Warning: this post contains spoilers for Chucky season 1, episode 1.
Chucky Episode 1 saw the iconic villain unleash his unique style of horror in Hackensack, New Jersey – here’s why he chose that city and how it relates to his origin. Since Don Mancini created it in 1988, the voice of Brad Dourif Chucky has taken a variety of venues by storm. In his human form, the serial killer was dubbed the Lakeshore Strangler and terrorized Chicago for years. After Charles Lee Ray transferred himself to a doll in Child’s play, kept the same grounds for a few more outings before moving on. Subsequently, Chucky targeted a distant military academy in Child’s Play 3, took a road trip in Bride of chucky, and then resurrected in Los Angeles to The Seed of Chucky.
After an extended hiatus, the titular doll returned for 2013. Chucky curse. In a more centralized murder spree, he wiped out the extended Pierce family solely within the confines of their home. Cult of chucky followed a similar formula, with the killer doll terrorizing patients and staff at Harrogate Psychiatric Hospital. With the end of Cult of chucky, Mancini directly configured Chucky. In the process, he promised a much wider playing field for each of Chucky’s cinematic forms to inhabit and unleash chaos.
With Chucky Season 1, Episode 1, “Death By Misadventure”, the show has already started to deliver on that promise. the Child’s play The franchise has been characterized by frequent reinventions and changes of tone, which is why the choice to move to Hackensack, New Jersey allowed Chucky to continue that trend and embody the tropes of the classic genre. The idea of a seemingly idyllic suburban town turned upside down by a blood-soaked carnage is a staple of other horror franchises like Hallowe’en or a nightmare on elm street. By adopting it, Chucky ticked another box by demonstrating its franchise versatility and also set the type of tributes and knowledge references Child’s play has become known for – everything as the red-haired demon takes Chucky The new and recurring cast of characters from 2021, one by one.
As teased in the final moments of Chucky Season 1, Episode 1, “Death Unfortunately,” Hackensack is also the hometown of Charles Lee Ray. That fact was actually revealed during the aforementioned road trip in Bride of chucky. Long before Chucky decided that he loved to ruin lives as an unassuming doll, he tried to revert to a human body. In the service of that search, he aimed to recover an amulet that was buried with his human corpse. When the journey began, Chucky revealed that his grave was in Hackensack, New Jersey. That’s also where Chucky’s own gender-fluid (and somewhat murderous) son was born and a propitious place to spread his “cult” even further, currently through Jake (Zackary Arthur). As such, Chucky chose that city as his goal was not random. Instead, it was a homecoming that will give the last chapter of the Child’s play film/Chucky saga something like a full circle border.
Just one episode in the Chucky TV show, it’s nearly impossible to determine your larger plan for Hackensack, NJ. However, as Tiffany teases Jennifer Tilly in the trailer, there is definitely one. Similarly, it is unclear whether Chucky it is being designed as a general conclusion or if Mancini already has future outlets in mind. There is always the possibility that Chucky will serve as both: ending things but allowing him the potential to return (as he always does). Using Hackensack as a setting would give the show an element of conclusion, with things ending where they actually began and perhaps among the descendants of some original victims. As much as Hackensack is the perfect place to finally tell Charles Lee Ray AKA Chucky the entire childhood backstory, it’s also the perfect place for a final showdown that Chucky has been building for over 30 years.