It’s hard to choose the best Chucky movies. Don Mancini’s decades-long franchise is full of gems, no doubt, but it also veers into tons of different directions. The story of a serial killer imprisoned in the body of a “Good Guys” doll — and haunting a boy named Andy — goes from small and intimate to huge and ambitious on a dime. It’s in turn scary, funny, dark, shocking, and unabashedly queer. And it’s about to get its own TV series on Syfy.
A great thing about the Chucky movies is that the whole franchise is incredibly consistent. The tone and style swing in wild directions, but there isn’t a bad movie in the lot. I doubt Child’s Play 3 is anyone’s favorite, but it’s more than welcome alongside the others. With Brad Dourif always along to voice the killer doll, along with other recurring performers like the incomparable Jennifer Tilly, every new film pleasantly builds on the last. So, among these terrific horror films, which are the best Chucky movies? Which is number one? And how do they all compare to each other? Let’s find out by ranking them all!
Editor’s note: The 2019 remake of Child’s Play, while not bad by any means, felt somewhat redundant while the original franchise was still alive and thriving. As it exists outside the main Chucky franchise, including the upcoming series, it didn’t get a spot on the list. But don’t let that stop you from watching it!
7. Child’s Play 3
Easily the weakest of the franchise, Child’s Play 3 is nonetheless a fun entry that plays with the formula in rewarding ways. Jumping ahead eight years after the death of Chucky in Child’s Play 2, the film sees the carcass of the last Chucky doll accidentally mixed into the vat of plastic being used in a new line of Good Guys dolls. Now, Chucky’s back in a new body, and he’s back on the hunt for Andy.
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Where the film departs from its predecessors is in having an older Andy enrolled at a military academy, still separated from his mother, who has been deemed unfit to care for him. Now he has to contend not just with the return of Chucky, but also the toxic machismo and hierarchies among the boys and teachers around him.
6. Child’s Play 2
Child’s Play 2 doesn’t reinvent anything by any means. It’s a pretty direct continuation of Child’s Play, with Andy still reeling from the events of that film and placed in foster care as his mother undergoes psychological evaluations (her story about a killer doll wasn’t well-received). The charred corpse of Chucky is refurbished by the company behind Good Guys, in what seems like a weird manufacturing process. Waste not, want not, I guess.
As Chucky goes after Andy, we get a rather moving portrait of foster care. Andy’s foster dad is a little wary of the boy, but his foster mom is a warm and caring presence for him. And his foster sister Kyle’s tough exterior doesn’t get in the way of looking out for Andy and helping him kill Chucky is a wonderfully gruesome climax. It’s low on the list of Chucky movies, but it’s worth a watch.
5. Cult of Chucky
It’s hard to resist the return of Andy Barclay (played by the original Andy actor Alex Vincent). In Cult of Chucky, Andy is trying to get a woman out of a psychiatric institution where Chucky plans to go after her. Nica (who survived in the previous Curse of Chucky) can’t get anyone to believe her that Chucky, along with familiar franchise faces, is coming for her.
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Writer Don Mancini (who also directs Cult) has spoken about his wish to have multiple Chuckys in Child’s Play 3 but being limited by budget. Here he has his wish, as Nica fights off a whole army of Chucky dolls. The film is delightfully wacky, bringing back characters from virtually every film before. A post-credit scene even teases the return of Andy’s foster sister Kyle to fight the army of Chuckys alongside him. A fun and wild entry among the Chucky movies.
4. Curse of Chucky
There’s a back-to-basics quality in Curse of Chucky that makes it a major standout. After the campy humor and overall zaniness of Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, Don Mancini swung back to a more classical form of horror. In this installment, Chucky makes his way to the home of a mother and daughter he knew years earlier as Charles Lee Ray. Chucky has concealed his scars from earlier films to target Nica Pierce, her mother, and their visiting family. The killer doll is uncharacteristically quiet throughout, evoking the creeping sense of unease and fear from the first two Child’s Play films.
Curse of Chucky manages to build on the broader Chucky mythology while telling a new and engaging story — and one that includes a thoughtful and progressive depiction of disability via its heroine Nica, who uses a wheelchair.
3. Child’s Play (1988)
You can’t deny the original Chucky film, Child’s Play. Inspired by the consumer craze surrounding Cabbage Patch Kids and My Buddy dolls in the 1980s, Don Mancini created an instantly iconic horror monster with the foul-mouthed Chucky.
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Most importantly though, Mancini (and director Tom Holland) crafted a compelling story, in which young Andy Barclay and his mother fall victim to deranged killer Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray who has transferred his consciousness into the body of a Good Guys doll. Now, Chucky’s only way out is to take over Andy’s body. Blending dark humor with the uncanny chills of a murderous children’s toy, Child’s Play has more than earned its status as a horror classic.
2. Seed of Chucky
Seed of Chucky ramps up the comedy and overall weirdness of Bride of Chucky. If a sex scene between the Chucky and Tiffany dolls offended your sensibilities in that film, get ready for this one to go even harder.
Years after the events of Bride, Chucky and Tiffany have become horror icons and the main characters of a movie franchise. Only problem is, they’re dead. But that doesn’t stop their orphaned child from tracking down the animatronic dolls used in the movies and bringing them back to life with another voodoo incantation. Now the whole family is looking for host bodies, including that of Jennifer Tilly, who in real life plays and voices Tiffany. Don Mancini, in the director’s seat for the first time, is clearly having a ball here. The film is smart, funny, deeply bizarre, and features a rather touching exploration of gender, as Chucky and Tiffany learn that their child wants to go by both Glen and Glenda.
1. Bride of Chucky
Franchises reinvent themselves all the time. Sometimes that works incredibly well, like The Suicide Squad. Other times not so much, as with certain Terminator sequels that shall remain unnamed. One of the best examples of a franchise finding new life is Bride of Chucky.
With a renewed interest in slashers (and especially self-aware slashers) following the success of Scream in 1996, Don Mancini gave his franchise a huge and welcome makeover, leaning heavily into the comedy inherent in the premise. Bride of Chucky blends classical horror tropes with a series of winks to the audience to refigure Chucky as the (anti)hero of his own story, now joined by bride Tiffany. They’re not exactly a happy couple, but they’re a charismatic pair who lead the film to the very top of the list of best Chucky movies.
- Bride of Chucky is currently only available on VOD.
Which Chucky movie is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.