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New show ‘Chucky’ brings famous killer doll to life on television screens

Zackary Arthur as Jake Wheeler in "Chucky."
Photo: Steve Wilkie/SYFY

A horror movie staple starring everyone’s favorite homicidal doll is coming to the home screens just in time for the spooky season.

“Chucky” revolves around the infamous red-haired doll of the “Child’s Play” series, who is found by Jake Wheeler, played by Zackary Arthur, a queer teen who is grappling with the recent death of his mother. Wheeler finds a vintage Chucky doll at a yard sale and buys him, and since then the town has been thrown into disarray as a series of horrifying murders begin to expose the town’s hypocrisies and secrets.

“I’ve always been into horror. Chucky is such a cool thing, there’s not a single person who doesn’t know about the ‘Child’s Play’ series,” said Arthur. “I remember reading about this new show, and thought I’ll audition for this. I was reading the script, it was so well written. I am super excited to do this show.”

In addition to the mysterious murders plaguing the town, “Chucky” explores Wheeler’s life as he comes to terms with his sexuality while living with his dad. Naturally, his world is turned upside down when he finds Chucky.

“Jake is a very creative kid. His mother passed away and he’s living with father who doesn’t quite accept him,” said Arthur. “He’s coming into sexuality, but he’s bullied in school because he’s different. He picks up Chucky, and stuff goes awry.”

The show dives deeper into the origin story of the Chucky doll, voiced by Brad Dourif (who has voiced Chucky in the past) and several actors from the original films are set to appear throughout the season, including Jennifer Tilly, Fiona Dourif, Alex Vincent and Christine Elise. Actors Devon Sawa and Lexa Doig also join the cast as new characters.

Arthur says that because “Chucky” is taking place as a television show rather than as another installment in the “Child’s Play” franchise, it gives the writers more room to explore and play around with the characters and plot of the show.

“It’s definitely super scary and really gory, a lot more than the last ones,” said Arthur. “Because we have eight hours of real estate, we can really develop characters more. There’s no CGI at all, the Chucky doll is a puppet. Even on set, it’s super creepy.”

With Chucky being a real doll on set, it adds to the creepiness factor not just on the set, but also for viewers at home. Though being on set helps make the show less scary, Arthur says it can be tough to get used to the real doll.

“There’s a creepy atmosphere when you’re filming it, but you when you get to see how everything works, it takes the scariness factor out of it when you’re filming it,” said Arthur. “There are scenes where the doll turns its head fast, I don’t think you can get used to that.”

Despite the doll being the same old Chucky we all know and love, Arthur says that this new show is not just your average horror show and will touch on themes that most audiences can relate to.

“This show hits a lot of different points and problems in the world today, I hope it helps a lot of people. People can empathize with the different characters, maybe see why the bullies are bullies,” said Arthur. “It’s not just a horror show, it deals with all the problems. It’s not just killing like some other horror movies, it has more layers of substance.”

“Chucky” premieres on Syfy and USA Network at 10 p.m. on Oct. 12. You can follow Arthur on Instagram @1zackaryarthur.

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