Spooky season is well underway, which means now is the time when people start consuming anything with even a hint of pumpkin spice flavoring, marathoning horror movies, and preparing for the upcoming new horror releases. After over eight years of waiting, Universal and Blumhouse are finally debuting the film adaptation of "Five Nights at Freddy’s," the Josh Hutcherson and Matthew Lillard-starring horror film based on Scott Cawthon’s massively popular video game franchise of the same name. Those unfamiliar with the series might assume the game is just "Chuck E. Cheese or ShowBiz Pizza Place, but make it horror," but there is so much more to this terrifying world.
For one thing, the animatronics are walking around and causing chaos because they’re inhabited by the souls of murdered children. For another, there are well over 1,000 characters in the entire "FNaF" series, and there are multiple variations of the main four characters. So who are these haunted robots, and what is their story? Ignoring the fact much of the lore of "Five Nights at Freddy’s" is beyond convoluted, there are plenty of interesting things to learn about each of the main animatronics.
Freddy Fazbear is the central figure of the Fazbear Entertainment empire, the lead singer of the core four animatronics’ band, and the most recognizable of all of the characters in the franchise. Modeled after a cartoon bear and wearing a bow tie and top hat, Freddy Fazbear was designed to be as child-friendly as possible. When he’s moving around the pizzeria, he often plays a toy piano rendition of The Toreador Song from the Opera "Carmen" by Bizet. Ironically, the song was programmed to play if the power went out as a means to calm the children who may be in attendance.
The name "Fazbear" is likely an homage to Franz "Faz" Fazakas, the creator of Fozzie Bear of The Muppets. Freddy’s voice is meant to mimic popular children’s hosts like Barney the Dinosaur, but depending on what variant of Freddy is talking (like Funtime Freddy), he may also sound like Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s "IT." Described as laid-back, happy-go-lucky, and fun-loving, Freddy had all the makings of a best friend.
Though they share an appearance, it has not been confirmed that Freddy and the character Fredbear are one and the same, as Fredbear was a spring lock animatronic, meaning someone could open and use the animatronic as a costume. However, Fredbear was responsible for the notorious "Bite of ’83," the event that took the life of Fazbear Pizza co-founder William Afton’s youngest son and became the inciting incident of Afton’s career as a serial killer. There are more variations of Freddy throughout the franchise than any other character, including the fan-favorite Golden Freddy, who is often seen as an ally to the player.
Bonnie the Bunny
Don’t let the name fool you — Bonnie is a boy bunny! Designed to resemble a cartoonish, Peter Cottontail-esque character, Bonnie dons a festive red bowtie around his neck, and a series of flat teeth in his mouth. Boasting purple and gray fur, Bonnie is the guitar player of the band, and in the unreleased song from "FNaF: Help Wanted," it’s revealed that he sings a lot like Bret Michaels from Poison or any number of wailing hair metal vocalists. It’s an odd choice considering Bonnie has such a classic, almost Easter Bunny-like appearance, but perhaps the party-time energy was meant to appeal to the kids.
Outside of his singing, Bonnie doesn’t speak in the games. He does, however, groan like a person letting out a death rattle of agonal breathing. The source of the sound has not been canonically confirmed, but many theorize the sound is of the child’s spirit trapped within trying to call out to anyone who will hear it. Throughout the games, Bonnie is the most active of the animatronics, but the easiest to avoid because he doesn’t linger as much. He’s constantly moving around, popping up in places where he doesn’t belong. Scott Cawthon has said over the years that Bonnie is the one that scares him the most and that he actually had frequent nightmares of the purple rabbit while in the development of the first game. This tracks especially when taking into account the later lore of William Afton, and his decision to use the Springlock Bonnie suit as his disguise to lure children to their deaths.
Foxy the Pirate Fox
Foxy is often considered the loner of the pack, as his distinct look differentiates him from the rest of the band, and he was also not included in much of the promotional material for the first game. The reason was that Cawthon wanted to keep at least one of the animatronics a secret, so that’s why Freddy, Chica, and Bonnie are often shown in a trio formation, which extended to the promotional material for the "FNaF" movie. So when Foxy first appeared wearing an eyepatch and boasting a hook for a hand, it was doubly jarring for the players who were expecting just the three.
For the most part, Foxy can be found in a part of the restaurant called "Pirate’s Cove" a special themed area where Foxy "lives." His voice sounds like every cartoon pirate you’ve ever heard, like a less gruff version of the Flying Dutchman from "SpongeBob SquarePants." The main influence was likely Foxy Colleen of Chuck E. Cheese fame, an Irish fox who was decommissioned after being a specialized animatronic at the Chuck E. Cheese Theatre, in addition to Rolfe De Wolfe of Showbiz Pizza fame.
As a Fox, his teeth are also distinctly canine, with sharper teeth and a jaw that hangs down lower. He also had gold teeth. It’s for this reason that the most popular theory is that he was behind the unsolved mystery known as the Bite of ’87. Foxy may have been decommissioned as Pirate’s Cove has an out-of-order sign on the area in the first game. This would track as Foxy’s shell is in far worse shape than the rest of the group. With the pizzeria closing down, it would not have been repaired.
Chica the Chicken (w/ Mr. Cupcake)
Despite being a chicken with a beak, Chica also has teeth, which is the most uncannily creepy addition to any of the animatronics (at least in this writer’s opinion). She’s the girl of the group, often seen wearing a bib that says "Let’s Eat!" but the saying can change depending on which variant is shown. Chica also comes with a cupcake companion known as Mr. Cupcake or Carl, who is a buck-toothed cupcake on a plate meant to represent the gift provided to children throwing birthday parties at the pizzeria. Chica’s main character trait is that she loves to eat, and this reasoning has her hanging around the kitchen in most of the games.
Terrifyingly, Chica’s animatronic is shown sometimes housing cockroaches that crawl in and out of her endoskeleton, as it’s implied there are bits of food from the dead kid trying to eat pizza while trapped inside of her. She’s inspired by Birdie the Early Bird from McDonald’s and Helen Henny from Chuck E. Cheese, and sings like a typical pop star until she mentions food … and then gets extremely aggressive and almost rabid. Other than the song, Chica moans like Bonnie, but other variants of her have shown her speaking with a Southern accent … for some reason. Chica’s variants have had some of the most obvious changes to her design, often reflecting whatever standard of femininity was popular at the time. For example, Glamrock Chica doesn’t come with a Mr. Cupcake, because she’s modeled after the 1980s aerobics craze and wouldn’t be caught dead eating sweets.
Originally fannamed "Salvage" before given a canonical name, Springtrap is arguably the biggest baddie of the group. A green rabbit with a severely damaged chassis, he has five fingers as opposed to the traditional four, because he’s a Springlock suit. This style of costume is meant for someone to wear and walk around in, like highly advanced versions of the types of semi-animatronic suits that mascots often wear at theme parks where a person can control things like blinking eyes. Fortunately, the type of suits in "FNaF" aren’t real, and no one is using this dangerous technology. Depending on the angle, fans can actually see the decayed body inside the Springtrap suit, and sometimes even the skull of the person. Springtrap’s smile appears to extend back farther than most because of the decay on the suit, giving a terrifying smile.
The character first showed up in "FNaF 3," and players had to use the sound of a crying child to lure him close because he’s messed up like that. The reason is that the character is possessed by William Afton, who wore the Springlock Bonnie costume to lure the children he would eventually kill. Afton discovered something called remnant, the physical manifestation of memories that are infused with and possess inanimate objects. Afton killed as many children as he could to obtain all of their remnant, hoping to learn the truth about life after death. Eventually, the spirits of the children he killed came for him, and he sought refuge in the Springlock Bonnie suit. But the suit snapped shut, locking him within. All the remnant he had used made it so he would forever be in the suit, and he continues to terrorize from within the suit.
Other characters we could possibly see
The animatronic cast of characters of "Five Nights at Freddy’s" is quite expansive, but there are two other main machines that we could possibly see in the film, or future installments. The first is the Circus Baby, the Freddy Fazbear of the pizzeria’s sister location, Circus Baby’s Pizza World. Circus Baby was designed by William Afton specifically to lure children in for him to kill. She’s meant to resemble a clown doll and has a very soft, soothing voice. She has a claw in her abdomen, supposedly to deliver ice cream to children, but Afton instead intended to use the claw to snag children and hide them in her casing until after hours. Afton’s plan backfired horribly, as the first and only victim of Circus Baby was his own daughter, Elizabeth. So whenever players hear the voice of the Circus Baby, they’re hearing Elizabeth.
The other main creation is The Puppet, a figure that is genuinely creepy and not even trying to appease children. With striped designs, long limbs, and a harlequin mask smile way too big for its face, The Puppet looks like what would happen if Tim Burton designed Slender Man. The Puppet was originally an inanimate object, a figure that hung out behind the prize counter as a security measure, not unlike when people put owl statues to scare away birds. It did, however, have the ability to move around the pizzeria, attached to marionette strings which are attached to a rail in the ceiling. The Puppet wasn’t the best idea, but Afton wasn’t exactly good with children. Afton’s first victim, Charlie, is trapped inside the Puppet, as it tried to intervene by collecting Charlie’s body dumped in the rain. The Puppet wigged out from the water damage, and the two fused. Some theorize the puppet is the one who actually put the children in the suits, knowing it would at least allow them to enact revenge against William Afton.
"Five Nights at Freddy’s" arrives in theaters and on streaming on October 27, 2023.