Remarkably, the Child’s Play franchise has lasted over thirty-five years since the first films release in 1988, spanning across six sequels to the original story, an unnecessary remake, and two seasons of a television series with a third season on its way. It’s one of the rare horror franchises currently running that not only has had a consistent continuity, but is also from the same creative team of Don Mancini and David Kirschner – with the only exception to this being the remake which was only made because MGM still had the rights to the first film, despite Kirschner and Mancini bringing the franchise over to Universal beginning with ‘Child’s Play 2’ (1990) and still going strong at the time the remake went into development, but it was out of their hands. Regardless of the remake’s existence, the actual ‘Child’s Play’ series continues to thrive as one continuing storyline with each film written by the same person.
And now we finally have a documentary that chronicles this still growing franchise and the people behind its success.
Kyra Elise Gardner’s ‘Living with Chucky’ touches on the evolving genre at the time Chucky first entered the scene in 1988, the bond formed between producer David Kirschner and writer Don Mancini, and goes through each of the seven films with remarks from various cast, crew and other celebrities as they weigh in on the behind-the-scenes developments and their experiences, as well as fan reception to them. But the focus of this documentary isn’t so much about the films themselves, it’s about celebrating the familial bond that has formed between those involved in the making of these.
‘Living with Chucky’ isn’t an objective documentary like ‘Never Sleep Again’ and ‘Crystal Lake Memories’. While it does offer some interesting insights into the making of these films, it doesn’t spend a great deal of time on examining each of them, and sometimes speeds through a few of the sequels a little too quickly. It’s instead a more personal and intimate look at the franchise’s legacy, on the screen and behind it, made from someone who grew up admiring the work of her father, Tony Gardner, who took over Special Effects duties on the franchise beginning with ‘Seed of Chucky’ (2004), and it effectively highlights her love and respect for her second family. The last half hour is where the theme of the documentary is hammered down, and it features some genuinely nice moments between Brad and Fiona Dourif, Tony and Kyra Elise Gardner, Jennifer Tilly, Don Mancini, David Kirschner, Christine Elise, Alex Vincent, and etc.
There are plenty of fascinating tidbits for fans to chew on; Brad Dourif offers his perspective on the mental challenges and loneliness of doing the voice work, there is a thoughtful discussion on the reception to ‘Seed of Chucky’ and the inclusion of Glen and Glenda, and they reflect on the passionate fandom that fuels this franchise, plus more!
This documentary was made out of love and it shows. If you’re a fan of this franchise, this is definitely worth a watch.
The feature documentary will stream exclusively on SCREAMBOX on April 4. It will also be available on VOD platforms the same day via Cinedigm and Bloody Disgusting before hitting Blu-ray on April 18.