Dolls can be pretty eerie if you really look at them. At least these are the sentiments of Child's Play creator Don Mancini. There is something to be said for the often overly-happy grins and soulless, blank look in the eyes of many kids' dolls. Said to take inspiration from another creepy possessed doll in the "Talky Tina" episode of The Twilight Zone, the Child's Play series has further toyed with the idea of a killer child's doll.
Child's Play, which began as a more traditional horror romp, has run with a gorier, campier, and more comedic tangent that seems part Rob Zombie and part Tim Burton. While the quality has suffered somewhat as a result, the 2019 reboot looks to bring the franchise back to its roots, while offering its own modern twist. Just how does it compare? For that matter, how do the remaining films in this slasher series rank as a whole? In this article, we'll hash this out, as we examine the series' 30+ year history and rank each of the Child's Play and Chucky films (with a little help from IMDb's rating system).
8 Seed Of Chucky (4.8)
Despite being pretty surface level in its depth and style, the fun 1998 gore-fest Bride of Chucky at least had the novelty of being a more cartoony and comedic facelift for the series. This follow-up just felt like more of the same cheesiness - with an even more absurd concept, if that were possible. This is rather disappointing considering this film came out a whopping 6 years later. Just take the premise of Bride of Chucky, jack up the gore even more, and throw a son for Chucky into the mix, and Voilà!
While Bride had at least a semblance of a coherent plot and enduring moments (as silly as they were), pretty much nothing about this movie makes sense or goes anywhere. Even most of the comedy bits feel desperate and fall flat. The fact that Seed revolves around Chucky and Tiffany trying to possess the bodies of Jennifer Tilly and rapper Redman playing themselves should tip you off as to how nutty this film gets. It got the franchose's lowest ranking on IMDb: 4.8.
7 Child's Play 3 (5.1)
While this 3rd iteration of Child's Play isn't horribly made, it marks a lull in the series that fails to even live up to the intrigue of Child's Play 2, let alone the original classic. Even with our protagonist Andy being a decade older and the new, more interesting dynamic of the military school setting, this movie feels a bit stale and formulaic.
The film does contain some bombastic, memorable death scenes, and some amusingly cheesy dialogue throughout. As a whole, though, Child's Play 3 just feels lacking; especially compared to the zanier, more comedic films that followed.
6 Cult Of Chucky (5.2)
We may be fresh off the theatrical release of the Child's Play reboot, but even fans of the original may not be aware of the quiet release of this 7th release in the mainline series. There's a reason for that - Cult is pretty mediocre, even by the tepid standards of this franchise as a whole.
It would seem this sequel would hold some potential - the original owner of the killer doll, Andy, comes to visit the star of Curse, who happens to be the daughter of Chucky's voice actor Brad Dourif. This cool reunion of many prominent figures in the Child's Play series should make for a good-old-fashioned fun, bloody romp; but for the most part, it just falls flat.
5 Bride Of Chucky (5.4)
This sequel marks a pretty palpable turning point in the Child's Play franchise - when the films seemed to fully embrace the goofy, gimmicky elements and pretty much ditched any semblance of subtlety. The few horror elements that did exist essentially made way for more crazy gore-fests.
After all, it's tough to make a small killer doll into a serious, believable premise anyway, so why not embrace to goofiness? This sequel does this rather well; just don't expect a particularly nuanced or well-crafted movie. At the end of the day, Bride of Chucky is still fun to watch.
4 Curse Of Chucky (5.6)
It's odd to see two distinct iterations of Child's Play going on simultaneously. Yes, while the Mark Hamil-voiced remake of the Child's Play series just released, the original Dourif-voiced classic is still quietly chugging along. There's even a TV series in the works, featuring Dourif and the original series' screenwriter, Don Mancini.
Of course, the jury is still out on the TV rendition of Child's Play, which is set to release in 2020, but these recent Chucky flicks are any indication, the outlook doesn't look great... The movie tries to ride the line between doing its own thing while adhering to the original in "soft reboot" fashion. While there are some fun bits and a neat ending, the sluggish pacing and moments of dullness outweigh them.
3 Child's Play 2 (5.8)
This 1990 sequel contains similar horror elements and story beats from the first film - Chucky terrorizes Andy, adults don't believe his "killer doll" story (with his mother now out of the picture), doll kills said adults, Andy flees; rinse and repeat.
The death scenes do amp up in intensity and absurdity, and the one-liners by Chucky get cheesier, almost to the point of being cartoony. One highlight includes a run-in with the killer doll, which leads to a worker of the Good Guy assembly line getting his eyes lethally pierced with plastic Chucky eyes. The balance of more subdued horror and campiness is on point here; and it's part of what makes this movie enduring.
2 Child's Play (2019) (6.3)
After a tangent of Chucky movies that had begun to feel more like twisted comic book stories rather than horror thrillers, this modern reimagining of Chucky has somewhat dialed the franchise back to its roots. At the same time, the film injects its own twist, which hinges on more modern-day sensibilities. The doll can now interact with smart technologies - like a sort of possessed version of the Amazon Echo.
It's a bummer to see Brad Dourif, the voice actor for Chucky since the original 1988 film, out of the picture. Yet, Mark Hamil provides his own charm and makes the role his own. While the film contains a darker, more eerie vibe, there's plenty of humorous moments you'd expect with a film involving a killer doll. There's little depth in terms of the narrative or characters, but this Child's Play remake manages to be a competent film, if not a very memorable one.
1 Child's Play (1998) (6.6)
The origin story of the possessed killer doll known as Chucky has its roots in this 1988 horror, Child's Play. The story follows a murderer on the south side of Chicago, Charles Lee Ray. Finding himself outgunned and cornered in a toy store full of Good Guy Dolls, Charles resorts to using a voodoo spell he learned from an instructor to temporarily put his soul into a doll for safekeeping. Lo and behold - the spell works, and the rest is history; a very stabby, bloody history.
Unfortunately for young Andy Barclay and his mother, they - and just about everyone around them - become the owners and targets of this doll, as Charles/Chucky soon finds he can transfer his soul into the 6-year-old boy. The movie contains a fairly typical slasher vibe with a unique paranormal twist. The movie errs on the campy side rather than straight-up horror, to be sure. Yet, this was well before the Child's Play series went full throttle with the tongue-in-cheek dark comedy angle they eventually ran with. At 6.6, the original movie attained the series' highest ranking on IMDb.