[SEQUEL SEPTEMBER II] Seed of Chucky (2004)

Don Mancini

Jennifer Tilly - Herself/Voice of Tiffany
Brad Dourif - Voice of Chucky
Billy Boyd - Voice of Glen/Glenda Ray
Hannan Spearritt - Joan
Redman - Himself
John Waters - Pete Peters
Jason Flemyng - Himself/Santa
Steve Lawton - Stan

Genre - Horror/Comedy/Supernatural/Slasher

Running Time - 84 Minutes

Glen/Glenda (Voiced by Billy Boyd) is a living doll who has no idea whether he's a boy or a girl. Not only that, but he's been trying to search for his parents while being abused as a ventriloquist dummy in Europe. He's also been having nightmares about murdering people, which comes to be a shock to him since he's so polite and peaceful.

While watching television, Glen/Glenda notices that Hollywood is filming a movie based on the lives of serial killing doll couple Chucky (
Voiced by Brad Dourif) and Tiffany (Voiced by Jennifer Tilly). Noticing a resemblance, Glen/Glenda quickly packs his things, escapes, and leaves for Hollywood to reunite with his parents. What he doesn't realize is that Chucky and Tiffany are animatronic puppets being used for the film, which stars Academy Award nominated actress Jennifer Tilly in the lead role - who feels her talent is being wasted in such drivel while Julia Roberts steals all of her roles.

Glen/Glenda encounters the puppets, uses the voodoo amulet that transfers souls into bodies, and reads the words. This awakens both Chucky and Tiffany, making them pick up where they last left off. Chucky, wanting Glen to be a boy, decides to teach him how to kill. Tiffany, wanting Glenda to be a girl, tries to stop killing but feels addicted to the act of violence. What Chucky and Tiffany do agree on is that they want to transfer their souls to Jennifer Tilly, Redman, and get Tilly pregnant with Chucky's sperm to transfer Glen/Glenda's soul into the baby.

SEED OF CHUCKY has to be one of the most surreal sequels in any horror film franchise. Let's get this out of the way - while BRIDE OF CHUCKY had enough tension and terror to still be considered horror even with all the humor that surrounded the story, SEED OF CHUCKY drops the horror and plays the story strictly for laughs and shock value. While BRIDE OF CHUCKY managed to balance the horror and comedy quite well, making it successful, SEED OF CHUCKY tips the film too much into comedy that it loses the essence of the CHILD'S PLAY franchise. This wouldn't be too much of an issue if SEED OF CHUCKY was hilarious from beginning to end. But the film isn't, which pretty much showcases the many flaws this film possesses.

The biggest issue I have with SEED OF CHUCKY is the character of Glen/Glenda. I get that he's supposed to pay homage to Ed Wood's 1953 film GLEN OR GLENDA - which was a movie with themes of cross-dressing, gender bending, and transexuality. I get that he's supposed to be similar to Norman Bates, who is repulse by his parents murder but dresses like his mother while committing similar acts. I get that the whole Glen or Glenda issue is a running gag and a plot device to create a rift between Chucky's and Tiffany's relationship. But the character him/herself really does nothing for me. It's a shame that two huge personalities like Chucky and Tiffany have such a drag [no pun intended] of a child like Glen/Glenda. The film is really narrated through his eyes, as he struggles with his genetic code to kill by watching his parents commit acts of murder. Glen/Glenda takes away much of the focus of the film for me, since Chucky's and Tiffany's eventual actions are for him. Chucky wants to make Glen masculine by teaching him how to kill. And Tiffany wants to domesticate Glenda by steering him away from that, although she has trouble making that happen. I guess this is all supposed to be comical in some way, but I barely chuckled during the Glen scenes. It takes an interesting theme that commentates on the superficiality of Hollywood and turns it into a spoof of some reality show that involves a dysfunctional family who don't really see eye-to-eye. I'm glad to hear that Glen is pretty much disposed off in CURSE OF CHUCKY because, while an interesting idea that goes back to the Universal Monster days, it's executed poorly.

Honestly, the humor comes from the meta-narrative that makes fun of Hollywood and the media. The best moments come from Jennifer Tilly's role as herself. The fact that she allowed herself to be the butt of so many mean and cruel jokes just for laughs makes me respect this actress more. She comes across as a conceited, high-maintenance bitch who believes her star should shine brighter than most other actresses, feeling that starring in a horror movie is beneath her talent. The running gag with Julia Roberts stealing her roles is pretty funny. Tilly mentions she could have played Erin Brocovich without a wonder bra, and learns Roberts is the #1 choice to play the Virgin Mary in a film directed by rapper Redman, of all people. Ironically, Tilly pretty much entices Redman with sex to play a woman of purity. I also enjoyed the BOUND reference to get Redman aroused more. Plus, Tilly is beaten with a bunch of fat jokes and food references - which were based on Tilly's personal feelings on losing some weight before filming SEED OF CHUCKY to look more "Hollywood". In a lot of ways, Tilly is the star of the film and sometimes overshadows Chucky and family. The first half of the film is strong because the focus is mainly on Tilly's "life" and the stereotype she plays up to. I really enjoyed this portion of the film because the humor didn't feel forced. Tilly went along with everything, which made the plot device work.

I also enjoy the commentary on the media when it comes to celebrities and serial killers. There's a film being made about Chucky and Tiffany, which seems to celebrate their actions rather than condemn the two. The paparazzi harass Jennifer Tilly about the murder of a special effects man, asking about grisly details about what she saw. Ironically, Tilly uses it to gain some publicity and attention for herself. A paparazzo, Pete Peters played by John Waters, spies on Jennifer Tilly in a compromising position with Redman for a tabloid scoop. The joke leads into Peters filming Chucky masturbate into a cup, getting excited about a little person playing with himself in Jennifer Tilly's house in one of the funnier moments of SEED OF CHUCKY. The fact that Waters is filming something to twisted makes the joke work better than it ought to, because it's so his style. While a bit juvenile at times, SEED OF CHUCKY does have some clever and witty stuff going for it.

I did think the last act was pretty weak though. It's when the jokes start to run out of steam, as the focus is on Tilly's pregnancy and the possession angle. Sure we get a PSYCHO moment with Glen, and even a THE SHINING reference with Chucky and an axe. But there's a lot going on and writer/director/co-creator of CHILD'S PLAY Don Mancini seems to want to tell multiple stories by sacrificing some logic and even believable characterization. Tilly's pregnancy and then her desperation to see her babies feels a bit forced since she wasn't pregnant all that long. Glen's split personality would have been great if it were established from the start. Just because a character has nightmares about murder doesn't mean he/she is going to become one. The stuff with the possession towards the end is a bit murky, although I did get what happened. And even the final moments just feel tacked on to leave it open for another sequel. I can't say I wasn't entertained by most of this portion of the film. But I wish it was told better and given more weight. The Glen/Glenda stuff gets old by this point, and watching Chucky and Tiffany want to kill each other again was already done in BRIDE OF CHUCKY. I find it odd that Chucky would rather stay a doll with notoriety than become human again - especially when this has been his M.O. for the previous FOUR films! I think Mancini could have pushed the envelope more with the pregnancy stuff like he did with most topics in the first half of the film. It felt too safe and predictable towards the end.

By the way, the Britney Spears moment still gets a kick out of me. So stupid, yet pretty funny.

SEED OF CHUCKY isn't really a horror film, but the gore still remains. The highlight has to be the decapitation scene right after Chucky and Tiffany are revived by Glen/Glenda. The way the head moves upwards toward the screen makes it made for 3D if the recent fad had been around at the time. We also get stabbings, acid to the face, a person being gutted from the groin up to the abdomen - revealing guts, and the Britney Spears car crash. For a film that steers away from the horror, it sure loves displaying vicious carnage. Not sure how violent CURSE OF CHUCKY is, but SEED is definitely the most brutal of the first five films.

The direction by Don Mancini is better than his hand at storytelling. I thought he directed SEED OF CHUCKY like a pro. I loved the style of the camera movements and how things were lit and framed. There is a bit of atmosphere, although the tone is much lighter. The pacing was very good, as the film never wore out its welcome. I wish someone else had helped him with the screenplay, but he did really well visualizing his project.

The acting is alright here. Brad Dourif can play Chucky in his sleep at this point. Jennifer Tilly nailed both roles she played really well. She was a great sport for letting Mancini make fun of her. And I agree with Chucky - she does have great ta-tas. Billy Boyd was good as Glen/Glenda, although I'm not a fan of the character. Former S Club 7 member Hannah Spearritt was decent as Joan. I wish they had given her more to do because her arc seemed flat. Redman was Redman. He didn't impress me all that much, but I didn't think he was all that terrible. John Waters is perfect as the sleazy paparazzo. That dude is awesome no matter what he does.

I get why a lot of people look down on SEED OF CHUCKY. Out of all the CHILD'S PLAY films, it's the most different in terms of tone, atmosphere, and even genre as it focuses more on comedy than on horror. I hated this film when I watched it years ago, but I enjoyed myself after a re-watch. Still, it takes the humor a bit too far, as a lot of the jokes are a mixed bag. But even with its uneven screenplay, the direction is good, the acting is above average [Jennifer Tilly is pretty great in this], and the violence is pretty brutal when it happens. Not as good as BRIDE OF CHUCKY, but definitely better than CHILD'S PLAY 3. Still, I'm glad CURSE OF CHUCKY has brought the franchise closer to its horror roots, as SEED OF CHUCKY is a decent experiment at something different that doesn't completely work.

2.5 Howls Outta 4

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