By: Denis Blot
What is the longevity of a horror film monster? Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Vorhees, all began brilliant careers instilling long lasting fears in movie-goers, but after successive sequels the unexpected became expected, the unfamiliar became familiar, the ability to generate fear subsided, and more emphasis was placed on gore with the hope to shockingly disgust viewers. Freddy, Jason, and Mike, became household names, fans knew their M.O, just not how much blood would be shed in trying to achieve it. The Child’s Play series, with its killer trapped inside a doll named Chucky, like the others had sequels that began to lose the ability to get the required screams from the audience that the original did. What distinguishes the Child’s Play series from the others, however, is that from its conception it always had humor mixed in with horror. The original mocking of the My Buddy Doll, not to mention the consumerism frenzy of the Cabbage Patch doll, and the surreal quality of a angry sarcastic psychotic killer’s raspy voice coming out of a child’s toy all contribute to the humor found in the original film. It’s the element of humor that has continued through the series and made the films worth viewing (along with some good gore and occasional suspense) and elevated Chucky to the level of an icon among horror film fans.
In respect to humor, Seed of Chucky does not disappoint, it rivals An American Werewolf in London for its ability to make you laugh in the face of horror, and The Muppet Movie in tugging the emotional heart strings of viewers via the inanimate. The film is full of parody, covering everything from Chucky’s movie star fame, to Jennifer Tilly’s life as an under-rated actress. The film also goes all out in displaying the more obscene and taboo elements of people’s lives (albeit some are puppets), everything from masturbation and flashing breasts, to transgender issues, the Hollywood couch, and even harassment by paparazzi. Considering these elements its not surprising that John Waters plays a role in the film, nor of finding out in the DVD extras that he is a fan of the Child’s Play series.
Seed of Chucky also pays homage to several directors of the horror/thriller film genre by referencing films by John Carpenter, Hitchcock, Brian DePalma, and even Ed Wood. Watching the film becomes a bit of a game as one tries to determine which other films are being referenced in certain scenes.
Jennifer Tilly as the voice of Chucky’s wife Tiffany, and as a parody of herself, is the best comedic performance she has given since Bullets Over Broadway and often steals the comedic spotlight from Chucky. Redman gives a solid performance, and the animatronic puppets are so well handled that one becomes hooked to their family drama, which ensues throughout the film.
The DVD extras are plentiful and are all worth watching. The commentary by writer/director Don Mancini, and Jennifer Tilly is often funnier than the film itself, and the commentary by Mancini and puppet master Tony Gardner will provide more than enough information for anyone interested in how they get the puppets to do all that killing. The deleted scene is not bad, and it helps to have the director commentary turned on to understand why it was cut. The written portion of outtakes of Tilly’s journal during the filming is interesting, though there is some overlap with her commentary. There is also a bunch of short promotional materials that were aired on TV, as well as a short documentary on the Child’s Play series that will give you the background information you need if this is the first Chucky film you have ever seen.
If you are looking for a horror film to scare you- keep looking, overall the film has one or two unexpected killings which will make you jump, and certainly the gore will disgust you, but there is little build up of suspense or tension and ultimately you will come away from the film wearing a smile on your face. Due to the DVD extras being worthwhile viewing and the film itself being great for summer movie watching, you would end up renting it more than once, so you might as well buy it!