Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Child’s Play 3

Chucky is at it again! Despite making sure that Chucky was mutilated beyond all recognition at the end of the previous film, Don Mancini found a way to bring his baby back to life for another payday.

Released just ten months after the previous entry, in 1991, Child’s Play 3 picks up eight years after the events of Child’s Play 2. Only in fictional worlds is that kind of timeline possible.

Once more, young Andy Barclay is the protagonist. But, since Alex Vincent was selfishly incapable of aging eight years in time for filming, his part went to Justin Whalin, whom viewers might remember from his regular role on Lois & Clark. Brad Dourif returned to voice Chucky, Don Mancini returned to write the screenplay, while directing duties were handled by Jack Bender. This was his first feature film, but by 1991 he had been directing in television for the past decade.

Play Pals, the company that made Chucky, has finally recovered from the bad publicity of one of their dolls racking up a body count, and restored the factory where they were made. The body of Chucky is still there, and some of his blood gets mixed up amongst the melted plastic being used for new Good Guy dolls and…it doesn’t matter, does it? Chucky is back, he wants out of the doll’s body and into a real one, and that means terrorizing Andy Barclay.

Andy, meanwhile, is still in the care of the state. His misfit ways have led to him being sent to a military academy, where, in predictable fashion, he becomes the outcast. The top cadet, Colonel Shelton (Travis Fine), takes an immediate disliking to Andy, becoming the film’s resident dickhead. He takes everything at the academy way too seriously, using his position of power to bully the other cadets.

Andy, being a teenager in this flick, also gets a love interest, in fellow cadet De Silva (Perrey Reeves, of Entourage fame).

Some plot machinations here and there mean that Chucky finds his way to the academy, but no one is in the mood to listen to Andy’s warnings. Chucky ends up not with Andy, but with a young cadet named Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers). Chucky spends most of the film, Child's Play 3 movie posterin between some kills here and there to keep the audience interested, grooming Tyler in a bid to take over his body.

The final act rolls around, and Chucky makes his intentions public knowledge, ruining the Academy’s annual war games, and setting up a literal fun house finale at a nearby carnival.

The biggest mistake of the previous film was that it waited until the finale to go all-in with the horror and absurdity. They had a film starring a killer doll, one that has become iconic in the horror genre, and kept it on a leash. That robbed the film of much energy. Mancini and company must have learned some lessons from that film, because we spend much more time with Chucky and his depravity in this entry. That’s a good thing.

By this third film, there are the beginning signs of franchise fatigue, in the increased amount of cliché and comic relief. Chucky is becoming well-practiced in delivering quips. That nonsense was a problem in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, but a wiseass Chucky fits this franchise much better. Early on Chucky establishes this flick’s bona fides with the line, “Don’t fuck with the Chuck.” Viewers couldn’t ask for much more. This is a series of films that was clearly heading towards cheese, but it was only with this film that Mancini realized it, accepted it, and embraced it.

The finale in the fun house ends with such an explosive and mucilaginous end for Chucky that there was no way it wasn’t meant in jest. It was as if Mancini, Bender, and the effects team decided to troll their future selves by obliterating Chucky and daring them to bring him back for a fourth film.

This is a film that proves the rule that just because a movie is shitty, that doesn’t mean it is bad. This is a better movie than Child’s Play 2, but that movie was not shitty. It was mere mediocrity. Child’s Play 3 is a film that is meant to be fun, and it does that by being silly and stupid. At Missile Test, that makes it a shitty movie…barely. It was a coin flip whether or not to include this film in the Shitty Movie Sundays Watchability Index, but it won…or lost, depending on how one feels about shitty movies. All I know is that any horror flick featuring death by yo-yo isn’t aiming for a high level of seriousness, and levity plus blood often equals shitty.

More blood, more guts, more silly characters (Andrew Robinson as the academy’s barber takes the booby prize), and a more outlandish ending than what came before make Child’s Play 3 a decent shitty movie watch, displacing Squirm at #113. Fans of Chucky won’t be disappointed.

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