The teaser for the Chucky TV series arrived today, and with it came an incredibly exciting quote from franchise creator Don Mancini. The writer-director, who has been with Chucky since the beginning, revealed that parts of the upcoming TV series will harken back to Child’s Play 2, arguably the best film in the franchise.
And what, exactly, makes Child’s Play 2 so special? There’s no simple answer, but rather a collection of quirks and choices that combine to form a twisted, entertaining continuation of the story started with the first Child’s Play.
The Child’s Play series is my all-time favorite horror franchise. Some people seem shocked when I tell them that, but it’s the truth. There’s just something special about Chucky the killer doll that’s always appealed to me. And while I don’t think every entry in the series is great – the most recent movie, Cult of Chucky, is kind of a mess – I’m always happy to see Chucky and his growing family come back to shed more blood.
Chucky’s latest adventure will be Chucky, a SYFY series that remains within the continuity of the original franchise. While there was a Child’s Play reboot in 2019, the original series is still very much active, and the upcoming show features the involvement of Chucky creator Don Mancini, as well as franchise cast members Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Fiona Dourif, Alex Vincent, and Christine Elise.
In an interview, Mancini revealed that the Chucky TV show would be drawing influence from Child’s Play 2:
“Over the years, I’ve heard that the consensus fan favorite among all the movies is Child’s Play 2. I think one of the reasons for that is how Chucky looked in that movie and how the late director John Lafia, who passed away last year, shot Chucky. Our goal with the series was to bring Chucky’s look precisely back to that. Tony Gardner and Peter Chevako (special effects artists responsible for creating the show’s puppets) have done a great job. I think fans are really going to love that.”
That immediately made me sit up and take notice, because Mancini is right: Child’s Play 2 is a fan favorite. In fact, it’s my favorite entry in the series. So what the heck makes Child’s Play 2 so special? Let’s break it down.
It’s More Fun
While the original Child’s Play is wonderful, it’s also…how should I put this?…subtle. I know a movie about a killer doll doesn’t sound subtle, but director Tom Holland (not to be confused with the current Spider-Man) approached the film as if he were making a standard thriller. On one hand, this approach lends the original Child’s Play a touch of class, keeping things somewhat vague and mysterious for a while – we don’t actually see Chucky actually come to life until nearly halfway through the film.
But Child’s Play 2 didn’t need to take this approach. Chucky being a living, killing doll was already established, which enabled the sequel to have a lot more fun with the idea. Chucky is alive and kicking almost from the get-go, and part of the fun of the movie is watching him work out in the open instead of hiding in the shadows. Chucky himself also seems to be having more fun here, becoming incredibly nasty and vicious as the film goes on.
It Expands the World of the Films
While the Good Guy Doll that serial killer Charles Lee Ray possesses in the first film is established via a few TV commercials, Child’s Play 2 takes things further. It’s the Terminator 2 approach, in a way – expanding a world that was only briefly touched on in the original movie. Here, we get to see the inner workings of the Play Pals Corporation, which makes the Good Guy Dolls. We learn all about how they’re dealing with the PR fallout surrounding the events of the first movie, and how they’re hoping to cover all that up so they can keep making a profit. We also get to see the factory where the Good Guy Dolls are assembled – a setting that comes back in the end in a big way as Chucky runs rampant through the factory floor.
The Kills Are More Creative
In Child’s Play, Chucky doesn’t really get that creative with his kills (save for a scene where he kills someone using a Voodoo Doll). Here, Chucky is all about improvising. He doesn’t just stab people – he suffocates them, beats them to death with rulers, pushes them down some stairs, hooks them up to sewing machines, and more. And then there are the nasty things that happen to Chucky. In the film’s finale set in that Good Guy factory, Chucky has to rip off his own hand (which he replaces with a knife), gets run through a machine that turns him into a multi-limbed freak, and ends up getting covered in hot gooey plastic. It’s all very disgusting and wonderful.
The Filmmaking is More Interesting
No offense to Tom Holland, who is a swell director and a swell guy, but the filmmaking in Child’s Play 2 is superior. In the sequel, the late John Lafia uses a series of Dutch angles, Split Diopter shots, and more tricks of the trade that give the entire film a weird, off-kilter, even somewhat surreal vibe. The factory finale is particularly well-filmed, with characters running through mazes of Good Guy boxes and dodging dangerous (and highly implausible) machinery. All of these elements combine to form a kick-ass movie, and if Mancini is telling the truth about the Chucky series emulating Child’s Play 2, we’re in for a treat.
Chucky premieres on October 12, 2021.
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