Seed of Chucky

seed-of-chucky-rev Seed of Chucky  (2004)    Rogue/Horror-Comedy    RT: 88 minutes    Unrated Version (graphic bloody violence and gore, sexual content, language)    Director: Don Mancini    Screenplay: Don Mancini    Music: Pino Donaggio    Cinematography: Vernon Layton    Release date: November 12, 2004 (US)    Cast: Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Billy Boyd, Redman, Hannah Spearritt, John Waters, Keith-Lee Castle, Steve Lawton, Tony Gardner, Jason Flemyng, Nicholas Rowe, Simon James Morgan, Stephanie Chambers, Bethany Simons-Denville, Rebecca Santos, Beans El-Balawi, Kristina Hewitt.    Box Office: $17 million (US)/$24.8 million (World)

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 This is where the Chucky series really goes off the rails. Seed of Chucky is as insane a horror flick as they come. It’s extremely gory and very funny. I like it now but that wasn’t always the case. When it first came out, I wasn’t a fan. It didn’t open in too many theaters so I had a choice of seeing at a theater in a sketchy area close to where I lived or driving to another location about an hour away. I opted for the former and made sure I brought my Club to keep my car from being stolen. What I won’t do for my love of movies, especially horror sequels.

 seed of chuckySeed of Chucky is the first Chucky movie not to be released by a major studio. It was released by Rogue Pictures, then a subsidiary of Universal who handled Child’s Play 2 & 3 and Bride of Chucky, whose specialty was “high-quality suspense, action, thriller and urban features with mainstream appeal and franchise potential”. Other titles from Rogue include Unleashed, Cry Wolf, Waist Deep and remakes of Assault on Precinct 13 and The Hitcher. The point I’m trying to make is that Rogue was a second-tier studio whose movies didn’t get released as wide as features from major studios.  For me, that was part of the appeal of Seed of Chucky.

 I was disappointed by Seed of Chucky on my initial viewing. Second and third viewings did nothing to raise my opinion. Like Child’s Play 3, it took multiple viewings for me to get into it. I re-re-rewatched it this past week and really enjoyed it. It’s a low budget piece, made for $12 million and filmed in Romania (my wife’s place of origin) where costs and salaries are much lower. Let me tell you, this cheapie looks a hell of a lot better than many horror movies that cost five times that amount. The makers wisely decided to go with practical effects- e.g. animatronics, makeup, stage blood- instead of CGI. Seed of Chucky is something of a throwback to old school horror filmmaking but with a modern sensibility. It knows it’s a goof and has no problem making fun of itself. This fifth installment is particularly silly. Our killer doll couple Chucky and Tiffany are now the proud parents of a baby who-knows-what. Without genitalia, it’s kind of hard to tell. I was never sure about Ken.

 As you recall, Tiffany gave birth at the end of Bride of Chucky. The baby has grown into a kind and caring boy doll named Glen (voiced by Boyd) living a hellish life as a ventriloquist’s dummy named “S--face”. He’s always dreamed about finding his parents and becoming part of a real family. His wish is granted when he sees Chucky and Tiffany being interviewed on TV. They’re co-starring with Jennifer Tilly (as a parodic version of herself) in a schlock horror flick called Chucky Goes Psycho in which they stab a guy in a Santa Claus suit to death. Right now, they run on batteries but we know that will soon no longer be the case. They’re going to come back to life yet again.

 Glen runs away from his owner, manages to board a plane to the US and mail himself to the studio where the movie is being made. He ends up in the prop room where he uses the magic amulet to bring his parents to life. Chucky (Dourif) faints when he learns he’s a dad; Tiffany (Tilly) is delighted. However, they can’t seem to agree on his/her gender. Chucky wants a boy and calls him “Glen”; Tiffany wants a girl and calls her “Glenda” (nice homage to Ed Wood’s infamous 1953 stinker Glen or Glenda). So how do they celebrate the good news? Why, by decapitating the puppeteer (makeup/effects designer Tony Gardner) with piano wire of course. It’s very messy; blood squirts everywhere. It’s really cool! It gets even better. Tilly finds the head and thinks it’s a prop so she picks it up and soon discovers it’s the real deal.

 Meanwhile, Tilly is looking for a role better than the ones she been reduced to recently. She complains in one of the movie’s best lines, “I’m an Oscar nominee and now I’m f--king a puppet!” It seems all the good roles go to Julia Roberts. Tilly points out if she played Erin Brockovich, she wouldn’t have had to wear a push-up bra. She auditions for the role of the Virgin Mary in an upcoming Biblical epic directed by rapper Redman (as himself). He rejects her at first so she invites him over to her house to discuss it further. That’s when Chucky and Tiffany decide to transfer their souls into Tilly and Redman’s bodies. Needing a body for Glen/Glenda, Tiffany artificially inseminates Tilly with Chucky’s sperm. Seed of Chucky contains cinema’s first doll masturbation scene (to Fangoria magazine no less).

 I’m going to stop with my plot description here. I’ve already told you a lot, too much probably. My main objective was to give you an idea of how absolutely wonky Seed of Chucky is. Let’s move on to my favorite part, the kill scenes. The body count this time is 10. I already told you about the bloody beheading. There’s also a graphic disembowelment replete with steaming intestines on the floor. A woman is burned to death. A man is stabbed with a knife. A woman falls getting out of the tub and smashes her head on the floor. A man has half his face burned off with sulfuric acid. Also, Britney Spears is killed when Chucky runs her car off the road. Okay, it’s not the real Britney but it’s the thought that counts.

 I had a good time watching Seed of Chucky but it starts to run out of steam a little in the third act. It’s okay though because writer Don Mancini throws in a cool wicked twist at the end. Speaking of Mancini (who’s been with the series since the first movie), he also directs this one. It’s his first time serving in that capacity and he does a pretty good job it. Tilly does a great job in both roles. I love that she’s so willing to make fun of her image as an airheaded slut who’ll do anything to advance her career. I doubt she’s like that in real life; she’s going by the public’s perception of her. In any event, she’s a really good sport. Mancini writes some nice material for her including a shout-out to her other famous role in the lesbian neo-noir thriller Bound. It’s Redman’s favorite (of course); he even goes so far as to ask Tilly if she’s still friends with hot co-star Gina Gershon who sadly doesn’t make a cameo. It would have been cool if she did. Mancini could have written a scene where Tilly invites her to take part in a three-way only to be told to f--k off.

 Once again, Dourif is awesome. No more needs to be said there. Director John Waters (of Pink Flamingos infamy) shows up as a paparazzi photographer who gets on Chucky’s bad side. One of the many cool things about Seed of Chucky is how it skewers Hollywood and celebrityism. In addition to everything else, it’s a wicked little satire too. It tries to do a little too much but I have to admire its ambition. It wants to be more than just another horror sequel. Believe me, Seed of Chucky is NOT that. It’s a strange hybrid of horror, comedy and doll family drama. It’s the weirdest entry in the series. It may not be the Chucky movie fans want but it’s one that they won’t forget.

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