The durable Child’s Play franchise is quite unusual, and that is much of its appeal. Besides, of course, the infectious voice acting of one Brad Dourif, also known for hits like Lord of the Rings. Chucky’s original outing subverts expectations of the slasher genre, essentially parodying it, tongue in cheek. Yet, it also fully commits to familiar slasher tropes and legitimate horror, cementing Chucky’s position as an icon himself.
The series eventually evolved, so to speak, into predominantly slapstick and juvenile humor. But it remains a beloved franchise, enough to warrant a remake, and there remains more than a few comedic gems that really satisfy longtime fans who still anticipate canon material.
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10 Child’s Play – Ugly Doll…
The original film in the series cashed in on a toy craze that has mostly been lost to state-of-the-art video games, but it also wielded a level of fantasy and comedy that had come to dominate slashers. It was the last hurrah of a dying genre that would promptly be transformed into self-awareness.
In any case, the humor was generally stark or wry in this first entry. Not much of its comedy was forthright, with the exception of this selection. A woman comments on how hideous Chucky actually is, and this line that really reinforces the true nature of the series. And it’s all thanks to Brad Dourif’s delivery of a colorful, insulting reply. It could be ranked higher, but the very bluntness that’s appealing, is also too simple for that.
9 Child’s Play 2 – Shut Up And Drive
The first sequel leaned far more into the franchise’s trademark lovable silliness. In fact, Chucky is brought to life by electricity, not unlike Frankenstein’s monster. Or rather, Jason Voorhees, who came back via lightning in Friday the 13th’s sixth entry. It all adds to the playful drive-in attitude that sells Chucky best. The more demented his kills and jokes are, the more cheers he earns.
But he’s also a little doll that ought to be punched into oblivion at will. This balances out his success with obligatory setbacks. So, the mere image of Chucky coarsely ordering his hostage around is hilarious enough. But Dourif takes a simple bit about kicking teeth in and gives it far more attitude than it should have.
8 Cult Of Chucky – I’m Gonna Be Right Back
This is the most recent canon entry of the original franchise and was rather middling. Andy’s return was a glorious tease at the end of the preceding film. Yet, the film is uneven in tone, occasionally straining for both serious horror and goofy jokes alike. This is a far cry from its predecessor’s replete grimness.
The clones here are certainly a turning point and a nod to later installments. Still, in the pursuit of incorporating that DNA, this gag is particularly successful. Of all people to judge someone mentally unwell, Chucky openly promises to murder a poor schizophrenic when he returns.
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7 Curse Of Chucky – Your Mother’s Eyes
This may be the most effective sequel in the series, save some nostalgia for part two. Fiona Dourif was a breath of fresh air, with genuine acting talent to match her father’s. It’s neat enough on a meta-level that she was even included, to begin with. The restoration of Chucky’s horror elements was also a crucial one-eighty, and the film takes itself surprisingly seriously. Which certainly works, but the story isn’t devoid of comedy altogether.
In this case, the humor matches the soberness of its scares, relying on that bite for a different comedic demeanor. Chucky explains that a victim’s eyes were always too close together, a hilariously off-beat insult with horrific context.
6 Cult Of Chucky – Kill Him Or Take Notes
This is a meta-joke that works because it acknowledges the fluctuating tone in the movie. Strangely enough, one of the doctors is revealed to be taking advantage of his hypnotized patients, which is rather dark for a series that has actually included a sex scene between two dolls.
But, in this case, Chucky’s joke is cathartic by directly acknowledging the seriousness of the crimes. With all of Chucky’s one-liners, it’s easy to forget he’s more than a doll and was a legitimately awful serial killer. Somehow, the more indulgent Chucky is with that truth, the funnier it can be. So, admiring his victim’s depravity turns a grisly tone into strangely amusing relief.
5 Child’s Play 3 – Tampering With The Mail
This is probably the first installment to be generally maligned amongst the fanbase and involved the military academy. Ironically enough, this franchise suffered the same fate of sheer fatigue that the rest of its predecessors did. This was the oddball entry that served as a bridge to the outright laughs of its sequel.
But this joke, in particular, is something of a little gem. It’s a throwaway line, really, but ultimately conceptually memorable. Anything trivial that Chucky pays heed to is almost innately funny, given his past as a killer. To scold a child about mail tampering as a federal offense is to ignore his murders.
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4 Seed Of Chucky – You’re A Late Bloomer
This sequel was unabashedly, intentionally inane beyond compare to the rest of the franchise. The meta-humor with Jennifer Tilly worked plenty the last time around, but here feels tired, and the child promised at the end of Bride of Chucky is here the butt of constant jokes. Chucky as a parent should be amusing, and occasionally, it offers up some gold. But the best jokes work when the movie addresses its relentlessly bizarre tone.
The titular child’s gender is in constant question and, because it’s actually a doll, checking its privates is truly an upsetting and strange joke. Fortunately, Chucky insists the Ken-doll look is only due to being a late bloomer, letting most laugh with the movie and not at it.
3 Bride Of Chucky – I Thought You Were Plastic
The sex scene in this movie may be some attempt to turn slashers on their heads, for their gratuitous nudity, but it’s still a very disturbing sequence. And, if not for a joke or two, it would be downright unwatchable.
This was the sequel that fully embraced comedy and meta-humor. That openness permanently altered the tone of the series. This either welcomed newcomers or disappointed fans of the original’s horror. This fourth entry entertains the odd notion of Chucky’s rules, regarding the spell and his limitations. This raised the stakes in the first movie, but here serves as a hilarious joke about wearing protection.
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2 Seed Of Chucky – I Can’t Think Of A Thing To Say
Again, by this installment, Chucky had doubled down on his unbridled goofiness. In fact, the movie is completely inundated with one joke after another. Even the most die-hard fan could grow tired of the redundancy, and casual viewers could find it unbearable.
Still, there are a few hits here and there, with so much being thrown out there. When Chucky peeks through a broken door, it’s a blatant shot from The Shining. And, given the expectations set forth by the movie so far, the audience is definitely waiting for a certain iconic line. That Chucky denies us that, is one of the few clever and truly memorable jokes in the movie.
1 Bride Of Chucky – What Would Martha Stewart Say?
Before parenthood, Chucky’s first comedy decided to milk the domesticity of his marriage for jokes. It’s fairly surreal enough, what with this involving mere dolls, but it also serves as a great contrast to his established edge. While held hostage in the van, two allegedly teenage protagonists deliberately stir up trouble between Chucky and Tiffany.
Hoping to escape, they convince Tiffany she’s been wronged by Chucky’s attitude, resulting in a hilarious fight. Their argument feels a tad generic, but, in context, it all works. There’s also a callback to an earlier, and now dated, joke about Martha Stewart. When the ordinary infects Chucky’s life, it’s always easy to laugh.
NEXT: 10 Most Brutal Child’s Play Kills, Ranked
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