Monday, March 30, 2009

Bride of Chucky

Bride of Chucky takes a big shift in tone from flicks 1, 2, and 3. The first was straight-up horror. The second and third were horror movies with a bad guy who liked to throw out one-liners from time to time.

But Bride of Chucky isn’t a horror movie. Or if it was meant to be, it pretty much fails, because it isn’t scary or suspenseful.

Instead, what we have here is a black comedy of sorts, wherein Chucky and his bride hitch a ride to New Jersey with a boy (Jesse) and a girl (Jade) who could be in an entirely different movie for roughly the first hour of the film.

A movie where sometimes things blow up around them for no reason and each thinks the other is a killer.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Part IV: The Chuckening, starts with a cop taking the evidence bag that has Chucky’s remaining parts in it. I guess the plan is that he’s going to sell it to Tiffany, but instead Tiffany cuts his throat.

Tiffany, by the way, was Charles Lee Ray’s girlfriend, back in Chicago at the time of his death. No, we’ve never heard of her until this moment.

She, on the other hand, has been thinking about Chucky for years, and she has secured all of his plastic parts in an effort to bring him back to life so they can be together forever. She sews him up and brings him back using “Voodoo for Dummies,” which is one of things you’ll either find funny, or not. And if you’re laughing, well, then this movie was made for you.

I could jump back and forth between this plotline and the story of Jade and Jesse, but that would just confuse things. We’ll come back to the two Js in a bit.

It turns out that Tiffany has been wearing the ring Chucky was going to give to her back when he got killed, only it turns out that she’s been wearing the rock for ten years for no reason. He just took it off some lady he killed, and was going to pawn it.

This makes Tiffany sad, and she responds to these feelings by locking Chucky up in a baby cage/playpen (honestly, I have no idea what it was really meant to be) and giving him a doll as a bride.

Chucky, who is now REALLY not happy, escapes from his cage and electrocutes Tiffany in her own bathtub. Then he brings her back to life in the doll bride.

To teach her a lesson, I guess.

At this juncture Chucky explains that in order to get into human bodies, they need an amulet that his human body was buried with.

This of course, makes nooo sense in the context of the first trio of movies, in at least three ways.

First: Charles Lee Ray is buried in New Jersey. Except he was shot and killed in Chicago, so how that did happen?

Second: Did Chucky just figure out how important the amulet is/was? And if so, did he find this out by reading “Voodoo for Dummies?”

Third: No mention is made of the fact that they need to get out of their plastic bodies as soon as possible. So maybe they have all the time in the world if the amulet is involved?

This last point removes pretty much any and all possible tension from the movie. Unless you’re really invested in the teenage lovebirds, the only possible suspense you might have is whether or not Chucky and Tiffany will get to the amulet before they become trapped in their bodies forever. But I guess that’s not a concern.

At any rate, what happens is, Tiffany calls up Jesse and tells him there’s 1,000 bucks in it for him if he takes two dolls to the cemetery as fast as possible.

Okay, so, let’s zip back to the other plotline.

That plotline story Jesse, Jade, and a guy named David. David is gay, which I guess I wouldn’t mention except the movie feels compelled to bring it up a time or three. I suppose the flick might be trying to make a point about how his gayness doesn’t affect his character arc, and how it’s just a facet of his personality, but instead it ends up being sort of weirdly distracting. Usually if you bring up information like that, it’s important, but in this case, it’s just there.

Jesse loves Jade, but he lives in a trailer. Jade’s parents are dead, and she lives with her uncle, who doesn’t approve of Jesse. Because of the trailer. Or something. Regardless, he’s a mean guy who doesn’t like Jesse.

Jesse wants to be with Jade forever and ever, so when he figures they can get their hands on a grand, he tells Jade they should run away and get married.

She agrees to this.

Unfortunately, as she’s agreeing to this, and packing, Jade’s uncle gets a bunch of nails shoved into his face by Chucky and Tiffany and then gets stuffed into a bench in Jesse’s van.

Jesse and Jade’s problems continue when they’re pulled over by a cop they had a previous run-in with. Jade’s cop uncle has been paying a cop flunky to hassle Jesse and Jade. Unfortunately for flunky cop, Chucky doesn’t want any delays, and Chucky blows up the flunky’s car. With the flunky in it.

So Jesse and Jade run. To an all-night chapel. Where they get married.

At which point a random couple comes bursting into their honeymoon suite and steals Jesse’s money.

Chucky and Tiffany are displeased at this turn of events, and see to it that the random couple doesn’t make it through the next scene alive. Happy to be killing together again, Chucky and Tiffany have a honeymoon of their own, which means exactly what you think it does.

Meanwhile, Jade and Jesse grab separate phones and tell their buddy David that, like, they both totally got married to a killer! I’d like to think that if the movie was made a little more recently they would have texted this information (MRD JD – SHE Z KLR. HLP). As it is, Jesse has to find a pay phone. He’d still be searching for one if the movie was made in the last five years.

David drives to their hotel and startles the happy couple. Then he gets into their van and joins them on their Jersey trip. Only the van smells bad, because there’s a dead body in it.

David finds the dead uncle, the van is pulled over, Chucky and Tiffany pull out guns, David steps onto the highway and is hit by a truck.

Chucky decides, in voiceover, that the van is too easy to find now, and so the next time we see Jesse driving, they’re all in a Winnebago.

At this point, the cards are pretty much on the table, and Chucky and Tiffany have spelled out their plan of taking over Jade and Jesse’s bodies. So Jade and Jesse make some remarks designed to cause a marital spat.

Angry words are exchanged, and Jesse crashes the Winnebago.

Which explodes.

It’s some gasoline/power cable thing, but ultimately it doesn’t come to much because everyone survives and ends up at Charles Lee Ray’s grave site.

Despite the fact that it’s the middle of the night, a coroner is digging up Ray’s body, because the police found Charles Lee Ray’s fingerprints at two of the crime scenes shown previously in this film.

Which means that, yes, Chucky has Charles’s fingerprints. The implications of this are pretty interesting, but if you’ve been reading along so far, you are well aware that this idea will never be discussed again.

Ever. Put it out of your mind. Forget I mentioned it.

(Don’t stop to think about all the other murders in the previous three films, and about how Chucky’s fingerprints would be on those as well.)

Standoffs happen. Chucky and Tiffany fight each other with shovels. Tiffany is killed.

Chucky ends up in the bottom of Charles’s grave, and he can’t get out because he’s two feet tall.

A cop, who we’ve seen a few times on the TV talking about Jesse and Jade, shows up, sees that yes, Chucky is alive… and then Jade shoots Chucky. Chucky dies.

Jade and Jesse wander off into the sunset.

And the cop goes over and pokes Tiffany. She responds by giving birth to a doll with sharp, pointy teeth, which then leaps for the cop’s throat.

There are some interesting implications here. Jesse and Jade’s one reliable police-force witness is probably now quite deceased. Which means that our two lovebirds are probably going to the clink for a long, long time. Plus, of course, we’ve got the upcoming “Seed of Chucky,” so we know that the baby will not be forgotten in the next installment.

Plus we’ve got the Duex Ex Machina, er, sorry, the amulet floating around now. So many wild possibilities! So many possible twists and turns!

Although I think what we really need now is a movie where all the survivors team up to put a stop to Chucky once and for all. I mean, Andy has military training now. How hard could it be to spring his mom? After that, all they need is an arc welder and a lot of free time.

Child’s Play 3

When we last left our eight-year-old hero Andy, it was 1990. Now it’s 1991, and our hero is 16 years old.

No references are made to the year, and when the movie opens we get to see the Good Guys factory which, it seems, has been gathering dust for the last year. Sorry, eight years. Because as we all know, if a business stops manufacturing something, they allow the space to lay unused until they start manufacturing it again, no matter how long the warehouse must lay fallow.

(Though if it’s been 8 years, that makes it… (does math) 1998. Which is when part IV came out. Huh.)

And of course, the first thing that happens is, someone dunks the huge wad of plastic formerly known as Chucky that (again!) wasn’t use as police evidence and (again!) melts it down, even though there was clothing and other things attached to it… which you would think would clog the plastic vats, but never mind.

Either way, somehow, it’s implied that Chucky’s blood creates a new Chucky. Why not, say, many Chuckys? Or many dolls that Chucky could inhabit? Because how awesome would that be, with Chucky jumping from body to body, almost impossible to catch or kill?

At any rate, the factory is back open for business, and the first Good Guy doll off the assembly line has been handed off to the evil, evil, corporate head who has no problem bringing back the doll of everyone’s nightmares.

He’s the first one dead. In case you hadn’t guessed. Worth mentioning: Chucky reveals himself as alive to this guy, which should mean he’s the dude who’s up for possession this time.

Or maybe not. Who knows? We’ll come back to the body-hopping shortly.

Back to Andy, who has had some trouble fitting in with various foster parents, because his mom is still undergoing treatment. Or something. One would think that after ten years, someone would either figure out that mom really was attacked by a killer doll, especially since her son would have had to admit that it happened twice, or mom would have finally just given up and said, “Well, okay, it didn’t happen,” and there would have been a family reunion.

Either way.

But, instead, we’ve got Andy being placed in military school.

Here’s a question. What happened to Kyle, who was also menaced by Chucky eight years ago? She’s never spoken of, even though she and Andy shared night of terror together. One would think he’d at least shoot her a letter.

Okay, I swear. That’s going to be the last logic flaw I talk about for at least three paragraphs.

The head of the school decides to take Andy on, despite his troubled past. And Andy goes and gets himself a military haircut. There’s a running gag about the barber enjoying his work just way too much, but it’s not worth your time or mine to get invested in his fate. He’s not making it out of the movie.

Instead, let’s focus on the commercial that runs while Andy is getting his regulation military haircut. It’s the exact same footage we saw that young Andy once referred to as a rerun, only this time it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a commercial. It’s in this manner that Andy finds out that Good Guy dolls are back on the market.

Also important in this scene is a young child named Tyler, who, despite the fact that he looks like he’s about ten, and he owns a pretty impressive handheld gaming system he’s always carrying around with him, and he’s black, is very, very, very, impressed by a toy that’s white, is a doll, and only says three sentences.

Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t say it was a logic flaw. I mean, I am now, because this is the fourth paragraph, but I didn’t say it in the last paragraph. So I didn’t break my promise.

Other characters are introduced. Whitehurst, who is a geeky male. De Silva, who is an attractive and spunky female. Shelton, who is evil and power-hungry. We know this because he forces Whitehurst to polish his shoes, and because he’s mean to people. In a very military sort of way.

And with that, all the major players are in place, and the story is ready to rock and roll. Only it doesn’t.

Chucky ships himself to Andy in brown paper wrapping, an ingenious plan that would have worked if not for a meddling kid. In this case, the kid is Tyler, who accidentally drops the package he’s supposed to take to Andy. He then realizes it’s a Good Guy doll, and decides to steal the doll and keep it for himself instead.

There’s an important moral here – don’t steal your friend’s stuff, or a possessed doll will try to hide his soul inside you. Don’t forget that, kids. And stay in school.

Tyler discovers that Chucky is some sort of alive, and Chucky figures that since he has a new body, then technically he should be able to cram his shopworn soul into this new first person he revealed himself to. So Chucky tells Tyler he wants to play a game called “Hide the soul,” and Tyler decides to comply.

Only the head of the military school shows up in a nick of time, and takes the doll away from Tyler. He then stuffs it in the trash.

The trash is collected by a friendly garbage man, who hears yelling in the back of his truck. He races inside the back of his truck, attempting to save whoever is trapped there, and Chucky sneaks to the front of the truck and crushes the guy.

Aaand it’s filler time.

I’ll explain: From this point on, events occur, but it’s pretty obvious that everyone is just going through the motions until we reach the dramatic conclusion. No new information is revealed, no setups really pay off, and ultimately a few people die because killing someone every few minutes creates plot churn.

So we’ll race through the events.

Chucky locates Andy, and announces both his evil plans and his intention to kill Andy now that he no longer needs Andy’s body.

Shelton shows up at the last minute and takes Chucky away from Andy.

Andy tries to steal Chucky back, and Chucky runs away. Then Chucky plays a game of hide-and-go-seek with Tyler, while De Silva and one of her friends sneak into the school office to find out more about Andy.

Everyone is almost caught in the school head’s office, only they aren’t. The head of the school discovers that Chucky is alive and dies of a heart attack.

Andy tells Tyler that Chucky is evil.

Whitehurst gets a hair cut. (This is an actual plot point.)

The crazy barber finds Chucky in one of his cabinets, and decides to give the doll a haircut.

Chucky kills the barber. Whitehurst, thanks to his recent haircut, is witness to the aftermath. And also a living killer doll (I told you the haircut was important!).

Whitehurst opts to not tell anyone what he saw, and everyone troops off to the annual war games, which involves a bunch of co-ed teenagers in the woods carrying rifles with paint bullets instead of real bullets.

Chucky, of course, swaps a few paint shells for real shells. Because he’s evil. And also not concerned that Tyler might take a shot to the chest, leaving Chucky trapped in a doll body.

At this point, of course, we head into the big battle… No. Wait. Sorry about that. There’s some more plot. We’ll zip through that too.

Chucky grabs Tyler. A grenade is thrown. Whitehurst jumps on it to save everyone. Shelton is shot and dies.

Then the remaining players all run down what looks like a really steep hill so that the final fight can take place in a scary amusement park ride.

Is it worth getting into the nitty and the gritty of what happens? Probably not. It’s more or less the same as the climatic battle from part two, only this time Andy is the older of the two kids.

In the end, Chucky is dropped into a massive fan and chopped into little pieces, never to return again.

And with that, the movie ends, instead of concluding with three living witnesses once again saying, “Um, okay, it’s happened three times now. There really is a killer doll. Look, his parts are scattered all over the place…”

Friday, March 27, 2009

Child’s Play 2

Let’s consider the last moments of the movie “Child’s Play”: On the floor of the apartment is a charred plastic doll with several limbs shot off. There are three adults, two of them officers of the law, who have seen the doll attack people.

And finally, there’s a small child who is claiming that a doll is the one responsible for the death of three people.

So in order for there to be a part two, all that has to happen is… what, exactly? The doll is quite dead, and will surely be entered into evidence. I guess you could write off what happened as something akin to mass hysteria, but ultimately there are a bunch of deceased persons and no evidence to support the theory that any of the remaining witnesses was responsible.

Otherwise, Andy would have been locked up an asylum of some type in the middle of the first movie, right?


And, of course, if Chucky were to come back to life, and Andy found out about it, he would just have to tell the three people who have seen the doll living and breathing and they would all believe his story and deal with it accordingly.

There’s probably a good way to get around all these issues for a part two, but I guess no one was all that worried about it. So instead, they concocted two-minute exposition scene wherein the cops covered up what happened (Whaaat? How?), mom is currently being investigated for being unstable (almost makes sense…) and Andy is in the foster care system while his mom is being checked out.

Because, of course, if a kid is in the vicinity of two major murders and a lot of gunfire, he doesn’t need psychiatric care. He needs a temporary family.

Oh, and also the toy company has the doll now, because it couldn’t possibly be evidence in a major murder trial. I mean, maybe the kid did kill Maggie, because it clearly wasn’t anyone else, but, you know, he just needs a new home. We already established that.

So the three parts of the Chucky doll that are still functional are reassembled into a new doll, saving the company thirty-five cents in parts, and costing them a few hundred in manual labor to make the doll by hand.

At which point, the machine that jams eyeballs into the doll’s head delivers a jolt of electricity that kills the person putting the doll back together. And I guess it brings Chucky back to life. I really have no idea. Perhaps it was explained while I was slapping my forehead in disbelief.

But let’s skip over to Andy, who is about to go into foster care. He meets his now foster mom and foster dad, and his new foster sister, Kyle, who has moved from home to home to home. I guess this happens because she smokes. She implies that she rarely lasts anywhere more than a month, and the only thing she really does “wrong” in the movie is the smoking.

She also sneaks out to hang with friends, once. But she doesn’t seem so bad. So I guess it’s the smoking.

Meanwhile, the flunky at the toy company who thought it would be a great idea to save thirty-five cents in parts is told to take Chucky and get him out of the building because of the death of the guy shoving eyeballs into Chucky’s head.

The person responsible for Chucky’s continued existence is subsequently killed by Chucky, because why not?

Back at Andy’s temporary home, he has discovered he has a pretty awesome room, and also his that foster mom forgot to take the Good Guy doll out of the closet. Mom apologizes, then takes the doll downstairs and instead of, say, putting in outside, or locking it in the garage, or otherwise taking it out of sight for the good of a kid who apparently had a psychotic break, she leaves it at the bottom of the stairs.

Chucky has, with a single phone call, figured out where Andy is. He gets into the house, finds the Good Guy doll, beats it to death (why?!), buries it in the backyard (why?!), and takes the other doll’s place on the stairs (why!? No, wait. Sorry. I actually know the answer to this one. Because he wants to take over Andy’s body.).

Chucky then ties up Andy, while Andy sleeps. Instead of just doing the voodoo ritual. When Andy awakens, he finds that he’s tied to the bed, and that Chucky is about to start ritualing it up.

At which point, Kyle, who snuck out of the house earlier, opts to sneak in through Andy’s window. And the foster parents race in, and figure Kyle tied Andy up. And I guess intended to torture Andy with the Good Guy doll.

Arguments and accusations fly. At which point everyone goes to bed, I guess. Andy is sent to school the next day, and Chucky heads to the school as well, having apparently decided that killing Andy in a public school is going to be much easier than doing so at home.

Events ensue, Andy is locked in a classroom for detention, and Chucky is locked in the closet of said classroom, all of which culminates in the death of Andy’s teacher.

At which point, I feel we must pause for a body count.

The first “Child’s Play,” despite being billed as something of a slasher, has surprisingly few deaths in it. Charles Lee Ray dies, then Maggie, then Chucky’s partner in crime, followed by the voodoo priest, and then Chucky dies a second time.

Three people and a doll over the course of the movie.

Whereas in part two, we’ve barely gotten past the midway point, and we already have three dead people and a “dead” doll.

Perhaps the edict for part two was, “Well, as long as we kill more people, we don’t have to worry about making sense.”

Speaking of more deaths, Andy’s foster father is killed by taking a bad tumble down some stairs, thanks to Chucky. Luckily, he finds out that Chucky is the one behind all the mayhem in the house before his neck is broken, so at least he feels a strong sense of guilt about giving Andy such a hard time in the moments before he bites it.

Andy is taken back to the… halfway house? Orphanage? Come to think of it, what was that place, exactly? Because a bunch of kids go racing out of it later, which implies that kids are living there, only isn’t the point of the foster care system that orphanages aren’t really an American institution any more?

Does any portion of this movie make any sense at all?

Kyle discovers the “dead” doll buried in the backyard. This, of course, finally convinces her that maybe there really is a killer doll on the loose, and she runs to tell her foster mother, who already knows. Of course, she’s dead, so she can’t utilize that knowledge, but there you go.

Kyle is held at knifepoint and Chucky instructs her to take him to Andy. She drives him there, finally fighting back by crashing the car, which causes Chucky to fly out the windshield.

At which point she runs away, warns Andy of what’s going on, and they live happily ever after.

No, wait. Sorry. Instead she just sits there, is held at knifepoint again, and takes Chucky into the orphanage.

Mayhem ensues, and Andy and Kyle run a short distance and find themselves in the Good Guy factory.

Because naturally, the place you would want to run to if you were being chased by a killer doll is the place where every single thing in the room looks like him.

Mayhem ensues, and we learn, when Chucky finally gets some recitation time, that Chucky is trapped in his body forever, and can no longer take over Andy.

Or, alternately, the first person he revealed himself as “alive” to this go-around was the guy who had him reassembled. And that guy bought it nearly eighty minutes ago.

In the course of the final showdown, Chucky’s hand is pulled off, and he replaces it with a knife blade. Then a bunch of plastic parts are fused to him. Then hot plastic is poured over him. And finally, his head is blown off.

So Kyle and Andy walk off into the sunrise. It’s a new day, and they have a looot of explaining to do, including the death of their foster mom, the destruction of probably a few hundred thousand dollars worth of property, and a maintenance guy whose head now has plastic eyeballs in it.

Of course, I’m completely positive that all these things will be dealt with in part three. I’m sure they won’t just hand-wave them away again.

Child’s Play

The best horror movies contain a certain amount of logic. They’ll ask you to swallow a single premise, either large or small, and then do their very best to play within the rules laid down in the early scenes.

Consider the movie “Halloween.” Taken by itself, the Michael under the mask is just a person. A person who can, perhaps, take a punch or a bullet better than the average human, but still flesh and blood.

One could argue that the final scene of Halloween says he’s something more than that, but, well, I’ll come back to that. Someday.

Because right now we’re talking about “Child’s Play,” a movie that starts with a pretty ridiculous idea and then keeps piling on the strangeness until the movie turns into a fairly stressful game of mental Jenga if you want to take it all seriously.

Let’s start with the opening scene. Charles Lee Ray, serial killer, is running down the street, gun in hand, trying to escape a police officer. They’re trading gunfire in the middle of a deserted street in Chicago, which I’m sure happens all the time.

Charles is hit, and then he runs inside a toy store and, sensing that he’s about to die, pulls a Good Guy doll out of it’s package, yells a bunch of words in a foreign language (except for “Give me the power I beg of youuuu!”) and then does the doll-eye stare.

Only of course he doesn’t die, or this would be the end of some other movie, as opposed to be the beginning of this one.

Is it worth mentioning, by the way, that there’s a Good Guys toy gun? That struck me as odd. I guess it’s in case the Good Guys need to shoot up some Bad Guys.

At any rate…

Next we meet Andy, who is a Good Guys fanatic, and has all the gear. Or most of the gear, anyway. It appears that Good Guys are actually based on a cartoon, as we see a clip of the cartoon that Andy is watching.

Andy notes that the cartoon is a rerun. Which is strange, because the cartoon looks just like an ad. Which I guess it is, because after the ad comes a notice that Good Guy dolls are now available for purchase.

Something I would have thought Andy would know already.

This is terribly exciting for Andy, as it’s his birthday, and he sees a Good Guy-sized box currently wrapped up and waiting for him.

So he goes and wakes up his mom with breakfast in bed, and then opens his gifts and discovers the big box is actually clothes. At which point his mother apologizes for not getting him the doll, because it wasn’t in the budget.

Way to go, mom. You should always apologize to your children when you can’t afford extravagant presents.

There’s a strange hole in the movie that probably deserves mention here: Andy’s dad is clearly not in the picture, and the only explanation we get is one line later on that implies dad is “in heaven.” And I guess he must have left a massive life insurance policy because mom works at a jewelry counter, and can afford day care, living in Chicago, and having a really nice-sized apartment…

Mom heads to work, and Andy goes to school. Mom’s best buddy, Maggie, runs into Andy’s mom and notes that a homeless guy outside has a Good Guy doll for sale.

Here we start getting into logical flaws pretty heavily. Clearly the homeless guy took the doll from the store. Which means he took an unboxed doll, put in back in the box, and dragged it out of there.

Why not taken any one of the several dolls still in the box? Or did he take all of them, and stuff this one back in the box while he was at it? How much money has this homeless guy made today?

So many unanswered questions.

Andy’s mom is told she has to work overtime, and Maggie offers to baby-sit. This allows mom to live a little longer.

Mom presents the doll to Andy, Maggie takes over for the night, and all is happiness and light until nine o’clock hits, and we discover via the television that Charles Lee Ray’s partner has escaped from prison.

Which implies the Chicago police are fairly inept. Again.

Andy tells Maggie that “Chucky” wants to watch the news, and Maggie, who has never seen a horror movie before, figures that Andy just wants to stay up late, and not that his doll has been taken over by a psychotic killer.

She’s still not convinced when Andy heads into the bathroom to brush his teeth, and she discovers that someone has turned on the TV and that the doll is watching it. She accuses Andy, Andy is put to bed, and…

Well, things end badly for Maggie.

She hears noises, and she figures Andy is running around, moving chairs and trying to get out the front door, and then she takes a hammer to the head and falls out a window, falling several stories to her death.

The cops, of course, figure Andy tried to kill Maggie. But they don’t take him in for questioning. Man, the cops in this movie really take it in the pants, huh?

The next day, Chucky has Andy take him to some run-down house in the middle of nowhere, and Chucky kills off his partner.

Why would a serial killer even have a partner? What does the partner do? It’s implied that he sits in the vehicle, waits for the serial killer to come back, and then they make their escape.

Only… how does that work? “Okay, Eddie. I’m going to go find a homeless guy and choke him to death. You sit here reading ‘People Magazine,’ and I’ll be back in a few hours. Don’t forget to feed the meter…”

Andy is caught near the scene of the crime and he sticks to his story, wherein Chucky blowed up the house real good. Everyone thinks he’s crazy, except his mother. Or maybe his mother does think he’s crazy. She doesn’t say.

Instead, she goes home and checks to see if Chucky has any batteries in him, and comes up with a negative on that. She threatens to throw Chucky into the fire, only he wakes up, freaks out, tries to kill her, and then runs away.

Then he attacks the cop who’s been investigating the case. Because by coincidence he’s the same guy who shot him back when he was a bit more fleshy.

A thrilling car ride ensues, wherein Chucky attempts to stab the cop in the bottom. The cop crashes his car, there’s some running around, Chucky is shot, and starts bleeding.

This makes him unhappy, so he goes to visit an old friend. At which point, we finally get the big exposition scene, and learn that Charles shoved himself into a doll using voodoo. And also, that if he doesn’t get out of the doll soon, it will become his permanent body. And also, that if he wants to be human again, he has to take over the body of the first person he revealed himself to. Which is, of course, Andy.

At which point, Chucky opts to do some damage to the voodoo priest using a voodoo doll.

Which begs the question – why not just make voodoo dolls of everyone else he wants dead? Does he just enjoy doing hands-on work that much?

The cop and the mom, thanks to some investigating, discover the voodoo priest and ask him, just before he dies, how to kill Chucky. They are instructed that he’s “human” enough now that they should shoot him in the heart.

They think this is a great idea. Because it makes a lot more sense to shoot a doll in its so-called heart, instead of, say, gathering a SWAT team together and sticking the doll in a cage.

Doll or not, Chucky is still human. Sort of. But I guess if you’re under two feet tall, it’s open season.

At this point, everyone heads to Andy’s apartment for the big finale, where Chucky is set on fire, has his limbs shot off, and is at last shot in the heart.

Chucky, it should be noted, is not shot in the heart by Andy, Andy’s mom, or by the cop. Instead, the cop’s partner, who has appeared periodically throughout the movie, shows up to do the final slaughtering of the world’s only serial killer with kung-fu grip.

Naturally, everyone is going to have some serious explaining to do. But the movie ends at this point, because the killer is dead, and everything is going to be okay, because there will never be a part two where people will have to explain what happened.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Introduction: Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

The reason I sit here at the keyboard, beginning this journey, has to do with two events.

Here is the first:

In the beginning years of our marriage, my wife and I went to the library on an almost-weekly basis. We would troll the new fiction and the DVD racks, searching for ways to entertain ourselves on the cheap.

This was a period when buying a single hardback book was a major luxury.

It was my wife that spotted “The Children of the Corn,” and picked it up. The DVD touted the fact that it was “Based on the story by Stephen King.”

“You like Stephen King,” said my wife.

I admitted that I did, in the same breath noting that the movie’s reviews were, at best, just okay. But there was nothing else that caught our interest in even a minor way, so we proceeded to check out and then head home.

We put the movie into the DVD player with low expectations, and the film mostly met them and sometimes exceeded them. Though not by much.

As the credits rolled, I turned to the love of my life and remarked, “I’ve heard that the third one is actually pretty good.” This earned me a half-hearted nod which said that, on the whole, the chances of her sitting through part two were pretty low.

The chances of going on to part three were even lower.

Which leads me to the second event:

A year or two later, I bought my wife a plane ticket and sent her to visit her best friend from college. We were getting close to becoming parents, and we both recognized that our chances of having free time and/or extra money were coming to an end.

At the time I worked next to a video store that offered two-for-one rentals of older videotapes. So I headed over there after work to see if I could find a just-for-me kind of movie or two.

I started in the As, walked through the Bs, and then arrived at the Cs, where I saw “Children of the Corn.” I swiveled my head slightly and noted that part two was in. I swiveled it a bit more and noted that there was also a part three, part four, part five, and part six. Part six was unhelpfully labeled 666, which I guess was meant to imply that it was more evil than the previous chapters, or that the video store was missing parts 6-665.

I had already grabbed one movie from the previous sections, and I realized that if I grabbed parts 2-6, I’d have a total of six videos, which would easily provide entertainment for the three nights I had available to me.

I picked up the videos and headed home.

I want to write something like, “What happened next astonished me,” and I guess I could, but it would be more accurate to say, “What happened next occasionally caused me to raise an eyebrow and go, ‘Huh,’ in a semi-thoughtful way.”

To begin with, “Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice,” obviously lacked some truth in advertising, based on the fact that I had four more movies to go. What’s more, the movie was, it seems, supposed to take place directly after the first movie – despite being released eight years after the original.

The movie itself wasn’t great, but it was short of terrible. Or rather, it wasn’t bad enough to make me start concocting reasons to return all the movies to the store and claim they didn’t work on my VCR.

The movie ended, the credits rolled, and I put in part three – and whattaya know? The third one, while not great, was better than pretty good. It had a nice sense of impending dread and an entertaining little kicker at the end that was clearly designed to lead into part four.

But it was late, and I was tired, so I headed to bed.

The next night I stuck part four into the VCR with a sense of anticipation. That little nugget at the end of part three… where would it lead? It was clearly headed towards impending apocalypse territory, right?



We were, instead, headed into reboot territory.

This was my first real encounter with the horror movie reboot – something I have since learned is something of a staple of the genre. The screenwriter of part four goes back, watches parts 1-3, and then decides to chuck it all and start over as though those movies didn’t exist.

It’s a bit like a remake, but with a roman numeral attached.

If I was surprised at the quality of part three, I was even more surprised by part four. Not because it was good, but because it had an Academy Award nominee starring in it.

I saw part four shortly after Naomi Watts had made a huge splash in Mulholland Drive, and I had to admit I was surprised to see her bringing her considerable acting abilities to a movie that not only lacked a redeeming social value, but pretty much any value at all.

Part five was even worse. It too had a star-before-she-was-a-star, this time in the form of Eva Mendes. To say she didn’t do a very good job is a little unfair, as it was her first movie and it would be difficult to point to anyone who outshined her.

My hopes dashed that I had struck a gold mine of underappreciated genre films, I went to bed again.

The last night of the Children of the Corn saga brought me to Part 666: Isaac’s Return. Isaac was a character who died, or so I thought, near the end of the first film. The Isaac in question was played by John Franklin, who also received a writing credit for the film.

And if I thought part five had problems…

But I’ll come to that later. Much later.

Because right now, the question is – what am I doing here now?


I like to help people.

The “Children of the Corn” saga was not, it may surprise you to learn, the last saga that I tapped out at the video store. I few years after my “Children” weekend, my wife and I decided to give “Wishmaster” a spin, and found it to be a small gem. A small gem with three sequels…

And then there was “Prophecy,” a great movie with a part 2-5…

And then, last Halloween, I laid my hands on all five “Child’s Play” movies for less than twenty bucks. This despite the fact I’ve only ever seen parts 3 and 4.


Is it a high tolerance for cheese? Am I one of those fanboys who thinks every horror movie, no matter how awful, deserves some love?


Let’s call it a mission.

Most movies, when they hit theaters, get a reasonably fair shake. Critics show up, the movie has its day in the sun, and then it’s up to history.

But the horror sequel rarely gets much attention.

And so, like those who climb Everest, I shall watch these movies because they are there. And report back on them.

Join me, won’t you?