It was a Saturday in the fall of 1988. My pops, a man who was knee-deep in football love, was kind enough to take his goofball son to see the new movie from the director of the 1985 horror film Fright Night. Tom Holland’s new film, Child’s Play, was about a possessed doll named Chucky. That’s right Chucky, the youthful foul-mouthed, red-haired psychotic doll is 30 years old. Thirty years old. Feel free to let that sink in.
In honor of Chucky, here are some fun facts about the greatest tiny terror since Gremlins.
What’s in a name?
In the case of Chucky, a lot. Before he became a zombified doll with the soul of a psycho trapped in its body, Chucky was formerly known to his criminal pals as Charles Lee Ray while scared Chicagoans knew him as the Lakeshore Strangler. It never occurred to me until a friend told me that Charles Lee Ray sounded intimidating because it was an amalgamation of notorious murderers Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.
Chucky was more than a possessed doll
Screenwriter Don Mancini’s first draft of Child’s Play was called Blood Buddy and was a far cry from the killer doll we know today. It’s safe to say that Mancini’s original take was a little more “cerebral,” a metaphor for a child’s unbridled rage if you will. In the first draft, Andy was an angry little guy with a creepy ass doll. Whereas in the film’s final incarnation, it was your average everyday doll-possessed-by-the-spirit-of-a-serial-killer movie, originally it was very ambiguous as to whether the doll was attacking those who’ve hurt or angered the film’s young protagonist, Andy, or if it was the intensely angry child himself simply pawning the blame off on the doll.
Chucky was portrayed by
an Oscar-nominated actor
While horror nerds will scoff and say, “Yeah like who doesn’t know that?” It should be noted that Chucky, in human and doll form, has been portrayed by Brad Dourif, an actor I first came to know of as Billy Bibbit, one of the more tragic characters in Milos Forman’s Academy Award winning One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Since that role, Dourif has maintained a steady output on stage and screen. One semi-fun fact: did you know that before Jack Nicholson took the role, Tim Burton originally wanted Dourif to play The Joker in Batman? Neither did I. Now I’m super curious what Dourif, a man known for taking on eccentric, challenging roles would have brought to the table.
Chucky originally had a different voice
After principal photography was done, the creators were going to go with a more creepy “possessed” voice (a la The Exorcist). It was looking like Jessica Walter, better known to most as Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development) and Malory Archer (Archer), was going to be providing the disconcerting child-like voice until they decided to go with Dourif’s regular aggro doll voice instead.
Chucky’s deep cuts
Last year during the marketing blitz for the latest, the original ending credits theme song was leaked. The song, composed by Joe Renzetti and sung by Simon Stokes, was one of those typical upbeat closing ’80s songs (a lot of horror movies used them back then). In a rare move of genius, studio execs ixnayed the idea because they felt it made Chucky seem less scary. The song includes such memorable lines as:
“Chucky Chucky don’t you lie
Cross your heart and hope to die
I see you laughin, you think it’s funny
Well I’ll show you who’s the real dummy
Don’t you come out and play?
Listen up fool I’ll tell you why, cause Chucky’s bad and that ain’t no lie”
If that’s not dope enough for you, might I recommend a personal favorite penned by The Geto Boys’ Bushwick Bill and Ganksta NIP called “Chuckie.” A song filled with B-movie-esque lines like:
“A murder contest, you know I’ll win it
‘Cause in every mailbox, there be a head with a knife in it
I’m gettin’ hungry, I need to be fed
I feel like eatin’ a bag of barbequed broke legs
Bustin’ necks with a motherf*ckin’ brick!
Half my body is Chuckie, the other half is Bushwick”
There’s a remake a-coming
Oh joy. It wouldn’t be right to celebrate a 30 year old franchise lovingly maintained by its original creators without someone, namely the original company too ashamed to hold on to the series, making the decision that it needs a remake. It worked great for The Fog, Nightmare On Elm Street, Fright Night, Cabin Fever, Martyrs, Amityville Horror, House of Wax, Poltergeist, The Eye, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Wicker Man, Carrie, The Hitcher, April Fool’s Day, Prom Night, Carnival of Souls, Night of the Living Dead, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Psycho …
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