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How do you make a killer doll? New 'Chucky' sneak peek literally peels back the layers

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Apr 16, 2021, 3:51 PM EDT (Updated)

SYFY and USA go old school in a brand-new teaser for Don Mancini's upcoming Chucky series. The iconic doll with a penchant for endless violence will be created with the help of practical effects for the show, and if you want nightmares, check out this unfinished puppet of a Terminator-esque Chucky with his obligatory knife in his hand.

"I always come back!" Brad Dourif (longtime voice of the homicidal character) declares in the eerie, 15-second video.

Watch now:

Chatting with SYFY WIRE in 2020, Mancini discussed the importance of having a physical Chucky doll on the set. It not only looks better, but also gives the actors something to react to in real time. 

"I think that’s really important because it’s really hard for actors to respond to nothing in front of a green screen," he explained. "We’ve all seen big movies where generally amazing actors can really be unmanned by that process. It’s the hardest thing to ask an actor to do, so it’s important for Chucky to be real on that level, but I also think that it’s important that Chucky have the feel of a doll, of a puppet. He should be a little bit herky-jerky. In a way, it’s counter-intuitive to even contemplate doing Chucky in CG because then you have to build into that, the herky-jerky. It’s just unnecessary."

He added: "We’re going to be using pretty much 100% puppetry. On Curse of Chucky, I did two CG Chucky shots in that movie. I only did them as a means of last resort, I wasn’t planning to do it; it was just that we ran out of time on the shots. Those were low budget movies. So almost experimentally, I thought we’d try it and we didn’t get away with it. The fans spotted it instantly and they rapped my wrist for it. But then for some reason, I guess because that happened, a lot of times people then have this feeling that there’s more CG Chucky present in that movie or in Cult of Chucky then there was. In fact, Cult of Chucky didn’t have any CG Chucky shots at all. I think it’s so important to keep Chucky as a practical puppet effect, partly because it’s important for the actors to have something to respond to on set."

Dourif's playful co-stars include: Lexa Doig (Bree Webber), Jennifer Tilly (Tiffany Valentine), Devon Sawa (Logan Webber), Zackary Arthur (Jake Webber), Teo Briones (Junior Webber), Alyvia Alyn Lind (Lexy Taylor), Björgvin Arnarson (Devon Lopez), Barbara Alyn Woods (Mayor Michelle Cross), and Fiona Dourif (details of her role are still being kept under wraps). The setting is a quiet American town, whose sleepy and idyllic facade begins to crumble when Chucky starts murdering and revealing dark secrets.

Now in production, the 10-episode Chucky slashes its way onto SYFY and USA this fall. Mancini created the series and serves as showrunner and executive producer. He's also writer and director on the season premiere ("Death by Misadventure).