ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 18, 2004
I’ve been a fan of killer-doll flicks every since Trilogy of Terror, the 1975 TV movie that featured an episode in which Karen Black gets stalked in her apartment by a bloodthirsty, ankle-slashing Zuni fetish doll. The original 1988 Child’s Play, helmed by Fright Night director Tom Holland, was quite a hoot as well. It was about a scuzzball criminal named Charles Lee Ray (perennial weirdo Brad Dourif) who, after being mortally wounded in a toy store, desperately transfers his rotten soul (and demented voice) into a popular Dennis the Menace–type “Good Guy” doll.
The sight of this red-haired ragamuffin scooting around with a big knife, dishing out death and sarcastic one-liners, caught on with mainstream horror fans, who welcomed a new addition to the ’80s slasher family. But by 1991’s inept Child’s Play 3–which saw Chucky running amuck at an American military school–it was clear that the series was hurtin’ for ideas.
Then in 1998 Hong Kong director Ronny Yu, noted for the supernatural action flick The Bride With White Hair, jump-started the franchise with the blackly comic gorefest Bride of Chucky. It introduced the brilliantly cast Jennifer Tilly as the voice of skanky dyed-blond doll Tiffany, Chucky’s plastic partner in crime. Tilly has a much larger role in the new Seed of Chucky, because when she’s not voicing the psychotic Tiffany she plays herself as the stereotypical Hollywood bimbo.
Unfortunately, although it does a bang-up job of showcasing Tilly’s breasts and some over-the-top gore sequences, this ultracampy entry fails to produce much in the way of chills, thrills, or chuckles.
Seed of Chucky starts off by bringing a third possessed doll into the picture, an emaciated, androgynous English thing with bright blue eyes and a Ziggy Stardust haircut. The forlorn little guy/gal is haunted by grisly nightmares, and its waking life as an imprisoned dummy for a cruel ventriloquist isn’t fun either.
But it manages to escape to L.A., winding up at a Tinseltown makeup-effects studio just in time to see real-life FX wizard Tony Gardner get decapitated by a Chuck ‘n’ Tiff team effort. Turns out the death-dealing duo are the wee Limey’s parents, and his folks’ killing talents can’t help but influence the little scamp.
Writer-director and original Child’s Play scripter Don Mancini tries hard to elicit laughs through Tilly’s parody of her own image, but unless you’re a dedicated B-movie fan, the references to her career will be lost. Rapper Redman and cult maestro John Waters are brought in to bolster the celebrity quotient and get gruesomely punished for their respective roles as sleazeball filmmaker and shameless paparazzi.
Low-rent shocks abound, whether it’s Tiffany flashing her tits or Chucky masturbating to a zombie pinup in Fangoria. If that’s the kind of creepy-doll action you crave, have at ‘er. Those with more refined tastes may want to join the other high-falutin’ horror snobs waiting for the DVD release of Richard Attenborough’s Magic.