SEED OF CHUCKY
Bride of Chucky, though a routine effort, received some surprisingly good word of mouth in the mainstream media all due to director Ronnie Yus penchant for black comedy. Seed of Chucky, which had been announced as a go project on and off ever since 1998, takes Yus reinvention of the franchise and runs with it. Seed of Chucky has been turned over to the directorial hands of Don Mancini. Don Mancini was the one who came up with the original character of Chucky, has written all the other films in the Child's Play series and is allowed to make his directorial debut here.
Don Mancini pumps Seed of Chucky up into an outrageous work that quite takes one aback. He plays up the black comedy angle from Bride of Chucky by a factor of ten and delves into an arena that frequently verges on outrageously bad taste. Moreover, his one other ingenious idea is to set Seed of Chucky during the making of a Childs Play sequel, casting Jennifer Tilly as herself and allowing some rather funny gags at both the meta-film and Tillys career. (A few others appear as themselves, although the notable absence is surprisingly Brad Dourif who is the one mainstay, other than Don Mancini and producer David Kirschner, of all the Child's Play films so far, as opposed to Jennifer Tilly who only entered the series with Bride of Chucky). If one might compare the Child's Play series to the Elm Street series, then Seed of Chucky is surely the equivalent of Elm Streets Wes Cravens New Nightmare (1994) wherein Wes Craven reinvented the Elm Street series through a lens of meta-fiction where Freddy Krueger was invading the making of an Elm Street sequel in the real world. Indeed, with the puppets now as central characters in the show and getting foul-mouthed, the best capsule description one might make of Seed of Chucky is to imagine it as a conceptual collision between New Nightmare and Team America: World Police (2004).
Seed of Chucky is rather funny. I enjoyed it far more than the standard horror franchise entry that it seemed to be shaping upon entering the theatre. How can it not be possible to enjoy a film that features a cameo from a Britney Spears lookalike who passes Chucky on the road, flips him the finger and is promptly run off the road by him with the sarcastic aside Oops I think I did it one more time. Or the credits sequence that parodies the opening of Look Whos Talking (1989) and sequels with animated sperm swimming down a vagina to fertilise an egg and then a series of lap dissolves of the gestating embryo revealing a baby with Made in Japan imprinted on its arm. Or the image of Tiffany calling an addictions quitline in an attempt to try and give up serial killing. When it comes to images of Chucky masturbating, Tiffany flashing him her tits to help him get off and then of Tiffany impregnating Jennifer Tilly with Chuckys titular seed using a turkey baster, one ends up doing a double-take at the outrage that Don Mancini is prepared to court.
The most outrageous aspect of the whole film might be Jennifer Tilly herself. Tilly peaked a few years ago with an Academy Award nominated performance in Woody Allens Bullets Over Broadway (1994) and then as the gangsters moll drawn into a lesbian affair in the Wachowski Brothers thriller Bound (1996). Since then she appeared in a number of films but none that have had any kind of profile outside of voicework for animation. Her self-eviscerating part here walks a fine tightrope that falls somewhere between clever sarcasm in a post-The Player (1992), post-Scream (1996) kind of way and something that is akin to the sight of former glamour stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford reduced to trashing their images in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). Tilly has a fascinatingly self-effacing role be it being on the receiving end of fat jokes; sarcastic asides about her Academy Award nomination and lesbian scenes in Bound; jokes about her cleavage and how more appropriate she was for the part in Erin Brockovich (2000) and how Julia Roberts only got the part by sleeping with the director; her decision to sleep with the director to get the part in the life story of The Virgin Mary, which invites naturally snide remarks at Mel Gibson and The Passion of the Christ (2004). If nothing else, Tilly at least shows a truly extraordinary dedication to the acting craft in terms of the humiliations she is prepared to go through.
Alas, the same cannot be said of the rest of the cast. Redman is the latest rapper to try and craft an acting career for himself, where it is strongly advised that he not try giving up his day job. He plays with a lazy surliness that indicates he believes the entire show to be beneath him about the time that Tiffany decides to off him for being a lazy pig, you are not exactly sure if it is acting or just being in character for Redman. British teen popster Hannah Spearritt gives a poor performance though she is a Brit, she comes across exactly like an American actress trying to imitate a British accent. With the puppets having much more central roles than they did in all the previous films (in fact, it is the actors who are really playing supporting parts to the puppets), the effects are expectedly extremely good indeed, are the best of the entire series.
Dom Mancini later returned to make a subsequent entry in the series with Curse of Chucky (2013), which made an effort to abandon black comedy and be scary once again.
(Nominee for Best Makeup Effects at this sites Best of 2004 Awards).