Killer doll comedy horror
Trivia The special effects guy that loses his head early on is actually Tony Gardner, a real life special effects and make-up artist guru with more life credits than you can mention here. Look him up on imdb if you don't believe me...
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Seed of Chucky (2005)
31st May 05
Chucky's back and this time he's bought his whole family with him.
It’s hard to believe its 16 years since Don Mancini first bought his killer doll chronicles to the silver screen, and even harder to believe that we’re now on the fifth in the series. Due to some arguably unfair negative publicity and the dwindling quality of the sequels, many of us fully expected the franchise to fizzle out after the third in the series, but then Bride of Chucky came along in the late 90s with a new character and new direction, and the franchise was revised. I guess you can teach on old dog new tricks after all. Doll - you can teach an old doll new tricks. Is that a saying? Ah, I’ll get on with it.
Seed of Chucky opens with what can only be described as a classic piece of Slasher movie epilogue, if a little tongue-in-cheek. I can’t say too much about it because it would ruin it for you, but suffice to say the camera plays the clever cut-away game throughout, teasing us as to the identity of the pint-sized killer, in a similar style to the intro to the classic Puppet Master movie from the late 80s (who says puppet point-of-view is out dated?) It also contains the best and perhaps only scare of the whole movie too, one that is so good that for Slasher purists Seed of Chucky might be worth watching for that sequence alone. Almost.
I say almost because from here on in Seed of Chucky changes from an old fashioned Slasher into a full-on self revering horror comedy; a style that Bride of Chucky hinted at but Seed has completely embraced. This split the Chucky fan base in two when Bride was released and Seed appears to have done the same, but it’s not something that’s unique to the Child’s Play series. One of the problems of producing a successful horror franchise is freshness – Chucky can only mail himself to an unsuspecting suburban family and kill them all so many times before it gets tiring, in the same way that Freddy can only gut some many teenagers as they sleep and Jason can only chop up so many campers before you’re left wanting more. Mancini understands this; stepping in from the sidelines and taking centre stage changes the nature of the film and, by their very familiar nature, horror icons loose the ability to scare with each subsequent movie, so I don’t see how he has much choice. The good news is that, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, the laughs that we’ve traded the scares in for, are really not bad at all
The story picks up six years after the last film as at the site of the ventriloquist’s world championship at the Glastonbury festival in sunny old England. One of the acts is called Shitface and Psychs, with Psychs being some kind of abusive biker ventriloquist and Shitface being his amazingly lifelike dummy. I say lifelike because – you guessed it – he is actually alive, a living breathing doll, albeit a bit of a confused one. He doesn’t really know who he is or what he is, and looking like a cross between David Bowie and Pinocchio, neither would I. Neither does he know where he’s from, which is why he takes that ‘Made in Japan’ stamp on his wrist a little too seriously. He also doesn’t who his parents are, but that all changes one night when he catches an on-set report from the latest Chucky movie, ‘Chucky Goes Psycho’, on the TV. Recognising the identical stamp on the wrists of both the Chucky and Tiffany dolls, Shitface knows exactly what to do, and it’s not long before he’s escaped, Fed-Ex’d himself across the Atlantic, found his marionette parents and brought them back to life by reciting the secret incantation written on the back of the amulet he’s had around his neck since he was born. Obviously.
Brad Dourif and Jennifer Tilly are back as the voices of Chucky and Tiffany, and they seem to have a lot of fun with the roles, but this time Tilly really gets an extra chance to shine. In Bride of Chucky, Tilly played Chucky’s ex-girlfriend from when he was alive, who gets her spirit trapped in the doll, Tiffany. In Seed, Jennifer Tilly plays both Tiffany again and herself - Jennifer Tilly - acting in the next Chucky movie, in a movie-within-a-movie scenario reminiscent of New Nightmare or Scream 3 maybe. And she’s absolutely brilliant, having some of the best, self-mocking one-liners I’ve ever heard. “Me, an academy nominee, reduced to acting opposite a fucking puppet,” she says in one of the opening frames, but it’s perhaps Tiffany that gets the biggest laughs. “Fuck she’s fat,” groans Tiffany as the dolls drag Tilly’s unconscious body along the floor of her hallway – hilarious, of course, because that’s exactly what you’ve been thinking since the first few minutes. It doesn’t stop there either – there are lots of references to Bound, the lesbian murder thriller piece she starred in back in the mid-90s, made by the Wachowski brothers a couple of years before the Matrix. “I liked that movie you did with all the lesbian shit in,” commented Redman, but the best line comes when Tiffany answers the phone to the blonde girl from S-Club, while Chucky is chasing a screaming Tilly around the room. When asked how come she can be talking to Tilly and hear her screaming in the background, Tiffany replies “Oh, Bound is on cable and Gina Gershwin is fingering me.” Priceless.
So, back to the plot. Tiffany and Chucky are revived, Tiffany is bowled over by Tilly (“She has the voice of an angel!”) and they soon concoct this crazy plan which involves impregnating Tilly with Chucky’s sperm (yes, you get to see Chucky’s sperm), waiting for the kid to be born and then Tiffany, Chucky and Glen(da) plan to possess the bodies of Tilly, Tilly’s chauffeur (long story – he loves her though) and their new born child. But what if the child is a boy or a girl? Well, that doesn’t matter – Shitface is no kind of name and one of the first things the murderous duo do is think up a new name for their offspring. After a little confusion Shitface confesses to sometimes feeling like a boy, but sometimes like a girl, he (she) pulls down his (her) pants to reveal a nothingness that any self-respecting Action-Man would be proud of. It’s soon clear that Shitface’s sexuality is completely ambiguous – hence why Chucky names him Glen and Tiffany names him Glenda (a nice nod to the famous angora sweater inspired Ed Wood classic from the 50s). Anyway, suffice to say things don’t go to plan at all at any stage, particularly Chucky and Tiff’s attempts to give up killing as a good example to their child. On little slip, that’s all you need sometimes…
The ‘Glen or Glenda’ in-joke is just one of many in this flick, as it goes on to reference The Shining, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby and many, many more. It also benefits greatly from an extremely varied cast. Hana from S-Club is surprisingly good as Tilly’s PA, although I might be biased as I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for her – enough so that my jaw hit the floor upon her swift and not-so-subtle exit. Similarly Redman is decent as the stereo-typical cheesy rapper-turned-film-director, although I’m not sure that was an intentional comedy performance, if you know what I mean. But the biggest prize for celebrity cameo has to go to John Waters for his wonderful and exceedingly rare turn in front of the camera as a sleazy paparazzi journalist, played out in a style that only someone who’s been immersed in the underbelly of American cinema for as long as he has can. “How old are you Miss Tilly? What year are you born?” is great, but “A masturbating midget?” is my favourite. He must have had a whale of a time.
Yes, the boundaries of conventional taste in Seed of Chucky are put into question yet again (you even get to see Tiffany’s tits at one point, and for a 12 foot tall doll, they ain’t bad you know), but it’s all good clean wholesome fun. Gore, guts, gags, Seed has plenty of all that stuff - so if that’s what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. It is a shame that the scare factor has all but gone, but once you’ve got over that you’ll soon realise that there’s a brilliantly naughty little film under there just waiting to be discovered, so I urge you do just that. And thankfully, I don’t think it’ll be the last time we hear from the most infamous killer doll in cinema history either – the ending is as shamelessly open ended as a mid-80s Freddy movie. That’s the joke of course, I think…
Versions Available on DVD and VHS in many countries, although the “unrated and fully extended” R1 disc is the clear winner.
That version contains the following bonus features:
• CHUCKY’S INSIDER FACTS ON DEMAND – Over 150 trivia facts you never wanted to know about chucky
• SLASHED SCENE – Tiffany fights temptation to off actress Debbie Carrington
• HEEEEERE’S CHUCKY – A revealing interview with Chucky including early screen tests
• FEATURE COMMENTARY – With writer/director Don Mancini and puppet master Tony Gardner
• FAMILY HELL-IDAY SLIDE SHOW – The Chucky family hosts the first viewing of their exploits through Paris, New York and Hollywood
• CONCEIVING THE SEED OF CHUCKY – A behind-the scenes look at two decades of Chucky films
• TILLY ON THE TONIGHT SHOW - Jennifer Tilly’s video diary from The Tonight Show
• FUZION UP CLOSE WITH THE SEED OF CHUCKY STARS - The cameras of mun2 go behind-the-scenes for revealing interviews with Chucky and Tiffany, who speak publicly about their lives as Hollywood stars.
• AUDIO COMMENTARY WITH WRITER/DIRECTOR DON MANCINI AND ACTRESS JENNIFER TILLY
According to Don Mancini, the uncut version has "another scene near the end of the film, which we cut for pacing, in which we see the aftermath of the movie’s final murder. The scene sort of ties up some loose ends regarding two major characters, and I think fans will get a kick out of it. And finally, the unrated cut contains a brief “below-the-waist” shot during Chucky’s masturbation scene. It’s just a little bit of puppet porno. We’re calling it “Chucky’s dirtiest deed.”
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