Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chucky Retrospective: CHILD'S PLAY 3

Child's Play 3
Director: Jack Bender
Starring: Justin Whalin, Brad Dourif, Perry Reeves, Andrew Robinson (making his 3rd retrospective appearance!), Jeremy Sylvers, Peter Haskell, Dakin Matthews, Travis Fine
Rated: R

Don't fuck with the Chuck. 

Andy Barclay's second bout with the possessed Good Guy doll was a decent hit, so why not let these two duke it out for round 3.   And while you're at it series' writer Don Mancini, could you hurry it the f**k up?  This movie was rushed into production before the 2nd film even hit theaters.  Universal was thinking FRANCHISE FRANCHISE FRANCHISE here with Chucky and didn't want to sit on him.  So, 9 months later, Child's Play 3 was released to theaters.  Rushed, with a creator out of ideas at the time, this is what we get.

This film jumps 8 years ahead, so goodbye Alex Vincent, enter Justin Whalin.  Surprisngly, this is NOT the first time he's appeared in a retrospective series.  He apparently had the role of "Jason" in the fifth Dirty Harry film The Dead Pool.  I've seen that movie many times and I can't tell you anything of Justin in that movie.  I think he's most notable as being the replacement Jimmy Olsen on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman from Season 2 until the end.  Apparently Michael Landes looked too much like Dean Cain and got the axe.  If not from that, then people might recognize him as the lead in that amazing Dungeons & Dragons film adaptation from 2000.  No?  Serial Mom, then? Or then likely this movie we're talking about today.  Well, he was this up and comer that was rather more of the poor man's Jonathan Taylor-Thomas type that may be on TV and moreso graces so many Bop and teen girl magazines than produce any actual worthwhile product.
So, in this third installment, the Chucky doll comes back again, finally kills the CEO of the toy company and heads off to military school to go after Andy once again.  Chucky, Chucky, why do you keep going after this kid?  Fool me once... Well, so Chucky is intercepted by another kid that Chucky thinks he can possess instead of Andy.  So, he can kill Andy and then take this kid.  Same Chucky story, but a unique slasher setting.
This one comes from Jack Bender who is a legend in the TV directing field.  This is one of the few feature films the guy has done.  And, honestly, this one has the least of a feature film feel to it.  Its a very pedestrian presentation.  And quite honestly, this one is pretty boring.  One of my highlights of the film was seeing Andrew Robinson show up as the barber giving the kids buzzcuts.  Andrew Robinson now has appeared in 3 of these retrospectives (also Dirty Harry & Beverly Hills Cop for Cobra) and none have been Hellraiser.  Maybe we'll even get to the Pumpkinhead and Trancers retreospectives before that?  Who knows. Let's get back to Chucky.
While I found myself quite uninterested and pretty bored with this film, there is one thing that really did get me.  And its kind of a shocking moment.  I have to give the film some credit here as it does pick up some toward the end.  There is an event in the film where Chucky swaps paintball rounds in a drill between the kids with live action rounds.  Holy shit!  The kids actually go through the drill and fire on each other and yes people get shot and at least one dies.  Crazy for a lame movie like this to have a scene of such intensity and suspense, but it does.  Also, I do like the final confrontation with Chucky where he gets part of his face sliced off, his arm shot off and explodes when he gets chopped up in a fan.  The scene being set at a carnival is pretty cool too.
Child's Play 3 was also known at the time for a bit of falsely accused controversy.  It was said to be an inspiration to the killers involved in the child murder of James Bulger by two 10 year olds.  I'm not going to over that whole thing but you can read about it HERE.  Basically, there was something they did to the boys revolving them splashing blue paint on the victim which resembled Chucky doing the same in this film.  They accused the father's rental of the movie months prior to have been the source to all this.  But, you know, after they actually sit and ask these people they found out the boy in question hadn't been living with his father for a while and also didn't like horror movies.  So there ya go.  Always easiest to point the blame somewhere other than the individual.
Sorry to end it on that downer circumstance, but it is part of this film's history.  This movie didn't do so hot at the box office so Chucky was then benched for roughly 7 years.  It's a dull, boring film, so its not surprising.  And at the time, horror was really going into the shitter, so without...once again...Scream, Chucky might not have come back.  I know its the cool thing to hate on Scream, but its a really really really significant film for the horror genre.  I think most folks hate from it come for the things it inspired and hopefully not the film itself.  But...we'll cover that stuff in the Scream retrospective...but will that be before Pinhead, Pumpkinhead or Trancerhead?  So many franchises to cover!  But, we're still on Chuckyhead. So...

NEXT TIME:  Chucky gets lucky

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