Chucky the demonic doll has been terrorizing audiences since he first appeared in Child’s Play in 1988. That legendary horror film has spawned six sequels, with the entire franchise coming from the pen of screenwriter Don Mancini – who made his directorial debut with 2004’s Seed Of Chucky. Mancini has remained at the helm of the series and, to coincide with the DVD release of an unrated cut of the latest instalment – Cult Of Chucky – he recently held a Q&A session on Facebook.
During the session, Mancini was questioned about a particularly noteworthy death scene, which takes place in the main asylum setting. In it, Chucky murders a patient who’s strapped to a gurney by ramming an oxygen tank into the floor, causing it to launch upwards – shattering a glass skylight, sending countless shards of glass down onto his victim and decapitating her. The end of the shot occurs in slow motion and is made especially beautiful by the fact that, as the camera pans out from the carnage, snow gently drifts downwards through the broken skylight and into the room.
Speaking about his inspiration for the scene, Mancini said:
“Brian De Palma… Dario Argento… Lucio Fulci… those are the heroes of a certain strain of horror movie where they’re interested in exploring the weird, incongruous beauty of horror – which I love. That was kind of our mission, not just with that sequence but with the whole movie. I love playing with that. That sequence in particular was really fun to plan.”
Continuing on, he noted:
“It’s interesting because that sequence, the details of it, changed a lot. In the first draft, Chucky causes the sprinkler system to come on and it drenches them… and then they go up in flames. And I quickly got that out of my system. It’s like, that’s gonna take too long and be too much of a pain in the ass. In another draft, Chucky goes to the closet and there’s this vial there that says ‘anti-coagulant.’ He goes, ‘Does that mean what I think it means?’ He injects her with it and she just bleeds out from every orifice. But then I realized… that’s like halfway through the movie, and the movie structurally needed a big exclamation point. So that’s why I decided to do the glass and the decapitation… the snow… it’s very operatic.”
These comments from Mancini provide fascinating insight into the way in which his storytelling process as a screenwriter has combined with his logistical approach as a director. While he was clearly aiming to give a nod to specific, legendary artists in the horror genre, he was also mindful of the pacing of the film, in terms of the type of shock needed at that point in the story. Such a specific approach has clearly been to the benefit of the movie, as the film has generated a great deal of excitement among the franchise fandom – not least because the ‘rated’ version has now appeared on Netflix.
Cult Of Chucky – both the rated, and unrated version – is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.