If you wait around long enough eventually our horror movie icons get humbled by diminished financial returns, so humbled some of them can no longer anchor theatrical releases. Norman Bates was reduced to a TV movie (Psycho IV: The Beginning). Pinhead was shoehorned into 4 otherwise unrelated horror film scripts that premiered as direct-to-DVD sequels (Hellraiser: Inferno, Hellseeker, Deader, Hellworld), and then featured in a hastily-produced 5th direct-to-DVD sequel (Hellraiser: Revelations) made simply so the Weinstein Company wouldn’t lose the rights to the franchise. Suddenly that one direct-to-video sequel for Candyman (Candyman 3: Day of the Dead) doesn’t seem so bad, huh?
Joining that group, now, is Chucky from the Child’s Play franchise with Child’s Play: Curse of Chucky, a direct-to-video sequel which will premiere on Blu-Ray/DVD and video-on-demand on October 8. If you somehow don’t already know, Child’s Play is a horror film franchise centered around an evil convict who uses voodoo to place his soul into the body of a popular children’s doll named Chucky, and then uses his new plastic body to continually attempt to place his soul into that of a living child. Here is the newly-arrived trailer for Curse of Chucky:
Does this look bad? No, not really. Does it look great? Whoa, let’s not get crazy here. It looks competent.
The Child’s Play franchise had resorted to outright camp in its prior two sequels, Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, both of which were helped immensely by the addition of Jennifer Tilly as Chucky’s bride. This new sequel, however, seems to be marking the franchise’s 25th anniversary by returning to a tone closer to that of the original 1988 Child’s Play. So, instead of “this is totally nuts, you guys get that right?” this one appears to be going for more of a “he’s a killer, but he looks like a child’s play thing – that’s creepy, right?” vibe. Those who were especially offended by Jason Voorhees’ stalking of a wheelchair-bound kid in Friday the 13th Part 2 best look away, though, as the trailer heavily indicates one of Chucky’s victims may be a wheelchair-bound woman.
Regardless of tonal inconsistencies between sequels (they’ve all been written by the same guy, though, if that means anything), this new one does feature perhaps the most crucial element of all prior Child’s Play films: Brad Dourif’s insanely creepy performance as the voice of Chucky. He hasn’t missed a beat. In fact, at one point in the trailer Dourif does a yell so distinctly Chucky I wouldn’t have been stunned if you’d told me it was actually re-used audio from one of the prior films. Oddly, though, this time it is a real life family affair as Dourif’s real-life daughter, Fiona Dourif, is in the cast as one of the two adult female leads (she’s the one in the wheelchair).
According to Yahoo.com, chronologically Curse of Chucky will take place in-between Child’s Play 3 and Child’s Play: Bride of Chucky, and it will feature the first ever CGI version of Chucky. So, if, like me, you thought his face looked different in most of those close-ups in the trailer it’s because it’s computer-generated whereas in the past they’ve always used practical effects and rather convincing puppets to give Chucky life.
Here is an official synopsis for Curse of Chucky’s storyline:
“Nica (Fiona Dourif) is grieving over the gruesome suicide of her mother when her domineering older sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) arrives with her young family in tow to help settle their mother’s affairs. As the sisters butt heads over Nica’s plans for the future, Barb’s young daughter comforts herself with a grinning, red-haired talking doll named Chucky (voiced again by Brad Dourif) that recently arrived mysteriously in the mail. But as a string of brutal murders begins to terrorize the household, Nica suspects the doll may hold the key to the bloodshed. What she doesn’t know is that Chucky has a personal score to settle. He’s determined to finish a job he started more than 20 years earlier, and this time he’s going to see it through to the bloody and shocking end.” (Moviehole.net)
With Curse of Chucky, could Chucky be in for a Hellraiser-like second life as a direct-to-video franchise? Or this all simply the rather expensive twiddling of thumbs until the eventual remake? Ah, who knows, but it’s a nice 25 year anniversary gift to the fans, even if some of them are too embarrassed to admit to once being genuinely frightened of the original Child’s Play films (okay, is it totally obvious to everyone that I’m talking about myself here?).
Article? Done. Comments? That’s another story. If you have any thoughts about the Child’s Play films or the new trailer let us know in the comments section.