Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seed of Chucky

Before diving headfirst into the events that occur in this film – note that I don’t use the word plot – I have a thought that I want to put out into the ether.

Why does Brad Dourif, the voice of Chucky, the very reason that people went to go see parts II-V, get his name onscreen so late in the credits?

(No offense to Jennifer Tilly, who gets first billing.)

(And no offense to Billy Boyd, who is, after all, The Seed of Chucky. And who gets his name in the credits before Brad.)

The title of the movie is “The Seed of Chucky,” not, I don’t know, “Tiffany Strikes Back.” The word Chucky is in there because it informs people that a character they’ve enjoyed before is now available for viewing again.

I’m sure there’s some arcane reason laid down in movie bylaws why Brad must arrive in the credits exactly where he arrives, but honestly? I don’t think it should matter. The man is an incredibly talented actor, and I suspect Chucky would not be the screen presence he is today if not for Brad’s voice work.

(And the truly impressive work of several puppeteers. But that goes without saying. Or perhaps it doesn’t. Either way, I’ve said it, so we’re covered.)

Now, about the series of events that makes up the film.

Here’s why I call it a series of events: Most movies have several scenes that either answer each other or pay off as a story progresses. To take a wholly random example, in the movie “Speed,” there’s a bus which must go a certain, er, speed, or it blows up. And the movie is, mostly, about keeping the bus going.

Every event is tied to that.

With the original “Child’s Play,” the goal was (kind of) that someone had to figure out that the doll was possessed by the soul of a serial killer, and then try to stop it by shooting in the heart. And not, say, putting a laundry basket on the top if it, and sitting on it until the cops could arrive.

I first started to realize that I was going to have a problem dealing with explaining what happens in the movie when I took a look at my notes. Parts I-IV came in anywhere from a page to a page and a half.

“Part V: Even More of the Chuckster,” came in at three pages. With strangely disconnected sentences like, “Jennifer Tilly wants to get a job acting as the Virgin Mary.”

Ask yourself this question – does that sound like a horror movie? Or even a dark comedy?

I don’t think so. It sounds more like a second-rate chuckle-fest that happens to have some killin’ in it.

As the credits come up, the audience is treated to shots of a doll in the womb. The doll goes by a few names throughout the movie, mostly swapping between Glen and Glenda, but to make it easier on everyone lets just call the doll Seed.

Okay. Seed, as you might recall, was born in the last movie. Seed had a bunch of sharp teeth right from the get-go, and Seed attacked a police officer.

By the way – this movie makes no references that I noticed to Andy, Jade, or Jesse. “Seed” came out in 2004 (well, okay, Seed came out in 1998, hey-oh!) and someone does us the favor of letting us all know that Seed, the doll-American, is about six, so the timelines are roughly correct.

This means that Andy is now about 22, and Jade and Jesse are maybe 24 or 25, and they all finished college, and are taking their first steps into the adult world. If you like happy endings. Otherwise, they’re all in prison or locked behind padded walls. Your choice!

Sorry about all that. Back to the events.

The opening of the movie shows a British girl and her British family having a British birthday party in a long point-of-view-of-a-gift shot. First the gift is opened, then the British girl tells us the gift that’s staring at her is ugly, and she viciously rids herself of it.

Later, in gift-cam, we get to watch dad and mom (who is, of course, in the shower) get killed. Then, still in gift-cam, gift is informed that gift has wet gift’s pants.

(I swear, someone is going to renounce my right to use the English language.)

It’s then we get to meet gift, who is, yes, our new pal Seed. Seed looks like a two-foot-tall 1970s edition David Bowie doll, and yes, there is a puddle of urine located under the doll. This will be a running joke, which starts out not entertaining and worsens as the movie rolls along.

We learn that Seed was picked up by a British ventriloquist when he was visiting the United States, and then I guess he raised Seed. Or something. Either way, Seed has a British accent.

Meanwhile, back in the States, we see that Chucky and Tiffany are back up to their old tricks. Only Chucky and Tiffany are actually animatronic dolls being used to shoot a movie called “Chucky Goes Psycho,” which is based on the urban legend of the Chucky doll.

It’s here that we meet Jennifer Tilly, who is playing both herself and the voice of the Tiffany doll. Jennifer is complaining that she never gets any good roles, possibly because of the way she is perceived, what with the breathy voice and the slightly less-then-modestly tailored clothes.

To make sure we’re all on the same page, this means that Jennifer is making fun of her image, and the writer/director is making fun of his own series of very popular money-making movies. Perhaps this should be hilarious, but mostly it made me feel kind of bad for Tilly.

The Chucky and Tiffany dolls are interviewed for some TV newsmagazine which apparently gets shown in the UK, as Seed sees it, notes that Chucky has a “Made In Japan” stamp on his wrist that’s just like Seed’s stamp, and Seed escapes from his evil, voice-throwing captor and runs away to America.

Seed is soon in the back room of the Hollywood lot where the Chucky and Tiffany dolls reside. Seed attempts to talk to them, realizes they aren’t actually alive, and then pulls out the amulet from the last film.

Yay for continuity. Boo for not explaining how a baby doll with no real skills or abilities ends up with a powerful voodoo totem.

Seed reads the words on the back, and presto!, Chucky and Tiffany are back. And confused as to just what is standing in front of them.

Eventually, they sort out that Seed is their Seed. Then they try to figure out what to call Seed who, and this is comedy for you folks, is not anatomically correct.

Which doesn’t make a ton of sense, since Chucky and Tiffany are. Which begs the question – dude, what is WRONG with the folks who manufacture Good Guy dolls? The anatomically correct doll for young boys? Seriously?

Granted, I get that this is supposed to be funny, but it adds all these strange implications to the series. There’s a Masters thesis in here, somewhere.

Anyway, back to the so-called plot for a minute.

Chucky decides he wants a boy, and starts calling Seed Glen. Tiffany wants a girl, and starts calling Seed Glenda. So you’ll forgive some pronoun issues in the rest of this write-up.

At that moment, the puppet tech walks in, and yanks a bunch of screws out of Tiffany’s back. This allows us to learn that she has working organs. I’m going to ignore whatever continuity problems that causes with previous installments, and just move on.

Tiffany and Chucky kill the puppet tech by decapitating him. At which point Jennifer Tilly walks in, finds the guy’s head, and assumes it’s a special effect. So she toys with it a while, then finally realizes what’s going on, and freaks.

Tilly leaves the studio in the next scene, while being hounded by a paparazzi played by John Waters. John Waters, the king of filthy filmmaking. A man known for his wonderfully outsized and kooky personality. Not, say, for his acting ability. Or for showing up in horror movies.

This, along with the fact that Seed is either “Glen or Glenda,” pretty much tips the hand of the writer/director. He’s making a campy movie, on purpose. In case you missed that.

More importantly, it appears that no one tried to stop him from making “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls: Now with Actual Dolls!”

We’re only about a third of the way through the movie. Time to speed the plot points along. Again.

Tilly desperately wants to play the Virgin Mary in a bible tale being directed by Redman, who is playing himself. Redman is, it seems, a black rapper turned director. There, now you know everything about him I do.

I guess this is supposed to be hilarious, but I’m not sure why. Because he’s a rapper? Because he’s black? No idea. Moving on.

Tilly decides to have Redman over to her house so she can seduce him into giving her the part. But things get in the way. Small, plastic things. Fill in your own jokes.

Suffice to say, Redman and Tilly end up unconscious, while Tiffany attempts to impregnate Tilly with a turkey baster and some of Glen’s siblings.

Meanwhile, Chucky takes Seed to go kill John Waters, because Mr. Waters decided to go to Tilly’s house and take snaps of Redman and Tilly together. Through a series of events not worth describing, Seed accidentally causes John Waters (yes, his character has a name, no, it’s not worth supplying) to have an altercation with some acid and end up dead. Chucky takes a proud photo of himself, Seed, and the corpse.

And so help me, I forgot to mention that Tiffany wants to family to give up killing, now that they’re parents. Which leads to hijinks like Tiffany calling the wife of the man she killed in the last movie and apologizing, saying that she has a problem with murdering people.

Oh, and she gets very upset when she falls off the wagon a scene or two later, and she opts to disembowel Redman when he claims that he did not impregnate Jennifer Tilly. Which he didn’t.

Long story short (too late): Tilly ends up very pregnant a day later, tied to her own bed. Her driver is called and also tied to the bed, so that both Chucky and Tiffany have bodies to go into.

Tilly gives birth to one boy and one girl.

Chucky finds out Tiffany killed Redman. He reveals he’s killed a few other people who have never been seen in the movie until this point. Seed is asked to choose whether or not Seed wants to go into the boy or the girl.

The driver tries to escape. He’s killed. Jennifer’s assistant shows up, and she is killed. Seed dresses in drag. Chucky says the words: “I am Chucky, the killer doll, and I dig it.”

We learn that Chucky killed Tiffany’s mom somewhere in there, as well.

And then the cops show up, finding Tilly tied to the bed, the two babies, and a dead driver. Oh, and the other four bodies in the house.

Tilly ends up in the hospital. She wants to see her kids, only she’s been cleared of murder charges, but not of being crazy.

Tiffany and Seed then appear under her bed, and attempt to take over Tilly’s body.

Chucky shows up and puts an axe in Tiffany’s head. Seed takes the same axe and chops up Chucky, who is very proud of his boy’s technique.

Tthen it’s five years later. Tilly is holding onto the Tiffany doll, and I’ll let you guess what that means.

It’s the twin’s birthday, and Glen has a present with no “From” written on it. Moments later, the series is over, with Chucky’s arm leaping from the box to attack Glen, while Glen, yes, wets himself again.

Word on the street is that this is, for now, the end of the series, and but that the first Child’s Play will soon be remade. Interestingly, it’s been written by the same fellow (Don Mancini) who wrote parts I-V, and also directed part V.

All I can say is, one hopes that he considers a return to his roots, rather than writing “Child’s Play: The Campiest Camp Story that Ever Camped,” starring John Waters as the voice of the doll.


  1. No love for Tilly, I see. It can't be that easy acting against a doll...can it?

  2. Like I said early on the review – no offense to Ms. Tilly. It’s just that so much of the movie is being vicious towards her that it’s sort of painful to watch. I suspect that if at some point during the film she got to demonstrate a skill that wasn’t self-mockery or screaming, the film might be better in general.