Ahh, the '80s and early '90s — truly the best time in the world to be a slasher-flick fan. There are tons of iconic horror-film icons that have emerged from this time period. Sure, Michael Myers technically arrived in the late '70s, but there are still other Halloween movies that came out during that decade, so it still counts.
While each of these monstrous villains come in all shapes and sizes, one of the most iconic pint-sized ones is Chucky. But why is the doll's real name Charles Lee Ray?
There are some interesting theories as to why Chucky is named Charles Lee Ray.
If you've been keeping up with Chucky since the original Child's Play film in 1988, then you'll know that the series has transformed a lot since its first feature film release.
While the new SyFy series based on the movie icon is more of a metaphor for reconciling with one's sexuality during formative years, the original movie's premise was a bit more ... horror-movie-ey.
Chucky, the film's titular character and murderous doll, was actually a human being before becoming a toy hell-bent on carnage.
The original Child's Play begins with police tracking down notorious serial killer Charles Lee Ray, who looks a lot like Tommy Wiseau. Ray tries to escape authorities but is ultimately gunned down. Before he dies, however, he sees a "Good Guy" doll.
Now not only is Charles fond of killing people, but he's also fond of practicing voodoo. So before he dies, he casts a magical spell to transfer his soul over to the body of the Chucky doll.
Which sets in motion the events of the Child's Play film where he gets all stabby stabby.
The name of the serial killer in the film franchise has some fans scratching their heads, however, because it sounds like an amalgamation of famed historical villains all rolled into one.
And that's because there's a long-standing fan theory that this is the exactly the case: If you visit the film's IMDb page under the "trivia" section, there's an entry that states his name is derived from three infamous killers: Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.
Manson is of course notoriously remembered for his involvement with the Manson Family cult along with the Tate–LaBianca murders. Lee Harvey Oswald is the man who (reportedly) killed U.S. president John F. Kennedy Jr., and James Earl Ray is the man who murdered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..
The first 'Chucky' draft was more of a psychological horror than slasher flick.
The initial screenplay for the film was completed in 1985 and had more in common with The Babadook than the murderous-doll rampage flick that launched the killer doll into horror-movie-icon territory.
As Don Mancini, who wrote all seven Chucky movies, told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 about the original script: "So the way that the doll came to life was that because Andy is a lonely kid — no dad around, his mom is a busy working mother — in that classic rite of brotherhood he cuts his own thumb and the doll’s thumb so they’ll be best friends forever —‘friends ’til the end’ — and after that the murders start.”
“Chucky was like an expression of the kid’s unconscious rage,” he said of the more psychological story, adding that Chucky only came alive when Andy was asleep.
So a killer manifestation of a neglected child vs. a voodoo serial killer: What do you think would make for a better scary movie premise?