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As Chucky series creator Don Mancini told SYFY in an interview after the Season 1 finale of his new show on SYFY & USA, horror is "a genre about outsiders; the beauty of being an outsider," which is why crossovers between the LGBTQ+ community and the horror genre are so common. In his new series, Chucky goes out of his way to show his allyship, going so far as to murder our young hero Jake Wheeler's (Zackary Arthur) homophobic father Luke (Devon Sawa) at the end of the first episode. With that admittedly extreme act, Chucky cements his new place in Jake's life as a murder mentor and the kind of accepting parental figure Jake never had.
However, is Chucky really an ally? In the above video, we've highlighted Chucky's allyship throughout Season 1, but in talking to Mancini, it becomes clear how much nuance there is to Chucky's interest in the matter of queerness.
Mancini says that, in short, yes, Chucky is a queer ally. However, much of Season 1 sees Chucky exploring his own sexuality, which translates to how he interacts with Jake and the other characters running around Hackensack.
Mancini quotes two specific examples in the series. The first is in Episode 5 when we're first reunited with Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly) and Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif), who's possessed by Chucky. They've kidnapped a dude and tied him to a chair to kill him and — given the ball gag in his mouth — participate in a few other R-rated activities as well. The second is in the finale when Nica-Chucky is shooting the shit with doll-Chucky (aka Chucky Prime), and they catch each other up on what (and who) they've been doing. These scenes, Mancini explains, emphasize how Chucky explores his own sexual fluidity in Season 1, even if he's unwilling to voice it. Ultimately Nica-Chucky is a cisgender guy's soul running around in the body of a cis woman and expanding his "palette," as Tiffany calls it in Episode 5.
"I think Chucky is like a guy who's always been straight, always identified as straight, but if you can get him drunk, he'll let his guard down," Mancini explains with a laugh. "But... the next morning he might feel a little weird about it."
Chucky killing Jake's homophobic father and telling Jake that he has a queer kid of his own who he's cool with (because he's "not a monster") are just scratching the surface. Chucky will defend Jake (with his own motives behind it, of course) and accept his kid's gender fluidity, but Chucky's arguably part of the LGBTQ+ community as well. Now, just because someone is part of the community doesn't necessarily mean they are an ally, but Mancini feels that Chucky, by the end of Season 1, has earned "a little bit of queer cred." So in the finale, when Chucky Prime lashes out one final time by criticizing Devon and Jake for being "so gay" before Jake strangles him to death, it's not as hateful as it could be.
"When he says 'That's so gay,' it's almost like I can say that to one of my gay friends because we're both gay," Mancini explains. "Like a lot of guys who aren't 100 percent confident in who they are, he lashes out in a way that feels comfortable." Because of who Chucky is, he's always going to be allergic to sentiment, even when it comes to his own budding sexual exploration. However, that's not going to stop him from being a psychopathic killer who's generally chill with other peoples' sexualities, including Jake and Devon's.
Getting to show that relationship was imperative for Mancini, who says it was his favorite part of bringing Chucky to the small screen. "The journey of Jake, Jake's character, going from bullied, abused, lonely kid who could go down a dark path and almost does, but gets talked off the ledge by newfound friends and first love," Mancini muses. "I knew that if we could pull that off, and do that to the degree that you could bring a tear to people's eye, that would be surprising in the context of a Chucky thing."
It's the kind of sentimentality that Chucky would — and does — balk at, but given the Child's Play franchise's place in the queer horror lexicon, it was a natural move. "I love trying to keep it fresh, but also just the response to it that I've heard from young gay horror fans, and that's who we did that for, was to give young queer horror fans representation in the lead in a show," Mancini says. That their friend 'til the end Chucky is now on his own journey and exploring his sexuality three decades after he first terrorized the silver screen is just a bonus.