Child’s Play (2019)

This is the first one of the series I’ve seen in the cinema (The first one I ever saw, incidentally, was the fourth one). So this was quite a big moment for me. Remakes/reboots can be terrible though, particularly when it comes to horror movies. Was curious about this because the trailers didn’t really do a good job of selling it, to be perfectly honest I was disappointed by the trailers, the way it was edited made me worried that the actual film wouldn’t have the right tone.

Thankfully this film works. I’m not sure if it’s better than the first one, it’s an entirely different film. I think this film does more though. It has a lot more satire to it. More interesting human characters (even if they aren’t as adorable as the original Andy), and more interesting kills. I think the issue is people are comparing it to the original series as a whole, and not just the first movie, or even as just a piece of work on it’s own.

The big difference between this and the original? No voodoo. This isn’t a film about a serial killer getting his soul transferred into a doll, it’s about an A.I system. A disgruntled worker removes the safety protocols from a self-teaching robot. This fundamentally changes a lot of things, for one it makes the link between Chucky and Andy a lot stronger. Chucky genuinely cares for Andy (as much as a robot can) so his kills are made not from malice but to protect Andy from those who cause him harm (like when he strangles a cat that scratches him). This creates a much more interesting dynamic between the two, and is a lot creepier. I think it improves it as quite a few of the kills in the original didn’t really make strategic sense. In this the kills are done for a reason, that alone makes it a lot more interesting.

Another worry was that Chucky was no longer voiced by Brad Dourif. His voice was a huge part of that character, and you had to wonder how they were going to cope with replacing such an integral part of the franchise. Which unlucky bastard would they get to attempt to fill the void of one of the greatest vocal performances of horror? Oh, they got MARK FUCKING HAMILL? Yeah, I’m all for that. He NAILS the performance here. Coming off not as a manipulative killer like Dourif’s Chucky was, but like a broken angel. He sounds genuinely hurt and confused when Andy doesn’t respond to him like he wants him to. His voice performance is surrounded by other great performances too. The main 3 kid characters are great, the dynamic between them reminiscent of the Losers Club from IT.

And now onto the bad. It feels a little restrained, especially in the final section. The closing stretch takes place in a toy store, where Chucky takes control over all the wi-fi enabled toys (which is a lot). I expected this to be a true highlight, pure chaos and thrills which will build on the earlier kills to be all-out mayhem and one of the highlights of the year. As it is, it’s just another scene. With the exception of the BRILLIANT opening kill (well, the kill itself is kind of meh, but the way he kind of stumbles about whilst in costume and sprays a random kid with blood is brilliantly brutal), it feels lacking. It’s missing that sense of chaos and brutality that I felt the scene needed. It’s got multiple characters locked in a room full of things that can kill them, yet not enough happened for me to remember it (I can remember about 3 things that happened, and that’s it). Maybe if I didn’t have such high expectations I wouldn’t be so disappointed but as it I can’t help but feel a little bit let down.

So in summary; if you enjoyed the original series, I think you’ll enjoy this. It’s an entirely different animal altogether, but one you’ll still enjoy. It also has a piece of music that is both cute yet kind of creepy (sung by Mark Hamill).

Contemplations Of Chucky: Day Six (Curse Of Chucky)

Director: Don Mancini

  • Okay let’s hope this goes better than Seed. It really can’t get worse. Unless it’s just ninety minutes of a doll masturbating into the gaping anus of a clown. Even then that would still be better than f*cking Annabelle.
  • Okay now is impressive opening. Looks superb, really cinematic. The director of this, Don Mancini, is doing a much better job than the director of the last movie, Don Mancini.
  • Even the colour scheme is better. Gone are the overly bright colours, to be replaced by muted greys. I know that makes it sound boring but in actuality it just makes it look like everything has been put slightly through a nostalgia filter.
  • Fiona Dourif there, playing paraplegic Nica. It’s great they have a character like that (actually, thinking about it, horror has always been fantastic for inclusion, it’s often had strong female characters, black characters, and disabled characters. Okay, usually they’re the first to die but but it’s progress, very very small progress). It’s admittedly it would have been better if they actually cast a paraplegic actor, but she does a very good job here. She’s actually Brad Dourif (the voice of Chucky)’s daughter. But it doesn’t really smack of nepotism here, you don’t watch it thinking “why on earth did they cast here? Fiona Dourif, oh okay”, you think “she’s amazing, what else has she been in?”
  • A great erection joke there, really stands up well.
  • The downside of the colour scheme: it means white light is REALLY white, to the point of almost being washed out.
  • Nica flirts with a delivery guy, but her mother shuts the door so she can’t follow him to continue to talk, booo, hiss. She’s definitely the villain of the piece (or maybe the murdering doll is, who knows?)
  • “Oh honey I don’t want to see you hurt”, then you’re in the wrong genre of movie.
  • Hey it’s Chucky. But a very very new looking one. He hasn’t looked this new since the third one. I know the last two weren’t looked upon favourably but can’t just ignore them.
  • “I DVR’d Real Housewifes” and that is why you’re going to die.
  • See, told you, you watch reality TV, you end up on the floor in the middle of the night bleeding profusely.
  • Good reveal of half of the title, poor for the other. Okay I’ll try to explain why; the camera moves back to reveal Chucky sitting there and the word “Curse” kind of hanging next to him, then the “of Chucky” comes straight in. Yet the music seemed like it was building up to a fade in of that so it was just weird.
  • “Your sister thought it might be a good idea for me to come”, I thought priests weren’t allowed to do that?
  • “The church’s official response to suicide is not to judge, but to pity”, that’s everybody’s first reaction to most things I do.
  • “She was supposed to be taking care of you”, eh, no. She’s in a wheelchair, mentally she’s in a better place to deal with this situation than someone with a chemical imbalance. I’m not sure who this is more offensive to; people with mental health issues as it pretty downplays their effects, or people with physical health issues as it says you need looking after and lack any sort of independence.
  • “He scared me half to death”, people in horror constantly make references to death, more than I do.
  • “It’s a doll, what’s the worse that could happen?” It could come to life and murder everybody in the house. But what are the odds of that happening 6 times in the same movie series? Ridiculously low, I think this will end up being a romantic comedy, they can’t keep relying on horror.
  • “You’re going to make dinner, fox six?” She’s in a wheelchair, not simple. I know they’re family but I don’t get why she doesn’t detest them on sight.
  • Chucky pours rat poison (well, his arm does, we don’t see the rest of him move). Actually pretty clever, it’s more methodical and less bloody than in the last few films. This is a new Chucky, he’s almost methodical and slow, he’s taking his time with doing everything He’s waiting for opportunities instead of hunting them out, it makes it more tense and is incredibly offensive.
  • Oh, we don’t know which one the poison got put in. This scene alone could be a short film. There’s enough there to stretch out to an entire 15 minute short.
  • Lots of good fake outs, people here going “Oh my god” *silence* “this is amazing”. Then lots of close ups of people eating. I know this blog is supposed to have jokes but this scene is just really amazing. Sadly it’s not available on youtube so I can’t include it here.
  • “This is just like my mother used to make it” your mother put rat poison in your dinner? Did she also teach you to swim by putting you in a sack and throwing you in water? I don’t think she liked you very much.
  • Oh so that’s why that couple hired a nanny, for lesbian sex.
  • “The 80’s were amazing” well now you’re just lying. The 80’s had Thatcher, Chernobyl, and Madonna
  • “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep” why would you make a child say that before going to sleep? That’s terrifying. That’s like having them say “Today could be my last day on earth, if I die, delete my browser history”
  • “Chucky says there is no God. Life’s a bitch and then you die bleeding like a stuck pig” True, I’ve died at least four times like that today.
  • “Mommy, am I going to die” “of course not. Who told you that?” bitch, you did. You make her recite a pre-death ritual every night.
  • “Chucky I’m scared” “you fucking should be” That’s Chucky’s first line: at 44 minutes. Almost half the movie’s runtime. That’s remarkable patience. It’s weird that despite this being the best one, it’s the only one that was released straight to DVD, but it might have been the straight-to-DVD nature of it that led to it being so good as it allowed them freedom to do things like wait 44 minutes to show off the main character. I think this film is the first one since the original to realise that this might be someone’s first introduction to the character, so building up tension for the reveal is fine. And people who already know the character would be eagerly awaiting the appearance of him.
  • The woman continues to flirt with the Nanny. Just realised, she’s paying her $400 and sleeping with her. Is that basically prostitution?
  • Nica discovers about Charles Lee Ray and works out he was in a family film she was watching earlier, very good callback and reminds you that Chucky was once human.
  • Chucky kills the nanny via electrocution, he seems to do that a lot with people.
  • “Ian, I am not sleeping with the nanny”, well not anymore, she’s dead. You’re a terrible person but even you have your limits.
  • She notices Chucky has weird loose skin and slowly peels it off, revealing the scarred face we’ve got used to from the last few films. Up until now you could have assumed this was a reboot, starting time depending on your personal preference. I know some thought originally this film was just a straight reboot, ignoring all the previous ones, whereas I know some who said this happens after the third one. But this attic scene sets up the placement perfectly. It doesn’t explain how, but it sets up the “when” very well.
  • You’re scared by this doll, so you decide to put your finger in its mouth. What did you think would happen?
  • “you have your mothers eyes, and they were always too fucking close together” rude! Okay the “stabbing her and gouging out her eye and throwing it down the stairs” may also be considered rude, I don’t know the etiquette on eye gouging. I think it’s customary to use a dessert spoon, not a knife though.
  • Chucky attacks someone with an axe. But this isn’t a clean decapitation, he just kind of chops his jaw off, very Mortal Kombat.
  • Chucky hits a paraplegic in the leg with an axe and is surprised when it doesn’t hurt them.
  • Flashback to his motivation. when he was alive Charles Lee Ray was in love with someone, she rejected him, so he did the obvious thing and stabbed her in the stomach whilst she was pregnant, resulting in the child being confined to a wheelchair. Most people just do heroin and alcohol. We all have different methods.
  • Oh good this is wonderfully coloured. He’s kidnapped the woman (the mother who died early on in the film) in a room surrounded by sunflowers, lots and lots of sunflowers. Everything is in black and white apart from the flowers, visually striking.
  • “a lot of families have gone, the Barclays, the Kincaids” yeah but you didn’t kill any of them. Andy and his mum are alive, as are both of the Kincaids (from Bride Of Chucky), you’re a terrible serial killer.
  • “so you never actually killed Andy Barclay did you? It’s called completion anxiety, it’s very common in males” I like her.
  • “Twenty five years, must be the slowest murder in history, what are you waiting for a sign from God?” That is basically me in a horror movie, only I’m not female, or in a wheelchair.
  • Wait, so the hero has been institutionalised and the villain wins, Was this ending scripted by me? I love it. It’s still closure but opens it for a sequel. A beautiful ending that rings true. It’s like the ending to this is the aftermath of the other films. Only with Jennifer Tilly slitting another cops throat and showing us how Chucky has been getting around. She’s been posting him around so he can get his revenge.
  • Wait, so Chucky wants to put his soul in a child’s body? Why? He’ll never be able to get as much done, or get access to someone’s house again.
  • Plan foiled by someone waking up in the best use of “final jump scare” I’ve seen in horror films in a while. It makes you jump, but it also doesn’t render the rest of the film moot, if anything it makes you more hopeful. His plan to transfer himself into a child is now likely to be foiled.
  • Ooooo post credits scene.
  • Holy crap it’s Andy again. Played by the original actor too. Chucky has posted himself to him, and he comes out of the mail to Andy pointing a gun directly at his face. After six movies Andy finally gets his happy ending. Nobody can say he hasn’t earned it. And he has a picture of Kyle in his house. That’s actually kind of sweet.

Contemplations On Chucky: Day 4 (Bride Of Chucky)

Director: Ronny Yu (The Bride With White Hair, Chasing Dragon)

Budget: $25million

Box Office: $50.7million

  • Yay, actually looking forward to this. This was the first Chucky film I ever saw, the second one I saw was the third one, the third one I saw was the first one, then the fourth one I saw was the second one. It makes complete sense if you just pretend “this is the prequel to the one I saw earlier”. Hoping it still holds up.
  • Very cinematic opening. This is no longer a horror movie, this is a horror MOVIE. Always good, plus you have to remember this was a lot of people’s first introduction to the character, their hadn’t been a film made for almost a decade
  • Jason and Michael Myers masks (as well as Leatherface’s Chainsaw) in the police lock up. I like that as it means they share a universe, which means this film series also shares a universe with Freddy Krueger, the Evil Dead, and Hellraiser. Also in this locker room, references to Creepshow, and there’s a reference to Pinhead later on in the film. Why is that horror is really the only genre that can get away with referencing other films so openly? You don’t have characters from Goodfellas suddenly turn up in Scarface etc. I think it’s because of the way we view horror now, as I’ve said multiple times before horror is best as communal viewing, you watch it with others and you feel part of a community. As such you need things there that kind of exclude people who aren’t a part of that community, and these little in-jokes are great for that. They feel like little rewards for knowing the genre. It would be like if in the middle of Avatar they referenced the Titanic movie and if you understood the reference you got a lollypop.
  • So far both scares have been Lewton Buses. If they do it a third time that’s a bad sign.
  • Nope, someone appeared behind the cop and slit his throat. Nicely done. The two previous Lewton Buses meant you expected another one so you were surprised when it played it straight.
  • John Wayne entrance (start at the feet and move up the body) of Jennifer Tilly’s character of Tiffany. I love how the first kill in this movie isn’t done by Chucky, it sets the tone well of “anything can happen”
  • Our first sighting of Chucky, well, parts of him anyway, his face is still chopped up as a result of the last film. I like that, continuity which adds to the character and changes them. It also gives the character a new defining look which is pretty good from a marketing perspective too as more merchandise and cosplay opportunities.
  • Instead of using an original score for this they use a Rob Zombie track, works perfectly for this montage of rebuilding Chucky.
  • Oh my God I forgot John Ritter was in this.
  • Oooo so’s Katherine Heigl.
  • Gordon Michael Woolvett playing David, the sterotypically gay character here. He does it well enough to suggest he could have had a future as the sidekick in a romantic comedy.
  • Tiffany attempts to bring Chucky back to life from a book called “Voodoo for Dummies”. That’s pretty funny.
  • A random goth (played by the recently deceased Alexis Arquette) turns up and pretends to have killed someone to get into Tiffany’s good books. If a friend needs you to kill someone then they’re not really you’re friend at all.
  • “you know what the French call an orgasm? The little death” Basic rule for seduction: don’t mention the French. Oh, or death I suppose.
  • Wait, that character is called Damian Baylock? Fantastic subtle reference to The Omen there.
  • Tiffany performs a striptease, (well, takes off a glove) whilst Damian is handcuffed to a bed, whilst talking about Chucky. Very weird that she’s basically talking about an ex during foreplay, I can’t imagine that’s an effective technique.
  • Finally Chucky lives, kills Damian by ripping out his lip piercing and smothering him with a pillow, that’s the third most common cause of death in Shoreditch.
  • “You know me, I’ll kill anybody but I’ll only sleep with someone I love”, see I’m the complete opposite.
  • “you fuck” “but you won’t, not Jade anyway” damn I miss John Ritter.
  • “You keep your orchid dry now”, is that some kind of homosexual slang for something? Like a weird way of reminding you to wear a condom?
  • Tiffany decides to tickle Chucky then throw him in a playpen. She’s forgetting the basic rule of life; don’t tickle a serial killer. I got tickled last week by someone and I elbowed them in the chest, and I’m barely a killer.
  • Kidneythieves cover of Crazy, so THAT’S how I first heard this song.
  • Tiffany shoves Damien’s body in a box and gets Nick to move it. He mentions it’s heavy but doesn’t do the obvious “what you got in here, a body?” joke.
  • “a woman spends all day slaving over a hot stove for a man, the least he can do is do the dishes”, or buy her one of Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meal cookbooks. That way she still has time to wash, clean, and do all the other stuff women do; knitting, giving birth, putting cats in blenders.
  • Why do people in horror movies watch so many horror films? Horror is as self referential as I am.
  • “I promise to love, honour and cherish till death do us part”. Why would someone manufacture a doll that says that? That’s hugely sexist and a terrible example to set to women; “be a bride and your main duty is looking after your husband”.
  • Chucky kills Tiffany by pushing a TV in the bath, this death was supposed to be in the first movie but got changed to a hammer to the head. Probably for the best as advances in CGI mean it’s easier to do it now and it looks brilliant.
  • Chucky puts Tiffany’s soul into the other doll, because, reasons.
  • “I wouldn’t marry you if you had the body of GI Joe”, but then he wouldn’t have a penis.
  • “turn to Chapter 6, page 217”, so she turns to chapter 11. I’m starting to see why he killed her.
  • So now he needs an amulet to transfer his soul into a human body, why didn’t he need it in the previous three films?
  • Oh, this character is openly gay. That’s actually pretty progressive.
  • Where did Chucky get that knife from?
  • Funny that Tiffany idolises Martha Stewart, who later on went to jail.
  • Definitely the most imaginative death in this series so far, Tiffany and Chucky load up a bunch of nails into the car airbag and launch them into John Ritter’s face, making him resemble Pinhead. “fun” fact: Chucky’s line of “why does that look so familiar?” was ad-libbed by Brad Dourif.
  • “Rude fucking doll”, i think of all the ways to describe Chucky, “Rude” isn’t the word I’d use.
  • “at least you haven’t forgotten how to show a girl a good time”, I tried that on my last date, blew up a cop car. I’m single now so that tells you successful that tactic was.
  • Interesting duel narrative here. Not just are Chucky and Tiffany making their way across the country and killing people, but the two human characters are beginning to suspect each other of being murderers. More films should do that, place doubt in the characters heads, paranoia that eats away at the relationship.
  • “Multiple murderers, mass murders happen all at once, multiple murders are serial killings” useful information to know.
  • Okay so the lighter that Chucky used to blow up a cop car came from the guy that got his throat cut in the opening scene, nice bit of continuity there.
  • Discount Matthew Lilliard playing a swinger here, who steals the main characters wallets.
  • “Chucky, he’s a Good Guy doll, they were programmed to say all kinds of shit”, no, they only had three sentences.
  • “That thieving slut” dude, you kill people.
  • Okay I love this kill, Tiffany kills the swingers by throwing a champagne bottle at the mirrored ceiling above them. The look on her face was just terrifying, and it’s a really inventive way to do it. Visually it’s brilliant too as the characters were on a water bed so the glass shattered into the bed, causing a mix of blood and water to gush into the air.
  • Chucky spots a wedding ring on the guys disembodied finger and tries to take it off but can’t, so he turns his back to Tiffany and tries to bite it off. Weird display of manners there.
  • Maid walks into the swingers bedroom, see’s broken glass and blood on the floor and says “lol, newlyweds”. Is there something about weddings I don’t know about? Is it traditional for newlyweds to break glass and bleed? If so I don’t think I want to get married.
  • A superb jump scare there where David knocks on the van window in the middle of a heated discussion. Probably the best jump scare in the film, incredibly effective.
  • “something really stinks in here”, how is he the only person to notice that?
  • David finds John Ritter’s body and predictably freaks. He then points a gun at the main characters, confusion abounds, before Chucky and Tiffany reveal themselves, guns in hand. A truck then runs over David, most literal gay bashing i’ve ever seen.
  • Actually just realised it’s a bit weird that David called the police over, all they would have seen is him pointing a gun at two people, would have been hard to explain.
  • Wait, why are the police chasing them? They don’t know the dead body’s in the van, all they saw was a guy pointing a gun at them, then that guy got hit by a truck. Yet the police don’t seem to be interested in the truck that hit someone.
  •  “How did you end up like this?” “it’s complicated. If it was a movie it would take 3 or 4 sequels just to do it justice”. God damn that’s self-referential. I love it.
  • Why is Tiffany doing Katherine Heigl’s make up before transforming her soul into her? Surely it would be easier afterwards?
  • So the two characters are tied up, completely helpless. They get out of it by depending on Chucky’s misogyny, which leads to an argument where Tiffany says “plastic is no substitute for a good chunk of wood”, then Chucky getting kicked out of a window, and Tiffany being kicked into an oven. If Chucky was a feminist serial killer he’d have gotten away with it.
  • Chucky and Tiffany basically kill each other. Nice poetic way to end it, they’re in an obviously toxic relationship that is responsible for their own deaths. Nicely done.
  • So that’s it, it’s over. You’d never guess that Katherine Heigl would become such a massive star, or that Nick Stabile wouldn’t.