Beyond The Valley of the Blow-Up Dolls
Let’s deal with the obvious right away: this is not a good movie. But Jennifer Tilly and erections go hand in hand, or more accurately sweaty, twitching hand in tiny, 12 year old girl on the cusp of puberty hand. It’s a fact of life, and it should be mentioned at the beginning of every review of her performance. It doesn’t matter that she looks like a Reubens painting of a prostitute, she still sounds like your date talking dirty at a junior high dance. Of course, the net result of her presence in any film is that all the blood rushes from your head, leaving you much more susceptible to idiocy and illogic that usual, which explains the popularity of Bound.
In Seed of Chucky, Tilly reprises her role as Tiffany, Chucky’s girlfriend from the previous film. The long-running Child’s Play series was thought dead when slasher films passed out of vogue in the mid-nineties, but the post-Scream boom led to a reinvigoration of the genre. 1998’s Bride of Chucky breathed new life into the series by giving Chucky a girlfriend, a distinct visual style courtesy of Asian director Ronnie Yu, and a bunch of labored Frankenstein references. Seed of Chucky continues that theme, patching itself together with twisted versions of other familiar story lines, like the screenwriter is trying to prove working in a video store for four years is a valuable learning experience. As the title would suggest, the star of the film is the progeny of the two dolls, an impossibility explained away rather dismissively by “voodoo”. As far as I know, the only thing voodoo’s good for is Haitian tourism and Anne Rice plot conceits, though if it made dolls speak like Jennifer Tilly I’d be prancing around in a top hat and chicken-bone necklace in no time flat.
Chucky’s titular seed is nameless, British, and in search of his parents during the film’s very Dickensian first act. Once he discovers that his parents are murderous serial killers toys, the film morphs into a gender-bending riff on Ed Wood’s Glen Or Glenda, and a tongue in cheek story of addiction, as Chucky and Tiffany try to stop killing and become better role models. In fact, tongue-in-cheek is a good way to describe the movie, as it’s humorous, light-hearted, and cartoonishly violent. But, like keeping your tongue in cheek, afterwards all you’re left with is a canker-sore. And once all the blood flows back to your head, that can start to sting.