Oh the 80s. The absolute golden age of Horror. Oh if you wanna disagree with me you are welcome. You can argue for the merits of the origins of sub-genres in the 60s, or the evolution of violence and sex (Gaillo anyone?) through the 70s. But the 80's were just limitless. The direct to video market was evolving, and profitable. The make up kids were growing up and pushing the limits of what was possible before the de-volving the computer age has inspired.
And it didn't matter how crazy your idea was... if they could figure out how to do it, and spill a fair amount of blood along the way... peeps were down.
So with that in mind I wanna do something here old Boony has yet to do... THE RETROSPECTIVE (insert kick ass theme song - Wilson Phillips 'hold on'? haha No - Night Ranger Sister Christian of course). With Curse of Chucky dropping in a few weeks I thought it would be a great time to sit down, and unleash all of my reviewing awesomeness on one of the crazier, and longest lasting characters to come out of the 80s. CHUCKY!
You may think that names like Freddy, Jason, and Michael, have the fame edge on the little guy, but I say this... is Chucky any less known? I mean you mention you watched a Chucky film, I say 90 % of the people you name drop around will know who you speak of. Seriously try it. The other, Freddy? No small Co-incedence that Freddy and Chucky just so happen to be the most chatty of the bunch...?
Ok enough. Let's do this homies and um... homettes.
CHILD"S PLAY (1988)
So your plot: A super serial killing bad guy Charles Lee Ray played by the man, the Myth, the legend, Brad Dourif, gets gunned down by a cop (another icon in his own right - Chris Sarandon). It just so happens Charles is a voodoo master, and manages to transfer his soul into the nearest object - A 'Good guy' children's toy. A mom, with a son in the midst of Birthday who desperately wants a Good guy doll, buys a toy from a bum (who managed to get his hands on the doll after the shooting). So her son Andy is stoked. And well, he quickly realizes that his doll can do a little more than smile, and say the 4 lines it is suppose to. Did I mention Charles aka Chucky can only transfer his soul into the body of the first person he tells his secret to? Well, guess who's soul he wants to replace on the tenant list - Little Andy. Blood, kills with miniature doll toys, and a whole bunch of disbelieving adults, and bam 87 minutes of 80s horror.
How did this movie become so damn popular? I mean by all accounts it should be horrible (ok you could make an argument that it is, I will not make such an argument). There is just something so damn watchable about this flick. Something any horror film that is not terrifying most have - FUN. And is it. There is something about the puppeteering of the Chucky Doll perfect fusion with Brad's voice, that breath a life into a 2.5 foot plastic toy. Making you believe this thing could be killing full sized adults. You factor in the kid in peril, and the frustration of those damn adults and you have yourself pure popcorn munching gold. Rights issues, all that, and out of all the series... the Chucky bluray boxset was the first to make it out of the Nightmare, Friday, and Halloween series. Proof that the love for this character has stood the test of time.
The first entry here, is the tamest of the bunch. Strangely, I don't think the most enjoyable. It's definitely the most straight forward horror of the series. Taking time to build the suspense, and really trying to get creepy. Then the showdown hits you in the face with insane violence, and a doll screaming all kinds of unholy shit - and you're like. I want more of that. And well, they listened. This is a great start. Andy is a likable kid, and despite lacking any real acting ability manages to get you to root for him. And the rest of the characters (even his mom) are wonderfully kill-able (me word? I think so, trademarked).
The opening chapter ends with Chucky in burned and dismembered pieces. The scene in the hallway, with parts of Chucky exploding in gunfire is just non CGI awesomeness.
Movie scale 2.5 out 5 stars
Horror scale 3 out 5 stars
CHILD'S PLAY 2 (1990)
The first film was a huge hit, achieving cult status immediately, and so it was a no-brainer the sequel would get green lit. And boy freaking howdy did they crank it up. Someone realized (could be the 90s effect) that the film was silly as hell, and trying to some how bring this doll back and keep the film even marginally clean cut horror... was ridiculous... so they focused on what the fans wanted: A whole lot of Chucky mean muggin' and dropping F-bombs, and, chaos.
Poor lil Andy. His Mom is locked away for believing in talking people killing dolls (those damn doctors). The cops involved with the first film who were clear and coherent witnesses, including the one that was kind of into Andy's Mom have apparently vanished. So, you know, just roll on past den plot holes there. Now Andy is all sad and Lonely, and travels from foster home to foster home. Around the time Andy arrives at a surprisingly warm family (who is aware of his past), the makers of the Good Guy dolls decide to bring them back. This of course somehow involves them using the remains of Chucky from the first film... why? Don't freaking know. But it does allow Chucky to come back (and I mean really Jason's corpse got hit by lightening in part 6, so thin is allowed).
Chucky kills the boss, finds Andy's location and heads to the Foster home. There Andy and his would be parents try to deal with his past in more ways than one. Along for the ride is the 'Troubled teen' girl who is staying with the family, and takes a liking to Andy. Of course that bond is tested when he starts claiming the doll is trying to possess his body. And people start dying. They eventually end up in a crazy ass showdown in a toy factory that just goes for broke in glorious fashion.
How can you not love this flick? I remember passing the VHS (ya, I'm oldish and stuff) on the store shelves and thinking one day when I was free the parental restraints, I would watch that awesome looking thing. And I did in my mid teens and it was awesome. And revisiting as the giant man type adult I am... as awesome. I mean it is just crazy-ness. Chucky is outta control. One liners dropping like magic, some cool and creative kills. Poor Andy managing to pull his acting abilities together, and that showdown. I mean, that Chucky is one determined soul sucking bastard. Just a blast from bell to bell. I got slap it down a bit for story, and such. I mean its just ridiculous, but as for as horror fun... bonus points all around...
Movie Scale 2 out 5 stars
Horror Scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
CHILD'S PLAY 3 (1991)
Geez. Did they even let the money hit the ground before they cranked this one out? I believe the only DTV of the series. For obvious reason's, and generally considered the weakest of the lot. But you know, I gotta step up for the Chucky Bastard child here, it still manages to be FUN. Stupid, and some times painful, but still FUN.
This time around teenager Andy (they grow up so fast, sigh) has been sent to a military school for unwanted, or troubled, or well... there's a bunch of kids there. After all the years have passed the Good Guy company is at it again, deciding that its a great time to refresh their good guy doll line. So of course they decide to use the remains from the Chucky in Part 2 (still preserved at the toy factory, why? Again, you're watching a flick about a voodoo doll, that kills people... Brain stop thinking!) Chucky comes back, people die, and he heads for Andy at military school. Of course there are Douchebags at the school that take a dislike to Andy, and a cute, authority challenging girl that likes the troubled kid. There is also a young kid that Chucky ends up being discovered by. He then decides that kids body is now prime soul real-estate. So begins the new battle, with Andy playing protector, and being much the wiser than the scared kid he used to be. Well, at least, a little smarter.
There are some great lines in this one... Can you believe it Andy, Chucky's gunna be a bro. Some cool supporting characters (something the other films lack hard) and a few really fun scenes. For instance Chucky exchanging all the paint rounds for the "War games" with real bullets. There are still some silly, silly, things in here. Like the fact Andy is like 16 and the girl that he's into looks about 25. And before you ask... clearly George Lucas was inspired to right the Anakin romance right here. The Nerd is a fun addition, and the soldier that cuts hair with a deeply unsettling joy is a hoot. Especially when he crosses paths with Chuck.
The final showdown is the weakest of the series taking place in a haunted ride in an amusement park. Finishing with Andy dealing with his fears, and blasting Chucky with new found courage and sniper skillz. And then Chucky is left in pieces by way of his um... biggest fan. Hahaha Had to. I'm writing this... you guys get all the damn joy reading it so, I'm allowed some giggle.
movie scale 2 stars our 5 stars
Horror scale 2.5 out 5 stars.
BRIDE OF CHUCKY (1998)
Chucky gets lucky. I mean, come on, that is just gold. The late 90s saw a rebirth of the Slasher. Well, more accurately the sub-genre of the Teen Slasher. So the man behind every single one of the Chuckys (that's right all written by the same chap) convinced some peeps that he could work Chucky into the trend, and create some sweet sweet celluloid genius. And did he. How can I describe the FUN here. I saw this in theatre and laughed, and clapped, and just loved my life for 89 minutes.
This time around the world seems to be aware of the chaos of Chucky, at least somewhat. A former flame - the 90s sextastic Jennifer Tilly - of Charles Lee Ray (you know way back when Chucky had fleshy parts) gathers his remains from an evidence room, and tried to reanimate him after stitching him back together (and giving him a sic evil new look). Chucky comes back, reminds her he's a dick, and he decides to mistreat him which leads to her being killed, and for some reason brought back by Chucky as another Doll. She happened to have a chick one of equal size chilling in her trailer. So convenient.
At the same time a very young Katherine Heigl (Yes her) is having trouble having romance and sexy time with her boyfriend due to interference from the town sheriff - Her legal guardian - John THE MAN Ritter. Her man happens to live at the same trailer park as Chucky's bitch, and next you know he is transporting the Dolls across country for the grand reward of $1000. Cause I mean in '98 a thousand dollars was enough to start a whole new life for new kids running away... actually wait, what? Ah screw it, its Chucky 4, just roll with it Boony, just roll.
If you like violence, both creative, and extensive, and love listening to Brad Dourif yell kick ass one liners - Those dishes ain't gunna clean themselves honey. Well, I mean, how can you not love every bit of this film. Having watched all of them recently with a few friends (hence my choice for Retrospectiveness) I gotta say, for pure enjoyment... Bride is the best Chucky. The characters are likable, the acting is far above the previous entries, the directing - Ronnie Yu - you know the man behind Jet Li's Fearless and Freddy vs Jason. Ya I just found that out for this article and it blew my mind. Same dude. Also a film call The Postman Fights Back with Chow Yun-Fat hahah. Crazy. Anyway my point, the guy is talented, and the quality of the camera is far above the whole series... and well most 4th entries in any horror series. Chucky going through the window near the end... just an unreal shot.
This is just a blood soaked, tongue firmly in cheek, ride. And just when you think it can't possibly get any more ridiculous and crazy... the last twenty seconds happens... and credits roll. And if you're like me you stare at the screen going...
What in the poppycock.
Still my fav of the series. Just fun all the way through. No slow down, no apologies, just - Ya. We're actually gonna do this with a straight face. And the death by 18 wheeler grill, sweetness.
Movie scale 3 out 5 stars
Horror Scale 4 out 5 stars
SEED OF CHUCKY (2004)
One look at that poster, and you just know what you're in for. Just, ya, you know. So I mean, I tried to have my expectations low the first time I watched this. And it still managed to cause deep, throaty groans. Haha after the fun and freshness of the last entry, it seemed scribe Don Mancini, had a handle on his creation. Then, money was tossed around, and someone decided the last Twenty secs of Bride of Chucky were worth 87 minutes of your life.
Ok so this time around, Chucky and Tiffany (apparently gathered from the actual murder scene at the end of Bride of Chucky) are robotic puppets on-set for their own Hollywood movie, about the infamous murdering dolls... ya. Before you try to wrap your mind around that, apparently some guy found their just-born child in the same end-scene graveyard, and is now trying to when Ventriloquist comps... once you know his baby doll grew up and could talk... in a British accent. Sigh... so then the sad lonely doll sees the Chucky and Tiff interview (being faked by a Hollywood puppeteer) and realizes his parents are alive. He escapes the clutches of douchebag Ventriloquist and heads to find his family. Of course he some how has the medallion and reads the magic voodoo words, and boom! Chucky and Tiff come back to life. Then together they follow an actress, Jennifer Tilly (as herself, and also the voice of Tiffany) home and chaos ensues.
Wow. I mean, just, wow. How the hell did this film see the light of day? It is just utterly ridiculous. And we are talking about the fifth entry in a film series about a killing doll. It takes a lot for a fan of the series to label anything as ridiculous. Now, as far as, SO BAD ITS GOOD, maybe. I mean their are those out there that enjoy this entry. But there is just too much stupid. I mean the opening horrible CGI sperm and baby birth sequence alone lets you know you are in for a horrid experience.
Then add: no explanation for why Chuck and Tiff aren't trying to kill each other... the fact that their child is gender confused cause he was born without parts. The ridiculous overuse of the Japanese angle (Glen/Glenda the kid thinks they're Japanese because of the made in JAPAN logo on his arm, get it cause he's a doll) and music. A martial arts showdown at the end... Yup. Um, things like, wait how the hell did they get to this guy's house? How did they even know where he lived? Um, how the hell does Glen/Glenda have the necklace? Exactly why is Jennifer Tilly in this movie?
But hey. There's a bunch of cheesy violence, cameos (Redman, John Waters, and so on), Chucky has a few decent lines though as your head swings side to side and you scream WHHHHHYYYYY?! Who knows if you'll hear them. After the awesome B-movie vibe of the whole series and the climax of Bride it just really seemed only good things could be ahead... Lies! It tries so hard, even blowing up a Britney Spears lookalike... just tries so hard to be liked... Could have something to do with the writer of the entire series Don Mancini stepping behind the camera for the first time...
Movie scale 1 out of 5 stars
Horror Scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Which brings us to current events and the upcoming series reboot with a fresh clean cut Chucky Doll...
I am stoked! Early Buzz is damn good... apparently a throwback to the awesomeness. Stay tunes a full review will be dropping on release day October 14th - What's that... just in time for Halloween? Why you shouldn't have Rogue pictures.
I have had a freaking blast, big shout out to my Chucky Peeps Liz and Ty, for hitting the couch snacks, and chat, through the adventure. Great time. Hope some of you had a fun trip down memory lane, and hey maybe a few of you eager horror beavers who have been looking to get into some great classic slasher ventures... Don't you forget your Chucky fix. I'll Finish the first ever retrospective with a few fun facts... (think I'll make this a mainstay of the Retrospec)
- Did you know the 1st, 2nd, and Bride of Chucky earned 183 mill world wide? Ya. Including Child's Play 2 opening #1.
- Chucky always loses his right hand before dying in the original trilogy. Shot off in 1, torn off in 2, and cut off in 3.
- For Seed focus features, because of their being known for artsy flicks, created the sub company Rogue Pictures just to release the film.
- Charles Lee Ray is the combination of Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswalt, and James Earl Ray
- The original Title for the Child's Play was Blood Buddy
- To help get into the right mood for Chucky, Brad Dourif would run around the recording studio, work himself up into a real frenzy and then deliver his lines. This would often leave him feeling drained after each take. In fact, he nearly fainted after recording Chucky's scream when he gets burned alive.
- John Lithgow was apparently almost the lucky one chosen to voice Chucky. Ya. Think about that haha. Crazy.
I had a blast with this, hope you loyal Booniacs, and Buckleheads dug it. Thoughts, feelings, rants, and chest bumps, always welcome.
- Chucky B Boonsweet