If writer Kim Garland’s family owned a music store when she was growing up, she might’ve become a concert pianist. Or maybe she would’ve become a gourmet chef if they owned a restaurant. As it turned out, Garland’s family-owned (and lived above) a funeral home in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. She had no desire, however, to study mortuary science. Instead, the family business led her to a career as a horror writer.
“There’s no question that living in that type of environment affected my taste,” Garland told Remezcla during a recent interview. “I liked the macabre and the dark and spooky. When you’re already in that kind of world, you’re open to all the possibilities. You look at death every day and you think, ‘There has to be more.’”
There are plenty more creepy elements Garland gets to explore in her latest horror project. She is one of the writers on the new TV series Chucky, which is based on the Child’s Play slasher franchise. In Chucky, the series’ eponymous doll returns to cause chaos after a young boy purchases him at a garage sale. Chucky is still possessed by a serial killer, so it doesn’t take very long for him to get his tiny hands on a butcher knife and go to work.
Death was something Garland learned how to be comfortable around at an early age. She describes herself as a curious child, so she would oftentimes found herself gazing at the dead bodies in the funeral home and imagining they weren’t really dead. At school, kids nicknamed her “Morticia” after the mother in The Addams Family.
So, when the opportunity to write on the new Chucky series came around, it was the perfect opportunity for Garland. “[Chucky] is not like Jason or Freddy or Michael Myers,” Garland said. “Those are some big, tough dudes. Chucky plays by a different set of rules and uses the element of surprise. He can’t just muscle it. He has to be really clever.”
With eight feature films and now a TV series in its catalog, Garland points to nostalgia as one of the key drivers for audiences tuning into Child’s Play content even after 33 years. “Chucky naturally taps into your childhood,” she said. “A lot of people saw these movies at an early age because [they thought], ‘There’s a doll. How scary could it be?’ I think it’s made him a unique and enduring slasher.”
Chucky premieres on Syfy and the USA Network on October 12, 2021, at 10 p.m. ET.