Despite being a remake and featuring one of the most iconic villains of the horror genre, the new Child’s Play is its own movie. With its own set of merits and faults, the remake can stand on its own even if divorced from the classic horror movie that was released in 1988.
But even if this is the case, the new Child’s Play couldn’t help but pay respect to its source material. After all, it wouldn’t even exist if Chucky didn’t become one of cinema’s most feared and beloved mass murderers all those decades ago. The remake is filled with shout-outs and homages to the previous movies, though it’ll take some squinting to see them. Here are 10 such callbacks that Child’s Play makes to the original movies, but more should be expected to come out when the movie arrives on video and streaming.
10 Kaslan Corporation Takes A Hit
Every time Chucky went on a killing spree, his creators at Play Pals take heavy financial blows and lose public trust. Time and again they failed to redeem themselves, and arguably made things worse.
Similarly, Chucky’s new creators at Kaslan Corporation faced intense backlash following the bloody debut of the Buddi 2, forcing the company to recall all of the Buddi dolls still left in the market. Whether they’ll commit the same mistakes that Play Pals did has yet to be seen, though the remake’s ending tease all but confirms that the worst is yet to come.
9 Death At A Factory
It may have been unintentional, but the remake opens in a similar way to Child’s Play 2, where the first onscreen death occurs in the factory where Chucky is born. While the sequel’s opening death may or may not have been supernatural in origin – where a worker gets electrocuted while working on Chucky – the remake has a more grounded approach.
As retaliation against his bullying foreman, the worker assigned to Chucky deliberately messes with the doll’s programming before killing himself. The death is blunter and more disturbing, cementing the visceral tone for the remake early on.
8 Chucky Loves Pop Culture
As the sequels went by, Chucky (and the filmmakers) began to show their love of pop culture and other horror movies, with Chucky making numerous references to other genre hits such as the time he forgot what to say after homaging The Shining in Seed of Chucky.
The new Child’s Play upholds this tradition but takes it to the next level, using the reference as a plot device. In the remake, Chucky learns about the joys of murder after watching the equally self-aware The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, imitating one of Leatherface’s signature moves during his first kill.
7 Detective Mike Norris
Aside from Chucky and the Barclays, another familiar character returns in the remake. This time it’s Detective Mike Norris, who may or may not have developed feelings for Karen over the course of the first movie.
Det. Norris returns in the remake, albeit in name only. Now, the detective is an older man who takes care of his mother in the same building as the Barclays. The two families spark a genuine friendship but the ensuing massacre perpetrated by Chucky puts a strain on their budding companionship.
6 The Buddi Ads
In both the original series and the remake, the toyline that Chucky comes from is incredibly popular and this is shown through the ads promoting them. The first three movies – set in the late ‘80s – feature appropriately corny and tacky cartoons, commercials and live-shows for the Good Guy dolls while the remake updates this.
To fit the digital age, the Buddi dolls are presented in test audience-approved corporate videos not unlike those in an E3 conference. While different in style, both ads are tongue-in-cheek yet nuanced parodies of toy trends that wouldn’t feel misplaced in their respective time settings.
5 The Buddi Doll
Chucky is one of the most iconic slasher villains in the horror genre, and changing his look too much would be a mistake. The remake knows this and even if his new face looks rather ugly, the core design remains the same.
However, the Buddi’s uncanny face may have been intentional. Characters often commented about how unsettling the Good Guys were in the Child’s Play movies, with those in the later sequels outright calling Chucky’s stitched-up visage ugly. The remake continues this, now with Andy and friends remarking how creepy yet human Chucky’s weird animatronic facial expressions are.
4 Friends To The End
Good Guy dolls were advertised to be children’s friends ‘till the end, and Chucky proved this in a very twisted and murderous way. Buddi dolls are similarly promoted, though the tagline now proclaims that the dolls are more than toys because they’re their owners’ best friend.
The remake makes good use of this ironic tagline, with Chucky often asking Andy if they’re really buddies for life. The main difference here is the new Chucky’s question is actually sincere, while the original Chucky – possessed by a serial killer – asked it rhetorically and often while stabbing whoever he’s talking to.
3 The Weapon Of Choice
Slasher villains are often nothing without their signature weapon. If Freddy Krueger had his bladed glove and Jason Voorhees wielded a machete, Chucky was almost never seen without his trusty kitchen knife.
The new digital Chucky follows his predecessor’s footsteps, choosing the deadly cooking utensil as his weapon of choice. While the remake takes full advantage of Chucky’s digital capabilities – such as being able to control other Kaslan devices – it never forgets to use the knife’s full potential. As the doll himself told Tiffany in Bride of Chucky, a true classic never goes out of style.
2 Chucky’s Death
For a pint-sized serial killer, Chucky racked up an impressive number of deaths where he either exploded or got dismembered. His first death remains the most brutal, where he survived a lot of damage before finally dying to a beheading and a fatal gunshot.
The remake pays tribute to the first of Chucky’s many deaths, but with some minor tweaks. This time around, Det. Norris shoots Chucky first before Karen beheads the murderous doll with her bare hands. The sequence of events may be different, but the killing blows remain the same.
1 The ‘80s
Because of its updated time setting, the remake couldn’t repeat some of Child’s Play’s specifics – like dolls and voodoo magic – so it instead paid tribute to the decade the that it debuted in: the ‘80s.
Director Lars Klevberg’s love of the ‘80s is no secret, and he proudly admitted to using E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as an inspiration for his remake. The remake itself has an undeniably ‘80s seen in how foul-mouthed kids save the day from the monster, an imperfect suburban family dynamic, and Andy having a Poltergeist III poster in his room.