Cult Of Chucky
It seems only fitting that a significant number of the monstrous antagonists in horror movies are unable to be completed killed. The movies that feature them appear to exhibit the same quality. Film after film just when fans are certain that franchise is over another movie is released. Michael resurrected, Freddie invades another dream and Jason finds more campers to slice and dice. Among this Pantheon of unstoppable serial killers, there is one that may look like a child’s doll but is among the most gleefully sadistic of the entire bunch, Chucky. The most recent offering in the Chucky, or properly the Child’s Palsy franchise is ‘The Cult of Chucky,’ a direct sequel to the previous installment, ‘The Curse of Chucky.’ The main protagonist, the final girl Nica Pierce reprised by Fiona Dourif, real-life daughter of Journeyman actor and the iconic voice of Chucky, Brad Dourif. Surprisingly, this movie garnered rather positive response on the aggregate review sites although the reception by the fans was noticeably lower. From a personal perspective, I found myself splitting the difference. For the seventh outing of a slasher horror franchise, it was unusually cohesive. The narrative remained internally consistent as well as remaining mostly within the established parameters of the series. The main plot point, however, required a substantial expansion of the accepted mythos and supernatural basis of the underlying premise. Initially, I found this to be a contrivance that felt overly forced. After further consideration and a subsequent viewing, the addition of supernatural abilities is in line with the standard narrative protocol in comic books, graphic novels and the films they engender. Powers and abilities have the penchant for increasing over time. As the hero, or villain, becomes more experienced the scope of their powers drastically escalate. The invisible Girl started as just being able to become transparent, but soon she could extend invisibility beyond herself ultimately creating a force field that can shield or surround an adversary’s heart-crushing in situ. Chuckey’s newfound enhancement to swapping consciousness is along the same lines.
The protagonist of the original ‘Child’s Play’ trilogy was Andy Barclay, currently portrayed as an adult by Alex Vincent. It was his mother who brought five-year-old Andy a Good Guy doll named Chucky. The amount of murder and mayhem that swept over his life like a tsunami. The amount of psychological therapy Andy required could budget a blockbuster movie. Andy saw on a date with his latest attempt at a relationship, Rachel (Allison Dawn Doiron). Acting in a fashion consistent with a suspicious world, she Googled him. After discovering a dark past placing him in the middle of mass murders. Frustrated, Andy returns home he reveals that he has the original head of Chucky gagged in his safe. Andy takes Chuckey’s head out for a catharsis as he vents his anger by taunting and torturing the still sentient head. At this point, the audience is lead astray with a series of red herrings. The evil essence of Charles Lee "Chucky" Ray would, under expected circumstances, would localize the evil and the immediate danger to that remaining portion of the possessed doll. The title does specify ‘cult’ as a strong indication of multiple sources of demonic terror.
When a horror franchise can still generate positive reviews after seven movies, there have to be some aspects of the production that managed to work better than the ones that continually spiraled into the realm of self-parody. The typical path slasher series take is to be passed around to numerous directors and writers like a joint at a Grateful Dead concert. The originator of the Chucky saga, Don Mancini, has been the screenwriter for every film in the set, this infuses a strong sense of continuity not just with the details of character development but arguably more crucial in the pervasive style. This unifies the franchise bringing it in line with a contiguous series of novels. Instead of seven independent stories, the Chucky movies are serialized like chapters in an epic narrative. Mr. has also directed the most recent three films of the franchise. The level of internal consistency and continuity is an aspect that most fans consider critical to their continued enjoyment of the franchise, a plethora of general film and specific horror discussion forum are so prevalent that the ardent fans will jump at inconsistencies or deviations from the accepted canon. A demonstration of this can be found in a post credit scene that features a character, Kyle (Christine Elise) that was initially introduced in ‘Child’s Play 2’. The content of the scene does hint at the next installment of the story and some indication of the direction it might take, this reinforces the dénouement that was set in motion with final shots of the movie.
These indications of a continuation of the story demonstrate to the audience, specifically the ardent fans, proving the primary reason for the ongoing popularity of the franchise. Mr. Mancini proves to be an effective storyteller able to go beyond retaining the interest of the fans to achieve one of the most difficult aspects of this art form. He can successfully reimagine the basic constructs of the saga. The story continues to change itself, morphing as it moves forward keeping pace with the growing imagination of the fans. Initially ‘Child’s Play’ was a simple tale of terror generated by evil attacking the most vulnerable part of our society, a child. The first enhancement had that evil not originate with some ancient, demonic entity. The pervasive evil that was responsible for such an incredible number of slaughtered people was a man, albeit a psychopathic serial killer before invoking the chant that transferred his essence into a random doll lying of the floor beside is dying body. The foundation of the saga demonstrated twists expertly crafted to demystify the antagonist to the most horrifying monster possible, a man driven by fatally demented motives. This transition from mortal serial killer to part of the group of unstoppable murderers represented the first of many changes that still manage to reinvigorate the overall narrative consistently.
What has become de rigueur for the slasher genre, most examples extend the story by attempting to substantially redefine the primary expression of the premise I hope of keeping the story interesting to the all-important fans that purchase tickets and home theater venues. Frequently these modifications only turn what began as horror into a self-parody as previously noted here. Humor has always been an integral aspect of the slasher motif but used as comic relief to assist controlling the pacing through darkly humorous pauses. In the later movies of those franchises, the motivation of the audience changes from the cathartic relief of cinematic violence to a desire to watch examples of severely twisted, bordering on demented dark comedy. The Chucky films continue to retain the horrifying basis established by the original premise and its presentation to the viewers. The reinvention that Mr. Mancini achieves with each successive movie offers a cumulative effect, not the complete reorganization found in franchises like ‘Halloween.’ Nightmare on Elm Street’, Friday the 13th’ and particularly in the still active ‘Amityville Horror’ movies. Chuck has remained reasonably stable in the psychologic effect and emotion response he elicits. The ante was upped in this current installment of the franchise with the potential for a significantly expanded scope to the murderous mayhem. There is the promise of a long-awaited showdown between Chucky and his original victim turned adversary, Andy. I rarely look forward to the next offering in this franchise, but I do look forward to the next outing of the iconic ginger doll of death.
|Inside the Insanity of Cult of Chucky (1080p, 6:43): ||Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations of Chucky (1080p, 5:03): ||The Dollhouse (1080p, 7:37): ||Audio Commentary: |