National Chucky The Notorious Killer Doll Day is celebrated every year on Oct. 25. On this day, fans of the Child’s Play franchise celebrate its infamous villain, Chucky, and watch the original 1988 classic along with its sequels, reboot and television series. In honor of this day, here is a ranking of all of the Child’s Play/Chucky movies.
How well the film’s plot stands or whether things make sense within the franchise doesn’t necessarily matter within this list, although it may affect its ranking if it’s noticeable or relevant. The ranking of this list is based on how much I’ve had fun watching each movie and the overall enjoyability of each film.
Before we start, this list will not contain the 2019 television series, “Chucky,” since it’s a continuing series with its second season currently being released with new episodes each week on Wednesdays. The series can be streamed on Peacock, so if you wish to watch it then here is the link to stream (note: you will need a Peacock subscription to watch). Since the series is still developing and releasing new content, it feels unfair to judge and rank it so soon.
With everything noted, here is a ranking of every Child’s Play/Chucky movie:
8. “Child’s Play 3” (1991)
Last on this list is “Child’s Play 3” (1991), directed by Jack Bender. In the third installment of the Child’s Play franchise, eight years have passed since the events of the second film, which left Chucky destroyed in a Good Guys Doll factory and Andy, the protagonists of the first three films, unscathed. However, Chucky is once again resurrected and seeks revenge on his past owner who is now a teenager and enrolled in a military school.
Although this movie has some strong parts, like Chucky’s brilliant kills and the unnerving tension between Chucky and Andy during their final showdown, there lacks a certain depth to the relationships of the characters and it feels like a movie that was made solely to complete a trilogy. It’s mainly the connections with Andy and his comrades that make this film less of a horror movie and more of a coming-of-age story. Some would argue that the whole aspect of the fears of growing up is embedded within these films, but here it feels rather forced than needed. This is mainly toward Andy’s relationship with his love interest, Kristen, which feels weird and unnecessary. Overall, it’s not a terrible movie, but it’s not the strongest film in the franchise.
7. “Seed of Chucky” (2004)
Next is the fifth installment of the Chucky franchise, “Seed of Chucky” (2004), directed by Don Mancini, creator of the Child’s Play/Chucky franchise. Taking place after the events of “Bride of Chucky” (1998), Chucky and his doll bride, Tiffany Valentine, are resurrected by their offspring, Glen/Glenda, and take on Hollywood where a movie about the serial killer duo is being made.
It feels unfair putting this movie so low, but there are certain aspects to this film where it’s hard to really grasp its tone and plot. Although this ranking isn’t based on film concepts too much, the messiness of it all can throw the viewer out of the film-watching experience. However, there are still a lot of enjoyable and fun moments in the film, and it’s important to understand the film’s significance in queer (horror) cinema.
The introduction of Glen/Glena, a genderfluid character, was an unheard-of thing at the time and the acceptance of their parents near the end of the film adds another layer to it. If you would like to learn more about this, there is an exceptional video essay about queer horror films that highlight this stepping stone that is linked here for anyone who wants to learn more. Nonetheless, it’s still a very fun film, although sometimes it can get a little too silly.
6. “Child’s Play” (2019)
The next film on this list is the 2019 re-imagining of the original film with the same name, “Child’s Play,” directed by Lars Klevberg. The plot is similar to the plot of the original film; Karen, a single mother, gifts her son Andy with a Buddi doll for his birthday, unaware of the doll’s sinister nature. Instead of a mass murderer possessing the doll, as it happened in the original, the doll has its safety features and protocols turned off by an angry factory worker and is bestowed to the mother through her job at the movie’s fictional equivalent of a Best Buy store. This version of Chucky is supposed to be an “Alexa” of sorts since he’s able to hook up to other devices made by the same company that made the Buddi dolls.
It’s a decent re-imagining of the first film, especially since it has a more modern take on American consumerism, which was a prevalent theme in the original. However, it lacks a natural, comedic element to the Chucky doll that we all know and loves. Sure, there are some funny lines and moments from the doll, but it doesn’t feel natural in the sense that it comes from him. Perhaps it’s because he’s a robot, so it wouldn’t make sense that he would have that human element to him. However, that is one of the reasons why it lacks in comparison to the other films in this franchise. In the other films, Chucky is a corrupt human soul trapped in a doll, which makes him not only hilarious as a concept but a whole lot scarier, too. All in all, it’s a smart re-imagining of the 1988 original, but it fails to live up to its predecessor.
5. “Cult of Chucky” (2017)
The next movie on this list is “Cult of Chucky” (2017), another film directed by Don Mancini. Four years after the events of “Curse of Chucky” (2013), we find our protagonist, Nica, in an asylum for the criminally insane who is convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. However, when her psychiatrist introduces a “Good Guy” doll to her as a therapeutic way to heal her trauma, things start to go awry and she starts to wonder if she isn’t crazy after all.
In all honesty, this movie could throw the viewer for a loop. There are a lot of questions that don’t get answered until the third act of the movie, which has the viewer itching to find out what went on the whole time. However, when the answers are revealed, it can feel a little lazy and could not satisfy the viewer. Perhaps more will be answered in the “Chucky” TV series (as it takes place after the events of this film), but for right now it feels less like foreshadowing and more like lazy writing.
Besides the negative criticism, this was a decent sequel to “Curse of Chucky.” The kills throughout the film are creative and messy, and the idea of there being more than one possessed Chucky doll is extremely haunting. There are also a lot of cameos from previous characters of the franchise, which could excite the franchise-loving viewer. In summary, even though the climax could be disappointing to some, there are still a lot of unique qualities to the movie that is thoroughly enjoyable.
4. “Curse of Chucky” (2013)
In fourth place on this list is another Don Mancini film, “Curse of Chucky,” released in 2013. Released nearly a decade after the last film of the franchise, “Seed of Chucky,” this film takes on a different approach to what we have seen from the series. It features a new set of characters along with a new design for the Chucky doll. The film stars our new protagonist, Nica Pierce, a young woman in a wheelchair, who is forced to deal with her sister, brother-in-law, niece, and their nanny as they all grieve the death of Nica and her sister’s mother. However, when people start showing up dead, Nica discovers that the culprit might be the strange doll her mother had received the day she died.
This film could also send the viewer for a loop as it’s unclear as to how Chucky has anything to do with this family up until the end where everything is revealed. Unlike the last film, when the questions are answered at the climax, it could feel more fulfilling as it makes sense to the overall continuity of the film’s franchise. In general, the Chucky films have always lacked a sense of continuity, especially with the introduction of “Bride of Chucky” in 1998, but it’s never been too much of bothersome until “Seed of Chucky.” At least with this addition to the series, it’s made things less convolted and seemingly more on track. It’s not entirely on track, but these films are more for enjoyability purposes rather than keeping a steady timeline intact. With that being said, “Curse of Chucky” is a breath of fresh air to this franchise and is an overall killer movie.
3. “Child’s Play” (1988)
In third place is the original 1988 “Child’s Play,” directed by legendary horror writer and director Tom Holland. The movie that started it all begins with a single mother who gifts her son a doll for his birthday, only to discover that the doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.
I’m probably going to get hate for putting the beloved original film in third place on this list, but my ranking doesn’t mean I don’t like this film - I absolutely adore it. The concept is killer, and the talent that went into making the Chucky doll seemingly come to life is magnificent for a film that came out in the ‘80s. The only issue with this movie is how it drags a little bit. The beginning is straight to the point and there isn’t too much “fluff” that takes away from the rest of the movie; however, the middle point of the film seems to drag down the rest of the movie. Besides the one critique, Chucky’s one-liners and brutal kills are hilarious and enjoyable.
The relationship between Andy and his mother is emotional and well-acted, and Chris Sarandon’s performance as Detective Norris is one of the highlights of the movie. Speaking of killer performances, Brad Douriff did and has continued to do an amazing voice performance as Chucky. Overall, it’s a beloved movie by horror fans, as it rightfully should be, and it’s one of the best horror movies of that decade. Its only flaw is the pacing.
2. “Child’s Play 2” (1990)
In second place is the second movie of the Child’s Play franchise, “Child’s Pay 2” (1990), directed by John Lafia. Taking place after the events of the first film, Andy’s mother is admitted to a psychiatric hospital and Andy is placed in foster care. After being resurrected by the company that owns the Good Guy dolls, Chucky wants revenge and is more than determined to claim Andy’s body as his own.
It was extremely difficult placing this movie over the original since both are extremely well-made, entertaining films. I only place this film higher because the relationship between Andy and his foster care sister, Kyle, is caring and endearing to watch. Kyle is the reason why Andy musters up the courage to take on Chucky on his own, which is one of the most admiring things about this film. Andy doesn’t have his mother or Detective Norris anymore - all he has is himself for the majority of the film when nobody believes him. When Kyle finally does believe him, they team up and finally take down Chucky in an iconic final sequence within the confines of a huge toy factory. The final showdown is well-shot and anxiety-inducing, which makes for a terrific sequence of a horror film. The tension surrounding the two younger characters as they are stalked by the murderous doll within the confines of a massive maze of Good Guy dolls is palpable and has you on the edge of your seat. Nevertheless, it’s a terrific film and an even better sequel. If only they would’ve kept this energy for the third installment of the original Child’s Play trilogy.
1. “Bride of Chucky” (1998)
Finally, in the number one spot of this ranking is Ronny Yu’s “Bride of Chucky” (1998). Released seven years after “Child’s Play 3,” Chucky returns with a new look after having been resurrected again by his past lover, Tiffany Valentine. After Chucky kills Tiffany and has her soul possessed into another doll dressed as a bride, they hit the road with the help of their unknowing hosts and continue murdering people, adding to their massive body count.
I know this may come as a surprise to some, but I absolutely love this movie with my whole heart. It’s become a favorite to many fans of the franchise, as it includes fan-favorite characters and sequences. Although there are several flaws to this film, like the unlikable host couple who blame each other for the murders that seemingly follow them on their trip or the overall questionable plot, one could potentially overlook its flaws and simply have a good time with this movie.
First, the introduction to Jennifer Tilly’s iconic character Tiffany Valentine is spectacular. The scene of her dressing up her doll body to look more like her normal self while Blondie’s “Call Me” plays in the background is truly iconic. The incredible dynamic between Tiffany and Chucky is comedic and natural, thanks to Jennifer Tilly and Brad Douriff being their hilarious selves. It’s a breath of fresh air when coming off the events of “Child’s Play 3,” which is a lot more serious and high stakes. Overall, it’s a terrific film and I love it wholeheartedly, which places it at the top of this list.
Thank you so much for reading this list, and let me know your own ranking by directly messaging me on Instagram or by shooting me an email! Both are linked right below. Happy Halloween!