Spoiler Warning: This article is about the end of Cult of Chucky, so as you might have guessed, there are spoilers all the way through the end of Cult of Chucky.
In the league of horror’s iconic slasher villains, Chucky has endured as a true one-of-a-kind. While the killer doll’s fellow slash MVPs have been rebooted and remade and back again, the Child’s Play franchise has stayed the course with creator Don Mancini behind every script and original actor Brad Dourif voicing the maniacal Good Guy Doll in every film. The trick? Chucky has stayed alive through constant evolution. Be it the setting, the tone, or even the subgenre he’s playing in, Mancini has reinvented what it means to be a part of the franchise with each new movie, adopting an “anything goes” mentality that has fuelled one of the most consistently entertaining, enjoyable, and downright weird horror series of all time.
With Cult of Chucky, the seventh Chucky film to date, Mancini takes things in an even stranger and bolder direction than ever before, especially in the film’s wild third act. Cult of Chucky brings together all the key players from Chucky movies past — Alex Vincent‘s Andy Barclay, Jennifer Tilly‘s Tiffany Valentine, and Fiona Dourif‘s Nica Pierce — under the roof of an insane asylum where Chucky picks off his imprisoned prey and battles his old foes. Well, that’s three Chuckys to be exact. Mancini uses the insane asylum setting to mess with the audience’s head and make a “mind fuck” Chucky movie that keeps the audience guessing what’s real and who’s sane until the big reveal — Nica’s not crazy, there are three different Chuckys on the loose, terrorizing the patients en masse and when they finally meet, it’s an all-time franchise moment.
In anticipation of the film’s release, I recently hopped on the phone with Mancini (read Part 1 of the interview here) and the writer-director explained that the mult-Chucky showdown has been on his mind for a while.
“Essentially, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I didn’t really know how I would do it dramatically, but I just knew that the image of a bunch of Chuckys was cool. I felt that at this point in the franchise, it was time to do it. It was time to do something really new, to take it to another level.”
But just because he had the idea for a long time, doesn’t mean it was easy to pull off. As Mancini explained, coordinating three Chuchy puppets on set was a bit of a nightmare — especially because he was still fine-tuning the script while after the start of production.
“The coordinating of it, it’s always a handful, you’ve gotta plan all of that out, you know, the little battle almost. As the director, I like to storyboard everything and that becomes even more important when you’re dealing with puppets, but particularly that scene. That was scene 74, which was always, you know in the schedule, it was always looming, this big bear. I wrote constantly up to the point of shooting it, which is was actually a bigger deal than it might sound like because generally with Chucky, Brad records all of the dialogue a few months before. It’s a lot like an animated movie; the voice [recording] and then animator, or in this case the puppeteers, they then work the vocal performance. That’s their initial inspiration.