Let’s not pretend that the Child’s Play franchise is any good. The original trilogy had one horror classic in its debut but the messes that are Child’s Play 2 and Child’s Play 3 drove a hard point home, if nothing else: Chucky is a good idea and horror fans love the little possessed doll but the majority of his films suck and do little to expand his persona. Chucky’s origin involved the 80’s crazes of Teddy Ruxpin and My Buddy. These creepy talking dolls were everywhere at the time and Chucky and Child’s Play exploited the fads beautifully in 1988. It’s too bad the rushed sequels were so boring and terrible.
Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky went all in to reboot the franchise as the ultimate in good schlock and Chucky, a full decade after his debut, became a hilarious lunatic. He not only killed Brittney Spears in Seed of Chucky but his sex scene in Bride of Chucky with Jennifer Tilly is still, perhaps, one of the best schlock scenes ever to make horror audiences cringe as well as ask aloud: What. The. Fuck? Still, Chucky reassuring Jennifer Tilly that he still has functional parts before he goes all in, after they shatter a ceiling mirror to dice a normie couple to bits, showed the kind of horror fun that had been sorely missed throughout Chucky’s cinematic life.
However, when studios are looking to cash in, schlock isn’t the best way to go. Sam Raimi had to move on from Evil Dead cult films to big studio Spider-Man trash to pay his mortgage. And that’s okay. Even Osacr winner Forrest Whitaker hosted The New Twilight Zones on American television to pay his rent back in the day. Unfortunately, the direct to streaming/DVD Chucky films that are Curse of Chucky (2013) and Cult of Chucky (2017) show the same problems as Child’s Play 2 and 3. Curse of Chucky tried to return to its roots and placed Chucky back in an apartment to square off against a new protagonist in a wheel chair. It took itself way too seriously to be any fun and lost all of the good schlock glory established by Bride and Seed of Chucky. But the tone gained interest that maybe a new, more gritty Chucky would arise in a sequel. In short, the 2013 reboot was more Forrest Whitaker returning to television than Sam Raimi opening his own studio. Surely this flawed reboot could be improved upon though, right?
Cult of Chucky begins right after Curse of Chucky. To its credit it brings back Andy, who is the original protagonist that was given the cursed doll by his mom in the first Child’s Play film. Andy has been keeping Chucky in a safe and torturing him after work. Not much remains aside from Chucky’s head, which taunts Andy and he, in turn, enjoys using a blow torch to make the doll scream. But wait, the female wheel chair protagonist from Curse of Chucky is being admitted to an insane asylum since nobody believes her stories of a talking doll that killed her family. She’s nuts, bruh! But if Andy has the original Chucky, then how did Chucky kill her family? And you get the idea. The cult from the film’s title is with regard to multiple Chucky’s existing at once. What’s even more baffling though is the fact that every scene until the finale is simply slightly modified scenes from previous films. The ceiling mirror being shattered is done again, though this time it’s a window, then it’s done again with snow falling through the ceiling to make it look artistic. One of the Chucky’s then explains that he found this great curse on Voodoo.com that let’s him animate any Chucky doll or any thing. After about ninety minutes of various scene odes to other Child’s Play films, Chucky uses his Voodoo.com spell to possess the female in a wheel chair. Yikes! The franchise is so scattered that Chucky now is no more. The doll is gone and Chucky now inhabits a young-ish female’s body. She escapes with Jennifer Tilly in her human form so the finale of the trilogy is, unfortunately, around the corner.
So what’s the point? One could say everything old is new again. Or that it’s all been done. Either way, we don’t even get a lesbian love scene, and let’s not pretend for one minute that seeing Jennifer Tilly replay a scene from Bound with a female possessed by a male wouldn’t have been amazing. Sometimes one scene is all a film needs to make it watchable. We’re referring to you, Alyssa Milano in Embrace the Vampire- such a good sex scene! But Cult of Chucky doesn’t even have that. It’s too bad. Again, Chucky is a good idea. Nobody knows what to do with the idea though.
(Note: none of the scenes from the trailer below are actually in Cult of Chucky. The trailer is just excerpts from Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky….)