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There's no denying the fact that the Child's Play franchise is one of the most iconic horror properties in the history of the genre. Like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger, Chucky represents the gold standard for silver screen killers made of pure evil.
Charles Lee Ray (voiced by the ever-dependable Brad Dourif) continues to remain immortal because Chucky creator Don Mancini is always striving to keep the character relevant for the times. "I think it’s just being attentive to what is going on in the culture and what is going on in the zeitgeist at any given time, and then using Chucky to get at those issues in an interesting, fun way," he told SYFY WIRE in 2020.
Since 1988, the series has evolved from slasher-based horror to dark comedy with an irreverent and self-aware spin. In a way, Chucky has become the Deadpool of the horror world. The second season of SYFY and USA Network's critically-acclaimed Chucky TV show brought that vibe to the forefront in tonight's seventh episode, "Goin' to the Chapel," which paid homage to a number of genre classics.
As Father Bryce (Devon Sawa) and Sister Catherine (Andrea Carter) make preparations for an exorcism that will remove a piece of Charles Lee Ray's soul from "Good Chucky," a shaggy Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) decides to lock up the killer doll for everyone's safety. Nadine's murderer is restrained and placed inside a trophy case with the famous Hannibal Lecter mask affixed to his face.
It's obviously meant to recall the first horror movie to win Best Picture — 1991's The Silence of the Lambs — particularly when Glenda (Lachlan Watson) attempts to wheedle answers out of their father. But just as FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) discovers during her first encounter with a similarly incarcerated Dr. Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), psychopaths are rarely, if ever, forthcoming.
Next, we have the exorcism itself, which...come on, do we really need to spell this homage out to you? Fine, we will. The entire sequence is a send-up to William Friedkin's The Exorcist, which shocked audiences around the world when it first opened nearly 50 years ago. As Father Bryce and the other participants invoke "The Power of Christ" in an effort to banish Good Chucky's soul to Hell, the doll taunts them all by hurling profanities ("Your mother s***s c***ks in Hell" is lifted directly from the '73 film) and green puke their way.
The religious ceremony is a success, but just like poor Father Karras (Jason Miller) in The Exorcist, Bryce finds himself possessed by the aimless piece of Good Chucky's soul. Bryce's desire to see Chucky banished to the underworld turns out to be his own undoing as the priest literally explodes in a spray of blood and viscera — a visual reminiscent of the famous head-burst in David Cronenberg's Scanners.
Once Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) transfers Chucky Prime into the now-empty Good Chucky vessel through the usual Voodoo incantation, Dr. Mixter (Rosemary Dunsmore) attempts to escape with the doll. Andy follows, gun in hand, and shoots Chucky Prime numerous times. The doll throws up his arms as the bullets slam into his chest in slow motion. This, of course, is a nod to Oliver Stone's Platoon, and while it may not be a horror reference, it does mark the show's second consecutive nod to a famous Vietnam War movie.
New episodes of Chucky premiere on SYFY and USA Network every Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.