Cult of Chucky Ending Cliffhanger Was Always Meant To Set Up TV Show
Chucky creator Don Mancini says that The Cult of Chucky cliffhanger ending was always meant to lead into a TV show. Mancini created Chucky, a possessed killer doll, for the film Child’s Play, which was released in 1988. Chucky was voiced by veteran actor Brad Dourif, who plays the maniacal doll as the disembodied serial killer Charles Lee Ray. Ray uses his voodoo practice to merge his soul with a Good Guys doll, hellbent on finding a way to return to human form. Things go awry when “Chucky” decides to try and take over his human owner’s body, a young boy named Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), who fights back against the deranged doll, even as the adults around him won’t take the boy seriously.
The Child’s Play series spawned six sequels (and a 2019 reboot), with the last one being Cult of Chucky, which brought the series back to its more grounded horror roots after veering into near parody by the time Seed of Chucky was released in 2004. Cult of Chucky was the first film in the franchise to introduce the concept of “multiple Chucky’s”, which was an idea Mancini had wanted to use in Child’s Play 3, but couldn’t due to budget constraints. Cult of Chucky brought back a now grown-up Andy Barclay as one of the main protagonists, as well as Chucky’s former girlfriend Tiffany Valentine, again played by Jennifer Tilly.
Cult of Chucky ended with a number of cliffhangers for the various characters, including Andy and Tiffany, which left the franchise wide open to be continued, and apparently that was always the idea. In an interview with ComicBook, creator Mancini said that his intent in leaving the Cult of Chucky open-ended was to pave the way for a TV series. Mancini said that he had a “fairly solid plan” when writing the film, likening the finale to The Empire Strikes Back, and saying that the density of that ending beckoned Chucky to a TV format. Here’s his full explanation:
“Oh, I had a fairly solid plan even when I was writing Cult of Chucky. That’s why I deliberately ended that movie with a series of cliffhangers to be left all of the major characters with a question mark. It was very Empire Strikes Back that way. But I knew that answering those questions and exploring the implications of where we left all of the characters, television was going to be a better place to explore all of that because it’s so dense. There’s so much going on. So yeah, I was sort of planning it out as back when I was writing Cult of Chucky four or five years ago. I’m just a little amazed that it all worked out because it’s so rare, you know.”
The Chucky series is set to debut on Syfy on October 12, with Mancini involved as a producer and a writer on the show. Mancini is credited as a writer for all ten episodes of season 1 (with Kim Garland for eight of those episodes) and is also the director of episode 1. Brad Dourif once again returns to voice the psychotic killer doll, while Dourif’s daughter, Fiona, will return to the role of Nica Pierce, who has appeared in the last two Child’s Play films as both protagonist and antagonist. The series also brings back Tilly, Vincent, and Christine Elise, who played Andy’s foster sister Kyle in Child’s Play 2 and was last seen in the end credits of Cult of Chucky.
Child’s Play is a franchise that has stood the test of time, much like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, where the horror villain takes center stage, be it as a silent stalker or a vibrant, funny one. Chucky falls in the category of the latter, and part of his appeal has always been his humor, especially as delivered by Dourif in the role. Like many horror franchises, the character gimmick is one thing, but coupled with the right performance it becomes iconic. Both Mancini and Dourif have endured the character and kept the spirit alive, even as it waned with the sillier entries in the series, as well as a half-baked Child’s Play reboot that failed to launch, making the original doll a true contender in the ‘all-time best villain’ category of the horror genre.