Reviewing a Cult Franchise – Seed of Chucky (2004)

So another 6 years go by and fans rejoice as another ‘Chucky’ film is released. The audience get a chance to see it and find that it’s a very different movie from what had come before. With the film leaning away from horror and more towards comedy, that’s not to say that it’s bad. I really like it. In some ways, I prefer this version. I think it suits the material a bit more. However, other fans of the franchise were not as accepting. We’ll get into this a little bit more after a brief summary of the plot.

Chucky and Tiffany’s child who was born at the end of ‘Bride of Chucky’ has now grown into a child and has been used as a ventriloquist doll by a fraudulent side-show performer, Bill (Psychs) Sykes (Keith Lee Castle) who has branded his doll, ‘Shitface’ (voiced by Billy Boyd). ‘Shitface’ sees a news report about a Chucky film being in development and the ‘Made In Japan’ branding Chucky’s wrist shows that he must be Chucky’s father. ‘Shitface’ travels to Hollywood and resurrects both Chucky and Tiffany using the ‘Heart of Dhambala’. After renaming their child both Glen and Glenda, both Chucky and Tiffany decide to transfer their souls into impregnate Jennifer Tilly and transfer Glen/Glenda’s soul into the baby whilst Chucky and Tiffany will transfer their souls into Jennifer Tilly and Redman. However, things are a touch more complicated than that.

Originally, this film was written by Don Mancini straight after ‘Bride of Chucky’ was released and was popular amongst the fans and critics. It seemed that ‘Seed of Chucky’ was soon to go into production. However in the aftermath of the Columbine Massacre in 1999, the extensive media coverage on violent films and the alleged effect that it had on kids made film studios very vigilant about the content of the films they were putting out. This led to ‘Seed of Chucky’ being delayed for a few years.

For the most part, I’m glad that Mancini waited before making ‘Seed of Chucky’ because if the film would have been given the green light at all, then the script would have likely been heavily watered down and disappointing to the fans and a film of that nature in that climate wouldn’t have been well received by critics either.

So the first thing to say about the film would be that this is now more of a comedy than a horror film and it is funny in the sense that it’s pushed to the extreme which I think is the only way a film about killer dolls can be. For example, one of the sub-plots is Tiffany giving up killing as she finds it as an addiction and even goes so far as to call a relative of one of her victims to ‘make amends’ during her recovery. Needless to say, her ‘recovery’ doesn’t last long.

Jennifer Tilly plays herself as well as Tiffany but this version of Jennifer Tilly is more of an ‘exaggerated’ version of herself. For example, after being rejected for the part of ‘The Virgin Mary’ in a production directed by the rapper, ‘Redman’, Ms Tilly is open to the idea of sleeping with him to get the role. The film also portrays her career in disarray as she claims that she’s reduced to starring in a film with a puppet and her own assistant is writing bogus fan-mail behind her back so she’ll think that she’s still popular.

All respect to Jennifer Tilly because she definitely takes more than a few shots at herself. All in good humour of course. For example, when Tiffany reveals herself to Ms Tilly of course she screams and runs away only for Tiffany to knock her out with an award. Afterwards, Tiffany announces “No wonder her careers in trouble”. There’s another bit that I found particularly funny was when Tiffany and Chucky are dragging Jennifer and Redman’s unconscious bodies upstairs, Tiffany exclaims, “Fuck she’s fat. I can’t believe that she’s not even pregnant yet”, which is obviously a joke because Jennifer Tilly is not fat. Jennifer’s characteristic voice is also routinely mocked as it also is with her character on ‘Family Guy’.

A major plot point of the film is Tiffany getting Jennifer pregnant so that she can give birth to ‘Glen/Glenda’ but there are some specific ‘baby-making’ materials that are necessary. Since Glen/Glenda is Tiffany and Chucky’s biological child (somehow), then Jennifer needs to be impregnated with Chucky’s… ‘baby-making material’.

This is as awkward for you as it is for me.

What follows is a funny sequence where Chucky is about to ‘produce’ and needs some ‘inspiration’ and after flicking through a few raunchy magazines, he stops at ‘Fangoria’ and goes with that. What makes it doubly funny is the shot of Chucky ‘producing’ in silhouette and also a shot which I don’t think can be described with mere words. It’s a case where you have to see it to believe that a shot like that made it in an ‘R-rated’ film.

John Waters, a noted fan of the ‘Chucky’ films, agreed to be in ‘Seed of Chucky’ appears as the sneaky paparazzi photographer who catches both Jennifer and Chucky in a compromising position and we all know Chucky’s retaliation to that… and Glen is by his side. There are no shortage of gory deaths in this film but John Water’s character, ‘Pete Peters’ gets a particularly nasty death scene. When Chucky is about to go in for the kill, Glen tries to stop him but Pete sees Glen and, in a state of shock, bangs into a cabinet and a jar of some kind of acidic chemical drops onto his head, melting half of his face. Chucky is proud of his kid but Glen is less than enthused. The ‘Father, Son’ picture says it all.

If this film were to be released this year then this next plot point might seem a little controversial in this current climate and that is the topic of gender identity in that Glen/Glenda can’t decide whether or not he is a boy or a girl.

However in the climax of the film, the Glen/Glenda debacle ends up having less to do with gender identity and to do with two conflicting personalities, a ‘split personality’ if you will. Glen is opposed to killing and is horrified about the thought of taking a life however the first thing that Glenda does when she reaches the surface is blowtorch Jennifer’s assistant, Joan (Hannah Spearritt) straight off the upstairs landing and down into the lobby.

Jennifer eventually gives birth to a boy and a girl but before Tiffany can start the ritual, Chucky has a change of heart and I think this moment cements the idea that ‘Child’s Play’ as a franchise isn’t going anywhere. He decides that all of this trouble isn’t worth simply becoming human as he will eventually get old and die. However, if he remains as a supernaturally possessed doll, he’s ‘infamous’. Tiffany is astounded and tells Chucky that she’s leaving him and taking Glen/Glenda. Chucky is infuriated and tries to kill Jennifer so Tiffany has nowhere to go but instead, Jennifer’s driver, Stan (Steve Lawton) who was Chucky’s last option for possession after Tiffany killed Redman, shields her and dies from a knife wound to the chest. Stan tries to tell Jennifer that he loves her with his dying breath and he’s been trying to throughout the film but things like ‘a date with Redman’ and morning sickness kept getting in the way. Anyway, Tiffany grabs the knife and throws it into Chucky’s chest before making her escape with Glen/Glenda just as the police arrive.

When the police arrive in the bedroom, they find the bodies of Stan, Redman, a few other people that Chucky killed. They also find Jennifer and two crying babies. But no Chucky.

In the hospital, Tiffany drugs Jennifer and performs the ritual before she is whacked in the head with an axe by Chucky. Glen is mortified and kills Chucky by chopping off his arms, legs and then head. Jennifer comforts a devastated Glen as we move to 5 years later. Also note the comedic reference to ‘The Shining’. By the by, who wanted to hear Chucky say “Here’s Chucky!” when he chopped through the door? It’s terrible, I know.

Anyway, 5 years later and Jennifer kills her nanny who was trying to quit because she’s scared of Glenda thus revealing that Tiffany succeeded in switching with Jennifer. Meanwhile, Glen receives a birthday present in the form of Chucky’s severed arm which grabs him.

With a budget of $12 Million, ‘Seed of Chucky’ almost doubled it’s budget in box office takings with $24.8 Million and returned with mixed reviews.

I personally found the film funny but not particularly scary. That could be for a number of reasons being that there’s not a lot that scares me any more but that doesn’t stop me from finding the film entertaining and I certainly did that. Don Mancini has shown that he can write horror films and also comedies. Also, with this being his first time behind the camera as a director, Don Mancini did a masterful job with this film. It’s not everyone’s favourite ‘Chucky’ film but it’s definitely one of mine.

Have you checked out my new book yet? It’s really good and written by me.

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