We are back with another horror franchise ranking post! Today I am tackling the beloved Child’s Play series. If you didn’t already know, this is one of my favourite spooky sagas. I bought the entire 7 disc box-set this year and it was definitely worth every penny. Directed by Don Mancini, this story follows notorious serial killer, Charles Lee Ray, who transfers his soul into a Good Guy doll right before his human form dies. As a popular children’s toy, he names himself Chucky and terrorises all those he comes in contact with. As the movies progress, Chucky makes new friends, kills plenty of people and even has a child! Aside from being a murderer, he is also a voodoo practitioner, who regularly invokes the curse of Damballa to do his bidding. Without further ado, here is my list from best to worst film. Also, I am going to mention the 2019 remake and briefly discuss the 2021 television series at the end. Spoilers ahead!
1.) Child’s Play
In first place, we have the film that started it all: Child’s Play. Known as the Lakeshore Strangler, serial killer: Charles Lee Ray, is chased through the streets of Chicago by Detective Mike Norris. The pair finally face off in a toy store and Charles is shot by Mike. As he lays dying, he turns to a Good Guy doll displayed on the shelf and transfers his soul into it, via a spoken voodoo ritual. We then fast forward to the home of Karen and Andy Barclay, who desperately wants a Good Guy doll for his sixth birthday from his mother. Despite their financial situation, she is able to purchase one off a hobo and surprises her overjoyed son. Initially, the toy seems normal and refers to itself as Chucky. However, that evening, it comes to life and resumes its murdering ways, with the ultimate goal of possessing Andy. This movie came out a year before I was born and let me tell you, the scares are effective for its time. That moment where Karen realises there are no batteries in Chucky and his head spins around, is so creepy. I also love the final battle. It’s epic. For his small size, the doll is incredibly difficult to kill. It’s such an iconic start to the franchise and one my favourite horror flicks of all time.
2.) Child’s Play 2
When I say Child’s Play 2 is a close second, I mean it’s mere millimetres behind the first one. Two years after the events of the original film, the Play Pals Corporation, (maker of the Good Guy dolls), reassembles Chucky’s remains to reassure its stockholders there was nothing actually wrong with the doll. During the process, a power surge occurs and one of the assembly line workers is electrocuted. Mr. Sullivan, the executive of the company, orders his assistant to cover up the accident and dispose of Chucky, unaware that he has already been revived. Meanwhile, Andy Barclay, now eight, has been in foster care ever since the murders. His mother, Karen, was institutionalised for backing up his story about the killer doll. As you can imagine, Charles Lee Ray tracks down his former owner and tries to possess him again. In this sequel, we meet Kyle, a teenage girl who is fostered by the same parents as Andy. At first, she doesn’t believe him about Chucky, but after she witnesses the doll in action, the pair bond and take him down together. The final showdown at the toy store is one of the best horror movie scenes in history. Chucky’s death is EPIC! Watch the clip below and tell me you don’t agree.
3.) Bride of Chucky
In third place, we have a slightly controversial choice in Bride of Chucky. This installment in the franchise is definitely more of a dark comedy than a horror. In this film, we follow Tiffany Valentine (played by Jennifer Tilly), who was Charles Lee Ray’s girlfriend and accomplice, before he was killed at the beginning of Child’s Play. After bribing a police officer into giving her the dismembered parts of a Good Guy doll (which was possessed by Chucky), she staples/stitches him together and enacts the voodoo curse to bring him back to life. The lovers begin bickering not long after their reunion and Chucky electrocutes Tiffany to death in a bathtub…but not before calling on Damballa to transfer her soul into a female doll. As toys, the pair hitch a ride with two unsuspecting humans in order to retrieve a magical amulet (The Heart of Damballa) that was buried with Charles Lee Ray’s physical body. The talisman is meant to assist them in possessing the male and female counterparts they are travelling with. This movie is funny, ridiculous and downright strange. The chemistry between Brad Dourif and Jennifer Tilly is brilliant. Would you believe me if I told you the dolls have sex and get pregnant? You just have to watch and find out. I like to rate things based on enjoyment level and I had a blast with this one.
4.) Child’s Play 3
In fourth place, we have Child’s Play 3. This is set eight years after the events of the sequel. Play Pals has recovered from the bad publicity of Chucky’s murder sprees and resumes manufacturing Good Guy dolls. The company restores the abandoned factory and a splash of blood from Chucky’s corpse is inadvertently mixed in with the plastic being used to produce the dolls, thus reviving him in a new body. Charles Lee Ray is given to Play Pals CEO, Mr. Sullivan, who is tortured and strangled to death with a yo-yo. The serial killer uses computer records to locate Andy Barclay, who is now 16 and living at Kent Military Academy, after failing to cope in several foster homes. As you can guess, the enemies are reunited and violence ensues, with plenty of casualties along the way. I wasn’t a massive fan of the setting but I loved the scene with the barber (see below) and the carnival battle at the end. It’s a bit ridiculous how easy it is for Chucky to come back to life and how difficult he is to kill. I will say, his death in this installment is great.
5.) Cult of Chucky
Cult of Chucky is the latest film in the franchise to be released. It’s a direct sequel to Curse of Chucky. Andy Barclay has been torturing the disembodied head of Chucky for the past four years. Meanwhile, the wheelchair-bound Nica Pierce, has spent that time in a mental institution, after being framed by Charles Lee Ray for the murders of her family. After therapy, Nica now believes she was responsible for the murders and that Chucky was a manifestation of her psychosis. Her doctor has her transferred to a medium-security psychiatric hospital and that’s where the entire movie takes place. Nica is visited by Tiffany Valentine (from Bride of Chucky), who leaves her a Good Guy doll, which she claims was a gift from her niece. That night, Chucky awakens and begins a murdering spree at the asylum. This movie has some of the most creative deaths and beautiful scenery. There is something so aesthetically pleasing about seeing a colourful toy against a white, snowy backdrop. I will say, this is probably the most confusing installment in the franchise. It is aptly named because by the end, Chucky has amassed a cult of Good Guy dolls, all containing a piece of his soul. It’s a bit like Voldemort and his Horcruxes. Madness in the best way!
6.) Curse of Chucky
Curse of Chucky is probably the scariest film in the franchise. It’s more of a classic, haunted-house story with plenty of horror. In 2013, a Good Guy doll called Chucky, mysteriously arrives in the mail at the isolated home of paraplegic Nica Pierce and her mother Sarah. Later that night, Sarah is found dead from a stab wound and her death is ruled as a suicide. Nica is visited by her sister, brother-in-law, niece Alice, live-in nanny and priest. Alice finds Chucky and is allowed to keep him. That evening, Chucky secretly pours rat poison into one of the dinner bowls. Father Frank eats the poison. After he leaves, he gets sick and ends up in a car accident that decapitates him. That night, Nica investigates the doll on the internet; where she finds news articles about the murders that tied Charles Lee Ray and the children’s toy together. She learns that he was obsessed with her mother Sarah and killed her father in a jealous rage. The rest of the film is one big murderous rampage. I didn’t connect with this one as much as the others. I found a lot of the side characters to be quite obnoxious. However, I do love that Nica is played by Fiona Dourif, who is Brad Dourif’s daughter. The family that slays together, stays together.
7.) Seed of Chucky
In second last place, we have Seed of Chucky. It’s low on my list because it’s quite ridiculous. Funny in parts, but bizarre. Six years after Bride of Chucky, Glen, the benevolent son of Chucky and Tiffany, is being forced to perform at the International Ventriloquists’ Competition in Glastonbury. Glen sees a preview of Jennifer Tilly’s new horror film, Chucky Goes Psycho, on television and realises that he is their son. Desperate to know his parents, he manages to escape his abusive owner and tracks down the Chucky and Tiffany dolls in Hollywood. He finds himself in the prop room and uses the Heart of Damballa, to bring them back to life. Charles Lee Ray wants his son to become a killer like him, whereas Tiffany wants to set a good example and change their ways. However, old habits die hard. Literally! I’m all for a gender-fluid doll but the plot-line was really strange. There were also a lot of moments that didn’t make sense. It wasn’t the best, it wasn’t the worst.
8.) Child’s Play 2019 Remake
In last place, we have the Child’s Play 2019 remake. Okay, this isn’t technically part of the franchise, but I wanted to rank it anyway. I know some people prefer this to the original. That is an interesting opinion, but one I will respect anyway. Ha! I did not hate this movie. I thought it was a lot of fun, but the reason it’s at the bottom of my list, is because it doesn’t contain a single essence of Chucky. It has a completely different director, no Brad Dourif and none of the sassiness us fans live for in this series. In the reboot, Good Guy dolls are named Buddi dolls and they are much more modern and intelligent in design. The story is pretty similar, with a boy and his mother being terrorised by the children’s toy, but there is no serial killer backstory. It turns evil when a factory worker disables all of its safety features in retaliation to being fired. It’s not a Chucky movie without Charles Lee Ray. I also don’t like the look of the Buddi dolls. They look like they’ve undergone plastic surgery. I’m sorry, but it’s a no from me.
Chucky – TV Series (2021)
To my absolute delight, a Chucky television series was released in 2021. Not only was it directed by Don Mancini, Brad Dourif reprised his role as the iconic doll and it also featured Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany, Fiona Dourif as Nica, Alex Vincent as Andy and Christine Elise as Kyle. Having the original cast back together made this such a winner in my eyes. Following the events from Cult of Chucky, a young teenager named Jake, finds a Good Guy doll at a rummage sale and brings him home. It isn’t long before he realises it is possessed by the notorious serial killer: Charles Lee Ray and terror ensues. Now that the first season has ended, I can give my honest thoughts about it. There are so many fantastic aspects to this show. 1.) The cast, as I already mentioned. 2.) The gay relationship between Jake and Devon – yes to 14 year old boys who know who they are! 3.) The flashbacks of Charles Lee Ray’s life before Child’s Play and 4.) The classic mix of horror and dark comedy that we have come to know and love. I have nothing negative to say. Check it out, if you haven’t already.
What did you think of my ranking? Do you agree/disagree with this list? What are your thoughts on the new television series? Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo