In 1988 the Lakeshore Strangler (alter-ego Charles Lee Ray) was gunned down by the police at a toy store in downtown Chicago. Ray, the voodoo aficionado that he was, transferred his soul into the body of a “Good Guy” doll (the 80’s cinematic equivalent to a “tickle me Elmo”) and went on a killing spree over the next decade in four increasingly campy films, as the vertically-challenged “Chucky.” Six years after taking a Bride, Chucky is starting a family.
Bride of Chucky left us a gratuitously clichéd cliffhanger ending, with the spawn of Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) and Tiffany (voiced by Jennifer Tilly) attacking an unsuspecting police chief in the film’s final shot. Having been found in a graveyard in New Jersey, their child is adopted by a skuzzy would-be English ventriloquist, and is given an unflattering name. We follow “Shitface” (voiced by Billy Boyd) as he comes to grips with being an orphan. When he learns of his parents’ existence, courtesy of “Access Hollywood” (I guess they can be informative), “Shitface” escapes his captor and heads to Hollywood to resurrect his parents, now on the set of a movie based on the dolls’ supposed killing spree. The family then comes together by tearing others apart. But like every entry before it, they yearn to take human form and escape their plastic prisons. This time around, the chosen vessels for their souls are actress Jennifer Tilly and rapper/deodorant spokesperson Redman. However, for “Shitface,” (finally given a more appropriate name, Glen) the only way out is for Chucky to artificially inseminate Tilly. Only then can the family become truly normal...sort of.
Seed of Chucky showed promise. After the opening titles, a demented CG spin on the Look Who’s Talking credits, the film features a mind-blowing opening shot too brilliant to spoil. But once the first act concludes, Seed loses its steam. Bride of Chucky poked fun at itself maturely while still holding true to the roots of the franchise. Here, the jokes are amusing at first, but they beat it to death worse than Chucky ever could. Running gags like Jennifer Tilly promiscuousness, her floundering career, and Glen thinking he and his parents are Japanese because of a “birthmark” that reads “Made in Japan” all made my chuckling soon evolve into eye rolling.
Especially annoying is that this chapter defies the logic of the series. Even worse is that Don Mancini, writer of the last four films, not only the writes here, but directs as well. Chucky has more or less been the same doll since the beginning. At the end of the original Child’s Play he was burned, but his head was cleaned and added to a new body in Child’s Play 2, where it exploded in a doll factory at the end. In the doll factory at the opening of Child’s Play 3, Chucky’s remains are removed, a large quantity of his blood is mixed in with the plastic, and Chucky is reborn. He is chopped into bits at the end of that film (courtesy of an amusement park fan), only to be sewn back together and revived by voodoo in Bride of Chucky. That sequel had Chucky die in the opened grave of his human self.
Up to this point in the series, Chucky’s resurrections have made sense. Seed of Chucky abolishes all that so its ludicrous premise can go on without a hitch. Chucky and Tiffany are brought back to life, not in their former incarnations or any kind of weird rebirth, instead they just show up as movie props that Glen thinks are real. They arise in shells that have nothing to do with each other. If it were that easy, why didn’t they “awake” somewhere else?
What I did like about this sequel was an unexpected epiphany for the murderous doll. He grows tired of trying to take human form after failing miserably in four previous films. This was stunning, like the Coyote giving up on trying to catch the Road Runner or something. I don’t know where it came from, but it was refreshing to hear. It’s a pity the rest of the film doesn’t justify it.
I may warm up to Seed of Chucky over time, but it’ll be a long wait. Chalk it up as another flick this year that looked good on paper but ended up bad in execution. If you didn’t grow up fearing your “cabbage-patch” dolls would jump up and kill you as a result of the series, stay away. Even if you did, be careful. Like its title “character,” this Seed should have been aborted!