12 Chucky Comes to Life: Uncanny? or Expected?

Taylor Brothers

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I think that this piece will be useful for future theory students because I believe that the movie that I used to describe “the uncanny” is a movie that almost everyone is aware of (Chucky). I also was in the group that presented on “the uncanny” and I had so much time to study this theory, so I am confident in my work as well as comfortable with the theory. 

When I read Freud’s essay on “The Uncanny,” the only movie that I could think of was Chucky (a story about a crazy doll that comes to life and kills people). I don’t think there is anything more unsettling than a doll coming to life and trying to murder you and your friends/family. Surprisingly, as I read through the essay, I found that Freud talks specifically about the fear that comes with dolls and children and how that fear may just stem from a want, “…the idea of a living doll excites no fear at all; children have no fear of their dolls coming to life, they may even desire it” (Ryan & Rivkin 425). Freud goes on to talk about the contradiction that this theory poses but also mentions what is arguably the most interesting part of this essay, that this contradiction helps us understand the uncanny as a whole. Freud then goes on to say that, “children do not distinguish at all sharply between living and inanimate objects, and that they are especially fond of treating their dolls like real people” (Ryan & Rivkin 425). I thought that this was interesting considering this isn’t something that someone would think of as “uncanny” but when you really think about it, treating an inanimate object as if it were real is what the child wants, but in Chucky when that truly happens, everyone’s world is turned upside down. This is interesting when you take into consideration what Freud says about contradiction. I think that the word “uneasy” goes hand in hand with the “uncanny” and I think that the most horrific aspect of the movie Chucky is that something that is a loved childhood item that is supposed to be for comfort, flips and becomes the child’s worst nightmare. I don’t think there is anything more uneasy than that idea. Having a hidden desire for something to occur that is frightening or uneasy to the common person makes me wonder about what repressed feelings make this possible.


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The Student Theorist: An Open Handbook of Collective College Theory Copyright © 2018 by Taylor Brothers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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