Yes, you read that right. Chunky! No, it’s not a typo, but the pronunciation of an icon’s name by my 5-year-old daughter. Has she seen Child’s Play? No. IT? No. Halloween? No. However, that has not stopped her from running to every piece of horror merchandise on the racks, reaching for a movie from the shelf, or digging through my collection of horror comics (not reading, of course). Needless to say, I’m stoked that she is showing an interest in one of my favorite fandoms, but she’s still years away from being able to dig deep into the genre. We just made it through Gremlins, so we’ve got some road to cover before we take a trip to Haddonfield or help Father Merrin with that pesky demon Pazuzu.
I’ve written before about the importance of the horror genre and what it means to me. My horror comic reviews sound like broken records, but I can’t help it; the genre has always been there for me.
Let’s get back to Chunky and Child’s Play. A super fun franchise with a loyal and adoring fanbase. No matter what incarnation of Chunky we get, we can’t get enough. From Brad Dourif to Jennifer Tilly, to Alex Vincent, to Don Mancini, to Christopher Sarandon to Mark Hamill. We can’t get enough of that psychotic but loveable doll. Wait, doll? Yes, Chunky is a doll.
We’ve all heard the jokes. We’ve all talked about how we would “handle Chunky.” And now my daughter has gotten into the conversation.
Daughter: Daddy, Chunky’s a doll, right?
Me: Yes, CHUCKY is a doll.
Daughter: Daddy, do you wanna know how I would beat Chunky?
Me: Sure! – *my wife is in tears, laughing.
Daughter: I would kick Chunky in the face and throw him in the trash!
Me: Sweet plan! What happens when CHUCKY climbs out of the trash?
Daughter: I didn’t think of that
Chunky is not the only face of the genre she talks about and wants to know more about. Pennywise has now entered into the discussion. It’s still a resounding no. But we answer her questions about the characters while keeping it on her level of understanding. The one constant has been Chunky, and at least once a week, she asks to watch Child’s Play, and the answer hasn’t changed as she has some time before we’ll jump into that section of the library. She gets so jazzed when she sees certain horror characters. She can’t wait to tell me she saw a Halloween decoration with Pennywise, Michael Myers (“that guy with the white face that you love so much.” As she puts it), etc., and that’s rad!
I think back to my first fully watched horror movie, I was about 9, and it was Halloween. My oldest brother dressed up as Michael Myers; mask, coveralls, knife (the one from the butcher block), the whole nine. I believe it was the scene where the shape was standing across from Tommy Doyle’s house right after he killed Annie. I heard a noise in the kitchen, and there was my brother just standing there. I then ran out of the house and down the street. Little did I know that would kick off my love for the genre. I don’t have any plans to scar my daughter as my brother did to me, but she does laugh at the story and asks for me to tell it to her often.
I don’t know if my love of horror will transfer over. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too. When it’s time for her to watch her first horror movie, I plan on it being Child’s Play; she’s earned it with her blind love for Chunky.
Sam Loomis is a character that is very near and dear to me. That whole franchise has been a stable post to lean on during tough times. I don’t know if Child’s Play or Chunky will be that for my daughter, but the great thing is that a movie/franchise I’ve loved since its release in 1988 is getting ready to crossover to yet another generation, and that is awesome! There’s nothing like the horror fandom, and I know my daughter will be welcomed with open arms. It’s characters like Chunky and franchises like Child’s Play that bring the joy of the community together to celebrate what we love. We love horror, and we love being scared.
So, to Don Mancini and everyone involved with Child’s Play, thank you for the scares, laughs, and entertainment. But most importantly, thank you for being a part of our lives.
Comics, Culture, & More: Hi, I’m Chunky. Wanna Play?: When Horror Becomes a Family Heirloom
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