Friday, September 20, 2013

Chucky Retrospective: BRIDE OF CHUCKY

Bride Of Chucky
Director: Ronny Yu
Starring: Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Katherine Heigl, Nick Stabile, Alexis Arquette, John Ritter
Rated: R

Have I got a rubber? Tiff, look at me. I'm ALL rubber.

After 7 years, Chucky was revived.  And a breath of fresh life put into him.  I'll start off by saying this...Bride of Chucky is my favorite Katherine Heigl film.  Director Ronny Yu came in and "got it" with where to take everyone's favorite serial killer doll.  This film fully realizes what this series is and has become and its not gonna bullshit you into "trying to take it seriously" anymore.  After 3 films, that luster had worn off.  And by the last entry it was just kind of lame and boring.  Bride of Chucky tosses attempts at suspense out the window and full embraces campy, comedy and over the top kills.  And I'm fully willing to jump on board.

While there's a real life distance of 7 years, this film takes place 6 months following Child's Play 3.  And since there's no kids in the movie, that moniker is kissed goodbye.  And THANKFULLY, this movie also drops Andy Barclay and gives us something more fresh.  Charles Lee Ray apparently had a girlfriend who she expected was going to propose.  Tiffany, her name is, steels the remains of Chucky from a police evidence locker and through some voodoo, brings him back.  However, upon finding out he had no intentions of marriage, Tiffany locks him up.  But, Chucky escapes, kills her and voodoos her body into a female dolls so she can see how it is.  The two then devise a scheme to get the trailer park neighborhood boy and his girlfriend to transport them to Charles' grave where an amulet is buried that may help Tiffany and Chucky to swap bodies with the two teens.
I guess there's some folks that don't like this movie due to its tone?  Really?  This is Chucky we're talking about.  The doll with the soul of a serial killer inside that shouts profane things at his victims.  Plus, this is the FOURTH iteration of it.  I'll give you that MAYBE MAYBE Chucky could still be "feared" in the second film, but by the 3rd its old news.  So, you either drop the doll premise (which is what the series is) or you step back and look at it from the outside and realize what you have.  Ronny Yu does just that.
Not only does this one feature humor and self parody, it also shows love to the genre itself.  There's references galore to Chucky's rivals throughout the film.  You get a Pinhead (if I mention Hellraiser again in this retrospective do I automatically have to do that retrospective on the spot?) reference after John Ritter's character is shot in the face with a nailgun.  The police evidence chamber has Michael and Jason's masks, Freddy's glove, "The Crate" from Creepshow and Leatherface's chainsaw.  A character's name is a marriage of two people from The Omen.  To top it off, the theatrical poster for the film is a parody of the Scream 2 poster from a year earlier.
This film probably has the most recognizable faces of any of the films thus far.  Jennifer Tilly knocks one out of the park here in one of her career best roles.  She could have slummed it here, but she gives her all and really digs into the role and create an iconic b-level screen villain.  She is someone who actually holds their own to Brad Dourif (who i've not commented much on, but he's been one of the best things going for the series the whole time).  Everybody's favorite, Katherine Heigl follows up My Father the Hero and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory with this franchise film.  She has no reason to, but I'm betting she likes to act like this film never happened.  Alexis Arquette shows up, still at this point a male in a role that is one of the most stereotypical looking goth-rockers ever to grace the screen.  Finally, in a move that lets the audience know that yes, this movie is SUPPOSED to be making you chuckle, John Ritter plays the role of Heigl's overprotective uncle.

On a side note...since John Ritter has faced off with Chucky and Jason Ritter went against both Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees...could we put Amy Yasbeck or one of Jason Ritter's siblings in the next Halloween, Hellraiser or Texas Chainsaw films? 
So this film does up the gore, but it awesome ups some of the raunchiness.  Everybody loves Team America, but damnit, Chucky did it first.  There is a doll on doll sex scene here and it is hilarious.  I'm not gonna go into description, you can just watch this shitty quality YouTube clip here and pretend its like that fuzzy Cinemax channel your cable accidentally picked up when you were little.
Bride of Chucky was the biggest hit of the whole series.  Was it the wait?  Was it because it was actually good?  Or does it just add to the late 90s horror resurgence and people would see anything?  I don't know.  But this movie surely holds up and doesn't have to worry about having the stakes of "is it still scary" or "does it still work".  You don't have set your brain to any sort of era or mindset for this one.  Just know that you're gonna see some blood and get some laughs.  This is a film that fully grasps what it is, embraces it and runs with it.  Oh, and by the way, Happy 15th birthday, Bride of Chucky!

Next Time:  SHITFACE

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