SEED OF CHUCKY (2004)
Starring Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Billy Boyd, Redman, John Waters, Hannah Spearritt, Keith-Lee Castle, Steve Lawton, Tony Gardner, Jason Flemyng, Nicholas Rowe, Stephanie Chambers, Simon James Morgan, Bethany Simons-Danville, Rebecca Santos, Beans Al-Balawi, Kristina Hewitt, Daniel Getzoff and Nicola Mycroft.
Screenplay by Don Mancini.
Directed by Don Mancini.
Distributed by Rogue Pictures. 87 minutes. Rated R.
The most fascinating thing about Seed of Chucky is the fact that it isn’t even the first time two former Oscar-nominated actors played a couple of murderous dolls. No, Brad Dourif (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and Jennifer Tilly (Bullets Over Broadway) had already voiced the roles of Chucky the killer doll and his femme fatale love interest Tiffany in the last film of this series; Bride of Chucky in 1999.
Not only does she play the voice of the doll, but Jennifer Tilly also has a good-natured lark poking fun at her image, playing herself. Well, not exactly herself, but a slightly over-the-hill actress named Jennifer Tilly who is more than willing to sleep around for good parts that end up going to Julia Roberts, anyway. She is whiny, needy, constantly scarfing hidden food and not sure exactly how she fell off the A-list. Still, she keeps trying to claw her way back to the top, currently courting rapper Redman to play Mary Magdalene in his new hip-hop opus on the life of Jesus. (As her assistant points out, the whole idea of sleeping with someone to get to play the Virgin Mary may be cause for damnation.) She is also being harassed by a heartless paparazzo (cult director John Waters) who is obsessed with finding dirt on her.
If this were the total thrust of the movie, it would be a lot more interesting than Seed of Chucky ends up being. Unfortunately, it’s not called Seed of Tilly. The main character is still the demon spawn toy in the fifth film of this franchise, dating back to Child’s Play in 1988. The series has never been straight horror, in fact it’s been a long time since it could be called scary at all. It has always had a certain amount of comedy to it – which is inevitable when you have a premise about a doll which has been possessed by the spirit of a serial killer.
The film starts in London, where an odd-looking doll (voiced by Billy Boyd of The Lord of the Rings) is being used as a ventriloquist’s dummy. The doll is alive, confused, overly sensitive and horrified by the fact that he keeps having dreams of murder. He finally thinks that he has found his parents when he sees an entertainment report of a film being made about the murderous dolls Chucky and Tiffany. So, he ships himself to Hollywood to find his family.
In the meantime, the evil souls of Chucky and Tiffany has been turned off when they killed each other at the end of the last film, so that they are literally just props in their own film. When the funny looking doll finds them, he reawakens them, allowing the two to return to their baser instincts. Then he introduces himself as their child, and while there is no real proof of this for anyone, they take it in and teach it the family business.
I say “it” because they have a huge disagreement as to whether it is a boy or a girl, even though the audience had no doubt that it was a boy until they had this fight. Chucky calls the doll Glen; Tiffany calls it Glenda. (Nice Edward D. Wood, Jr. reference, though it seems like they really had to strain to get to that little in-joke.) As his parents get to know the little spawn, even they are a bit disturbed by its quirks. Tiffany suddenly decides they have to give up killing because they are parents, Chucky doesn’t want to, leading to a lot of sitcom funny arguments between Chucky and his bride.
The comic parts make for an odd mix with the extreme cartoon gore of the murders. Even though the killings are meant to be humorous, you can’t help but think that it often isn’t so much funny or even scary as it is disgusting. However, even when Seed of Chucky does hit the mark as a satire of the slasher genre, it only lasts for so long. Then you remember that you’re watching walking, talking, disemboweling dolls. Every time you watch them emoting and waving their chubby little plastic hands, hopping homicidally onto people five times their size or gazing with menace with their cold plastic eyes you have to put yourself into one of two camps – the people who buy into the whole thing or the ones who feel a little silly watching murderous play toys. Since writer-director Don Mancini has made an entire career out of revisiting this well for over fifteen years, obviously there are a lot of people who like it. I’m afraid I’m in the second group, though. (11/04)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 3, 2005.