Daily Archives: December 18, 2019

Seed of Chucky (2004)

*. I mentioned in my notes on Bride of Chucky how odd it was that one person, Don Mancini, had stayed in control of the franchise for so long, as screenwriter and, debuting in this film, director. Though I think of this film and Bride of Chucky as constituting a linked pair of films within the franchise, it’s the first to be credited as “a Don Mancini film.”
*. As with many horror franchises, self-referential humour was increasingly being introduced into the series, to the point where it has in this film completely taken over. This is a comedy horror, which you would guess as soon as you saw the animated conception sequence under the opening titles.
*. I’ve never been a big fan of horror comedy or comedy horror because it usually falls uncomfortably in-between the two genres, being neither funny nor scary. I’m afraid that’s pretty much what happens here as well.
*. As far as the humour goes the idea was to do it as a satire of domestic dramas like Kramer vs. Kramer and Ordinary People, much as Bride of Chucky had been a parody of a rom-com. This isn’t a bad place to start, as it is kind of fun seeing Chucky and Tiffany arguing over the gender of their transchild Glen or Glenda (Billy Boyd). Also up for grabs: Can Chucky be domesticated? Can Tiffany go straight?
*. Most of the humour though comes by way of meta-humour or in-jokes. This is a movie packed with nods to other horror movies (including previous films in the series) and references to pop culture that haven’t aged well. It even gets to the point where Chucky hacks his way through a door with an axe and can’t think of anything to say the connection is so obvious it doesn’t even have to be stated. The joke is that Chucky doesn’t say “Here’s Chucky!”
*. According to Mancini the self-referentiality was supposed to be “not precious” but “irreverent.” I’m not sure I understand the distinction, but in so far as I think I do the approach seems more precious (light and joking) than irreverent in Seed of Chucky. And I’ll just add that there is too much of it.
*. The plot is also a bit sketchy. Why is Glen in England, and why are so many characters speaking with a British accent? Because it was a UK co-production and they got financial support for using British talent. Which is the practical explanation, but doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Why are the dolls all stamped Made in Japan when they were being manufactured in the U.S. in the previous movies? I guess productions was outsourced at some point. Why bother with the character of the limo driver at all? What exactly is going on at the end with all the body and soul-swapping? I remain confused.
*. No time need be spent talking about the horror part of the film. This isn’t a scary movie and I don’t think it even tries very hard in that regard. What’s more disappointing, especially for such a film as this, is that there isn’t even a lot of imagination on display when it comes to the killing. Really there’s just one good decapitation scene and that’s it.
*. Fans were understandably upset. You can play around a bit with the formula, but you can’t make fun of it. I think Seed of Chucky takes things as far as they could go in this direction, after which there was nothing left to do with these characters. Mancini was going to have to press the reset button on the franchise and take a step back with Curse of Chucky, the next film up.
*. I give credit to it for trying to do something different and for making all three dolls into real characters. But while this is a creative franchise that has gone in various unexpected directions, I didn’t care for this instalment. That may be because it’s just not my thing, or perhaps because it didn’t deliver enough shock value (despite the presence of Chucky fan John Waters). For what it is, though, it’s pretty well done for a low-budget, late-in-the-franchise flick. Usually by this point a series would be played out, but Chucky still had some surprises up his sleeve.