Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chucky Retrospective: CHILD'S PLAY 2

Child's Play 2
Director: John Lafia
Starring:  Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Gerrit Graham, Jenny Agutter, Christine Elise
Rated: R

Okay, sport. We're gonna have a little game of Chucky Says. Chucky says move your ass.

Sorry it's taken a bit to get to this 2nd entry.  I've been a bit busy :)  But, I'm back!  So let's do this.

If you've ever wondered why (until now) the Chucky home video box sets have always been missing the first film, it starts here.  The first film was produced by United Artists and they also greenlit this film.  Child's Play 2 was canceled while it was already in preproduction.  United Artists was about to be bought out by another company.  That company was not wanting to make horror films at all (what a buncha assholes, right?).  So producer David Kirshner and Chucky were sent packing.  While the first film was a hit, no other studio seemed keen on producing it's sequel.  So Kirshner set out to independently make the film.  Once the film was finished, Universal Studios picked it up for distribution.  The first film in the series, however, had its rights remaining with United Artists/MGM.  So that is why the original Child's Play was never part of a set.
The series brings back Andy Barclay to be stalked by Chucky once again.  It's 2 years later, his mother is institutionalized (aka Catherine Hicks probably didn't want to come back) and he's moving in with a new foster family.  In the meantime, the remnants of Chucky are recycled and fixed up into a new doll, when the machine malfunctions and a worker is killed.  The doll is still finished and manages to retain the possession of Charles Lee Ray.  Chucky manages to escape and hunt down and begin terrorizing Andy, hoping to actually possess his body this time.
With this sequel we basically get the first film ramped up.  There's no "surprise" of Chucky, so you get him in full force from the get go.  The settings are bigger and the kills are more over the top, but essentially the stakes are the same.  Chucky is killing, Andy is getting blamed and nobody believes him.  If you enjoyed the first go-round, there's still entertainment to be found here.

I really found myself liking the set design and kookiness of Andy's foster parents' basement.  There's just something a bit haunting about it, itself.  Probably more creepy to me than Chucky.  Andy's foster father also has a pretty grisly death in the basement as well.  This following Andy fighting Chucky with an electric knife.  Haha, so yeah, cool stuff happening in that basement.
I think the characters here are pretty good and solidly cast for a horror sequel.  As a fan of Logan's Run, it's nice to see Jenny Agutter in hereas Andy's foster mom.  It's also fun to see Beth Grant and Greg Germann pop up in small roles here, too.  The real gem of the film is Christine Elise as the foster sister Kyle.  Maybe its watching the first time as a boy and you get a soft spot for her cuz she's that cool older girl, but she really holds down the fort in the film.  This is also her first feature film.  She's acting and fighting with a doll, but keeps herself full committed never leaving you to believe she's cashing in or "it's just the work I get" type deal.  She gets down and dirty and gives us someone to root for and like just as much as Andy (who's kinda tired at this point).  Catherine Hicks isn't in this film, but she's not missed a bit thanks to Christine Elise.
This isn't a bad sequel, it just really doesn't do much other than give you "another one".  Its an entertaining watch.  If you dig slashers or liked the first film, this should make you happy.  The extravagance of this film works.  Its got a pretty fun final battle through the toy store where all the Good Guy dolls are made that kinda feels like switching it up and letting Chucky fight on his "home turf".  I think the film might be a little more fun in the "turn your brain off" mode as it has silly elements.  But its, kills are better and its not a movie that's to be taken as seriously as the first one wants you to.  That's where I'm getting at.  So yeah, not bad.

Next Time:  Bop Magazine staple Justin Whalen takes on the Chuckster!

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