The second season of Chucky starts on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Syfy/USA Network
NEW YORK, Oct. 4 (UPI) — Brad Dourif said the voice of the demonic doll Chucky remains a challenge as his film and TV franchise — as well as the horror comedy genre itself — evolves.
Season 2 of chuckythe sequel to the popular 1988 films, will premiere Wednesday on Syfy and USA Network.
Once again, Dourif lends his voice to the evil, foul-mouthed titular toy possessed by the spirit of serial killer Charles Lee Ray.
Jennifer Tilly plays psychotic bombshell Tiffany, Ray’s girlfriend and Chucky’s protector, while Zackary Arthur, Bjorgvin Amarson and Alyvia Alyn Lind play Jake, Devon and Lexy respectively – the teenage Chucky terrorizing Ray’s hometown of Hackensack, NJ
The film’s creator, Don Mancini, is executive producer of the series.
“He’s really challenged me this year, I have to tell you,” Dourif, 72, said at a recent virtual press conference.
“I was really scared at times that I was going to do it [expletive] It’s a big deal,” the actor added. “He really, really pushed us to improve, so that’s all good. Being challenged is a good thing, especially for someone who considers himself a pensioner.”
Dourif praised Mancini for keeping Chucky relevant in 2022.
“Most of my development comes from his imagination,” said Dourif.
“I always felt that Don’s ability to grasp where the horror was going, how the genre was changing, and how Chucky was adapting was unique and extremely funny. He’s the reason this thing keeps working and why Jennifer and I still have jobs.”
One of the aspects of the role that most intrigues Dourif is how Ray’s evil essence was able to split into numerous similar-looking puppets, creating an army of bewitching assassins who do Ray’s bidding and render him seemingly invincible.
“When there are different chuckys, I do a different voice for each one, or at least a different type of low, middle and high notes,” Dourif said.
“There’s a bit of personality that comes from reading the script. And I go from beginning to end, in one character, and then go back to the beginning and do the second character. Go back and do the third figure,” he added. “That’s how I did it before this season and I’m not talking about anything related to this season. Because I’m going to be killed.”
Tilly said she thinks new incarnations of Chucky keep the franchise fresh and new for fans.
“It’s recognizable, but it gets a bit confused and they enjoy watching it,” the actress said.
“Brad gives them all different personalities, but they’re all still Chucky because Brad does the voices so brilliantly. They’re different aspects of Chucky’s character, the different Chuckys. I don’t think I’m going to spoil anything because there were a lot of Chuckys last season too.”
Mancini described Dourif’s performances as “indelible” and credits the actor — as well as the puppeteers, who make the puppets seem eerily real — for the franchise’s enduring appeal.
“Together they bring Chucky to life in a way that we can all take for granted on set,” Mancini said.
The television series works, he noted, because the films have set the precedent of serialized, ongoing, narrative storytelling over the decades.
“To be doing this now at an accelerated pace and going through eight hours of story per season is really exciting,” Mancini said.
“It allows us to delve more into the story and the characters’ relationships, take different paths, and explore characters that fans have wanted to know more about.”
This season, viewers can catch up with Glen/Glenda, Chucky and Tiffany’s only child, introduced in 1998 Chucky and his bride and played a pivotal role in 2004 Seeds by Chucky.
“Fans have wanted to know that since 2004,” Mancini teased.
Dourif and Tilly recalled the hilarious day they recorded their text for Chucky and Tiffany in puppet form – a scene where the newlyweds consummated their marriage and welcomed Glen/Glenda.
“Jennifer and I did all of that — the voice for all of that, the voice for just all of that — with microphones with glass between us,” Dourif said.
Tilly happily reported the experience.
“It’s really fun because we were the first to do sex with dolls. I know South Park had doll sex, [but it was] after we had our doll sex,” she said, recounting how in the film she and Dourif improvised a dirty joke about not needing a condom because the characters were dolls.
“So they had unprotected sex, which resulted in an unplanned pregnancy, which teaches the little ones a lesson,” Tilly quipped. “Doll sex is different than real sex, but it’s a lot of fun, especially when it’s with Brad.”
Although the TV show isn’t suitable for young children or the faint of heart, Mancini believes it explores real-life themes that young adults can relate to.
“Aesthetically, we love to do over-the-top stylistic, grandiose, visual stuff. And I think that’s how teenage emotions work. Teenagers’ emotions are exaggerated and big,” he said.
Dourif said he told the younger members chucky Cast that he was disappointed that he never gets to share scenes with them as their roles are live action and his dialogue is recorded separately and added to the episodes later.
“I’m so sad that I never had the opportunity to work with you guys,” he said. “I think your work is beautiful and you’ve done a really, really good job and I look forward to seeing it [additional dialog replacement] demonstrations.”
Season 2 picks up a year after the events of Season 1 and finds the three main human characters whisked away to a Catholic boarding school because their families and community believe the children – not Chucky – are to blame for the recent chaos that’s befalling their town . Of course, it doesn’t take long for Chucky to show up to haunt her new educational institution.
“Everything happened so fast and now everything is finally catching up with her emotions,” Lind said.
“They all got separated,” she added of the friends and Chucky survivors. “They can’t talk about the trauma they went through with anyone other than the other and they kind of lost touch at that point. So you have to hold everything down and just pretend everything’s fine when it’s definitely not.”
In Season 2, Lexy turns to drugs to cope while Devon and Jake struggle to keep their young long-distance romance alive.
“Devon wants to reconnect with Jake and try to build that relationship further, but it just doesn’t work out in the end,” Amarson said.
“They start to lose touch and there’s a lot of drama,” he said. “They’re trying really hard, especially Devon, to connect but he can’t seem to get through to Jake and that’s going to be a big deal.”
Arthur said Jake blames himself for their ordeal because he was the one who picked up the toddler-sized doll at a flea market with the intention of including it in an art project and had no idea the malevolent power he was unleashing.
“Jake is dealing with all of the blame that’s been thrown at him because he genuinely feels responsible for all of the damage that has been caused and the people that have been affected,” Arthur said.
“This relationship between him and Devon – you’ll see how that develops in this new environment and how Chucky reacts in this new environment.”