“The Child’s Play Remake Shouldn’t Have Happened Without Don Mancini”
The Child’s Play 2019 remake wasn’t the worst remake of a horror movie ever, but it didn’t have the same magic without the franchise creator, Don Mancini, and shouldn’t have been made without his involvement for several reasons.
Don Mancini created the Child’s Play movies in 1988, thirty-one years before the remake hit theaters. Alongside other major slasher franchises like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th, Mancini’s Chucky is one of the most merchandisable, recognizable, and iconic fictional villains in horror history, and for good reason. The franchise has spawned six sequels, comic books, and a video game along with endless types of merchandise, and will be made into an upcoming eight-part series for SyFy. Mancini was nowhere near done with the project, and brought Chucky back after a long hiatus with Curse of Chucky in 2013 after Seed of Chucky in 2004.
Mancini was smart to bring the killer doll back in a direct-to-video format and utilized streaming services like Netflix to find a new audience. MGM announced their decision to reboot the franchise in 2018, but said they wouldn’t be using the same creative minds behind the original franchise. Though the film had a $10 million dollar budget and a notorious name, it only managed to gross a mere $44.9 million at the box office. Clearly, moving forward without Mancini’s endorsement – or attachment – was a huge mistake.
Director Lars Klevberg’s vision for Child’s Play involved a high-tech doll, Buddi, who starts to display violent tendencies after being activated by Andy and ultimately goes off the rails. There’s no voodoo curse here put into action by a violent serial killer; this film serves as more a social commentary – in the bloodiest form – of the pitfalls of technology and how something so innocent and seemingly positive can go terribly wrong. In the remake, the reason for the dolls turning bad is because of a disgruntled employee of a multinational company, Kaslan Technologies, who is abruptly fired and decides to disable one doll’s safety protocols as a middle finger to their former employer.
This story harkens back to the Furby craze, when kids were over the moon about the opportunity to get a robotic toy that could interact with and learn from them. Similar themes have also been explored in films like the Into the Dark episode, Pooka!. However, while some critics praised the remake for being original and modern along with bloody and over-the-top, but a few commented on its distant lack of humor that is directly related to Child’s Play‘s creator along with Chucky’s long-time voice actor, Brad Dourif. Mancini was asked to be an executive producer on the movie, but declined. Mancini has been quoted as outwardly admitting his feelings were hurt by the new movie being made. Said Mancini, “when someone says, oh yeah we would love to have your name on the film… it was hard not to feel like I was being patronized. They just wanted our approval. Which I strenuously denied them”.
Mancini has noted that MGM’s decision to go on without him and use his franchise could potentially affect his livelihood, but it seems that most fans of the franchise have stuck by him. After all, according to Mancini himself, “… I did create the character and nurture the franchise for three f***ing decades“. His upcoming television series, Chucky, is highly-anticipated, and Mancini will surely have big ideas for the Child’s Play franchise in the future, and hopefully won’t face more competition, should a sequel from MGM be ordered.
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