Cult of Chucky director Don Mancini says the new installment in the long-running horror series was inspired by movies that make you question reality, including A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and Inception. Cult of Chucky sees the titular evil doll (voiced again by Brad Dourif) returning to torment his Curse of Chucky victim Nica (Fiona Dourif), who has been confined to an asylum for the criminally insane after being blamed for Chucky's murders. Chucky also sets out to settle old scores with other prior characters from the series, with help from his wife Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly).
The murderous doll Chucky was first introduced in the straightforward and shockingly effective 1988 horror movie Child's Play. The series stayed on a relatively normal slasher path through the second and third installments before veering into insane territory for 1998's Bride of Chucky, which saw Chucky falling in love with a human woman and killing her so she could take over the body of a doll and become his mate. 2004's Seed of Chucky went meta and Scream-like, then the series returned to its straightforward roots for 2013's Curse of Chucky.
Speaking to the Movie Crypt podcast, Cult of Chucky writer-director Don Mancini talked about the latest new direction for the ageless horror franchise, and discussed the movies that influenced him in conceiving the film's mind-bending story (via EW):
“This is Chucky as a mindf— movie. It’s Chucky on drugs. Nightmare on Elm Sreet 3 was an influence but so was Inception, honestly. These are movies where, deliberately — and we had not done this before with a Chucky movie — you question reality. Because it’s a mental hospital, you’re dealing with a bunch of characters whose own perceptions of reality are altered by their own madness, by the drugs that they’re on, by the dreams that they’re having, by the therapy that they’re having. So, that was a fun new genre prism though which to look at this character."
Mancini also talked about bringing back characters from previous films, including Andy Barclay the original kid from the Child's Play movies (who hasn't been seen since Child's Play 3 outside of a post-credits scene at the end of Curse of Chucky).
"It was a new kind of story to tell with Chucky, while continuing the thread of Chucky, and Nica, and Andy Barclay, and Tiffany. It was also just a challenge, and really fun, to take these disparate characters from disparate parts of the franchise, and put them on a collision course, and see what happens when Tiffany collides with Nica or when Tiffany collides with Andy Barclay. I mean, these are the sorts of things that…you muse over it in the middle of the night, It’s like, ‘What would that be like?'”
A recently released trailer gave a taste of the crazed goings-on in the asylum where Nica is locked up in Cult of Chucky. Mancini's promise of a movie that messes with the viewer's head a la Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and Inception sounds intriguing, and if his movie turns out as good as either of those two films, it will go down as a classic. That being said, when horror movies venture into the "is it real or just a dream" area things turn out disappointing as often as not. The premise promised by Mancini could be a great way to refresh a very old series that's tried a lot of different approaches along the way, but it could also turn out to be the idea that kills Chucky once and for all. Cult of Chucky is set to hit DVD, Blu-ray, and digital on October 3, 2017.