It’s no stretch to say that most iconic horror franchises started way back in the ’70s and ’80s. And many of those IPs continue to churn out new movies to this day. In October this year, the thirteenth Halloween movie will arrive in cinemas.
Meanwhile, a sixth Scream installment has been announced for next January — a horror franchise that is only 26 years old. But many horror fans seem to forget about Chucky — the pint-sized killer doll made famous in the Child’s Play/Chucky movies.
The not-so “Good Guy” doll has so far enjoyed eight movies (one of them a reboot), and more recently, a TV series. And here they are, ranked from worst to best!
9. Child’s Play (2019)
The announcement of a Child’s Play reboot was met with much criticism from fans, and even the creator of the main series himself, Don Mancini. However, with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer owning the rights to Child’s Play and not the sequels, the original became low-hanging fruit for the studio.
The idea of an AI doll was perfect, but unfortunately, even with Mark Hamill lending his vocal talents as Chucky (Brad Dourif’s wicked voice is noticeably absent), Child’s Play (2019) feels like its batteries are hanging on for dear life.
8. Seed of Chucky
Placing Seed of Chucky (2004) so low in our ranking was easy, although we’d position it alongside the Child’s Play reboot if we could. But as that’s against the rules, we’ve no choice but to scour the fifth entry in the Child’s Play series for some positives. There are a few call-outs, with Chucky (Brad Dourif), to no surprise, being among them, and perhaps even Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly).
Negatives? Well, where to start! There are countless problems, but ultimately, the decision to give Chucky and Tiffany a child is completely bonkers. Glen/Glenda (Billy Boyd) is just a step too far, even for this franchise. And as for Jennifer Tilly playing Jennifer Tilly, we just don’t get it.
7. Cult of Chucky
Cult of Chucky (2017) is the direct follow-up to Curse of Chucky (2013), and finds Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif, real-life daughter of Brad Dourif) in an asylum, where she soon discovers that Chucky has used voodoo to “duplicate” himself numerous times. Needless to say, this is really where the series starts to become very convoluted (yes, even more so than Seed of Chucky).
If it’s horror you’re after, you won’t be disappointed with Cult — it’s the most violent entry to date. The movie also features the return of the original Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), the franchise’s “final boy”. But if you’re after half-decent storytelling, you’ll need to look elsewhere in the series.
6. Curse of Chucky
After the total train-wreck that was Seed of Chucky, Child’s Play creator Don Mancini decided to take things back to basics, delivering Curse of Chucky, a film that seemingly takes the franchise back to its more simplistic horror roots. And while, for the most part, Curse is a welcome break from the nonsense of its two predecessors, familiar problems quickly resurface.
While there are many fans who appreciate the fact that Curse, despite being a soft reboot (the second one in the series, along with Bride of Chucky), totally acknowledges the events of its predecessors, the return of Jennifer Tilly (as Jennifer Tilly) left fans scratching their heads.
5. Bride of Chucky
There are some positive things to say about Bride of Chucky (1998), a soft reboot horror movie that, like many others at the time, was very much a rock ‘n’ roll MTV generation horror (movies such as Freddy vs. Jason and Halloween: Resurrection were also caught in this gravity field). In hindsight, though, perhaps the best takeaway is Chucky’s awesome new “stitched” look.
While the overly comedic tones and the rock/metal-inspired soundtrack are proof that Bride is nothing more than a product of its time, this soft reboot is still huge fun for slasher fans. Brad Dourif also shines as Chucky, and boasts some of the best lines in the series yet.
4. Chucky (TV Series)
Following on from the seven movies in the main series, and in no way affiliated with the 2019 reboot, Chucky the TV series (2021) reunites us with the psychotic doll as he terrorizes his hometown, this time using an impressionable teenager to help him to do his bidding. By rights, Chucky shouldn’t work, as there’s a lot of baggage in its wake, but somehow, it manages pretty well.
Chucky gets off to a strong start, taking us back to basics as the titular killer doll piles up the body count, and with characters that are surprisingly fleshed out. But by the end, it falls on some bad habits, while Fiona Dourif doubling as a young Brad Dourif is just far too obvious.
3. Child’s Play 3
Child’s Play 3 (1991) is sadly a movie that has been lost among the weeds — and by weeds, we do of course mean almost every sequel that came after. The trilogy-topping horror sequel is an underrated gem, and while in no way a horror classic, is the perfect ending to the original Child’s Play series, before the franchise essentially became the butt of its own joke.
Even by this point, somehow, Chucky hasn’t lost what makes him terrifying, even if he does spend a great deal of time cracking jokes at the expense of hapless victims. Perhaps the scariest thing about Child’s Play 3, though, is how tragic the life of Andy Barclay (Justin Whalin) really is.
2. Child’s Play
Long before Bride of Chucky came along and turned the titular doll into an MTV horror icon, perhaps even a parody of his former self (though let it be said that Child’s Play was never a stranger to tongue-in-cheek horror), Chucky was actually scary. Forget Annabelle from The Conjuring movies — this pint-sized “friend-till-the-end” was the stuff of nightmares!
The less-is-more approach remains one of the most effective horror ingredients, having also worked in Jaws (1975) and Alien (1979), and Child’s Play (1988) is certainly no exception. Alex Vincent is also brilliant (and heart-breaking) to watch as a young and tormented Andy Barclay.
1. Child’s Play 2
Child’s Play 2 (1990) does what few slasher sequels do — it brings the main antagonist into the foreground almost as much as it does its heroes. That’s not to say Chucky is the star here like he is in everything post-Child’s Play 3, but having a bigger spotlight on his maniacal personality certainly elevates him to the status of a true horror icon.
Child’s Play 2 is aesthetically haunting — coupled with the incredible animatronic, the pre-school visual themes only add to the horrifyingly playful nature of this sequel. Brad Dourif is also terrifying as Chucky, while Alex Vincent gives “final girls” from other slasher franchises a run for their money.
How would you rank all the Child’s Play/Chucky movies? Let us know in the comments below!