What if a child’s most trusted ally, a favorite toy, betrayed them? Something so perceptibly innocent and, well, not allegedly alive would be the last thing on Earth a child (or adult for that matter) would suspect of murderous intent. Inanimate objects have been the subject of hauntings for years, including demonic books like the Necronomicon in “The Evil Dead” or a static TV in “Poltergeist.” But once the corruption of a child’s toy entered the mix, the horror compounded simply from the sheer violation of innocence. The fear is far more palpable for the audience when the horror is seen through the eyes of a young child. Audiences desperately want the adults in the room to believe the ravings of a youngster who just witnessed something truly horrifying, but that sense of isolation burdens viewers with burgeoning anxiety and dread, building toward a shocking climax.
Don Mancini’s creation Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) did just that. Inspired by the killer Zuni doll in “Trilogy of Terror” and the “Living Doll” episode of “Twilight Zone,” Mancini set out to make a feature-length film with modern animatronics to bring his horror subject to life. During the creative process, Mancini stated that he was “consciously influenced” by another horror icon, Freddy Krueger, who verbally tormented his victims with cruel humor and taunts. For all intents and purposes, Chucky was designed to have a soul that is completely antithetical to the idea of a children’s toy — one who “spouted filth” (via Mental Floss). Little did Mancini know at the time that his creation would endure for decades across eight films and a TV series. The “Child’s Play” franchise has left its mark on horror. Let’s take a look at all of Chucky’s morbid feature-film adventures, ranking them worst to best.