Chucky needs no introduction. Say the name and everyone will immediately think of a ginger-haired doll with trademark overalls, striped shirt, and a kitchen knife. The homicidal toy of our childhood nightmares is an icon and will not be going away any time soon.
Last week, Orion Pictures released the seventh film in the Child’s Play franchise, which is also a reboot of the first film from 1988. Child’s Play 2019 resurrects Chucky in all his murderous splendor, but with a new twist. Instead of being a possessed doll – as is the case with Child’s Play 1988 – Chucky is now an Alexa-like device which bonds with its host. It can perform household chores, activate electronic programs on command, and even babysit children if requested. Only when a safety mechanism is removed from its built-in computer system does this new Chucky embark on a rampage.
Reboot or not, there are two generations of Chucky here. The 2019 Chucky is a robotic entity whereas its 1988 predecessor is a calculating serial killer hunting his victims for fun. Both Chuckies share many strengths, but both exhibit many weaknesses when compared to the other. The more I thought about it, the more I realized there is indeed quite the challenge here – possibly even a pitch for another movie, but that’s not my call, unfortunately. Either way, it begs the question, who would win? Charles Lee Ray from 1988 or the Chuckynator from 2019?
There’s a lot to cover here, so I’m just going to stick with 5 main factors in this little examination For the record, I will NOT cover who provided the better voice for Chucky. Brad Dourif passed the torch to Mark Hamill and it was a damn good choice. No complaints for either gentlemen.
No Pain, No Gain
Chucky 1988 channeled his soul into a toy doll while the Chucky 2019 is a toy from the get-go. Unfortunately for Chucky 1988, he is distinctly receptive to pain. As explained in Child’s Play (1988), as long as his soul is in doll form, his body will slowly assume human characteristics such as blood and organs. In this case, Chucky can be rendered vulnerable via gunshot, an axe wound, or a cigarette lighter while Chucky 2019 doesn’t have this problem. Maybe – as the T-100 Terminator noted in Terminator 2 – Chucky 2019 can analyze and record pain, but never really feel it. Strike against Chucky 1988 on this one.
Race Against Time vs. More Time To Kill – Literally
Probably the biggest problem facing Chucky 1988 is the fact that he’s on a time limit. The more he dilly-dallies with his new form, the lesser the chance he has of becoming human again. The Chucky of 2019 doesn’t have this problem. So long as an electromagnetic pulse doesn’t fry its circuits, it has all the time it needs to cause mayhem. In fact, given that it’s merely a computer in the body of a doll, it may as well be immortal. Maybe it’ll need a battery charge, but 1,000 years from now, it still might be able to function with a simple charge. Chucky 1988 faces a literal race against time, but Chucky 2019 can sit back and relax on this one.
All Plastic, No Muscle
Chucky is a homicidal maniac in either-or form, but he/it is still a toy doll hindered by size and lack of muscle mass. Both get constantly tossed and thrown about, both are especially vulnerable to heavy objects such as vehicles and machinery, and both can be taken out with something as simple as a shotgun blast. Chucky 2019 – as a machine driven by a computer chip – may possibly have better gripping abilities than his human counterpart, but neither appear to exhibit this characteristic different from the other. This one is easily a draw for both of them.
Misfit Toy vs. A Guy Who Kills As A Hobby
Chucky 2019 has this one in the bag. While it is a robotic entity constantly on a rampage, all it needs is a simple re-application of a safety mechanism to return it to its docile function. Chucky 1988 is a psychopath – someone who is born to kill from birth. Chucky 2019 can be tamed if you can hold it down and rework its circuits, but if anyone were to do that with Chucky 1988 – well, its safe to say there’s no fixing what can’t be fixed, and Chucky 1988 definitely cannot be fixed. He’s got six sequels to his name after all.
Plastic Man vs. Plastic Machine
This one is as crucial as it is obvious. The battle between Chuckys’ is easily a battle between artificial intelligence and human intelligence. Chucky 2019 is programmed with all sorts of means to communicate with its hosts. When its safety mechanism is removed, it can record and process methods of dispatching victims. Chucky 1988, however, is an innovative thinker – almost an engineer of sorts when it comes to killing. From the use of voodoo dolls to crafting a booby trap with nails, Chucky 1988 has proven himself to be quite the artist when it comes to terrorizing his victims. Hell, he’s intelligent enough to recite a voodoo chant and get his soul trapped in a doll. If that doesn’t hint a high IQ, I don’t know what does.
Unfortunately for Chucky 1988, Chucky 2019 has multiple advantages with its ability to interface with other devices. All it takes is a flick of a finger and Chucky 2019 can trigger drones, electronic toys, and even lockdown systems to do its bidding. Its safe to say a majority of the 2019’s victims aren’t even killed directly by Chucky 2019’s own hands. Chucky 1988 may have the advantage of planting booby traps and directly attacking Chucky 2019 with handheld weapons, but with Chucky 2019 putting drones and other electronic devices between itself and Chucky 1988, it’s likely the robot come out on top without having even to try.
Chucky 2019 has many strengths over Chucky 1988. With no feelings or emotions – or even the sadistic pleasure felt by a serial killer – it is the ultimate killing machine in the literal sense.
No matter what though, it seems the ultimate winner in this match will be the original Chucky from 1988. He has much going against him, but as with the Terminator or HAL 9000, human intelligence can be enough to overpower an out-of-control machine. Either pull the plug or plunge a knife into its circuits. I wouldn’t put it past Chucky 1988 to lose his first few rounds with Chucky 2019, but once he figures out where the OFF button is, Chucky 1988 won’t even need a knife to put an end to his 2019 counterpart.