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Did Chucky really kill his own mother? A look back at the childhood of Charles Lee Ray

"I'm like the MVP of serial murder. I've killed more people than you have Insta followers."

By Josh Weiss
Chucky Season 1

As a wise killer doll once said, "I'm like the MVP of serial murder. I've killed more people than you have Insta followers." Those are the immortal words of one Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), the homicidal sociopath who swapped his flesh and blood vessel long ago for the innocent facade of a Good Guy doll. After all, no one expects a child's play-thing to commit murder.

How to Watch

Watch Chucky on SYFY. Stream from the beginning on Peacock.

Even so, Chucky's insatiable bloodlust began several decades before voodoo magic saved his life in that Chicago toy store. While taunting Devon (Björgvin Arnarson) in the third episode of Chucky's second season on SYFY and USA Network, Chucky proudly cops to the murder of his own mother, which we saw depicted in a Season 1 flashback to young Charles' formative years in the 1960s when a serial killer terrorized the poor people of Hackensack: One night, the boy (David Kohlsmith) awakens to find said murderer stabbing his father to death. He and his mother flee upstairs and hide inside a closet, bringing along a small pocketknife for protection. By the time the killer finds their hiding spot, however, Mrs. Ray is dead, stabbed by her own son. His first-ever kill.

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"I helped," says young Charles with a smile. Impressed, the killer praises the boy's chutzpah. "You got guts, kid. I'll give you that." He wipes the blood off the pocketknife and hands it back to the child, welcoming him to the party with some macabre advice: "You want to do this right? You've got to cover your tracks." Speaking to Jake (Zackary Arthur) in the present day, Chucky explains that while some killers "are made" by circumstance, the best of them "are born."

"Fans, for decades, have been wanting to know more about the origins of Chucky as a human being before he became the notorious killer doll," series creator/showrunner Don Mancini explained in a behind-the-scenes featurette centered around the production of Season 1, Episode 3. "And this television show was the perfect opportunity to get into that ... It was important to me that his origins be surprising. That you would think, 'Oh, he's a serial killer. He probably was abused as a kid [and] had a really rough upbringing.' In fact, it's quite the opposite. He grew up in a very loving family in a very normal, beautiful home. You don't want to answer too many questions about him because a certain amount of mystery is necessary."

"With a series, it can become much more than a backstory. It can become part of what drives the story," added Dourif, who has voiced Chucky since the very beginning. "He's a sociopath and that's how he was born. This kid was gonna be a killer, no matter what."

Once he became an orphan (his parents' murders were chalked up to the work of "an unknown assailant"), Charles was sent to live at the Burlington County Home for Wayward Boys, where he continued to snuff out lives with apparent relish. This institution for troubled youths eventually became the Catholic School of the Incarnate Lord, the main setting of Season 2.

New episodes of Chucky premiere on SYFY and USA Network every Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET. The complete first season is now streaming on Peacock.