychological profile; I’m talking about the actual logistics needed to bring an inanimate doll to terrifying life. Josh Holland, Tom’s son who spent considerable time on the set as a kid, had this to say: “Operating Chucky was a massive undertaking as much of what he needed to do had never been done before, movement wise. Let’s just say he never worked right on the first try.” Even today, with all the advances in puppet technology, animating Chucky is a monumental task. Check out what goes on behind the scenes in the short video above: Living Doll: Bringing Chucky to Life.