Chucky is Back!
Chucky, the killer doll many of us have grown to love or hate, is back. However, this time around, he’s not just a soul of a serial killer living inside a doll, waiting for a chance to become human again. He’s in fact, a product of what could really happen fast forward with all the advancements of technology we’re now enjoying… which makes it even scarier.
Produced by the same team that brought “IT” (2017)—now the highest-grossing horror movie of all-time---Child’s Play (2019) is a contemporary re-imagining of the 1988 horror classic. It follows Karen (Aubrey Plaza), a single mother who gifts her son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) a Buddi doll, unaware of its more sinister nature. Mark Hamill, the “Luke Skywalker” in the “Star Wars” films, and also known as the voice of “The Joker” in the original “Batman: The Animated Series”, will be voicing the character of “Chucky”.
CHILD’S PLAY is directed by Lars Klevberg and produced by Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg on behalf of KatzSmith Productions (It, It: Chapter 2). The screenplay is by Tyler Burton Smith (Kung Fury, Quantum Break video game) based on characters created by Don Mancini. Aaron Schmidt and Chris Ferguson serve as executive producers. The creative team includes director of photography Brendan Uegama (“Riverdale,” “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”), production designer Dan Hermansen (“Supernatural,” “A Series of Unfortunate Events”), editor Tom Elkins (Anabelle, The Prodigy), costume designer Jori Woodman (The Boy, Final Destination), composer Bear McCreary (Happy Death Day, 10 Cloverfield Lane, “The Walking Dead,” “Battlestar Galactica”), and music supervisor group Hit The Ground Running (The First Purge, “Gotham,” “Rapture”).
Producer Seth Grahame-Smith was 12 years old when the original CHILD’S PLAY was released and remembers being absolutely terrified by it, then watching it again and again. “I’ve been a fan ever since.”
So when MGM and Orion Pictures brought up the idea that they wanted to update the original movie, Grahame-Smith and fellow producer David Katzenberg were initially apprehensive. “We didn’t want to just remake the 1988 movie, which is a horror classic that introduced the world to one of greatest horror villains of all time. We wanted to introduce something new to it, something relevant to today’s audiences.”
They thought long and hard about what that might be. We live in a world where cameras and microphones are everywhere, and where our appliances talk to each other. Everything is interconnected. “We got excited by what it would mean for Chucky, if he were not just a kid’s toy but a really high end AI product, like something you’d see from Apple or Amazon or Google — a child companion. What would happen if something with so much computing power and connectivity went bad, what would the possibilities be?” The producers then got excited about having something new to say, well-aware of the responsibility they had to long-time fans.
The upgraded Chucky is far more advanced, adds Grahame-Smith, “he has more ways to kill you.” He now has the ability to access other devices and look through them, and he can take over thermostats, vehicles, robot vacuums. “He can use anything at his disposal to terrorize and kill you.” Meet Chucky 2.0.
“I’ve got something for you,” says Plaza as Karen to Andy in a scene, but she breaks character to add: “It’s an evil doll that’s going to kill us.” But whilst the original Chucky was a serial killer who terrorized us through the body of a doll, the Chucky of 2019’s CHILD’S PLAY is one that plays on our fears today.
“We really do give our lives to these machines, everything’s in a cloud now and we are possessed by these belonging,” says Tyree Henry. “That’s something that’s so fascinating about the reimagining of CHILD’S PLAY— even the adults are susceptible to the CHILD’S PLAY of it all…we are pretty much slaves to technology.”
He recalls a story he’d read about a child’s first words being Alexa because the child has heard the parents so much. “He probably thought it meant I love you,” says Tyree Henry. “I always have a weird time seeing a kid just go ‘hello google do this, ok google turn this…’ — they have more of a relationship with these machines than they do with actual human beings.”
One thing that Tyree Henry really responded to in the script was just how much we as the audience end up emphasizing with Chucky. “I care about Chucky a lot in this movie. He’s a product, but he’s also a product of the programming and that’s what’s so sad about it. This doll has been programmed to be the best friend to this kid — it’s kind of a love story in a way,” he says with a laugh, “Chucky has many emotions and he’s learning —when it starts to learn things is when it starts to be terrifying.”
The message of the movie hits a chord with Plaza, too. “I have a very personal disgust of the technology and devices we’re all addicted to,” she says, “it’s not very apparent now what kind of affect it’s having on society but eventually I think we’ll look
Fans of “IT” (2017), together with fans of the original “CHILD’s PLAY” franchise (and of CHUCKY himself) should prepare for a wild kind of terror Chucky, the killer doll, has in store.
Distributed by Reality Entertainment and Cobalt Productions in the Philippines, Child’s Play will be shown for the first time in the country via a Special Advance Screening on June 17, 2019 Monday 7pm at SM Megamall, in partnership with MYX, Wave 89.1 and SM Cinemas, with media partners CNN Philippines and WheninManila.com.
Child’s Play hits Philippine theaters June 20, a day ahead of its US Release.