2. Child’s Play

How Does Chucky Come Back From the Dead at the Beginning: He transports his own soul into the body of a Good Guy doll.

Why It’s Ranked Here: If you’ve made it this far, you might be shocked to see that Child’s Play, the first film, the film that launched the franchise, isn’t number one on the list. There’s a reason for that: while Child’s Play gave birth to Chucky, it had yet to fully understand his full potential. For a good portion of this 1988 film, director Tom Holland tries to tease the audience about whether or not Chucky is even alive, or rather the insane imaginings of young Andy Barclay. There’s nothing wrong with this concept, but the film completely abandons it at the midway point, which inadvertently makes the first half of the film weaker by comparison.

Child’s Play plays things straight; very straight. There’s not a single moment in this film that treats the concept of a living, killing child’s toy as anything other than serious. While that’s commendable, it also doesn’t quite work, just because the concept itself is too inherently amusing to begin with. I’m not saying Child’s Play should’ve been a laugh riot, or worse, been completely over the top like Seed of Chucky. But there are moments where you can’t help but think the film is taking itself too seriously. Still, this is a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Dourif’s performance in this film is nasty to the extreme; this was before multiple sequels softened Chucky a bit and turned him into an antihero. Here, he’s nothing but trouble, killing almost anyone he comes across, often for no discernible reason. He just likes to kill, and being stuck in a tiny doll body isn’t going to stop that. A scene where Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks), Andy’s mother, slowly realizes that Chucky – her son’s doll that has been talking and moving its head for days – has no batteries inside him is a perfect moment of ever-mounting tension, punctuated by Chucky springing to life with a barrage of vulgarity. Moments like this help elevate Child’s Play to almost the top of the list. Almost.

How Does Chucky Die at the End: Chucky is set on fire, burnt to a crisp, has multiple appendages (and his head) blown off by gunfire, and then is finally shot in the heart. Wonder if he’ll be back?

1. Child’s Play 2

How Does Chucky Come Back From the Dead at the Beginning: Desperate to calm stockholders, Play Pals takes the burnt remains of Chucky from the first film and rebuilds them, with the hopes to prove Andy’s story was bunk and there’s nothing wrong with the doll. Of course, they’re wrong.

Why It’s Ranked Here: Here it is – the best Child’s Play film. While Child’s Play set-up the world and rules of Chucky, Child’s Play 2 fully realized how to make the most of them. This is a funny, weird, twisted film, filled with iconic moments that the franchise has never quite been able to top. Most of all, this film is fun while also being scary. While the subsequent sequels could never entirely balance the humor and horror, Child’s Play 2 does it marvelously, with funny moments punctuated by truly disturbing death scenes.

After the events of Child’s Play, Andy is sent to a foster home. There, he struggles to readjust to normal life, all while everyone around him is suspicious of the events of the first film. One thing’s for sure: there’s no way anyone believes his story about a killer doll. Of course, Andy is telling the truth, and a resurrected Chucky soon finds his way back into Andy’s life.

This is the best directed film in the series, with helmer John Lafia employing fish-eye lenses and strange angles to always give the film a sense of uneasy and menace. Dourif finally finds his groove with the part of Chucky, and he’s clearly having a blast as the character. This is the first film in the series that lets Chucky employ his now-trademark laugh; a high-pitched cackle full of gleeful evil. It’s a hoot. Best of all, though, is the film’s climax, which is set within the maze-like confines of the Play Pals factory, where more and more Good Guy dolls are being constructed. With shades of The Terminator, Chucky chases Andy and his cool as hell foster sister Kyle (Christine Elise) through the factory while towers and towers of stacked Good Guy doll boxes gaze down at them. Rube Goldberg-like machines eventually transform Chucky into a mutated monster, but he just keeps coming. He’ll always keep coming, his thirst for blood unquenched. For close to 30 years now, Chucky has worked his way through horror’s hallowed halls and come out the other end basically intact. No matter how often he’s shot, stabbed, burnt or blown-up, he always returns.

How Does Chucky Die at the End: After being covered in molten plastic, Chucky gets an air hose stuck in his mouth and proceeds to explode.

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