Why ‘Chucky’ & ‘Child’s Play’ Is the Greatest Horror Franchise
He's our friend to the end!
Every horror fan has their favorite franchise and there are plenty of them. Some love the iconic killer. Some enjoy the bone-chilling horrors. Some like to laugh as much as they scream. And I think the Chucky/Child’s Play franchise might be the best of them. Here’s every reason why!
1. Every entry is different
While some franchises have more movies like SAW, Final Destination, or Friday the 13th, many of those movies can feel the same due to following a repetitive formula. Child’s Play works to make every entry different by changing the setting, or the cast of characters, or the genre being used to juxtapose the horror. Evil Dead is the only other franchise that comes close to exploring the range of genres, characters, and ideas (unless you count Stephen King adaptations as a franchise).
2. It has a continuous timeline with almost no reboots
The 2019 remake aside, the Chucky timeline has always built on what came before, making it an ongoing story almost 40 years in the making. Andy Barclay is still appearing in the TV show 34 years after the first movie, played by his original actor who actually left acting for most of his life but returned because he believed in Child’s Play writer Don Mancini’s vision for the franchise. The penultimate episode of Season 2 had Andy Barclay, his foster sister Kyle, Chucky’s child Glenda, Nica Pierce, and the teens Jake and Devin all sharing a scene with Chucky, bringing together every generation of Chucky survivors.
3. The cast is filled with amazing actors
It should be evident with multiple Oscar-nominated actors on the cast, but everyone gives their all to this series. Brad Dourif voices multiple versions of the killer doll and manages to make many of them distinct from each other. Jennifer Tilly is a standout as Tiffany Valentine, one of the greatest horror villainesses of all time. But the use of double—or, in some cases, triple—casting allows Fiona Dourif and Devin Sawa to stretch their chops and really show their range and the subtlety of their performances. The younger cast are also no slouches.
4. Balance of humor and horror
While some entries dip more into comedy than others, the Chucky TV show in particular has shown a great balance between laughing at/with Chucky and Tiffany and being absolutely horrified by their actions. This franchise is not afraid to hurt its main characters or kill its darlings (RIP Nica’s arms and legs).
5. Amazing Queer Representation
Chucky has been pushing boundaries for decades, with the character Glen being among the first genderfluid protagonists in any mainstream film, much less a horror one. Since then, we’ve had gay and lesbian couples, Tiffany Valentine has come out as a Bisexual (Killer) Queen, and Glen/Glenda have gone through even more of a journey to discover their identities.
6. Solid directing and writing
Don Mancini has been with the franchise from the start, and it shows with how much care he puts into the story and world he is building. While his first foray into directing is often considered the worst in the series, Mancini never gave up, honed his skills, and has since brought the franchise back from the brink of obscurity into the limelight. Almost no other horror writer/director has shaped a series to the degree Mancini has.
7. Incredible special effects (and gore)
While your mileage may vary on this one depending on how nit-picky you get, the Chucky franchise has among some of the best special effects for both puppeteering and gore. It helps that a lot of the crew has worked on multiple movies in the franchise before transitioning over to the show and that they both know the limits but also are always willing to push the boundaries of what they can do.
8. Deep characters
There aren’t many one-note, flat characters in the later works of the franchise. Even ones who could be easy antagonists like Lexi Cross and Father Bryce end up having a lot more character development than you might expect when first confronted with these characters. Granted, this is partially thanks to the move to television and longer-form storytelling, but it’s still worth highlighting.
So, what’s your Chucky/Child’s Play franchise entry? Or if you prefer a different one, what’s your favorite horror franchise? Comment below!
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