Halloween Series: Chucky (Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2, Child’s Play 3, Bride Of Chucky, Seed Of Chucky)

When I was choosing characters to look at for Halloween the Child’s Play series immediately sprang to mind. Why? Well, they were some of the first horror movies I ever really saw and to be honest I actually quite like them. As for Chucky? Well I think I know what makes him a horror icon…

Charles Lee Ray (or Chucky) was once a prolific serial killer. One night, during a terribly cliché thunderstorm, he was cornered in a toy shop by police and, using his knowledge of voodoo, transferred his soul into a Good Guy doll. Chucky discovers he’s becoming more and more human and will soon die unless he transfers his soul into a young boy named Andy.why is Chucky so scary? Well I think there’s one major fact and a couple of minor ones. Firstly, voodoo is a pretty mysterious subject matter. It’s not like usual black magic where we sort of know the mythology behind it, voodoo is from a completely different part of the Earth. It’s rooted in superstition and nobody really knows what the ‘rules’ are making it both unpredictable and scary. Secondly, Chucky is a serial killer and that’s a concept we know pretty well in today’s society, the concept of voodoo also mixes with Chucky’s status as a serial killer because voodoo has almost always been associated with bringing the dead back to life. The fact that Chucky represents both sides of the perversion of death (murder and resurrection) make him an utter abomination. On a more obvious note, a serial killer and an intimate knowledge of the dark arts are probably not the best things to throw together, I mean imagine if Rosemary West practised witchcraft?!

Probably would’ve done something about the glasses…

As far as I’m concerned though there is only one reason why people really fear Chucky and it’s the fact that he’s a doll. Dolls are scary  because of the fact that they can look pretty lifelike and yet maintain an air of coldness about them. It’s in the emotionless expressions and the cold dead eyes. The idea that this is something that looks like it should be alive and yet you know it can’t be. Everything about a doll screams both living and dead at the same time and personally I think they are fucking terrifying. It’s not a new concept in fiction either, we’ve seen malevolent dolls before in shows like The Twilight Zone and films like Magic but Child’s Play takes things to a whole new level. In Child’s Play Chucky is a psychopath who kills on a whim and gains intense pleasure from doing so, there is very little subtlety within the set-up and that was reasonably new for its sub-genre. There was never any doubt that the doll was killing people and it wasn’t all in the protagonist’s head. It’s a character of combination and of certainty.

Chucky is a horror icon because he is a character of combinations. The perversions of voodoo and murder with the qualities of a doll. Despite his recent turn to comedy I still find him pretty damn creepy.


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