Slasher icons are often inspired by real-life serial killers or terrifying concepts that kept the creator up at night. For example, the creation of Leatherface and Normal Bates was partially inspired by the brutal acts of Ed Gein. However, even characters like Chucky share a connection to multiple historical killers.
In Child's Play, Chucky's full name is Charles Lee Ray. At first, the name just seems like another catchy moniker in the vein of Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers. But in reality, each word represents a killer from American history. While their actions didn't inspire the sadistic kills of Chucky, the names mirror how cold-blooded the character can be.
Chucky's first name, Charles, is a callback to Charles Manson. Though Manson never killed anyone himself, he led a small cult that would do his bidding. One of his demands was for his followers to kill actress Sharon Tate and six others, including her unborn child. So even though Manson was only a conspirator, the real terror comes from his ability to manipulate and convince others to do such unspeakable acts.
Chucky's middle name, Lee, is in reference to Lee Harvey Oswald, the man known for assassinating President John F. Kennedy. Following the assassination, he was also charged with killing police officer J.D. Tippit. Lee's act created one of the saddest days in American history and birthed a massive conspiracy regarding the event's circumstances. Ironically, a similar conspiracy would follow Chucky as no one could believe a doll could kill so many people.
Chucky's last name, Ray, refers to another assassin who went by the name of James Earl Ray. Ray is known for assassinating civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Following his arrest, Ray would later claim that the assassination was a conspiracy and the real killer was a man named Raul. While it's clear that Ray was the one to pull the trigger, the conspiracy aspect serves as another connection to the name and the film character it inspired.
There's never been any doubt that Chucky is one of the most sadistic killers in cinema and television. His love of violence has reached legendary status, and even after decades, so few in the films believe he even exists. By naming the character after these infamous killers, it adds an even more sinister stigma. But with so much conspiracy and manipulation tactics surrounding these people, it's hard not to think that they've somehow affected Chucky's personality as well.
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