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Unlike most children's toys, Chucky has enjoyed a very long shelf life.
For over 30 years, across seven canonical films and one very addictive SYFY & USA TV show, the snarky, murder-fueled plaything in overalls has evolved to become one of horror's most iconic slashers. With Chucky, fans know that — when they watch either one of his movies or an episode of his series — they are in for a unique mix of laughs and solid scares. (Oh, and a decent kill scene or three.)
It's the scarier bits that SYFY WIRE is looking at this week, just in time for Halloween and SYFY's Child's Play marathon to celebrate Chucky, The Notorious Killer Doll Day on Oct. 25. We've turned on all the lights and locked all the doors to revisit Chucky's bloody film career to find a collection of his scariest scenes guaranteed to give you a permanent case of day terrors.
5. Death by dolls eyes in Child's Play 2 (1990)
Child's Play 2 considerably ups the ante (and the blood) from the first film with a solid collection of kills, most of them achieving a high "squeezing-your-armrest-in-terror" factor — especially during this climactic kill.
Leave it to the Child's Play movies to turn the factory where Chucky dolls are made into one of the franchise's most unsettling set pieces. Here, a curious technician makes a fatal mistake when he looks for the cause behind some broken tech. He narrowly averts death by machine press, only to have (you guessed it) a maniacal Chucky creeps up on the guy, slashes his face, and puts him under the machine that, um, puts eyes into dolls.
Director John Lafia builds considerable tension en route to the inevitable death of this poor tech, but what surprises us is just how they go out: Being stabbed by the machine that puts in Chucky's eyes. Good luck getting the tech's grizzly visage out of your head.
4. Alice's Chucky surprise in Curse of Chucky (2013)
After the more comedic and downright wacky Seed of Chucky, the series needed a course correction. Curse of Chucky returns the franchise to its horror roots from the jump by tonally re-establishing Chucky's world as one completely unsafe for kids. A state of constant unease and dread.
That's what 8-year-old Alice experiences when she finds Chucky at her aunt's house and makes him her new friend. When she takes the doll home, Alice is blissfully unaware of his murder-y ways. But we are, which makes the scene where she tucks herself into bed with the doll spike our blood pressure. The thunderstorm Alice is afraid of soon seems like a golden age when she tucks herself under the covers with the doll and tells him she is scared. From there, Chucky might as well be talking to the audience when he springs to life with a cackle, turns to Alice and exclaims: "You f**king should be."
3. Chucky stalks Maggie in Child's Play (1988)
This is why you don't offer to babysit last-minute for a friend: You never know when the spirit of a serial killer that has possessed your charge's toy will add you to his list of victims.
Karen's friend Maggie (RIP) learned this lesson the hard way, literally, when Chucky snuck up on her (and us) in Andy and Karen's apartment with a hammer. It's one of the biggest and best jump scares in the entire franchise, and of Child's Play's pivotal scenes. Because once that hammer hits Maggie's face, and sends her falling out of the kitchen window and onto a truck, the movie kicks into full slasher flick overdrive.
2. Burn victim Chucky in Child's Play (1988)
Chucky is the most relentless homicidal collection of plastic ever made. Like all slasher movie villains, he seems immune to death, but not to things that can hurt or kill him. When Andy is forced to take on his former plaything-turned-crazed murderer, the kid burns Chucky in the fireplace. Fans of the genre know that Chucky's not dead, but rather merely extra-crispy. Too bad Andy lacks a fundamental understanding of how horror movies work; he could have avoided the image of Chucky that has scarred our retinas for the past 33 years: The doll's burnt, melted plastic visage as he wields a knife and stalks toward a very frightened child.
1. Batteries not included in Child's Play (1988)
People's fear of dolls must have shot up a fabillion percent after the release of Child's Play. The movie expertly preys on our childhood anxieties, our nightmares about what would happen if any of our dolls came to life and became the number one cause of death for, well, everybody. It exhausts every "what if this happened…?" scenario when it comes to Chucky the toy becoming full Chucky. One of the movie's best and scariest pieces of business is when Chucky rotates his head 180 degrees and speaks — all without any batteries powering him.
The scene builds with a disturbing uneasiness that really damages our calm once Chucky's head goes full Exorcist and the doll speaks in an abnormally loud voice that chills us to the bone. It's in this scary scene that Chucky arguably earns his status as a horror icon. While the series has made fans gasp in much bloodier and gorier ways, its the simplicity of a battery-less Chucky operating solely on hate and murder that has (no pun intended) cut the deepest throughout the years.