Thursday, November 4, 2010

MR:Quickies Chucky series

Okay, so Halloween may be over, but it doesn't mean I'm not gonna review any more Horror themed movies or comics! :P

Today, a personal fav of mine, the Chucky/Child's Play movie series!
Here's CHUCKY!!!

During the 80s the horror movies became huuuuge!
So huge, most series were making sequels after sequels (see: Friday the 13th), many movies were being made, some original ones (Evil Dead 2), most cheap imitations (My Bloody Valentine).
Slasher monsters, or boogeymen, were plain simple copycats of Jason or Freddy, since those two were the most popular icons. They almost all fell under the demon-like mystic creature fold or the invicible apparenlty human killer who uses knifes, sharp objects and other tools.

That's when Don Mancini, writer-creator of another horror movie Cellar Dweller, entered the scene in the late 80s.
The Chucky series was created as a sort of parody and self-referential slasher series.
A serious one. (at first at least..)
Mancini wrote all 5 movies (and produced most of them) and even directed the last one.

The series uses well known clichés of the genre and tries to surprise and make fun of the genre, while still being a damn' good exemple of a good one.
Of course not all Chucky flicks are great horror flicks. It started as a slighty funny horror movie series and got funnier/more satirical episode after episode. In the end, like Evil Dead 2 or 3, it was a lot more like an horror/comedy than a pure slasher movie...

And finally, Chucky himself is considered today amongst the best, the cult, classic fan's favorite slasher icons, despite being created as a sort of anti-slasher killer originally.
The Chucky doll is as frightening and creepy as Michael Meyers, even if he's just that, a doll.

Let's dig in this series now, shall we?

Movie: Child's Play 
Directed by Tom Holland
Release date 1988
Genre slasher horror

"Ade Due Damballa. Give me the power, I beg of you."

With these words Charles Lee Ray, a serial killer, wounded, dying, was able to transfer his soul to the first thing he could find around him...A Good Guy doll.
Exactly the kind of present young Andy Barclay didn't expect to get for his own birthday.
When bizarre murders start to happen around him people begin to think Andy provoked those accidents. But nobody believes Andy it is actually his doll Chucky that started killing everybody.
It seems that Charles Lee Ray wants out of his plastic body, before getting fused forever to the toy, and using more Voodoo spells, he wants now to jump into Andy's body to have his human life back (and kill more people along the way).

Overall: This movie is simply one of my favorites of the genre.
Great, even a bit creepy and quite violent.
Chucky marked people back then and was almost banned in several places.
The actual Chucky doll (and its in-movie marketing) was sort of based as a parody of Hasbro's My Buddy dolls and the Cabbage Patch Kids.
The movie has fun with the slasher genre. Never too serious yet still an horror movie, it makes you doubt if Andy's not really the killer midpoint, Chucky becomes the star of the show. He swears, never dies, kills with no regret..yet it's still only a toy so it comes a bit silly sometime. (in a good way, on purpose)
Little trivia: Chucky's real name was made after 3 real-life murderers Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray. Yeah, it may shock some people, I find it a nice original touch desptie the seriousness behind those names.
Brad Dourif portrays both the human Charles Lee Ray and the voice of the Chucky doll (for the rest of the series as well) , and he does a pretty amazing job at both! He really rocks the part and partially made the series too!
Anyway, the movie itself is great, quite original, well done.
Only Don Mancini himself's never really been quite happy with this movie since his screenplay was so often edited, rewritten and remade and claims his original vision didn't exactly come out true to his intent.

I give this one a: 3 / 3 Score!

Movie: Child's Play 2
Directed by John Lafia
Release date 1990
Genre slasher horror

After a nice look at what exactly happened to Chucky at the end of the previous movie and how he this movie will bring him back, we then go back to Andy.
Two years have passed since the last flick. Andy is now with a foster family after the traumatic events of Child's Play 1 and his new parents don't believe in all his silly non-sense he keeps talking about.
Then Chucky re-enters his life. At first he doesn't want to believe in what happened at the ends of this killer doll...but when Chucky decides he still wants the body of this child before his soul gets stucked in his new plastic doll, it's up to Andy and his step-sister Kyle to destroy Charles Lee Ray once and for all.

Overall: A pretty straightforward sequel.
Pretty much like several other franchises' sequels, it builds up from the ending of the previous episode and tries to redo the same.
Andy tries to warn people, nobody believes him, Chucky starts mass-murdering (some great original death scenes in his path), they can't destroy him. In the end, climatic epic final battle...Chucky gets blown up, burnt, destroyed...
The movie's never been well liked nor received at the time...though I quite like it personally.
Simply copy-past sequel who doesn't try much yet doesn't detract from its predecessor too.
Watch it if you're a fan of the original or want to see more from this series.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Movie: Child's Play 3
Directed by Jack Bender
Release date 1991
Genre slasher horror

Only a year later, a sequel to Chucky 2 taking place a little bit "in the future" was made.
Eight years have passed now. Andy ended up in a military school. Now 16, he tries to live his life without thinking much about his childood.
The Good Guy dolls line is relaunched after all the previous bad publicity from the murders(which may or may not have been partially because of "that Andy kid"). Chucky remains end up recycled and respawn Charles Lee Ray sould into a brand new doll.
Chucky really wants to kill Andy now, Child's play are over now!!
Chucky kills many many people to find back Andy. He find the military school. There, he plays with people's nerves. Kills some more. Find even a brand new kid to possess.
The movie moves to a carnival for the last act, not far from the academy.
Will Andy be able to defeat Chucky once and for all this time??

Overall: Not a great movie.
Not for his gore, which it have.
Not for the deaths, specially with such a high body count and Chucky even killing a younger crowd this time.
Not for the plot, which was more original than Part 2, using an older Andy (despite the real-life one year time gab).
And not for the film's epic classic ending scene either. The haunted house was an amazing and quite original setting for the series.
But somehow, it all looks and comes out sort of bland. It's all similar territory.
The movie uses more off-the-wall humour, like Chucky 2, and less terrifying atmosphere and scares that Chucky 1 was build upon.
In the end, though I love the last part of this movie, it's sort of the most boring less interesting Child's Play.

I give this one a: 1.5 / 3 Score!

Movie: Bride of Chucky
Directed by Ronny Yu
Release date 1998
Genre slasher comedy

Taking place directly after Chucky 3 (due to the in-movie time delays not being the same as the date releases).
Tiffany, a former lover of Charles Lee Ray, is able to get Chucky's remains. She stitches back the murdering doll and using the same voodoo rituals, brings back Charles' soul in this body.
But now it's too late. Chucky sort of ends up trapped in this plastic body for good.
Meanwhile a couple is having their own problems and end up on the run.
Chucky and Tiffany's own problems bring them along that couple and they start a killing spree of their own which will create an even bigger confusion amongst authorities and the couple in question.
Did I mention Tiffany gets killed and put into her own plastic doll body?
Murdering spree, self-referential slasher and quite fun ride!~

Overall: How to bring the series back to its former popularity? By reinventing the whole concept of course!
The title already is a reference to the monster genre, to the Bride of Frankenstein in fact, to which the movie has a lot of allusions.
Chucky 4 parodies the genre, isn't afraid to play on the recurring theme of this genre and is quite a funny movie. Dark humour.
It really looks like the cast and crew had a blast making this one!

And I'm glad the movie didn't reuse the Chucky vs. Andy plot mechanic, it was getting a bit boring. I like when people play with their material and do the unexpected.
This is a great way to shake this franchises and the introduction of Tiffany was a nice idea.
Brad Dourif rocks Chucky's voice like he never did before, he truly makes this movie more than ever!
Kickass starting point if you don't want to check the previous ones, and great continuity-wise for fans.
A must!

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Movie: Seed of Chucky
Directed by Don Mancini
Release date 2004
Genre slasher comedy

It seemed like Chucky and Tifanny were done for...

But this was without counting on Glen!
Who's Glen...
Huh...look back at the previous movie, it seems Chucky and Tiffany, despite the "current form" were able to make a "child". Not quite a boy, not quite a girl, this nothing-of-a-child, Glen, is a well intentioned sensible nice voodoo doll. After living for most of his life as a ventriloquist's fake dummy, Glen decides he wants to meets his parents.
He goes to Hollywood where an in-movie Child's play/Chucky movie is actually getting made. You know, a movie about the "urban legend" killer dolls that were destroyed some years ago.
Glen uses the talisman and the same voodoo spells to bring back his parent's souls in the movie's dummies.
Chucky and Tiffany relive yet again!
Chucky wants to make a man outta Glen.
Tif' wants to make a girl outta Glen.
Chucky kills.
Chucky and Tiff fall in love all over again.
They get a new plan to find new bodies to voodoo-jump into and quit this plastic life once and for all.
Tiffany uses the real actress Jennifer Tilly (Tiffany's actual actress in Chucky 4 and voice) to become human again.
Then...Chucky decides he loves being a doll! He's the living slasher killer doll! He's a legend! Why did he lose so many years trying to become human again? He likes it this way and he's almost immortal, indestructible!!
Chucky turns on Tiff and Glen...
What will happen now?!

Overall: Finally, Mancini was able to direct on of his Chuckys himself!
And it's quite unlike any other!
Self-parody, hommages, references...
The last Chucky movie.
And done quite well and original. Sort of like Scream, but more brutal, like Wes Craven's New Nightmare, but funnier. It's a tribute to the series.
Glen is a reference in itself to an Ed Wood movie, Glen or Glenda.
The ending twist is original (Chucky change of heart before the voodoo transfer).
It doesn't make much references to the plot of the previous movies (Andy, the couple from the last flick..), most of them were cut in post-production, but follows and uses allusions to the themes and concepts of the franchise.
Nice ending to a fine slasher series which is sadly overlooked nowadays for the more mainstream appealing Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger franchises.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

And that's all. For now.
How's that "for now" you' askin' me? Well, Don Mancini already confirmed and said he's been working on a new episode for quite some time now. And it has finally been confirmed to start quite soon.
It won't be a Child's Play 6, but instead a reboot (like "they" often do nowadays). A remake of the original movie (Andy gets killer doll on birthday, nobody believes him..), by Mancini himself on writing and directing duties.

Wait and see.

Also the series made the jump to other mediums, such as comics and other~

Anyway, fun slasher series with humour, killer dolls and voodoo hijinks.
Check it out sometimes!

That's all for this time's Quickies!

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