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Child’s Play: Chucky’s Human Name Was Inspired By Three Real Murderers -BB

Child’s Play killer doll Chucky began his fictional life as a human serial killer named Charles Lee Ray, and that moniker has a special significance. While the 2019 Child’s Play remake has its fans, and Mark Hamill did an admirable job trying to make Chucky his own, one aspect that proved much less dramatically intriguing is Chucky’s origin. In the remake, Chucky is the result of a rogue programmer at a Vietnamese factory that dies by suicide not long after. In the original, the Chucky doll contains the soul of a brutal murderer.

While stories of evil A.I. are nothing new, and Child’s Play 2019 pulled off the concept in an entertaining way, the idea will just never be as interesting as putting a human monster inside the body of a doll designed to befriend small children. It’s a concept both off-putting and creepy as hell, but unlike with most genres, both those qualities can often be quite welcome when found within a horror film.

As has become a vital part of Child’s Play lore, Chucky was formerly a serial killer in the Chicago area that police dubbed The Lakeshore Strangler, but was really named Charles Lee Ray. When he’s hunted down by Detective Mike Norris at the beginning of the original film, Charles uses voodoo to transfer his soul into a Good Guy doll, rather than die or be taken alive. It turns out the name Charles Lee Ray isn’t just a random combination.

Chucky’s human name, Charles Lee Ray, was inspired by three distinct, yet almost equally terrible murderers. Starting off, his first name, Charles, was inspired by cult-leading psychopath Charles Manson, who orchestrated nine murders in 1969, and finally died in prison in 2017. Many would contend that Manson didn’t kill anyone himself, but that’s a very thin line, and he was charged with first-degree murder in multiple cases.

Chucky’s middle name, Lee, hails from Lee Harvey Oswald, the man ultimately blamed for the 1963 assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy, although conspiracy theorists still love to proclaim that he was a patsy framed for the crime by people with powerful connections. Oswald was himself later shot and killed by a man named Jack Ruby. Finally, Chucky’s last name, Ray, comes courtesy of James Earl Ray, the man convicted of assassinating civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Ray died in prison in 1998, after serving 29 years of his 99-year sentence for the murder. It’s not hard to imagine why Child’s Play creator Don Mancini found inspiration in these historical villains for his notorious doll serial killer, as they’re all names that carry with them a certain level of infamy.

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