M3GAN Would Make A Great Pairing With Child's Play (But Not The One You're Thinking Of)

This article contains major spoilers for "M3GAN" and "Child's Play."

Ever since "The Twilight Zone" introduced the world to Talky Tina, the killer toy has become one of horror's most reliable antagonists. Out of the woodwork came slasher villains like Annabelle ("The Conjuring"), Billy ("Dead Silence"), and Blade ("Puppet Master"), but as of this moment, the world has been rightfully overtaken by "M3GAN" fever. Her incredible dance skills, coupled with her mischievous personality, have propelled the sassy murderer to a prominent spot among the killer doll hall of fame. M3GAN slays in every sense of the word.

It got me thinking of what movie would pair the best with "M3GAN" for a thematic double bill. /Film's William Bibbiani made a compelling argument for Wes Craven's "Deadly Friend," which would definitely make a fun companion piece. But for this double feature, I have a more recognizable title in mind. The obvious answer seems like it would be "Child's Play," and you're not entirely wrong.

Chucky is arguably one of the better-known killer toys there is. Some folks have even called for M3GAN to fight the foul-mouthed serial killer in the spirit of "Freddy vs. Jason," given that Universal holds the rights to them both. The 1988 film would be a fun watch under any circumstance, but when it comes to cinema's newest slasher baddie, I have another pairing in mind. It would not only keep Chucky, but fit alongside "M3GAN" as a contemporary slasher about a corporatized AI toy who learns to kill by means of protecting an emotionally fragile child.

Chucky, thy name is Mark Hamill

When you think of Chucky, the hilariously vulgar mouth of Brad Dourif is likely what first comes to mind. He's captivated the hearts of horror fans for over three decades across seven films and two seasons of television, while never losing a step along the way. But in that time, another challenger to the throne had emerged in the great Mark Hamill. Lars Kleverg's 2019 "Child's Play" remake may have garnered a mixed reception upon its theatrical release, but I'll go to bat for it every time, with Hamill being one of the main reasons why.

Where the Tom Holland-directed film propped up Chucky as a Good Guy doll inhabited by the vicious spirit of serial killer Charles Lee Ray, the 2019 update took things in a more modern direction. Chucky was no longer a product of the supernatural, but an actual product created by the tech savvy Kaslan corporation. This time around, the red-headed toy's rampage is caused by a disgruntled factory worker who disables all of the safety protocols on a singular Buddi toy, before shipping it off to the U.S. 

As a result, the artificially intelligent toy has no inhibitors to prevent homicidal thinking skills. While admittedly missing the mean streak of Dourif's performance, this change allowed Hamill to form an entirely new path for the character, along with his own set of memorable kills. There's absolutely room for both. When compared against "M3GAN," however, the two share a lot more in common than you may think.

Miniature caretaker

M3GAN may have been created as the pet project of Funki roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams), but her ultimate purpose is born out of tragedy. Hoping to find some way to connect to her niece Cady (Violet McGraw), Gemma repurposes M3GAN to form an emotional attachment to her. She becomes one of the family. In "Child's Play," although the Buddi dolls aren't quite programmed with therapeutic intentions, Chucky ends up playing a similar role.

Where Cady lost her parents in an unfortunate, yet hilariously timed snowplow crash, Andy (Gabriel Bateman) is dealing with a prominent move to the city. There's also the matter of his mother Karen (Aubrey Plaza) dating the pigheaded Shane (David Lewis), who gets aggressive when she's not around. Andy isn't too impressed with his pre-owned birthday gift at first, but he grows a fondness for his new friend.  

Prior to their murder sprees, M3GAN and Chucky are surprisingly sweet in their own ways. You recognize the threat they pose for simply existing, but while in the company of their owners, it's easy to see why the children would fall for their charm. Jenna Davis' voice for M3GAN is so sickeningly sweet you nearly forget that she's going to turn into a murder bot later on. Then you have Mark Hamill, who we know is capable of going to a dark place with his vocal performances, most notably as the Joker, but his Chucky starts off as almost pathetically charming. He looks so ridiculous, but that oddly works in his favor.

Awkward singing from your best buddy

Perhaps the funniest tie between M3GAN and Chucky is their love for singing. It doesn't matter the time and place. If they want to sing you a song, they're going to do so at the most unanticipated opportunity. Chucky tries, but this is where M3GAN gets to shine. I already bought into her primary function during the presentation for the Funki board of directors, where she impressively manages to console a distressed Cady. That was more than enough reason to invest in the product line, but why not have her take things a step further?

M3GAN starts singing a song to Cady, as if she were plucked straight out of a Disney movie, and you know what, I'd be enchanted too. It's moments like these that really sell how perfect of a casting decision Jenna Davis was for this character. In terms of her vocal talent, however, the kicker is when M3GAN says something existentially terrifying to Cady about one of her bullies, and then proceeds to turn "Titanium" into a soothing lullaby. I have no notes. It's perfect.

Chucky doesn't really go outside of the wheelhouse so much as sing the Buddi theme song, which accentuates how much he loves his new best friend. It isn't until the end credits where you get to hear Mark Hamill start the tune in an innocent tone, before slowly transforming it into something much more sinister.

A murder most hilarious

The greatest strength of both films is that they know how to speak to their audience. "M3GAN" thrives on the camp appeal of its titular slasher. When it comes to the deaths themselves, however, it's one of the few areas where "Child's Play" lords itself over "M3GAN" in spades. Interviews with "Malignant" screenwriter Akela Cooper indicate that the film was more violent prior to an executive appeal to make it palatable for a PG-13 audience. In doing so, "M3GAN" sadly pulls its punches. When "Child's Play" wants to get wild, it goes for it.

It always brings a twisted smile to my face whenever I know I'm getting to the portion of the film where Chucky not only murders Shane, but carves his face off, nails it to the front of a watermelon, and gifts it to Andy like a birthday present. The fact that he learns how to kill from watching "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" is just the icing on the cake. Chucky even finds a way to have the perverted electrician (Trent Redekop) hold on for dear life to a boiling pipe, while a perfectly placed buzzsaw runs directly underneath him.

"M3GAN" wastes a golden opportunity for the character to make an even bigger mess at Funki headquarters, given that a big deal is made about filling seats for the big launch stream. "Child's Play," meanwhile, sees Chucky stab a Buddi mascot in the throat, which causes the poor sap to remove his head and erupt blood onto an innocent child like a geyser. Even if you don't care for this film as a whole, you have to admit that Mark Hamill's Chucky has style.

Even with its blemishes, Child's Play is a worthy horror remake

Chucky is one of the great horror titans, so attempting to recapture the same magic as the original would have been a fruitless endeavor. What "Child's Play" lacks in scares, it more than makes up for with a hilarious violent spectacle. But that isn't to say that Chucky is never creepy. Mark Hamill has always been one of the most reliable voice actors in the business, so he can turn on the menace when he wants to.

Whether it be "Halloween" or "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," we're in an era where horror franchises have started to go back to their roots, or at least their original continuity. Looking back from a contemporary perspective, the most successful ones involve taking something distinct from the original and presenting it in a different fashion. "Child's Play" isn't nearly as remarkable as Fede Alvarez's "Evil Dead" or John Carpenter's "The Thing," but it's still a strong horror remake that provides a fun spin on a classic character.

It wouldn't surprise me if M3GAN's popularity grows to the point that she earns her own remake, while working on her series of films at the same time.

"M3GAN" is now playing in theaters everywhere, while "Child's Play" is now available for rental or purchase on most VOD streaming platforms.