Ade due damballa.
Give me the power, I beg of you.
Secoise entienne mais pois de morte. Morteisma lieu de vocuier de mieu vochette.
Enden lieu pour du boisette damballa!
Secoise entienne mais pois de morte
Enden lieu pour du boisette damballa! Enden lieu pour du boisette damballa! Enden lieu pour du boisette damballa! Enden lieu pour du boisette damballa!
These were the famous, but hard to pronounce lines the serial killer Charles Lee Ray chanted in Child’s Play (1988) as he held his hand on a Good Guy doll, transferring his soul to escape imprisonment. The dark gray stormy clouds build up around the toy store, as he continues his chant lightning and thunder start to form then the store explodes blasting the windows, good guy dolls flying. Charles, also known as Chucky, was found dead by the police officer but little did he know that he still lives on as a good guy doll. The film Child’s Play incorporates comedy and horror to exploit the fears we have of dolls, their humanoid appearance with that creepy stare makes you wonder if the doll is going to make a move. If you have a great fear of dolls this movie will bring you nightmares. Child’s Play taps into our fears by making this villainous doll come to life and murder people unsuspectedly. In this film Chucky is seen as the monster, a monster being some sort of creature that appears different from the norm and has evil immoral intentions. People fear these monsters and the movie does just that. Jeffrey Cohen helps us understand what it takes to be classified as a monster with his seven theses in Monster Culture (Seven Theses) by their way of defying the impossible, always coming back to life and our culture’s own fears imprinted into the monster’s we see. Child’s play effectively displays Chucky as a monster when connecting it to Jeffrey Cohen’s Monster Culture (Seven Theses) rating this film a 4 out of 5 stars in the horror genre.
The films concept of horror connects to Dr. Cohen’s Monster Culture (Seven Theses) Theses I: The Monster’s Body Is a Cultural Body, according to the theory the culture’s fears and anxieties create the monsters we see. The creators execute this by bringing society’s fear and anxieties of dolls on screen and they even instill a bigger fear of dolls by making Chucky’s face transform to look more human as the film progresses. According to Special EFX designer, Shane Mohan, in the behind the scenes footage of Child’s Play, “There was kind of a developmental stage of it’s a doll at first, then it kinda became progressively more human, but I think what that does is psychologically as an audience you start to believe it’s a bit more alive” (Mohan 4:45). The designers were able to capitalize on the cultures fears of dolls by making the audience believe the doll was a human as the film progressed.
The film even goes further into connecting Cohen’s first thesis by creating this character we love, yet fear so much by using inspiration from some of society’s well known killers. Charles Lee Ray, the soul trapped inside the doll, is a character derived from three infamous murderers, Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray. These three murderers have committed some of the most heinous crimes, Charles Manson was the leader of a cult who set out on a killing spree, while Oswald and Ray assassinated civil rights icons like, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. In an article about representations of serial killers in the U.S and U.K. Julie B. Weist says, “Like other monsters, serial killers remind us of our cultural standards and symbolize our collective fears and insecurities” (Weist 16). Our culture’s fascination of serial killers helped shape the vicious monster doll that we are so intrigued by. It shows that we as a culture idolize serial killers and even become fans of them as we do of this classic horror film.
Unfortunately Chucky is not as immortal as he thought, he suffers a wounded gunshot and starts to bleed. Chucky pays a visit to his friend Joel Bishop who taught him all he knows on voodoo and finds out that he is becoming human the longer his soul stays in the body and if he doesn’t escape he will live his entire life out in the doll. Chucky does not want to live life like this and asks his friend to help him in escaping, but his friend refuses since he used the spells for evil. Chucky responds by threatening him with death by using Bishop’s voodoo doll to tell him what he has to do. Chucky discovers he has to transfer his soul into the first person he revealed his identity to, which was Andy the six year old boy that was gifted with the monstrous doll and kills Bishop by stabbing his knife into the doll. The use of voodoo is represented in the film and the franchise is the reason for Chucky’s existence. It touches on Cohen’s fifth theory, The Monster Polices Borders of the Possible. This theory is about how monsters show what can happen if we take something to an extreme. Chucky shows the possibilities of what voodoo is capable of and how it can be used for evil. It also instills fear into the audience as it can be scary to see that the spiritual religion can be used to harm others and bring inanimate objects to life that can bring terror and death. It shows that it is better to leave voodoo alone and not experiment with it or else the consequences can be detrimental.
At the conclusion of Child’s Play, Chucky fails at transferring his soul into Andy’s body and ends up burnt to a crisp and shot multiple times putting an end to the monster… or so we think! Fortunately Thesis II: The Monster Always Escapes explains how monsters seem to die, but they always reappear, it can be either literal or figurative, “but the monster itself turns immaterial and vanishes to reappear someplace else”(Cohen 4). In Chucky’s case it was the literal meaning, we believe Chucky is dead, but in Child’s Play 2 he is brought back to life, being reconfigured by the toy company and during this process a lightning strike brings Chucky back to life once again trying to find Andy to complete his mission. Chucky fails again and is melted and exploded by Andy and his foster sister finally bringing an end to the terror of the Good Guy doll. Unfortunately, that was not the case as the dolls blood drips into the production line of the good guy dolls, he is reincarnated once again in Child’s Play 3. As the pattern of Chucky dying at the end of each movie, he continues to be reincarnated in Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky as well. Chucky always seems to die, but he is miraculously brought back to life new and improved. Chucky dying, becoming nothing but ashes, melted plastic, or bits and pieces manages to always reappear elsewhere.
In contrast to the 1988 Child’s Play, Orion Pictures will be releasing a new installment to the Child’s Play franchise with a modern twist called Child’s Play (2019). This reimagined film relates back to Cohen’s Monster Theory Thesis I: The Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body, this remake has the same main characters we see in the original film including our monster, Chucky. The doll is now a robot created by Keslan, a tech company popular in smart home products. Keslan reflects the big tech companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google, they relate to our culture and technology that engulfs our lives such as digital assistants and smart home devices. The robotic doll called ‘Buddi’ is able to control all your Keslan devices while you enjoy your time with your new friend. The little boy Andy is gifted the Buddy doll by his mother and a series of unfortunate events occur as Chucky carries out his killings having the ability to control all the Keslan devices using the technology around him. Our fears and anxieties our society has of technology taking over our jobs and the world are presented in this remake. The culture has shaped this movie by displaying our fears of what could happen if we allow technology to engulf our lives as much as the characters do in Child’s Play (2019).
“CHILD’S PLAY Official Trailer #2 – (2019).” YouTube, Orion Pictures, 18 Apr. 2019, youtu.be/PeHNLikDiVw.
“Child’s Play.” New Dimension Films, 1983.
“Chucky/Synopsis.” Villains Wiki, villains.fandom.com/wiki/Chucky/Synopsis
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Monster Theory: Reading Culture. University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
Extras, FandangoNOW. “Child’s Play Behind The Scenes – Making A Nightmare (1988) – HD.” YouTube, FandangoNOW Extras, 4 Oct. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EUwq9acGB8.
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Media, Darwin’s. “Chucky Evolution in Movies & TV (Child’s Play).” YouTube, Darwin’s Media, 29 Oct. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db5Ilwt3arE.
Sprague, ByMike. “Chucky NOT Possessed by Charles Lee Ray in CHILD’S PLAY Reboot?” Dread Central, 28 Aug. 2018, www.dreadcentral.com/news/281804/chucky-not-possessed-by-charles-lee-ray-in-childs-play-reboot/.
Wiest, Julie B. “Casting Cultural Monsters: Representations of Serial Killers in U.S. and U.K. News Media.” Howard Journal of Communications, vol. 27, no. 4, Oct. 2016, pp. 327–346. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/10646175.2016.1202876.