How Don Mancini's Catholic Upbringing Inspired Chucky Season 2

It's admirable how dedicated "Chucky" creator Don Mancini has been to shepherding this world across the greater span of three decades. Chucky has been his baby ever since he constructed the script that would ultimately become "Child's Play." While some slasher icons have taken to space travel in the latter part of their own franchise, Chucky is the rare example of a character that has committed to staying on his own unique path.

Across seven feature films and one season of television, the "Chucky" series has successfully experimented in wild tone shifts while remaining firm in sticking to one continuity. Plunging from the haunted house chills of "Curse of Chucky" directly after the ultra campy "Seed of Chucky" is a case of tonal whiplash that, while drastic, is more than welcome.

The USA and Syfy co-production has managed to make Chucky creepy while still finding ways to tap into the more ridiculous side of the killer doll's exploits, such as Junior bashing his father's face in with the doll in season 1. It seems like Mancini will only continue to find new situations to thrust Chucky into, and with season 2 on the horizon, he's excitedly written one for the slasher that carries a personal touch.

Mancini wanted to bring Chucky into the canon of Catholic horror

In retrospect, Mancini has proven that you can pretty much launch Chucky into any kind of horror environment, whether it's psychological or supernatural, and Brad Dourif will find a way to make him feel natural. Obviously, the "Child's Play" founder has a deep love for the world of horror, but when it came to figuring out the location he wanted Chucky to terrorize this season, he turned to a subgenre of his own making.

During a press conference attended by /Film's BJ Colangelo, Mancini spoke about how much he loves what he dubs "the Catholic-based horror movie," citing such examples as "The Exorcist" and "The Omen." These films are predicated on the terror that comes with battling a destructive force beyond your comprehension.

The concept of faith in and of itself is meant to bring some kind of comfort in the idea of a higher being. But Mancini brings up a fascinating point by throwing Chucky into the mix. "One of the fun things about the Catholic church," Mancini elaborated, "is they believe in the supernatural big time, but think they have all the answers, and then to be confronted by a different kind of god." 

In the trailer for season 2, it looks like Chucky takes out an unsuspecting nun by means of a heart attack brought on by his mere presence. "Just having Chucky interact with nuns and priests, all of that just seemed inherently fun to make," says Mancini. Thrusting the killer doll into the world of religion was based not only on his fascination with supernatural forces colliding, but his own experience within the Church.

The hypocrisy of the Catholic church is the perfect prey for Chucky

During the press conference, Mancini spoke about how he was raised Catholic, which he took very seriously at the time. When you're raised in a religion, you take what they're saying at face value because you're conditioned to do so. Mancini, however, had a fascinating personal revelation in his middle school years while attending Episcopalian school that changed things:

"I learned about aspects of the Catholic Church that I actually hadn't been appraised of. For example, the concept of transubstantiation, which is the Catholic belief that during the mass, when the priest blesses the host and the wine, it literally transforms into the flesh and blood of Christ. I was like 'wait, we're supposed to believe that?'"

As a former Catholic myself, I know exactly what he's talking about. It all sounded so outlandish once I really got to sit with what I had been led to believe from the start. Kindness towards everyone is preached until it comes to the follow through, at least from my experience. Mancini sees the hypocrisy of such an institution as the perfect thing for Chucky to challenge:

"One of the things we've always found is that Chucky often is at his most entertaining when he is subverting the status quo and/or going after authority figures, in puncturing that kind of unthinking confidence or hypocrisies of people or institutions can have."

The lack of queer acceptance in the Church

Another thing to keep in mind is that Mancini knew he was gay from such a young age, which was naturally built into how carefully he had to navigate Catholicism.

Mancini doesn't say it directly, but from my experience, queer folks are generally frowned upon within the religion. I've been told things from Catholic folks I used to associate with, who would claim they're cool with gay people, yet still consider who they are under their religion as "unnatural." I didn't come out as bisexual until long after I left so no one knew who I really was, but being in close proximity to those conversations made things much clearer as an adult. 

The character of Jake (Zackary Arthur) may have had a short reprieve from Chucky's reign of terror, but much like his abusive father (Devon Sawa), the Catholic school setting is most likely going to bring about more problems considering he's an openly queer teenager. That in and of itself will test Jake as he tries to get his life back on track, while Chucky plans his revenge.

Mancini ultimately promises season 2 will have "sin, murder, and homosexuality," which means we're in for a really good time in Chucky's new playground.

The season 2 premiere of "Chucky" will air on both USA and Syfy on October 5, 2022.