Back in August, we heard that Yellow Veil Pictures was looking for a distributor for the documentary Lives with Chuckywhich was directed and conceived by Kyra Elise Gardner, daughter of Tony Gardner, the chief puppeteer for most of the Chucky franchise. It didn’t seem like finding a distributor for such a project would be particularly difficult, and it wasn’t: Damn disgusting reports it Lives with Chucky will be released through Cinedigm’s Screambox streaming service in 2023.
Lives with Chucky said to explore the iconic Child’s play franchise through a personal and social perspective. The documentary uses new and archival footage to reveal the show’s cultural impact over the years, featuring the main cast, crew members including Don Mancini, Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Tony Gardner and David Kirshner, along with fans of the franchise such as Marlon Wayans, John Waters and Abigail Breslin.
Gardner had this to say about the Screambox deal: “I am very excited to work with Cinedigm to bring Lives with Chucky in the hands of Chucky and horror fans alike! Making this film has been a long, arduous process and such a labor of love Child’s play franchise. I can’t wait for viewers at home to see the heart that went into creating this film. I hope fans come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the cast and crew who have brought their favorite Good Guy to life for the past thirty years.“
Bloody Disgusting’s Brad Miska added: “From Lin Shaye to Alex Vincent, the franchise’s exceptional cast and tongue-in-cheek terror brought terror and delight to audiences of all ages. The knowledge and evil of the three-foot doll encapsulates everything that was great about 80s horror. It wasn’t afraid to be funny. It wasn’t afraid to be scary. In short, it wasn’t afraid of anything.“
Gardner has previously made the following statement:
I started the journey of making this film several years ago as a class assignment in film school. One semester we were asked to make short documentary films, a genre I despised as someone with ADHD. That was until I sawStories we tell,” which is a fascinating film that unravels a family’s secrets all from the filmmaker’s perspective. It showed me how intimate documentaries could feel and inspired me to focus my film on something personal. I originally intended to make a short about what it was like growing up with a special effects makeup artist as a father. I used to think I had a very normal childhood, but as I got older, I realized that not all other kids came home from kindergarten to monsters, aliens, or fake dead bodies that their father brought home from work. Most notably Chucky, the killer doll from Child’s play, was something I would constantly come home to at the ripe old age of four, and would give me nightmares for years to come. When I did the short in class, a teacher pointed out how often I referred to Chucky as my own brother and encouraged me to focus on that part of my life since it’s something that has been ingrained in my family for the last twenty year.
When I made the short film, it felt like I was putting the missing pieces of my childhood together. I finally met the other families around these films who became a second family to my father while he would be away for months at a time in Romania or Canada. They all referred to Chucky as an existing family member, and as they revisited their own memories, my seemingly isolated childhood from my father felt less lonely. It was an incredible experience that made me feel more involved with the “Chucky family” when my film opened for The Cult of Chuckypremiered in London and Toronto that year. From there, it was ultimately the fans that inspired me to sit down and turn the film into a feature. They had so much passion and love for a character they considered their icon, but to me it’s just my little brother who always gets to ride shotgun (I’m not kidding, you gotta buckle up Chucky when you travel ). I knew other eighties slashers like Freddy and Jason had their own documentaries, but there wasn’t anything out there dedicated solely to Child’s play franchise in its entirety. It was my chance to show fans, either new or Day 1 die-hards, a glimpse into my reality.
Little did I know what a monumental task I had just given myself, trying to cover a beloved thirty-year-old franchise in just under two hours while fresh out of film school. Not to mention the many challenges along the way, such as the editing process, legalities, and a global pandemic that not only halted the filming process, but also affected the entire independent film market. “Living with Chucky” has truly been a love letter not only to the franchise, but to the people who work so tirelessly to continue to bring Chucky into the homes of horror fans everywhere. I hope people are able to feel how much heart was poured into creating this film and possibly take away a newfound appreciation for their favorite franchise.
Looking forward to seeing you Lives with Chucky on Screambox next year? Let us know by leaving a comment below. I will definitely check it out – and I encourage fans to too Chucky franchise to seek out the book Reign of Chuckywhich covers the making of all seven films.