The Child’s Play franchise is an unusual and wonderful creature. In its run, it has boasted directing work from Fright Night’s Tom Holland, Lost’s Jack Bender, and Freddy vs. Jason’s Ronny Yu. It brought us familiar faces like Chris Sarandon, Grace Zabriskie, Jennifer Tilly, John Ritter, and Katherine Heigl.
But there are two names that have identified the series throughout its run: writer (and frequent director) Don Mancini and Brad Dourif, the voice of Chucky. As of the release of the forthcoming seventh film here in 2017, the franchise will have stretched over 29 years while still retaining the same lead performer and writer, a feat unmatched in any other slasher franchise.
Because of that, the series retains not only character continuity, but narrative continuity as well. The series paid attention to the little details, and it never rebooted or ret-conned anything out; for better or worse, everything that happened in the Child’s Play franchise STAYED in the Child’s Play franchise.
In celebration of the release of the Cult of Chucky trailer and in anticipation of the release of the film in October, this is a breakdown of the events of the entire Child’s Play franchise. Because some of the films reveal information from previous films or from before the series started, this compiles all the events into chronological order.
Naturally, THERE ARE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT.
UNIDENTIFIED TIME, PRE-1988: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS…
Charles Lee Ray goes to John Bishop, aka Dr. Death, to learn how to be a voodoo practitioner. Charles also somehow manages to get his hands on an amulet called the Heart of Damballa. Eventually, though, Bishop realizes that Charles is only interested in finding a way to cheat death.
During this same time, Charles also becomes known as the Lakeshore Strangler for killing a dozen people, including Vivian Van Pelt, and for committing robberies with his partner Eddie Caputo.
OCTOBER 1988: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS…
Charles becomes friends with the Pierce family: mother Sarah, her husband, her daughter Barb, and her unborn child, Nica. Ray is obsessed with Sarah, eventually murdering her husband in an attempt to get closer to her.
NOVEMBER 1988: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS…
Ray kidnaps Sarah, but she manages to call the police on him. In punishment for betraying him, Ray stabs her in the stomach – not to kill her, but to try and kill her baby, Nica. As Ray tries to escape the police, he flees into a toy store where he is shot and fatally wounded. While lying behind a row of Good Guy dolls, Ray remembers his voodoo teachings and uses the Heart of Damballa to transfer his soul into one of the dolls. The ceremony causes the store to be struck by lightning and explode. Detective Mike Norris finds Ray’s body and thinks he is dead.
The next day, single mother Karen Barclay buys a Good Guy doll (now called Chucky) from a guy on the street and gives it to her son, Andy. Of course, it’s actually Ray, who kills the babysitter. Norris is the detective who investigates the murder. After another person Andy visits ends up dead (this time, it’s John Bishop, Ray’s old voodoo teacher), Andy is put in a psych ward for observation. Meanwhile, Ray learns from Bishop before he dies that he has to transfer his soul into the first person he revealed his true nature to: Andy.
Chucky kills the therapist, then chases Andy back home, where he knocks him out and prepares to swap souls.. but Detective Norris and Karen arrive just in time to stop him. They throw him in the fireplace, then shoot him through the heart. The three of them escape, leaving the charred remains of Chucky behind.
NOVEMBER 1990: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS…
Two years later, the sales of Good Guy dolls have suffered as a result of the coverage of the killings. CEO Chris Sullivan of Play Pals (the company that makes Good Guy dolls) orders the old Chucky doll remade so it can be inspected and proven harmless. But when a man dies of electrocution during the rendering process, the CEO tells an employee to get rid of the doll. The employee puts Chucky in his car, then is tied up and suffocated by Chucky, who uses his car phone to locate Andy.
Andy is in foster care now with parents Phil and Joanna and foster sister Kyle. Chucky makes his way to their house, getting rid of the house doll and putting himself in its place. He tries to start the ritual on Andy, but is thwarted by Kyle’s presence, so he follows Andy to school the next day for another chance. He gets Andy in trouble with the teacher, then later ends up killing the teacher himself.
Phil is killed by Chucky, but Joanne believes it is Andy’s fault, and sends him back to the foster center. Meanwhile, Kyle finds the discarded old house doll and realizes Andy is actually in danger. Upon investigating the house, she finds Joanne dead, and Chucky captures her and tells her to take him to the foster center to get Andy. Chucky kills the foster center manager and tells Andy to take him to the Good Guy factory for the soul transfer. Kyle follows, trying to stop the ceremony. She is too late, and the ceremony is complete; but it doesn’t work because he has been a doll for too long. Now he’s trapped in the body.
Chucky gets mad and tries to kill Andy and Kyle, replacing a lost hand with a knife, but Kyle and Andy use molten plastic and an air hose, exploding him to pieces. They leave the factory with Chucky supposedly dead.
In Chicago, Play Pals opens their factory back up after eight years, figuring the bad publicity is over. They start manufacturing the Good Guy doll again, and once again they bring Ray back to life as Chucky. Chucky tortures and kills CEO Chris Sullivan, using his office computer to find Andy’s whereabouts.
Meanwhile, Andy is 16 and attending Kent Military Academy. Chucky mails himself to the school, then discovers that he doesn’t need Andy anymore; he can use a new kid, Tyler. However, Andy discovers Chucky is there, and continues to thwart Chucky’s plans, so Chucky tries to kill him. Chucky scares the Colonel to death and kills several others, then switches the blanks out for real bullets during their war games.
Chaos ensues, and Chucky tries to attack Tyler, who escapes the grounds to a nearby carnival. Tyler and Andy team up to defeat Chucky, whose face is scarred and whose limbs are chopped off in the process. Andy and Tyler are safe, and Chucky seems defeated once again.
ONE MONTH LATER, STILL IN 1998…
Tiffany, Charles Lee Ray’s old girlfriend and accomplice, gets her hands on Chucky’s leftover parts and enacts a ritual to bring him back from the dead. He comes back in Chucky form, and she is happy to have him back and wants to marry him due to a confusion about a ring Ray left behind after killing Vivian Van Pelt, which she thought was an engagement ring. He laughs at her mistake, she punishes him, and he ends up killing her and then reviving her as a doll for revenge.
Chucky still wants back in a human body, however, so he decides to take a road trip to New Jersey where his body was buried and get the Heart of Damballa back. They pack themselves up and Tiffany pays neighbor girl Jade to take them there. Jade is avoiding her domineering uncle, and Chucky and Tiffany leave a trail of bodies along the way. Tiffany and Chucky even reignite their relationship and have sex at a wedding chapel hotel. Eventually they reveal themselves to Jade and her boyfriend, holding them hostage, then arrive at the scene of the body.
Digging up Ray’s body, they find the amulet and begin the ceremony. Tiffany has a last-minute change of heart, stabbing Chucky to stop him from transferring their souls into Jade and her boyfriend, and the two of them fight until Chucky deals Tiffany a fatal blow. Jade takes the gun from a police officer and shoots Chucky several times, killing him.
The next morning, the officer is looking at the crime scene and pokes at Tiffany’s body to make sure she is dead. She wakes and screams, then gives birth to some monstrous-looking creature and finally dies. The creature attacks the officer.
Six years later, we see Glen (or Glenda), the child of Tiffany and Chucky, trapped in a sideshow in the UK and pretending to be a ventriloquist dummy. He dreams of meeting his real parents.
Across the world, in Hollywood, Chucky and Tiffany are lifeless animatronic puppets being used in a film shoot called Chucky Goes Psycho, based on the Charles Lee Ray legend. Glen sees them on TV, believes they’re his parents, and heads to Hollywood. He revives them with the voodoo amulet.
Tiffany and Chucky immediately start looking for bodies to possess, and Tiffany decides on Jennifer Tilly, star of the Chucky movie. But she wants Tilly to have babies for her first, so she knocks Tilly and her lover (Redman, playing himself) unconscious and inseminates Tilly with Chucky’s seed.
A handful of deaths later (including Britney Spears), Tilly is pregnant and ready to give birth, but Tiffany and Chucky are having relationship troubles regarding how to raise Glen/da, who has dual personalities. Tilly gives birth to twins Glen and Glenda, and Tiffany is ready to possess her, but Chucky decides he’s not interested in becoming a person again. They fight, with Tiffany trying to possess Tilly, but Chucky kills her. This enrages Glen/da, who kills Chucky with some assistance from Tilly.
Tilly is throwing a birthday party for her son Glen. She murders her nanny, and her glowing green eyes reveal that Tiffany DID finish the ritual and has taken over Tilly. Glen opens his last birthday present to find Chucky’ s severed arm inside. It reaches up and grabs his throat, starting to choke him.
Sarah Pierce is living with her daughter Nica in a big, empty house. A package is delivered there, and a Chucky doll is contained inside. Later that night, screams awaken Nica, and she finds her mother’s body, apparently having fallen from the balcony.
Nica’s sister, Barb, comes to the house with her nanny, her husband Ian, their daughter Jill, and a minister. Barb is there to convince Nica to go to a care home since Sarah isn’t alive to care for her anymore. Throughout the night, they discuss the issue, with the group staying for dinner and Barb’s family deciding to stay the night.
Chucky poisons the chili which kills the minister on his drive home. The family watches home movies, and Nica notices a mysterious man watching the family in the background. She asks Barb who it is, but she doesn’t know. While the rest of the family heads to bed, it is revealed that Barb is having an affair with the nanny. Nica does some research about the creepy doll in the house, since it keeps popping up in strange places.
She discovers all the killings connected to the doll (with references to each of the killings from the previous films), and tries to warn Barb, but Barb wants to find the doll because Ian hid a camera on it to catch her cheating on him. She finds Chucky, then notices some make-up on his face. She peels it away to reveal all the scars and cracks from Chucky, confirming he is the real Chucky.
Chucky kills her, attacks Nica, kills Ian, and tries to find Alice, who is gone. Chucky throws Nica off the balcony, and while she lays helpless on the floor, he tells her who he is and how it was him who stabbed Sarah in the belly and damaged Nica… and he was the one who killed Sarah by stabbing her.
Nica fights with Chucky, and just as she almost has him beaten, a police officer shows up. He sees the scene and Nica with a knife.
Nica is found guilty of the murders and is sentenced to a hospital for the criminally insane. The cop steals the remains of Chucky from evidence and takes them to his car, only to find that it’s still breathing. Before he can do anything, however, Tiffany/Tilly pops up from the back seat and slashes his throat, then takes Chucky with her.
Tiffany/Tilly mails Chucky out in a box again, and he arrives at Alice’s grandmother’s house. Chucky grabs Alice and begins the incantation as the grandmother pops up from the floor with a bag over her face, still alive.
Grown-up Andy Barclay is on the phone with his mother, talking about coming to see her for his birthday. In the background, a knife pokes up out of a package he received in the mail. Chucky bursts forth from the package to find Andy waiting for him, shotgun pointed at his face. Chucky shouts Andy’s name, and Andy shoots.
Nica is still in a psychiatric facility, working with a therapist who is trying to convince her that Chucky was just part of her imagination. Andy is still alive and still not over the events of his childhood. Chucky is back and ready for killing at the institute, and Tiffany/Tilly is apparently still around…
Is Tiffany/Tilly still helping Chucky? Do Andy and Nica meet? Is there more shared history we don’t know about? How does it all end?
Find out in Cult of Chucky, releasing October 3, 2017!