Friday, November 6, 2009
Day #24 Dolls having Doll Babies
SEED OF CHUCKY (2004)
D. Don Mancini
CHILD'S PLAY series creator Don Mancini finally takes the director's chair for this extremely mixed, and probably last, entry to the series. While the series has always leaned towards the comedic, with BRIDE OF CHUCKY, it took a big step on a funny bone. In that movie under the direction of Ronny Yu it worked really well. He played the absurdity of the whole thing against the rather nasty edge of the horror and had a lot of fun with it. He actually brought what was a dead series back to life. Here Mancini seems much more interested in making a comedy than a horror movie and manages to put the nails back into the coffin. The movie is not a total misfire, but as a horror movie it doesn't work. As a comedy with some underlying social agenda, there is some interesting things going on.
The movie opens with an attack on the average middle class family from the point of view of what seems to be a doll. We are to assume it is Chucky, but since we are seeing it through the eyes of the attacker we are not sure. This scene has the only real effective scary/horror moments of the movie as this family is viciously slaughtered. The mother is killed in the shower, the dad knocked over the railing (the camera riding him all the way down as he hits the floor, which was really impressive) and then as the doll is about to kill the little girl, BAM! We realize this is all a dream. Turns out that is is the dream of the child of Chucky and Tiffany from the last film. A rather bizarre looking little redheaded puppet that is now part of a sideshow act. He thinks he Japanese because he has "made in Japan" branded on his wrist. He also thinks his name is Shithead because the ventriloquist calls him that. Cut to Tiffany and Chucky stalking Santa Claus in a snowy field and killing him, but that turns out to be fake too as it is part of a movie being made about the murders from the previous films and the dolls are actually animatronics (with effects man Tony Gardener playing himself). Jennifer Tilly shows up, also playing herself, as she is really the star of this movie. Shithead sees a news report about the movie on TV and makes his way to the set and uses a magic charm to put the souls of the real Tiffany and Chuck into the dolls for the movie and Viola, they are a family again. They are freaked out to realize they have a son. Even more freaked out to realize he has a sexual identity crisis because he doesn't know if he is a boy or a girl (he has no genitalia cause he is a doll) and pisses his pants every time he sees someone killed. Meanwhile Jennifer Tilly realizes her career is on the skids and wants to get into the new movie being made by rapper Redman (also playing himself) about the birth of Christ. So she sets up to sleep with him to get the part of Mary Magdalene. The dolls become obsessed with putting their souls into the bodies of Jennifer Tilly and Redman and impregnating her so she can have a baby they can put the kid's soul into as well. John Waters is on board as a sleazy tabloid journalist who has all the good lines.
What the movie is really about is how the Seed Of Chucky is sexually confused and has to deal with overbearing parents who keep trying to tell him what his sexual orientation is. All the while never sticking up to their own convictions. They keep saying they are going to stop killing and doing their evil deeds but continue, but try to hide it. Until it all finally comes to a head and Junior snaps, becoming a drag queen homicidal maniac like his folks. thrusting home that negative stereotypes start with the parents. There is also a lot of really broad comedy about Hollywood and the lack of ideas and depth of corrosion that goes on to get films made. But that whole thing is really sort of falling on deaf ears, because when you are trying to make a commentary on how ridiculous it is to have a rapper directing a movie about Jesus, yet you cast a real rapper in your horror film who is NOT an actor, the irony is lost on YOU, not the audience.
Then there is the whole thing about Jennifer Tilly's career being in the shithouse because she is too old etc. There is some funny stuff about how she lost roles to other high profile actresses because they fucked the directors, but then the joke is played real thin real quickly. More than once there are "fat jokes" about her when in fact she has probably the most incredible body I've seen in a mainstream film in the last ten years. I'm not sure if those jokes are supposed to be ironic, self depreciating, or what. I mean the whole movie is her being stuffed into tighter and tighter dresses that her chest is practically exploding out of, and I didn't see anywhere on her that I could ever possibly consider fat. Maybe that is the point. It is pretty clear to me the selling point is that she looked pretty damn hot in every single outfit. So I dunno, seems a little strange to me.
The biggest problem is that the movie is just not scary. There is no attempt to even try to make it a horror movie anymore. BRIDE OF CHUCKY at least remembered it was a horror movie. Here that is gone and replaced with all laughs. the gore has been ramped up, but that is taken to Monty Pythonesque levels of goofiness, as to not be taken seriously at all. So as a comedy with some things to say, it has moments. As eye candy for Jennifer Tilly it succeeds without mercy. As a horror movie it is a resounding failure. As a franchise killer it is a ten on the meter.
Reviews © Andy Copp