Confessions of a Film Junkie: A 2-4-1 Special of “Chucky”
By: Brian Cotnoir
Well here we are at the conclusion of Brad Dourif Appreciation Month. I hope that many of you have found a newfound admiration for the acting talents of Mr. Brad Dourif. I’ve decided to wrap this theme month by taking a look at two films in which Brad Dourif reprises his most famous role of serial killer Charles Lee Ray aka “Chucky”. If you asked me to classify the “Child’s Play” Franchise in a genre, I would list it under “Beginner Horror”. If you ask most full grown adults if they found “Child’s Play” to be scary, I’m guessing 99% of them would tell you know, but I know so many people who saw these films as a kid and were beyond terrified of this homicidal doll. I remember seeing a trailer for “Bride of Chucky” when I was 8 and being scared of it. I do believe that “Child’s Play” film series does hold a special honor; that honor being that if you’re under the age of 10 this film is a Horror, and if you’re over the age of 10 it’s a Dark Comedy, so this film has a lot to offer to a wide group of people. When I decided to dedicate a month of my blog to Brad Dourif, I wanted to include Chucky, but I didn’t want to only review the “Child’s Play” films so I decided to review what I consider to be Spin-offs of the Franchise: “The Bride of Chucky” and “The Seed of Chucky”.
Bride of Chucky (1998)
“Bride of Chucky” is a different take on the “Chucky” story. Unlike, the three prior “Child’s Play” films that were marketed as Horror Films, “Bride of Chucky” is more of a Dark Comedy then a horror, which is a nice change of pace. In the first three “Child’s Play” films, the story is pretty much the same: Chucky tries to break the Voodoo curse that has trapped him in the “Good Guy” toy doll by killing a young boy named Andy (played by Alex Vincent in the 1st two films, and Justin Whalin in the third film).However, Andy is not the protagonist of “Bride of Chucky”. In fact, Andy doesn’t even appear in this film at all. The film’s main focus isn’t even on Chucky, but rather a new character named Tiffany (played by actress Jennifer Tilly). Tiffany is a macabre obsessed fan girl who wants to resurrect Chucky and help him find a human body to transfer his spirit into so they can get married. However, Chucky reveals to Tiffany that he has no intentions of getting married, and so Tiffany refuses to help Chucky become human again. Chucky ends up killing Tiffany and transfers her soul into a toy doll using the same voodoo curse he used to transfer his own soul. The only way that they can become human again is to use an amulet (that Chucky was buried with) to become human again. And then the films focuses on the whacky hi-jinks that ensue on their cross country journey.
|Aren't they adorable?|
This film is a straight dark comedy. Brad Dourif reprises his role as the voice of Chucky. You can just tell that Dourif is having a blast with this role, and he has gone on record saying that “Bride of Chucky” is his favorite film of the Franchise. Then you have the wonderful acting and voice talents of Ms. Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany. What makes Tiffany’s character so enjoyable is that I can totally see her character existing in real life. For some strange reason or another—that I don’t think I’ll ever understand—people have this unhealthy fascination with serial killers. Many female fans claim to be “in love” with these killers, and Tiffany is a perfect example. She’s so bubbly and flirty and is just a really fun character to watch on film. Not to mention we get the hilarity that is the on screen puppet sex scene between Tiffany and Chucky. Besides Dourif and Tilly we get wonderful acting performances from stars such as the late John Ritter, Katherine Hiegl, and Alexis Arquette, who plays an actual boy in the film!
“Bride of Chucky” is wonderful Dark Comedy. Not only does it pay homage to the “Child’s Play” franchise, but you can also see subtle acknowledgments to other great 80’s Slasher flicks as well, including “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Friday the 13th, and “Hellraiser”. If you are a fan of the “Child Play” films then you will definitely enjoy the surreal and hilarious antics “Bride of Chucky”.
Seed of Chucky (2004)
“Seed of Chucky” was released six years after “Bride of Chucky”. However, unlike its predecessors it is a straight comedy. The film has two main plot points that—at times—feels like two separate films going on simultaneously. One plot revolves around Chucky and Tiffany’s child Glen/Glenda discovering who his birth parents are and reuniting with them. Upon, reuniting with his parents for the first time since his birth, Glen/Glenda is appalled to learn that both of his parents are psychopathic murderers. Since Glen/Glenda does not have either of his parents homicidal tendencies he does all that he can to try to convince his parents to stop murdering people. The other story revolves around Jennifer Tilly trying to rebuild her career and distance herself from her role in “Bride of Chucky”. She is trying to score the role of the Virgin Mary in a biblical epic that is being directed by Redman. However, Chucky and Tiffany decide to kidnap Jennifer Tilly and Redman and want to use their bodies as the new vessels for their spirits. In a way the story involving Jennifer Tilly is like the plot to “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”, and it’s kind of surreal to see Jennifer Tilly playing herself and doing the voice of Tiffany in scenes on camera.
|And you thought your family was weird?|
“Seed of Chucky” has some quirky celebrity cameos like its predecessor. However, most of the shock in “Seed of Chucky” relies on gross-out humor, rather than violence, and it’s really not appealing or funny: including the running gag of Glen/Glenda wetting his/her pants. It wasn’t funny the first time and it wasn’t funny the previous three times that it followed. I don’t think “Seed of Chucky” comes anywhere close to being as good or enjoyable as “Bride of Chucky”, but I’d still say it’s a lot better than “Child’s Play 3”.
So there you have it: I hope you all enjoyed “Brad Dourif Appreciation Month” here on “Confessions of a Film Junkie”. If there are any other films featuring Mr. Dourif that you think I should have reviewed please let me know in the comment section, and I’ll be sure to check them out.