If you’re a horror fan, you might want to knock the rating on this one up to four stars, because Seed of Chucky really is an A-1 horror-comedy. We haven’t had one this good since Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator or Ken Russell’s Lair of the White Worm.
No, this film is not in quite the same league as those modern classics. The very fact that it’s not a stand-alone movie probably precludes it from being in that league. Plus, we’re talking savvy trash here, not great filmmaking. But as savvy trash goes, this movie scores pretty darn high marks, even though it’s the sort of film that will most likely be critically savaged. The humor tends to be lowbrow and at its happiest when it’s throwing sex and blood in your face. (And Seed of Chucky has lots of both.)
The movie constantly pushes the envelope of its R rating, and one wonders just how the film’s tag-line — “This fall get a load of Chucky” — made it past the MPAA. (Granted, I don’t guess the movie’s seriously whacked artificial insemination plotline is obvious on the poster). When it comes to humor, Don Mancini (who was promoted from mere writer on the first four Chucky pictures to writer/director here) clearly takes his cue from guest-star John Waters (who plays a sleazy paparazzi). The raunchier and more vulgar it is, the better. And for the most part, the approach succeeds.
The story concerns a ventriloquist’s supposed puppet named S**tface (voiced by Lord of the Rings‘ Billy Boyd), who looks for all the world like a caricature of David Bowie circa 1972. The puppet is, in fact, alive, and he wants to find his parents. When he sees a TV program about the making of a movie called Chucky Goes Psycho (surely, that’s gilding the lily), he notices that the murderous dolls, Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) and Tiffany (voiced by Jennifer Tilly), share his “birthmark” — the words “Made in Japan” emblazoned on the wrist. (I am not inventing this.)
So he sets out for Hollywood where, no surprise, he reanimates his parents, who are delighted to meet their son…or maybe daughter? Problem is, you see, he or she is not anatomically correct, so the script takes a page from the late, great Ed Wood and christens him Glen or Glenda!
This, however, is only part of the story, which also incorporates Jennifer Tilly, who has a grand time playing herself and making sport of her somewhat zaftig proportions and stalled movie career. Tired of playing second fiddle to a pair of homicidal dolls, she plans on landing the role of the Virgin Mary in rapper-turned-filmmaker Redman’s (Redman) upcoming biblical epic. And she’s willing to be very friendly with Redman in order to snatch the role away from Julia Roberts (“I could have played Erin Brokovich and I wouldn’t have needed a push-up bra!”). Despite being cautioned that she’ll go to hell for sleeping around to get the role of a virgin (to which she responds: “Hell would be ending up on Celebrity Fear Factor in a worm-eating contest with Anna Nicole Smith”), she goes ahead with her plans. Meanwhile, the dolls go ahead with their own plan: impregnating Tilly so she can give birth to Glen/Glenda. Chucky takes over Redman’s body and Tiffany takes over Tilly’s.
Yes, it’s ridiculous and trashy. But the movie also offers a lot of genuinely unwholesome fun for those who like this sort of twisted nonsense. Plus, the film is a Silver Screen Edition Trivial Pursuit-enthusiast’s dream, with clever in-jokes ranging from Paul Morrissey’s Blood for Dracula to Nick Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause to (best of all) Kubrick’s The Shining, with nods to Brian De Palma’s Carrie and John Waters’ own Pink Flamingos.
Oh, Seed of Chucky is for horror enthusiast’s only, but that seems fair enough. After all, we’ve gotten so little quality horror this year that it’s time we got a horror flick that’s at least fun.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke