Hm. I actually feel I have a bit of a dilemma.
To preface this review, I have a vague familiarity with the Chucky franchise, but the only Chucky movie I have seen with mine own eyes is the original Child’s Play film and I thought it was dumb. I currently think it is dumb. Not dumb in a silly, overblown Jason X kind of way (because I love it, fuck you, long live Space Jason), dumb in the kind of way that 13 year-old boys in 2001 thought was eDgY because “it’s a doll and it murders people and it says tits lolololol” (not that we had learned to excessively “lol” by 2001 but). I think his face is dumb and his jokes are dumb and I just generally find him exhausting in the way that I find fart jokes exhausting. It all just boils down to one joke, and that joke is fart.
So I assumed you could just boil Chucky down to “cute doll kills and says fuck” and I kept my distance from the entire franchise, even though we all love Brad Dourif, because sometimes you lose some, sorry bud. But tonight I watched Cult of Chucky, and while it wasn’t amazing, it really has me wondering about the franchise as a whole.
Cult of Chucky continues whatever happened previously in the Chuckiverse, which, based on the very effective six movie summary sprinkled throughout the entirety of the film, I gather to be that the doll from the original movie (which contains the spirit of a serial killer who likes to swear a lot and talk about titties etc etc) has continued to wreak havoc. Andy, the child from the 1988 original, (which, fucking ps, has been the same actor THIS WHOLE TIME since Alex Vincent’s first film appearance as the goddamn lead in Child’s Play) is now a shattered elder millennial living alone with a still-living Chucky head from [x] movies ago. He now lives only to keep Chucky from killing again. Fiona Dourif (which, wait, Fiona Dourif is in these now??? No one told me this???) is evidently also from a recent Chucky film and has taken the blame for the mass murder of an entire family actually committed by Chucky, so she’s all haunted and spends a lot of movie insisting that she’s not crazy while acting very very crazy. She is now institutionalized and has recently been relocated to a new hospital, therefore movie.
Her therapist, however, is at best incredibly irresponsible and buys a vintage, definitely cursed Chucky doll to throw at her during a group appointment after everyone has a nice long discussion about all the murders she’s convicted of, which feels to me like the beginning of malpractice, but I didn’t go to doctor school so what do I know. And then more or less exactly what you think would happen happens for an hour and a half.
But, and here are where the spoilers begin, I actually found it to be much more enjoyable than Child’s Play, despite the fact that I *still do not like the character of Chucky and think he sucks.* In short, Chucky has now learned how to multiply his spirit (???) and have copies of himself possess the bodies of other people and also other Chucky dolls. The beginning of a Cult of Chuckies, one could say. Which is where my enjoyment of this movie creeps in. I do not like Chucky, but somehow…four Chuckies? That’s Gremlins as hell. I can get behind that. Also other characters embodying Chucky (AND BRIDE OF CHUCKY we will get there) are really great. So much better than your basic Chucky.
And speaking of Bride of Chucky, she’s been Jennifer Tilly the whole time? Also did not know this. 10/10, she is fantastic.
And, of course, the kills are great. We all know exactly what’s going to happen in every franchise horror movie, Jason is gonna kill everyone except one or two to be in the next movie and then disappear ambiguously, Freddy is gonna kill everyone except one or two to be in the next movie and then disappear ambiguously, and so is Mike Myers, and so is Candyman, and the Ring girl, and Paranormal Activity Demon, and and and yadda yadda same with Chucky. So the point is that the kills be either A. ridiculous, or B. really gnarly and brutal. And Cult of Chucky gives you a little of both. More satisfying than it had any right to be. Plus we get to see Fiona Dourif, possessed by Chucky, murder the shit out of the therapist who sexually assaulted her earlier (again, malpractice, someone should have sued this place so long ago) by stomping his shitty face in with her brand new 4″ red wedge heels. Excellent.
In fact…..THREE AND A HALF HORRORS, PROBABLY FOUR HORRORS IF YOU HAD SEEN THE REST OF THE CHUCKY MOVIES BUT I HAVEN’T SO YOU BE THE JUDGE OF THAT I GUESS.
Which got me thinking….what if I was wrong about the Chucky franchise? Cult of Chucky wasn’t incredible, but I did enjoy it, and it hinted at a bunch of awesome shit in the previous couple of films as well. What if the Chucky series as a whole, which is now seven films and a remake, has a few fun ones in there? Even apart from finding the dumb doll annoying, maybe there is enough in the other Chucky films that I can enjoy that it’s worth me seeking out more. After all, I’ve already seen all of the Children of the Corn movies, so I’ve set a precedent of watching entire franchises after not actually enjoying the original, and Children of the Corn 3: Urban Harvest is, seriously, one of my favorite movies of all time. You can go back and read about it here.
So…..despite the fact that the man living through quarantine with me does not approve, I will be watching the entire rest of the Chucky franchise over the next six days. But, because I have my integrity, even though the rest of the series is not on Netflix, I will still watch them in alphabetical order because who gave me the right to enjoy things in context, no one. Therefore I will begin tomorrow with Bride of Chucky and continue until I hit Seed of Chucky late next week. Maybe this is just the 2020 talking, but I mean…fuck it, right?