Chucky the doll is one of the most iconic horror villains ever created, and he is instantly recognizable to even non-horror fans. The face of the legendary and long-running Child’s Play franchise is frequently put alongside other slasher luminaries like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Jason Voorhees. The murderous lump of plastic has taken the starring role in eight movies and a popular TV series, making him one of American horror’s most prolific villains.
But how do you watch Chucky’s antics in order? Here is everything you need to know.
What are the Child’s Play and Chucky films about?
The first Child’s Play film arrived in cinemas in 1988. In this film, viewers are introduced to notorious serial killer Charles Lee Ray, a man trying to evade being captured by Detective Mike Norris. When Norris fatally wounds Ray, things look bleak for the killer, but at the last moment, he performs a voodoo chant that transfers his soul into a nearby Good Guy doll.
Once the dust settles, this doll, now calling itself Chucky, ends up owned by Andy Barclay. However, when Charles starts to cause chaos, the boy and his mother must fight to stop him. This becomes worse when Charles learns that his doll form is unstable and the only way to guarantee his future is to transfer his soul into the body of the first person he told about his true identity, the young Andy Barclay. Despite Andy’s attempts to get rid of the doll, Chucky keeps getting resurrected, and thus the pair’s game of cat and mouse continues in both Child’s Play 2 and Child’s Play 3.
However, starting with the fourth film in the franchise, Bride of Chucky, things go in a more campy, horror-comedy direction. Bride sees Chucky put his ex-girlfriend Tiffany’s soul into a bride doll, forcing the pair to go on a road trip to try and find an amulet that will return both of them to their human forms. Seed of Chucky changes the format again, with Tiffany and Chucky’s son Gentle Glen, bringing his parents back to life so that he can get to know them better, only for the pair to go on a rampage around Hollywood.
After this, the franchise returned to its roots a little, with Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky seeing the original killer doll come back to brutally settle his old scores, though these films were still sillier than the initial Child’s Play installments.
How to watch the Chucky franchise in order
The watch order for the Chucky franchise is tricky as due to the franchise adopting a new naming format mid-way through its original cinematic line, it can be hard to remember what order the films were released in. However, unlike a lot of large horror franchises, the Chucky films have a pretty simple chronology, with the release order also being chronological order, with a few minor exceptions.
So if you want to watch the original franchise in both chronological and release order, you should watch the films in the following order:
- Child’s Play (1988) – Set in 1988
- Child’s Play 2 (1990) – Set in 1990
- Child’s Play 3 (1991) – Set around 1998
- Bride of Chucky (1998) – Set in 1998
- Seed of Chucky (2004) – Set in 2004 (epilogue set in 2009)
- Curse of Chucky (2013) – Set in 2013
- Cult of Chucky (2017) – Set in 2017
In 2021, the Chucky TV series launched. According to creator Don Mancini, this TV show exists within the original franchise’s timeline, picking up “two to three weeks” after Cult of Chucky. Though it should be noted that despite Mancini saying this, there are some issues with this statement, as a few of the show’s background details don’t fit the 2017 setting, but this issue doesn’t affect the watch order.
There was also a Child’s Play reboot film released in 2019. This film is set in a different timeline from the previous ones and heavily deviates from the franchise’s accepted lore, acting as its own stand-alone movie. This is doubly true now that the Chucky TV show has come out, as that has pretty much rendered that new timeline obsolete, and it seems unlikely this 2019 film will get a follow-up.