Starring: Jennifer Tilly, Redman, John Waters, voices of Brad Dourif and Billy Boyd
“I’m an Oscar-nominee, for God’s sake. Now look at me, I’m fucking a puppet.” (Jennifer Tilly, Seed Of Chucky)
After Bride Of Chucky took the Child’s Play series and injected a much-needed burst of dark humour to proceedings, it would have been impossible for its successor to go back to pure horror. Sure enough, Seed Of Chucky goes even further down the comedy route, only just stopping short of having the characters throw custard pies at one another.
Seed Of Chucky is set in the ‘real world’, a world in which Chucky is just a doll in some daft horror movies. We’re first introduced to a new doll, Glen (voiced by Billy Boyd). Glen doesn’t know who his parents are – can you see where this is going? – but after seeing an on-set report from the latest Child’s Play movie on TV he notices that he shares the same ‘Made In Japan’ markings Chucky has on his wrist.
Glen decides to travel to Hollywood to meet Chucky and Tiffany, his apparently Japanese mum and dad. When he gets there he finds that Chucky and Tiffany are just normal dolls, but after a spot of voodoo (ah, that old chestnut) they’re back to their old selves and ready to carve upLos Angeles, but not before trying to figure out how to raise their son. Or is it their daughter?
You see, Chucky wants to raise Glen as a killer so he can go on murderous sprees with his old man in the same way other father/son combos would go fishing or watch sports. Tiffany, meanwhile, is adamant that their child is in fact a girl called Glenda (a nod to the Ed Wood cross-dressing classic Glen Or Glenda). The fact that, being a doll, Glen/da doesn’t have any genitalia doesn’t really solve the argument, so Chucky and Tiffany spend the rest of the film competing for the love (and gender) of their offspring.
Killer dolls aside, the real star of the show is Jennifer Tilly, not only providing the voice of Tiffany but also playing a caricaturised version of herself in this ‘real world’. This version of Tilly is a desperate B-list actress who was once respected (Tilly was nominated for an Oscar in real life for her performance in Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway) and is now struggling to get all the good roles because they keep going to the likes of Julia Roberts. Throughout the movie Tilly considers sleeping with a director (played by Wu-Tang Clan legend Redman) to get a part, is frustrated when everyone she meets only remembers her from her lesbian scene in Bound and treats her PA like dirt, without realising that she’s the one writing all her so-called ‘fan mail’.
She also sticks the boot into herself a few times while voicing Tiffany, who at first is starstruck by Tilly and then begins to lose respect for her (“no wonder her career’s in trouble”). In one scene Tiffany drags an unconscious Tilly across the floor and declares “jeez, she’s fat” – a line many actors would refuse to say, I’d wager, but one that Tilly is game to deliver with refreshing self-deprecation.
After a series of inventive and gory death scenes (cult movie-making icon John Waters getting acid poured on his face, anyone?), the film falls apart a little in the third act as the novelty factor starts to wear off and Glen’s character (the weakest of the three dolls) comes to the fore. It’s a shame, because the first hour is great fun, but much like a French frog it just doesn’t have legs.
Seed Of Chucky is both the goriest and least serious of the five Chucky movies to date. The fact that the upcoming Child’s Play remake is taking the series back to its deadly serious roots shows that Seed was essentially as far as the comedy approach could go, and this shows near the end of the film as the laughs get stretched further and further. Still, it’s not a terrible film by any means, and should at least keep you entertained for most of its duration.