Halloweenathon 2023 · Horror · Horrorthon365 · Microreview · Television

Halloweenathon 2023: Chucky: The TV Show Brings Together the Franchise in a Most Inclusive Way

Chucky Season 3 Syfy/USA/Peacock

On the eleventh day of Halloween: CHUCKY Season 3

When Chucky’s third season aired on October 3rd, I almost missed it. Praise Damballa for cable TV reminders. The surprise mounted when I saw that Devon Sawa is back, playing his fourth new character in the show. Dude. This mofo saddened #HorrorTwitter months ago telling us he wouldn’t be back again, all this ruse long before the WGA and SAG strikes. I have to admit I was legit upset! His myriad characters get wackier as the show goes on and I am loving seeing one of my childhood crushes all grown up and even more brilliant as an adult.

In Chucky season 3 Sawa plays the president of the USA. And his son is in possession of one of the last Good Guy Dolls. A doll with Chucky’s demonic soul working his cruel machinations in his quest for more and more power and death. It’s not lost on the show’s production the number of physical comparisons of Chucky to the Orange Menace who once stained the White House with his bronzer makeup. And this is social commentary on the most scathing level possible.

But Chucky: The TV Show is so much more than this current social commentary. It has been providing some of the most poignant moments of inclusive and intersectional horror since it aired on October 12, 2021. Original Child’s Play creator Don Mancini has brought the queer subtext to center stage, and it couldn’t be more welcome or powerful.

Chucky: The Show has taken every single bonkers side plot and unhinged ending from the bizarre collection of movies and integrated them into a magnificently brilliant tapestry that pulls all the madness together in ways I could never have imagined. Devon Sawa isn’t the only one here to play multiple roles: other costars are playing several different characters, sometimes at the same time.

Like Jennifer Tilly as: herself, the Tiffany doll, and the Tiffany doll pretending to be her. The new nonbinary siblings Glen and Glenda, played by actual nonbinary actor Lachlan Watson. Alex Vincent and Christine Elise returning as their original characters Andy Barclay (Child’s Play) and Kyle (Child’s Play 2). Not to mention original Darryl Lee Brown actor/Chucky voice Brad Dourif AND his own daughter Fiona Dourif playing not just Daryl, but also the innocent Nica Pierce who is Boxing Helena’d by a version of Tiffany Doll in Jennifer Tilly’s body. I’ll save the rest for you to discover in this gloriously wacky show.

It’s A LOT, but in the best ways possible. And not as hard to keep track as you’d imagine, given the incredible acting talents of everyone on screen. You know exactly when these interlopers and doppelgängers are attempting to Parent Trap their way through a situation by pretending to be someone else. The performances are staggeringly exceptional. Again, if horror was taken seriously by awards bodies, there would be a dozen Emmys distributed here just between season 1 and 2.

And at the heart of this cohesive crazy-quilt-making of the entire Chucky franchise is the touching love story between Jake (Zackary Arthur) and Devon (Björgvin Arnarson) as they not only come into their queerness, but have to fight monsters at the same time. Queer horror is one of the hearts of this genre, and folding in this particular relationship amid the Chucky insanity is a balm for the soul in the best ways. They give me hope, on screen and off.

Throughout these seasons, both the body count and the gore are turned up to maximum level. Nobody is safe, and especially not children, making Chucky an outlier of mainstream horror. But there’s a method to the horror that makes sense. And like the rug in The Big Lebowski, the horror genre as ethos ties the entire franchise together. In a word, Chucky: The TV Show is perfect.

✨Gina Gershon/5 stars. Highly recommend Season 2’s fifth episode, which won’t make any sense unless you watch it all.✨