Each week Joe Lipsett will highlight a key scene or interaction in Don Mancini’s Chucky series to consider how the show is engaging with and contributing to queer horror.
After last week’s premiere tackled concerns about coming out to unsupportive parents, it’s fascinating to see parents back at the center of attention – albeit in a slightly different way – in Chucky’s second episode.
Thus far, Chucky has adhered closely to the tropes of a young adult/coming of age property, so it makes sense that there is a marked division between the teens on the show and the adults. In the first episode this was explored primarily through Jake (Zackary Arthur)’s relationship with his father Luke, but creator Don Mancini and co-writer Kim Garland expand on this idea in “Give Me Something Good To Eat.”
In this busy second episode, each teen character of note has a scene that illustrates the complicated dynamic they have with their parent(s):
- Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind) feels unsupported by hers, particularly in contrast with her (obviously sociopathic) younger sister Caroline (Carina Battrick) who receives plenty of praise for her artistic abilities.
- Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson) is actively lying to his mother, Detective Evans (Rachelle Casseus) about his interest in Jake, and also possibly about his queer identity.
- Even Junior (Teo Briones), who has incredibly supportive parents in Logan (Devon Sawa) and Bree (Lexa Doig), is unable to convey how pressured he feels to perform well.
And then there’s Jake and his new surrogate father/mentor figure, Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif). The red headed doll gets into plenty of trouble in this episode – from killing the housekeeper to “tricking” a neighbor into taking a bite of a razor blade embedded-apple – but the most vital scene from a queer horror perspective is what appears to be a simple conversation between doll and owner.
In Jake’s darkened bedroom, Chucky confides that he’s protecting Jake because they both want the same thing. By episode’s end, Chucky literally encourages the teen to take up arms, but Chucky first reveals that he is father to Glen/Glenda in order to get into Jake’s good graces.
It’s a significant scene for a few reasons. Glen/Glenda hasn’t been seen since Seed of Chucky (2004), which is the last entry in the film franchise to go to theatres. That film received extremely negative reviews, thanks primarily to its very self-aware, campy tone (if you want a deep dive, check out the Horror Queers episode on it). While Bride of Chucky dabbled in similar content, that film proved nowhere near as polarizing thanks to the introduction of Jennifer Tilly’s Tiffany.
To be clear, Chucky’s proud acknowledgement of Glen/Glenda’s existence, as well as their non-binary, gender fluid status, isn’t revelatory (by the end of Seed, Chucky is fully accepting of them, which is one of the reasons the long running franchise is also horror’s most queer friendly). One of the big developments in Seed, of course, is that Chucky’s acceptance of Glen/Glenda was superseded by his fixation of cultivating their murderous impulses.
In this way, Seed ultimately confirmed that Chucky is more than happy to be a proud papa…so long as his child is a killer like him. And it’s clear from “Give Me Something Good To Eat” that he has similar designs for Jake.
Unlike the other parents on the series who can’t speak their teens’ language, Chucky has the ability to talk the LGBTQ talk, thereby rendering himself cool and relatable to a queer, bullied outsider like Jake. The way Chucky gets Jake to trust him (and, in the process get him started down a murderous path) is by sharing his own relationship to the queer community. “I’m not a monster,” Chucky clarifies to Jake when pressed about his feelings regarding Glen/Glenda’s genderqueer status…and with that he begins grooming a new killer.
It’s nefarious and more than a little predatory, but it’s also exactly what we have come to expect from Chucky. After all, we’ve been down this path before in Seed of Chucky.
Chucky airs every Tuesday on Syfy. For more coverage, see Meagan’s review of episode two.