Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Seed of Chucky

What a stupid movie. When I wasn’t loving it, I was hating it, but never so much that I ever stopped enjoying myself. Even when the spirit-possessed Chucky doll (Brad Dourif, as ever) runs Britney Spears (Nadia Dina Ariqat) off of the road and her car explodes in a pique pop culture moment, there was but the briefest moment of doubt before buying into this ridiculous flick once more. This isn’t a good movie, but writer/director, and series creator, Don Mancini, along with producer David Kirschner, were right to go all-in on absurdity.

2004, the year this film was released, was most notable for the release of Saw, which popularized the torture porn subgenre of horror. Most horror films released that year, including this one, were still regular ole horror flicks, but Saw made it so clear that something new had arrived that this film seemed like an anachronism when it was released just a few weeks later.

This film also had to deal with franchise fatigue. In introducing humor in the previous film, the filmmakers found the perfect response to the fatigue, and they continued that formula with Seed of Chucky. They didn’t have enough good ideas left to fill an entire film, it seems, so Seed whipsaws back and forth between irreverent self-awareness and weak camp, often in the same scene.

Besides Dourif as the voice of Chucky, Jennifer Tilly returns to voice the Tiffany doll. Tilly also plays a fictional version of herself, as this flick has one of the more complicated plots one will ever see in a slasher flick.

In this film’s universe, Tilly is a slut who will do anything to get a movie role. Her current job is in a movie based on the murders committed by Chucky and Tiffany in the previous movie. That film within the film requires a Chucky and Tiffany doll, so that’s how we get them into the movie. Animating them is a whole other deal.

It turns out that Chucky and Tiffany had a child. We viewers are there for its entire life, in fact, as the film opens inside a poorly-rendered CGI uterus amongst swimming Chucky sperm. Yes, this happened in the movie. The androgynous offspring (voiced by Billy Boyd in the most annoying London street urchin accent since Corey Haim starred in Oliver Twist) doesn’t know who their parents are, but after seeing Seed of Chucky movie postera tv news report on the new Chucky movie shooting in Hollywood, travels to California. There, he recites the franchise-spanning voodoo spell that resurrects Chucky and Tiffany, and off they go a-killing and looking for new human bodies to inhabit.

The plan this time is for Tiffany to possess the body of Jennifer Tilly, and Chucky to possess Redman (like Tilly, playing a fictionalized version of himself), who happens to be directing a new movie about Jesus, with Tilly trying to sleep her way into the Virgin Mary part. The final part of the plan calls for Chucky to inseminate Tilly, so the child doll, dubbed Glen or Glenda in a nod to Ed Wood, can possess the baby. Got it? Because there’s more.

Glen/Glenda’s life is a maelstrom of gender confusion, and reconciling the fact their parents are psychotic murderers. The Glen/Glenda plotline is the most out of place in a black comedy. Had it been excised completely, and the film reworked, Seed would probably be a better movie. That said, Glen/Glenda’s struggles are the most poignant part of this film, seen through the lens of today’s growing awareness LGBTQ+ issues. My guess would be it’s also packed to the gills with microaggressions, and I’m not going to try unpacking any of that. But, as annoying as is Boyd’s voice acting, and as much as a viewer might hate Glen/Glenda taking precious screen time away from Chucky and Tiffany, I couldn’t help feeling for the them…sometimes. Mostly, I wished the scene-stealing little creep would just go away.

Is Glen/Glenda’s plot prescient, insensitive, offensive, just plain stupid? I can’t answer that. I can say that it was a drag on the film.

So, in Seed of Chucky, half the plot stinks, the other half is over-complicated, and many of the jokes fall flat. Why did I like this? Because of Jennifer Tilly and the portrayal of her life in Hollywood.

In this film, Tilly struggles to get new parts, as no one seems to get past her voice and her boobs. She has to constantly convince everyone she meets, from filmmakers to film press, that she has talent and depth to offer a film. Luckily for us, Tilly was game to have her life made fun of by Mancini’s script, and I cannot imagine she didn’t make her own contributions. On top of that, she was excellent in this film. In a role that could easily have slipped into caricature, she decided to outperform everyone else in the cast, including her own work voicing Tiffany. She’s a character, and a real person, that viewers can’t help but root for, even when she’s angling for a spot on the casting couch. It’s a biting commentary on what actresses go through in show business, and Mancini and company wisely kept it lighthearted.

That’s almost 900 words and this review barely mentions Chucky. He’s in it, and he makes some bloody kills, but there’s just so much else going on in the movie. Too much, in fact. I would have liked to have seen much leaner movie, and one that included all the bloody effects that were obviously cut to get an ‘R’ rating.

Seed of Chucky is a decent shitty movie watch, kicking Olympus Has Fallen out of the #95 spot in the Watchability Index. Five movies in and this franchise still has life to it.

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