he "Child's Play" franchise is known
for two very stable and dependable things -- Chucky the doll is a homicidal
maniac with one of the greatest laugh in Cinematic Slasher history, and you
can count on seeing Don Mancini's name underneath "written by".
Mancini created the original film and has written all the subsequent
sequels, but has never directed. That changes with the latest installment,
which brings back the supernaturally endowed killer doll that began life as
a "Good Guy Doll" but ended up housing the soul of a mass murderer
with black magic prowess.
Having gotten hitched and somehow
impregnated a female doll in the previous installment, Chucky returns back
from the dead yet again. This time around the homicidal doll and his equally
homicidal, but a tad more prone to regret significant other Tiffany (voiced
by Jennifer Tilly), plans to use actress Jennifer Tilly (played by, who
else, Jennifer Tilly) to give them new life as real people.
The film actually opens with Tiffany and Chucky's
offspring, the unfortunately named "Sh*t Face" (voiced by Billy
Boyd), in England working as the dummy half of a ventriloquist team. Ol
Sh*t Face is having terrible nightmares about killing rampages, and
wondering who his parents are. The answer comes via a TV spot reporting on
an in-production movie about killer doll urban legends. Sh*t face quickly
hops a plan to Los Angeles, where he hooks up with mom and dad, gets
renamed "Glen" (or "Glenda", as ol Sh*t Face is a bit
perplexed about his sex), and go on a killing spree as one big, happy
Now in its fifth installment, it's no surprise that
Mancini has decided to take the franchise into the post-modern world, the
way Wes Craven did with his "Nightmare on Elm Street" series.
With the film's tongue stapled to its cheek, "Seed of Chucky"
plays out as goofy slapstick comedy with a lot of spurting blood, an
impressive bodycount, and intestines that, once sliced open and dropped to
the floor, smokes for some reason. It's all done with an eye toward
pleasing the Chucky fanbase, and no doubt anyone who has waited with bated
breath for each "Child's Play" movie will howl with joy at what
Mancini is offering.
"Seed of Chucky" is a fan's movie, first
and foremost. For non-fans, or anyone not familiar with the horror
franchise, I'm not sure if any of "Seed of Chucky" will make any
sense at all. It's also any wonder that Mancini was able to convince
Jennifer Tilly to not only provide the voice of Tiffany the doll once
again, but to also play herself. And to play herself in such a
self-defacing role, too. Tilly pokes fun at just about everything
associated with her cinematic personality, from her bountiful bosom to her
"loose" image. A lesser actress would have balked, but it's
saying a lot about Tilly that she's able to not just make fun of her
celebrity image, but kick it around like a rag doll.
For fans of gore and blood, there's plenty here to
get excited about. It's probably because the film is relatively short at
80 minutes that there isn't more blood and guts. B-movie filmmaker John
Waters has a funny role as a sleazy tabloid reporter who accidentally
snaps pictures of Chucky while the disfigured doll is pleasuring himself
to a copy of Fangoria magazine. Brit Hannah Spearritt ("Agent
Cody Banks 2") plays Tilly's exasperated assistant, but
unfortunately she doesn't get nearly enough screentime. It might have been
a better idea had Mancini given Spearritt a more prominent role than
simply to show up, disappear for a long time, then show up once again just
to get summarily killed off.
There's little doubt that "Seed of Chucky"
is a major guilty pleasure. There's nothing here to take seriously, from
the whole dysfunctional family portrait of Chucky, Tiffany, and
Glen/Glenda, to Jennifer Tilly trying to titillate rapper-turned-director
Redman (playing himself) into giving her a major part in his movie by
seducing him with wine and sex. Also, the film uses animatronic dolls
exclusively, and if there were any CGI present when it comes to Chucky and
his fellow killer dolls, I must have missed it. A little "old
school", perhaps, but that's probably what Mancini was going for. It
certainly adds to the nostalgic value of "Seed of Chucky".
People just don't make movies the old fashion way anymore.
If you can't laugh at "Seed of Chucky" and
admit that it's good, clean fun (at least from the point of view of a
horror fan) then you're way too serious about movies, and should never
have seen this particular movie in the first place. To wit: if you went
into "Seed of Chucky" expecting a Merchant Ivory film, it's
entirely your fault.
Having said that, there are some missed opportunities
in "Seed of Chucky". With so many killer dolls running around,
Chucky gets shortchanged, and all of his kills (at least the ones that
appear onscreen) are tag-team efforts. All of this results in Chucky
looking less menacing than usual, although the ending, when the evil doll
that we all know and love finally returns, is a welcome plot twist. Also,
Mancini makes some stabs at spoofing the self-importance of Hollywood and
its residences, but he really doesn't go nearly far enough. The gag where
Chucky runs a Britney Spears clone off the road and to her fiery death is
amusing, but after seeing the scene in the film's trailer about 500 it
loses much of its impact.
"Seed of Chucky" is what it is, and if you
like seeing homicidal killer dolls masturbate into a cup and an English
doll suddenly develop martial arts skills because he has "made in
Japan" stamped on his wrist, then this movie is for you. But if none
of the above sounds promising, I wouldn't bother. Don't say I didn't warn