The Child’s Play franchise is polarizing. Some people love it, and some people hate it. There are also those who know nothing of the series and think doing a Freddy V. Jason style movie with Annabelle is a good idea.
The franchises have two completely different tones, but I digress.
I think Child’s Play is a stupidly fun horror franchise that’s been consistent with its continuity since it began, which is more than I can say about others. Like, come on, the Child’s Play theme is the opening of The Real Horrorshow podcast. Of course, I love it.
So, when I heard about Curse of Chucky for the first time, I was a little miffed. I thought they were rebooting the franchise, which I was tired of seeing. Now that I’ve watched it, I can say it’s probably my favorite in the series. Bride of Chucky coming in a close second.
I love Child’s Play so much because they were able to change their genre to horror comedy so well, then managed to tie both continuities together with Curse of Chucky. I have to say it’s the perfect reboot–if you can call it that. But, right now we’re talking about its sequel, Cult of Chucky, which is now streaming on Netflix and available to own on BluRay and VOD.
Cult of Chucky starts sometime after the events in Curse of Chucky. Nica (Fiona Dourif), is being released to a minimum security mental hospital after she’s finally admitted Chucky was a figment of her imagination–built to help her cope with how she murdered her family. During a group session, her therapist pulls out a Good Guy Doll.
Meanwhile, Andy is still trying to figure out how to convince those around him that Chucky is real. Unsuccessful, he keeps company with OG Chucky’s head, which is still alive and sarcastic as ever.
In her new home, Nica is visited by Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) and is informed of the passing of her niece. Nica is devastated, and Tiffany gifts her the Good Guy Doll to cherish after the death of her family. After one of the fellow psych patients is murdered, the others blame Nica, but she knows better and sets out to prove the Chucky is the culprit.
It’s the kind of nonsensical horror-comedy we’ve all come to know and love from Don Mancini. It’s not a groundbreaking horror movie in any way, but that doesn’t mean it’s a terrible movie. Cult of Chucky continues to build the Child’s Play canon without forgetting any details (except Glen and Glenda, wtf happened to them?). When I watch a Child’s Play film, I’m not expecting anything that will stick with me for several days (like Gerald’s Game), I’m just looking for a fun horror movie that will deliver some gory deaths from one of our quirkiest serial killers.
And if Cult ends up being the last film in the franchise, then I think Mancini gave us the perfect ending.
Everyone is on their A-Game for this movie, and it’s a real shame there was no wide theatrical release (I feel the same way about Curse). They’re dark when they have to be but can also deliver comedic lines when the time is right. And the humor of the Child’s Play franchise is just as important as the kills.
My personal favorite was the little shoutout they gave to Hot Topic… Although, I’m pretty sure it’s Spencer’s who sells Chucky and Tiffany dolls.
Jennifer Tilly is great as Tiffany, and I’m glad they scaled back her role for Curse and Cult. Bride and Seed were great in their own way, but Tiffany’s story was taken as far as it could go when she took Jennifer Tilly’s body, so keeping her as a side character is the best way to go at this point. It was an absolute delight to see her in the mental hospital in her crimson suit. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the queen.
The weakest performance was probably Alex Vincent reprising his role of Andy. While I’m glad they brought him back to help tie these movies together, he just doesn’t feel integral to the film. His scenes are a little shoehorned in except for the conversation he had with Tiffany/Jennifer (I assume Seed is still canon). But, Andy is an important character in the series, and it is good to have him come back–played by the same actor–to fight Chucky. It’s a nice cherry on top of a sundae fun day.
I have to make a special shout out to Fiona because she’s become such an important staple to the franchise in two (late) installments. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since Chucky’s in her blood. Her character breathes new life into the story, and I’m so excited to see where they take the story next if they choose to continue it.
This film looked incredible. The overall composition was very different from its predecessor. Where Curse took place was set in a creepy old mansion–a horror film classic–which helped bring the franchise back into horror rather than horror comedy, as we saw in Seed and Bride.
The setting of Cult is a mental hospital. Everything about the setting is crisp, clean, and stark. There’s an eerie calm to the background of every scene that makes everything uncomfortable. There’s a lack of color throughout the movie unless Chucky or Tiffany is present, making them stand out from the crowd and evident they don’t belong there.
The gore effects for the kills were gruesome and impressive, in true Chucky form. And it looked like they were all done practically, which–as we all know–I love more than anything in a horror movie.
I also appreciate how Chucky is still a puppet. I’m sure to an extent, doing Chucky as a CGI model, would make production somewhat easier, but when he moves, he moves like a doll.
Tying it to Reality
Dolls are not going to come to life and kill us. Yet. Just be careful when you’re downloading updates for your future sexbot. But, Child’s Play was built on how creepy dolls can be. The real horror(show) comes from the way the patients are treated in mental hospitals. These patients are in a vulnerable position, and if the wrong person is in charge, then they could be in a lot of trouble.
Doctors in the past and possibly today rape their patients in these hospitals because they aren’t in a position to fight them off. No one will believe the victim unless they catch the culprit in the act, and it’s a tragedy. We’re doing a lot better today, but I’m sure this shit is still happening.
Cult of Chucky gets a FUCK YEAH from me. It’s stupid, crazy, and absolutely enjoyable.