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How Colonel Chucky's Horrifying Cabin Came To Life: 'You Cannot Go Too Far This Time'
Chucky set designer John Dondertman said they couldn't go too far in designing The Colonel's cabin.
Without a doubt, the most jarring moment from “Chucky” Season 2 so far has been the reveal of the newest doll variant calling himself Colonel. Just as shocking as his cannibalistic actions was his impossibly morbid, scary cabin in the woods. USA Insider spoke with “Chucky” production designer, John Dondertman, about how he built the Colonel’s cozy little murder home.
Episode 5 ended with the big reveal that Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) survived the truck crash that supposedly killed dozens of Chucky dolls who were bound for every corner of the United States. It was revealed that, although the dolls are dead, the crash didn’t kill them. It was the Colonel. Not only that, he strung up their butchered parts as decoration for his horrific cabin, forcing Andy to stare at them for a year while he carved off and ate pieces of him.
According to Dondertman, crafting one of the most shocking sets the show has seen to date was an exercise in excess.
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“That's a process, just going through with my creative team … They do the first round and I'm like, ‘This isn't nearly scary enough. Keep going.’ So, we just keep painting and making it darker and dingier and more. I give them some pretty good direction, but they're afraid of going too far,” he explained. “I was like, ‘You cannot go too far this time. Just keep going and we're going to make this the scariest cabin you've ever seen.”
And scary it was.
After all, the only thing more terrifying than Chucky is one who is capable of killing dozens of others (and most likely eating them). In addition to rusty blades, dirty floors, and other gore-covered instruments adorning the Colonel’s cabin were bits and pieces of bloody Good Guy dolls. By the production designer’s estimate, the exterior of the cabin was made up of roughly 25 to 30 Chucky dolls, mostly severed heads. Inside, another 15 or so dolls were used to give the impression that the Colonel had gone wild in killing his fellow Good Guy doll companions.
While that may seem like a lot, to Dondertman, it still wasn’t enough to achieve franchise creator Don Mancini’s tormented vision.
“Don was like, ‘I want a lot of blades, knives, and saws,'” he revealed. “So set decorators brought a bunch of stuff. I'm like, ‘You’ve got to bring in four times as many blades.' And then, you know, you can't always find the stuff you want. Like, old, rusty stuff, it's just not lying around in storage somewhere. So, we bought stuff at hardware stores and we rusted everything up, taped the handles, or wrapped twine around them just to make them feel, you know … a little more deadly.”
While building a dirty, gore-filled nightmare cabin may sound like the worst job ever to some, Dondertman notes he and the rest of the crew on “Chucky” found it to be a delightful challenge that they’re immensely proud of.
“It was like, super enjoyable,” he confessed. “Really fun. I wanted to elevate the show. I want to be true to the ‘Chucky’ franchise. On the other hand, just talking to Don and looking at Season 1, we wanted something big in scale and depth. I wanted some real, I don't want to use the word, ‘class,’ but some real style to it. I think we achieved that, I think we did that.”
The production designer concluded by teasing even more visually stunning sets and props to look forward to in the remaining episodes of “Chucky,” Season 2.
Tune into "Chucky" every Wednesday at 9/8c on USA Network and SYFY. Catch up on past episodes on Peacock right now.