Culture Re-View: Happy Chucky, The Notorious Killer Doll Day

How much do you know about Chucky?
How much do you know about Chucky? Copyright United Artists
By David Mouriquand
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On this day is celebrated Chucky, The Notorious Killer Doll Day. Yep, there’s a day for that.


Just six days before Halloween is when the world celebrates the murderous doll from the Child’s Play horror movies – the first of which came out in theatres on 9 November 1988.

Chucky became a pop culture horror icon from the get-go, so much so that the supernatural slasher Child’s Play came to be known as Chucky because of how popular this main character was. As silly as it may seem, the character revolutionized the horror genre in his own way, as many credit the Chucky franchise for the ubiquitous haunted toy subgenre – recently seen in such films as Annabelle and M3GAN.

For the heathens amongst you, Chucky is a doll possessed by the soul of a serial killer called Charles Lee Ray, nicknamed Chucky (played by Brad Dourif). When the latter is shot and realises that he’s not going to make it, he transfers his soul into a doll. 

As you do. 

Throughout the eight movies to date, Chucky is always trying to possess a human body again to continue his murderous spree. The films are a treasured part of horror culture, especially because they merge camp elements and dark humour with some decent scares.

So, how does one celebrate Chucky, The Notorious Killer Doll Day?

Well, you could host a Chucky costume party, use the hashtag #ChuckNotoriousKillerDollDay on social media as much as possible, or simply watch Child’s Play again.

As for us here at Euronews Culture, we’ve decided to commemorate the iconic evil doll by treating you to a few facts about the knife happy Cabbage Patch Kid reject.


Heeeeere's Chucky
Heeeeere's ChuckyUnited Artists

Many people believe that the doll was inspired by the Cabbage Patch Kids, but in reality, Don Mancini’s creation was influenced by the 80’s Hasbro doll for boys, My Buddy. Child’s Play director Tom Holland even confirmed that the My Buddy doll did indeed serve as inspiration for Chucky’s appearance. Even the 2019 Child’s Play reboot re-named their line of dolls to be called “Buddi.” Mancini was also inspired by 'The Living Doll' episode of The Twilight Zone, which featured an evil doll named Talky Tina.

What’s in a name?

Named after three killers
Named after three killersUnited Artists

Before he got cursed into doll form, Charles Lee Ray was a proper menace to society. But did you know that his name is far from random? His first name, Charles, refers to Charles Manson, the notorious cult leader who masterminded many murders in the late 60’s. His middle name, Lee, is in reference to Lee Harvey Oswald, responsible for the assassination of JFK. Unless he was a Patsy, as The X Files have proven. Lastly, Ray, comes from James Earl Ray, who shot Civil Rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So, what’s in a name? Plenty!

A CGI-free puppet

There are plenty of strings on him
There are plenty of strings on himUnited Artists

Child's Play required zero special effects and used the art of practical effects, as complex animatronics were employed to bring the doll to life. Every time the doll was on screen, around 11 professional puppeteers were required to keep the doll moving. The puppeteers were led by Brock Winkless, who moved Chucky's mouth via radio control, wearing a rig that captured his mouth movement. The others were in charge of operating the rest of the doll. In some instances, real-life actors were used, including John Franklin, who had starred in the creepy Children Of The Corn just a few years earlier. Quite the CV that young scamp had...

A Chucky theme song?

Let the music play on...
Let the music play on...United Artists

Originally, there was a theme song commissioned for the first Child’s Play film. Composed by Joe Renzetti, with lyrics by Simon Stokes, the song featured cheerleader vocals and a lot of keyboards. It was supposed to play over the end credits and to help market the toy. The producers ended up axing it, so as not to rely too heavily on the camp. Probably for the best...

A feud with Britney

Tiffany and Chucky in 'The Seed of Chucky'
Tiffany and Chucky in 'The Seed of Chucky'Focus Features

We’ve heard of strange celebrity feuds, but this one takes the prize. None other than Britney Spears had some beef with Chucky over a sequence in 2004’s Seed Of Chucky. The character of ‘Britney’ - a Spears look-a-like and Chucky’s 28th victim since Child’s Play, in case anyone was counting – gets run off the road by Chucky. She meets a fiery death in her exploding car. Chucky laughs and drops the immortal line: “Oops, I did it again!” The pop star was furious and made it clear she didn’t want anything to do with the film. She and her team even made the filmmakers add a disclaimer to TV ads stating that Spears doesn’t appear in the movie. She must have thought the whole thing was toxic.

We deserve to be sliced and diced by Chucky for that one. Apologies.

Happy Chucky, The Notorious Killer Doll Day.

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