WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Child's Play, in theaters now.
Child's Play is a fun love letter to the slasher films of the 1980s and 1990s, and features a prominent reference to a classic horror movie franchise: Texas Chainsaw Massacre. While it was something of a happy coincidence, director Lars Klevberg found the perfect place to slip in a reference to the second movie in the series. During an interview with CBR, Klevberg revealed why he chose that film to reference, and what it was like to bring slasher films back to the current era.
When trying to decide what horror film to reference, Klevberg wanted something that could impact the story. Klevberg said, "In the script, it said they were just watching a cheesy 80's horror movie. But I had some ideas. And the studio had some ideas, because you can't put any movie there. There are rules and laws and budget, what can you afford to put in there. Texas Chainsaw Massacre was one of them. And we thought that would present the violence and carnage that Chucky would need to understand. For him to go, 'okay, they think violence is funny, I want to make them laugh, so I should act out this violence.'"
The film features a clip from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which inspires Chucky to not only kill someone but skin their face as well. Klevberg said, "I remember though, when we watched [Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2] again, Leatherface holding up the skin face... It was perfect. We didn't shine a bright spotlight on it, but it's like, if we have it that there... people who can backtrack will realize that's where he picked up that... it can just be some fun. Just have a freeze frame on that face mask and have people realize it later on."
In the movie, Shane (David Lewis) -- the boyfriend of Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza) -- is murdered by Chucky, with his skinned face being given as a gift to Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman). Along with a sequence in which Chucky puts knives on drones, he says it's one of his favorite death scenes. "I remember when I read the script for the first time, the whole thing with Shane's head was hilarious," Klevberg explained. "I think it's one of my favorites... When I read it the first time, I thought it was hilarious and amazing we could make something like that in 2019. That we could spend millions of dollars to make this hilarious thing. It's insane they allowed us to make this."
Directed by Lars Klevberg from a script by Tyler Burton Smith, Child's Play stars Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, Gabriel Bateman, Tim Matheson and Mark Hamill.