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Chucky as an ally: Fiona Dourif, Jennifer Tilly on how horror series intersects LGBTQA+ community
Here’s a fact that might surprise you: Chucky is a proud supporter of the LGBTQA+ community.
Chucky is one of the most well-known psychopaths in horror history — maybe in all of film history. Even if you've somehow never seen a single one of his movies, you know Chucky. From his iconic red hair to Brad Dourif's unforgettable vocal performance, Chucky is known to (and feared by) all. But here's a fact that might surprise you: He's a proud supporter of the LGBTQA+ community.
But let's back up a second: Chucky –– the Good Guy doll possessed by the soul of a serial killer –– is also a queer ally? It's true! In the most recent entry in the franchise (the Chucky series right here on SYFY), queer characters are placed front and center. Jake, Chucky's latest 'friend 'til the end,' is in a burgeoning teen romance with Devon. Just two teen boys and their murdering but also progressive and encouraging doll.
In a scene now iconic in Chucky history, Chucky talks to Jake about his gender fluid child (Glen'Glenda, introduced in Seed of Chucky). When Jake asks whether Chucky supports Glen/Glenda, Chucky affirms he does by telling Jake, "I'm not a monster." While that is highly debatable, Chucky has long stood with the gay community.
Creator Don Mancini has always included queer characters in critical roles and written them with sensitivity — a rarity in horror. When asked about this exact topic at the Chucky New York Comic Con panel, Mancini told the audience that his inclusion of positive gay characters was fueled by a desire "to give young, gay fans representation and to see themselves onscreen in a way that I wasn't able to when I was 14 or 15 years old."
Speaking specifically about the Chucky series, he commented, "I wanted to not only normalize... the notion of being gay and gay romance, I wanted to make it cool." (To see Mancini's full remarks, you can watch the NYCC video here.)
Mancini's mission to provide fans with representation is reflected in his writing and casting as well. Franchise star Tilly has long been a gay icon. Throughout her career, she has thoughtfully portrayed gay characters and used her platform to advocate for queer voices in media. She was the recipient of GLAAD's 2006 Golden Gate Award which, according to GLAAD's website, is given to an individual who works to "increase the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community in the media."
And Tilly backs up Chucky's ally cred: "Chucky has a really big LGBTQ+ fanbase — like, huge. But even before the present iteration with Jake and his coming-of-age teen romance, he's [creator Don Mancini] always put positive gay characters in."
Fiona Dourif had an especially profound take on Chucky's relationship to queerness. When asked if Chucky is an LGBTQ+ ally, she told us, "Chucky is more than an ally." And while she's a little bit kidding, it's also a pretty good point. For decades, Chucky has been hopping in and out of bodies and identities. As Dourif put it, "I think Chucky himself is experimenting with all kinds of things."
And to be honest... our minds were a little blown. Is Chucky not just an ally but a member of the queer community? Are we just thinking way too hard about the gender politics of a doll who murders cats and says things like, "Don't f**k with the Chuck?"
Maybe! But genre has long been a space for trailblazing representation. So, why not Chucky as ally and even an icon? For Dourif and Tilly's takes, check out the video below.