Two evil dolls, Chucky of the Child’s Play franchise and Annabelle of The Conjuring universe, star in two fresh installments within the next few weeks. Their brands of badness greatly differ, so which one is more fearsome? Chucky specializes in humorous and campy violence, and since he was fashioned as one of the fictional Good Guys dolls, he’s mostly made of plastic with wild hair. Whereas Annabelle largely delivers genuine scares through atmospheric dread and an often-unseen demonic force, with a slightly more complex appearance to explain — initially crafted like Raggedy Ann, she’s both a real-life paranormal artifact in Ed and Lorraine Warren’s museum but also reimagined as a vintage porcelain doll in James Wan’s swath of horror movies.
Surely, one of them is more worthy of avoiding in a dark alley. We can also guess which is most likely to avoid sequelitis while we’re here. First, let’s list the movies each doll has appeared within before starting the spooky showdown.
Chucky: The main antagonist/villain of seven already released movies, including Child’s Play (1988), Child’s Play 2 (1990), Child’s Play 3 (1991), Bride of Chucky (1998), Seed of Chucky (2004), Curse of Chucky (2013), and Cult of Chucky (2017). There’s another on the way, the Child’s Play reboot (2019).
Annabelle: The Nick Fury-esque figure (credit to Josh Kurp for that analogy) of her universe and main villain of Annabelle (2014), Annabelle: Creation (2017), and the upcoming Annabelle Comes Home (2019). The doll also raised varying degrees of hell in the The Conjuring (2013), The Conjuring 2 (2016), and The Curse of La Llorona (2019) while taking a breather for The Nun (2018).
Dolls can neither be bargained nor reasoned with, but only one can be the most evil of the pair. This determinative point system is admittedly arbitrary, but horror movies don’t demand logic, only that we’re evaluating mostly based on already released projects.
Longevity And Box-Office Prowess
Yes, Chucky’s been holding on for three full decades of installments. However, Annabelle’s packed more of a spooky punch in a shorter amount of time. Even when she’s not the main evil player, she serves as a jumping-off point for other films, so it’s not a stretch to give her full franchise credit (she was the most terrifying aspect of the first The Conjuring movie), and the box-office further tells the tale. Even if we’re only talking about U.S. success and adjusting both for inflation, Child’s Play pulled in $250 million for the five movies that played in theaters, whereas The Conjuring boasts $577 million.
Chucky’s toolbox includes immortality and a bizarre voodoo-spell proficiency for his power moves (while transferring his soul into the doll and, later, attempting to escape doll confines and possess the body of Andy, his childhood “friend to the end”). Often enough, though, his abilities are confined to wielding an omnipresent knife or executing old-fashioned, blunt-force trauma.
Annabelle’s skill set isn’t outwardly impressive since she apparently sits there and does nothing while things literally go to hell around her. Yet that’s actually her most unsettling quality. Even though we never actually see Annabelle move, she manages to transport herself in a disconcerting way. Want to throw her in a dumpster? She’ll reappear back inside the house in an instant. Not only is the doll a conduit, but the demonic spirit who occupies her is capable of telekinesis, mind control, manipulation, and other assorted trickery — like ripping a child out of a staircase chair and exerting a most frightening shoe-drop maneuver.
What The Hell Do They Want?
Chucky — Wants out of that doll’s body. Kinda lame!
Annabelle — Wants “your soul.” More badass.
Obligatory Window Death Scene Showdown
This is where things start to shift. Chucky, during his first kill (at least as a doll), pulls his first hammer move in Child’s Play as a swift attack on Andy’s Aunt Maggie, who staggers backward and falls out the window to her death. This is initially considered an accident by detectives until tiny footprints are found on the kitchen floor, and Andy gets fingered as a suspect even though he matches Chucky’s shoes to the prints. A strong power move from the little bugger.
At the end of Annabelle, the demonic doll, who’s already done some killing in her prequel, inspires Evelyn (who’s trying to atone for her own child’s death) to sacrifice herself and jump from the window while clutching Annabelle in order to somehow save Mia’s baby from being possessed by the demon. It’s a weak, anticlimactic resolution that mainly serves to ensure the survival of WASP-y characters who never really connected with the audience in a film that aims to channel every Hitchcock trope in existence.
Talks? (A silly question but seems pretty relevant.)
Chucky’s constantly mouthing off, and Brad Dourif’s voice shall be replaced by that of Mark Hamill, sounding a lot like his Joker, in the reboot.
Does Annabelle speak? Nope. Doesn’t say jack.
Origin Story Ranking
Chucky’s really a serial killer, Charles Lee Ray, who managed, in a move of voodoo-fueled desperation after being shot in a department store, to utter a chant that not only sparked lightning but transferred him into a doll’s body. The toy was then stolen and sold to the mother of Andy, who was terrorized through subsequent films after Chucky figured out that the way to escape doll form was to possess the body of the first person to realize that he’s alive. Meanwhile, Annabelle’s franchise took multiple films to piece together the doll’s demonic origins. Why was she obsessed with crayons? Who was making that horrible knocking sound? Not all of the dots seamlessly connected, but a pair of grieving parents (one of whom was a dollmaker) resorted to black magic in an attempt to resurrect their daughter after a fatal accident. Sadly, they listened to a demon who fooled them into allowing him to use the ceramic toy as an evil conduit. This gets awfully confusing, but an orphan called Annabelle, who lived with the dollmaker couple, went on to join a Manson-like cult and commit murder next door to another couple who had acquired the same doll. Annabelle slit her own throat while holding the doll, which reinserts the demon entity into the toy. Convoluted, yes, but this packed some scare-filled punches.
Chucky must manually turn off the gas before turning on a stove, while hoping (successfully) that his former partner in crime will fire a gun. It works.
Annabelle can conjure up enough telekinetic energy to turn on the stove and make popcorn go crazy, sparking an inferno. God only knows how this moment not only became a selling point but a successful one, since this isn’t even close to her most impressive spooky feat.
Partners In Crime
Most notably, Bride of Chucky saw Chucky reunite with Tiffany, who’d been hunting her ex-lover in doll form for over a decade. No one ever accused this (or any of the other Child’s Play movies) of being good, but their Bonnie & Clyde chemistry delighted. Meanwhile, Annabelle has historically been a loner. Although it’s presumed that she can influence the rest of the haunted artifacts in the Warrens’ museum, we don’t truly know to what extent this can happen.
A Guess About The Upcoming Movies
The Child’s Play reboot will (according to the synopsis) modify Chucky’s origin story by removing the serial killer/voodoo angle and emphasizing the inherent evils of technology. Basically, he’ll be hacked by someone who deliberately aims to alter his operating system while eliminating all safety measures, so he can, uh, control a smart home. This prospect makes star Mark Hamill quite nervous about audience reception, as he should be, given that tech-fearing themes have been overplayed by horror films already, and even Black Mirror‘s take is getting tired. Whereas Annabelle will presumably soon become a ringleader in Annabelle Comes Home, which James Wan previously described as like “Night Of The Museum,” but “Annabelle basically activates all the other haunted artifacts in that room.”
Winner: Annabelle? (Sounds legit.)
Annabelle: 4; Chucky: 3.
Yes, I gave Annabelle a point from the future, given that the demonic doll is set to add several new evil friends to her cache of skills, rather than reboot her origin story and remake an initial entry in an unnecessary-sounding way. One can also bet that Annabelle Comes Home — within a cinematic universe that won’t quit — could become one of the only non-Avengers summer blockbusters (other than John Wick 3, of course) to surpass the dreaded sequelitis trend that’s plagued this year.
‘Child’s Play’ arrives on June 21, 2019, and ‘Annabelle Comes Home’ spooks theaters on June 26, 2019.