5. Child’s Play 3

How Does Chucky Come Back From the Dead at the Beginning: Play Pals, the company that makes Good Guy dolls, recycles some destroyed bits of Chucky from the previous film to create a new doll.

Why It’s Ranked Here: Child’s Play 3 was the first real indication that the franchise might be spinning its wheels. The film actually came out less than a year after Child’s Play 2, hinting at a rushed production trying to cash-in on Chucky’s growing popularity. In the film, a teenage Andy (played by Justin Whalin) is shipped off to military school. That’s bad enough on its own, but things go from bad to worse when Chucky finds his way onto campus.

The idea of Chucky bucking up against rigid military tradition is great, and relocating the franchise to a military base gives the story an excuse to let Chucky get his hands on some new weapons. But Child’s Play 3 lacks the charm of much of the franchise. It feels colder, more removed. It also comes across as a one-note movie – Chucky vs. the army, over and over again. Once you get passed the novelty of that initial idea, it becomes clear the film doesn’t have a whole lot more to offer.

Yet as always, there are things to enjoy here, particularly the finale, which shifts away from the military base to a carnival, where Chucky terrorizes the film’s characters on one of the most elaborate, and dangerous, haunted house rides ever created. You can really sense here, however, that Mancini is starting to realize he needs to stop repeating the same Chucky formula – that is, stop having Chucky constantly chasing after Andy – and do something new. And new is exactly what we got for the next entry in the series, which just happens to be the next entry on this ranking.

How Does Chucky Die at the End: Chucky falls into a giant fan and is obliterated. He’ll be back though, of course.

4. Bride of Chucky

How Does Chucky Come Back From the Dead at the Beginning: Tiffany steals the obliterated Chucky pieces from Child’s Play 3, stitches them back together, and uses a Voodoo for Dummies book to bring Chucky back to life.

Why It’s Ranked Here: The stagnant feeling of Child’s Play 3 was successfully overcome by 1998’s Bride of Chucky. Hong Kong filmmaker Ronny Yu helmed Mancini’s script, and gave Chucky a whole new feel – slick, polished, more modern. Or, as modern as something in 1998 can be. Mancini finally stopped worrying about Chucky trying to put his soul into Andy Barclay and crafted a Natural Born Killers meets Bonnie and Clyde style road movie.

Chucky is brought back by his old flame Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly, who gives the series as a whole a much needed boost). Tiffany soon finds herself reincarnated as a doll as well, and the couple hitch a ride with a pair of hapless teens, racking up a body count along the way. While almost all the previous Child’s Play films (save the first) were open to using humor, Bride of Chucky is the first film in the franchise that seems like it’s in on the joke. By now, Chucky had changed into something a comical anti hero, and Mancini’s script leans into that here while also still maintaining that Chucky is bad news. Scream had just reinvented the horror genre, making it seem like what audiences wanted now were not straight-up horror films, but horror that winked at its audience; horror that wasn’t afraid to be self-referential. Not all the jokes work here, but there’s a tongue-in-cheek nature to Bride of Chucky that succeeds far better than the non-stop jokes of Seed of Chucky. There’s also a doll-on-doll sex scene, which Yu shoots in a hilariously tender, even romantic way – lit by flickering fire from a fireplace – that makes the scene work much better than it should.

The key ingredient to Bride’s success is Tilly, who has the perfect voice for this type of role. Chucky, having been a loner for so long, has never had someone to bounce his lines off of before. Giving him the opportunity here is a gold mine, and Tilly and Dourif have great (vocal) chemistry and handle the banter well.

How Does Chucky Die at the End: He gets shot. Kind of anticlimactic, as far as Chucky deaths go.

3. Curse of Chucky

How Does Chucky Come Back From the Dead at the Beginning: He’s already alive at the start. No explanation is given.

Why It’s Ranked Here: After the near-fatal misstep that was Seed of Chucky, the franchise needed a bit of an overhaul. “After Bride and Seed, which of course were comedies, we wanted to take a severe turn back into…horror territory,” Mancini said. “It’s what the fans have been saying they wanted, and after the last two I think we mined the comedic stuff as much as we could, for now. I think Chucky is a particularly versatile character and I think he can be plugged into a number of different forms. But it was time to go back to his roots.”

Curse of Chucky is almost a remake, but not quite. Mancini changes up the setting, with this film taking place in an old, dark house. Curse of Chucky becomes something like a murder mystery in the process; the type of tale Agatha Christie might have written, if she had an interest in vulgar murder dolls. Fiona Dourif, daughter of Chucky actor Brad Dourif, plays Nica, a young woman confined to a wheelchair. After her overbearing mother dies, Nica’s nosy sister and her family take up residence in the house, with the hope of forcing Nica out so they can sell the property. Meanwhile, someone has mysteriously shipped a Good Guy doll to the house, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s Chucky. And he has some unfinished business with Nica’s family, which we learn about through flashbacks that allow Brad Dourif to play Charles Lee Ray again.

Where Seed of Chucky was over-the-top to the extreme, Curse is subtle. Or at least as subtle as a Chucky movie can get. The kills aren’t played for laughs here, which effectively makes Chucky (kind of) scary again. Also helping matters is Fiona Dourif, who gives us our first real main character to root for in the series since Andy Barclay vacated. The younger Dourif makes for an endearing heroine, which is a shame because the latest film, Cult of Chucky, seems to be working overtime to rob the character of everything that made her interesting here. The simple fact is, after Seed of Chucky, almost anything was going to look better in comparison, but thankfully Mancini and company put some real thought and effort into Curse, resulting in one of the best entries in the franchise.

How Does Chucky Die at the End: He doesn’t! Not in the main narrative, at least. In a post-credit scene, however, Andy Barclay returns and (apparently) shoots Chucky in the face with a shotgun. But as Cult of Chucky reveals, that doesn’t actually kill him either. Chucky never dies!

Continue Reading All of the Chucky Movies Ranked >>

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