5-Word 365 #207 – Bride Of Chucky

Of all the mixed-genre movies you can make, horror-comedy is probably one of the hardest to get right. It is such a difficult balance, most attempts end up favouring one side, but try to cram in occasional moments of the other to attempt to justify the title. This flick comes out better than most, by the simple expediency of not trying to segregate the scares from the laughs.

Bride of Chucky

Starring two Academy Award nominees!

Before Charles Lee Ray was killed and transferred his soul into a Good Guy doll, he had a girlfriend. Her name is Tiffany, and she is just as psychotic as him. After years of searching following the events of Child’s Play 3, Tiffany has the doll and restores Chucky’s soul to it. Meanwhile, a pair of loved-up teenagers called Jesse and Jade are desperate to get away from their small town. Seeing an opportunity, Tiffany and Chucky tag along with these two so that [yadda, yadda… more voodoo…] Fun with overhead mirrors ensues.

What had once been a straight-up horror franchise in the late eighties/early nineties took a turn into comedy horror with this 1998 effort from original franchise writer-producer Don Mancini and director Ronny Yu. Frankly, I’m amazed it took this long. It had been seven years since Chucky’s last outing, but only two years since Scream had changed the game by showing that the modern slasher movie could be (mostly) funny and (reasonably) scary and (most importantly) successful. Out of all the eighties slasher franchises, Child’s Play was probably the one most ready-made for comedy, despite all of Freddy Kruger’s attempts to prove otherwise. Shamelessly riffing on everything Mancini could think of – just check out the pan around the evidence locker in the opening shots – Bride of Chucky proves to be just as self-referential as Kevin Williamson’s Scream script but much sillier, while still sneaking in a few scare moments when it has to.

He seems very clingy, doesn’t he?

As Jade and Jesse, Katherine Heigl and Nick Stabile are rather bland and inoffensive, but considering all the meta-textual humour that fills this brisk movie to the brink, I can’t help but think they were deliberately written that way. You don’t want to distract from your stars after all. Brad Dourif returns again as the voice of Chucky, joined for the first time by Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany. Tilly plays Tiff as a trailer-park version of Violet from Bound; all tight skirts and heels, using her (ahem) feminine wiles to get what she wants from weak men until her man Charles Lee comes back. As good as Dourif is – and by this point he could do Chucky in his sleep – Tilly is far and away the MVP of the movie. Tiffany is a mass murderer, a psychopath and a smoker, but you just can’t get enough of her on the screen. I understand there have been those who can find her voice a bit annoying though. If that is you, you’re probably not going to get too much enjoyment here.

The jokes in the film run the gamut from cheap visual gags and allusions, to the more sophisticated, leaning-on-the-fourth-wall shout outs. It’s a pleasant surprise that so many of them actually hit. If you’re fully in tune with it you can easily watch the whole film with a constant chuckle, occasionally giving way to a large guffaw. Voodoo For Dummies was a personal favourite of mine.

See kids? Voodoo can be fun!

The downsides are fairly predictable if you know the genre: most of the characters are sketches at best, some of them liking or hating each other completely arbitrarily. For example, there’s Jade’s uncle, the chief of the local police (played by the late, great John Ritter) who is so corrupt that he will break in to Jesse’s van and plant a big bag of weed then have one of his officers “find” it, and all because he just doesn’t like Jesse. There’s not even a single line of dialogue to explain why. The flick also suffers a bit from that late-nineties trend of bad CGI, thankfully it is mostly in the incidental stuff. All the doll work is still done practically, led by Kevin Yagher and his team.

For whatever reason, I still haven’t seen any of the Child’s Play films so I had nothing already invested in the franchise. I enjoyed this film, but I don’t know if that would necessarily be the case had I been more of a fan of Chucky’s earlier work.


  1. AndyWatchesMovies · July 26, 2012

    I’m not sure if previous knowledge would add or detract from this. I thought it was bad, but the type of bad that par for the course. I actually have a soft-spot for the first Child’s Play because the little boy is named Andy and my mom got me one of the dolls for Christmas that Chuckie is supposed to be (My Buddy). I screamed and cried because I didn’t want the doll to kill me.

    True story.

    • mistylayne · July 31, 2012

      I had a Raggedy Andy doll dressed as a clown when I was little. Dreamt it came to live and tried to kill me. Who makes these evil dolls?? Who??
      I’ve only ever seen the first Chucky but this one definitely sounds like fun, Ryan!

      • Ryan McNeely · August 3, 2012

        You have some weird dreams. Might want to avoid cheese before bed-time… 🙂

      • mistylayne · August 3, 2012

        Lol, well I was like 3 when I dreamt that. 😉 And cheese? Is there some rule I don’t know about not eating cheese after a certain hour or you’ll have bad dreams??

      • Ryan McNeely · August 6, 2012

        You never heard about cheese before bedtime? Guaranteed nightmares…

      • mistylayne · August 6, 2012

        NEVER. Although I am familiar with the cheese man in the nightmare episode of “Buffy”…

  2. Pingback: 5-Word 365 #209 – Bingo | 5-Word Movie Reviews

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