Chucky, the killer doll, is back—in one of the strangest sequels ever. In Seed of Chucky, co-starring Jennifer Tilly and John Waters, the homicidal doll has a gender-confused child. Writer Don Mancini, who created the franchise and scripted all five installments, talks to Logan Hill about transforming his bite-size serial killer into the unlikeliest gay icon.
Chucky’s from Jersey. Is Jersey the root of all evil?
More like the banality of evil. And there’s the onomatopoeia: Hackensack is a funny place for a slasher to come from.
Do horror franchises naturally become less scary over time?
Yeah, when you get these iconic franchise characters—Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers—the more familiar they become, the less scary they are. With Chucky, it’s particularly true because, well, he’s a doll. It’s already absurd. But that distance allows you to experiment. So in Bride of Chucky, we played with road movies and romance. In Seed of Chucky, we parody domestic dramas.
You’ve said that Universal passed on the script for Seed of Chucky because they felt it was “too gay.”
Well, people have expectations for the fifth movie in a slasher series.
What did they expect?
Son of Chucky, another killer doll. I thought it’s much more interesting if the child is completely sweet and innocent and wants nothing to do with that activity. The bottom line is, “What if Chucky had a gay kid?” To me, that’s hilarious.
As a gay guy myself, it’s fun to get that kind of material into a mainstream movie in a subversive way. You know, I see so many gay-themed movies suffocated by their good intentions.
Do you reference other coming-out tales?
No. Only Glen or Glenda, the Ed Wood film. I wanted this one to be more like Ordinary People, very character- and dialogue-driven.
You cast Billy Boyd, the sweet hobbit from Lord of the Rings, as Chucky’s son. There’s been a raft of gay fan-fiction about hobbits; is that why you cast him?
No, but I was aware of that—it was the cherry on top. I wanted Chucky’s child to be a kind of Oliver Twist, a Dickensian waif.
Will this change your audience?
It’s always been the core horror audience—young male metalheads and horror geeks—and NFL fans. But it’s increasingly a gay fan base, too. So where do you go from here? Well, I’d like to do a musical.
Carrie didn’t work out so well.
Yeah, but I can see this Busby Berkeley musical number! With the dolls. And the chorus line diving into a pool of blood.