Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back in a new “Terminator” film. Chucky is back already.
Yes, the creepy red-headed doll from the “Child’s Play” franchise stars in a new sequel just added to the Netflix lineup. “Cult of Chucky” features recurring characters from the horror franchise, including ones played by former child star Alex Vincent and actress Jennifer Tilly.
The franchise began with the slick 1988 film “Child’s Play.” A boy’s doll comes to life, inhabited by the soul of a killer (voiced by Brad Dourif). A murder rampage ensues, and Chucky is killed. Not really, of course. This doll can’t stay dead no matter how many times it gets stabbed, burned or otherwise mutilated.
Series mastermind Don Mancini won’t let him rest in peace. Nor will audiences, apparently. Here are four reasons we can’t get enough of Chucky.
1. Talking Dolls Are Scary
Remember the creepy clown from 1982’s “Poltergeist”? What about the “Annabelle” franchise? Those movies understood something simple yet undeniable. Seeing an otherwise harmless toy spring to life can be scary with the right lighting and music.
It’s what powers the “Chucky” series. That cherubic face spouting the same inane lines (“We’ll be friends to the end”) before curling into a sneer. It’s pure formula. And it works.
2. Nostalgia Just Won’t Die, Either
There’s a reason Hollywood reboots just about every property at least once. They trigger our nostalgia circuits. It’s why we’ll soon get another “Charlie’s Angels” film and a new season of “The X-Files.”
For horror junkies, the Chucky series was one of their first genre addictions. Does it matter that the subsequent films varied madly in quality? Not really. It feels comfortable to watch Chucky up to his old tricks.
3. Comedy + Horror = Satisfaction
Remember “An American Werewolf in London”? How about “Shaun of the Dead”? Both movies expertly blended horror and comedy with epic results.
It’s a formula that works well for the Chucky franchise. It features blood and gore and a killer comeback from ol’ Chucky himself always minutes away. Credit Dourif’s nimble vocal work for how effective the barbs can be. Only they don’t even have to be funny or clever. Watching a stuffed doll crack wise is enough to snap that horror movie tension.
4. One Voice, One Franchise
Plenty of horror movie franchises change hands from one installment to the next. There’s almost always a new director, a new vision with the “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween” sagas, for example.
Not with “Chucky.”
Mancini has written all of the installments so far, directing the last three films in the franchise. He’s passionate about the killer doll and its rabid fan base, too. He takes it seriously, and that endears him to the passionate horror community.