How A Nightmare On Elm Street Influenced Don Mancini’s Child’s Play

Chucky is far from the first killer doll to appear on film — Mancini himself credits the Zuni doll from “Trilogy of Terror” and Talky Tina from “The Twilight Zone” as inspirations — but he’s arguably the most famous. To add to that, new developments in animatronic technology provided an opportunity for Chucky’s personality to shine in a more fluid and lifelike fashion.

Unlike the slashers of the past, Chucky wasn’t a silent masked killer, but a potty mouth who enjoyed taunting his victims with one-liners. Mancini put that down to Freddy Krueger, who was “a villain with a very distinct sense of humor … who could taunt victims verbally. I was quite consciously influenced by that with Chucky, the idea of an innocent-looking child’s doll that spouted filth.” And just as Robert Englund became the bona fide face of Freddy, Chucky’s voice actor Brad Dourif was essential in bringing the murderous toy to life.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” also helped audiences become more familiar with the idea of a supernatural slasher, vital for Chucky’s voodoo backstory to go down well. And as with the “Nightmare” series, the “Child’s Play” films got goofier as they went along until Chucky’s mouth made his antics downright comedic. Despite these similarities, Chucky has become an icon all of his own — joining Freddy as one of pop culture’s most recognizable horror movie mascots.

Mancini has talked about a dream crossover of the two called “Child’s Play on Elm Street,” which would showcase both of their verbal roasting abilities. For now, though, Chucky’s legacy lives on TV.

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