A Bloody Good Time 3.13.14: Top 10 Child's Play Franchise Moments
Posted by Joseph Lee on 03.13.2014
From his rebirth in Child's Play 2 and John Waters' death to Andy's return in Curse of Chucky, Tiffany's death in Bride of Chucky and more, 411's Joseph Lee counts down the top 10 moments from the Child's Play franchise!
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.
I thought I'd keep the love for Brad Dourif going this week by looking at the Child's Play series once again. Eventually I'm going to end my discussion of it with a ranking of the entire series but I've still got at least one more topic before that.
Chucky's had a lot of great moments in six movies. Even in the worst of the movies, Chucky still shines thanks to the humor of the series, Dourif's voice work and the animatronics involved to bring Chucky to life. I've picked out ten of my favorites and I'll present them here to you. Hopefully this will appease Chucky fans after the killer doll only got #4 last week. And I don't really need to tell you this but there are spoilers in this column for Curse of Chucky.
#10: Jennifer Tilly's sense of humor in Seed of Chucky (2005)
This isn't really a single moment but there's nothing that stands out individually so I'm grouping them together. If you haven't noticed, Seed of Chucky has a lot of fun at Jennifer Tilly's expense. There are several fat jokes written in the script. There are jokes made about her career. At one point she tries to seduce Redman to play the Virgin Mary. She gets inseminated by doll sperm. You have to give her a lot of credit for committing to such a ridiculous role.
There's a lot of hit and miss jokes in Seed of Chucky but Tilly's "wink-wink" performance always hit for me. It takes a lot of guts to sign onto a movie that's going to mock you and essentially kill you off at the end. On top of playing "herself", she still provided voice work for Tiffany which took a few more shots at Tilly (like the jokes about Bound). The fact that most people don't like Seed (I do) makes it a thankless role, too.
#9: "How's it hanging, Phil?" from Child's Play 2 (1990)
There's just something very enjoyable about seeing a complete jerk get offed in a horror movie. You know it's fiction so why not root for the demise of someone you don't like? Phil, however, isn't as big of a jerk as you would think. He clearly cares about Andy and wouldn't be a foster parent if he didn't want to help children. His wife, who is completely altruistic, wouldn't let him. There are moments in Child's Play 2 where he seems to want to help but temper and the unique nature of Andy's case put him at a loss.
It's his temper, however, that makes him seem a little too strict (especially if you're watching this as a kid) and makes us side with Andy. Can't Phil see that he should at least listen to Andy instead of dismissing everything he says? If anything his death comes not because he's a bad person, but because he is 100% convinced he's right and never really gives Andy a chance to prove he's not damaged. Of course Chucky being Chucky, just appreciates a good kill. Phil realizes too late that he was wrong and Chucky breaks his neck.
#8: John Waters' death in Seed of Chucky
I've mentioned before that I don't like the fact that John Waters is in Seed of Chucky to begin with. I'm not sure why he's included as he's infuriatingly annoying every single moment he's on screen. Of course I'm just not a fan of Waters in general and then to change the channel if I see him on TV.
However, I guess he was in this film to be the guy who gets the death we root for. They also pay off his annoying character with the most gruesome death in the movie (and considering how much gore is in Seed, that's saying something). Chucky and Glen manage to kill off the photographer with a batch of acid, which melts half of his face off. Truly, there was never a better bonding moment between father and son.
#7: "This is the end, friend!" from Child's Play (1988)
This moment ranks because it not only sees Chucky finally get what's coming to him, but it sees Andy finally stand up for himself. The movie tries really hard to make Chucky a threat and Andy sympathetic and it works. No one believes him about Chucky except for his mother, and it takes Chucky making himself come to life in front of her for that to happen. He's actually committed at one point while Chucky is free and murdering people that Andy may end up getting the blame for.
So to see him finally get the advantage over Chucky and set him on fire is a great moment. There's a reason that Andy is almost as beloved a character as Chucky is and it's not just because he's in four movies. They did a terrific job making him someone for the audience to root for and when he turns Chucky's own "Good Guy" line against him, it's good to see. The fact that it's still not the end of the movie shows how great Child's Play is.
#6: Tiffany's death and resurrection in Bride of Chucky (1998)
Ronny Yu and Don Mancini are not shy about their love of Bride of Frankenstein in Bride of Chucky. Not only do they directly quote it ("We belong dead") and name their film as an homage to it, but the film is used directly in in the scene where Tiffany is killed as a human and resurrected as a doll. It's playing on the television that Chucky uses to electrocute Tiffany in her own bathtub.
Ronny Yu has always been a great visual director. He uses everything in this scene to make it over-the-top and one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. Tiffany gets a "beautiful" (stylistically, anyway) death complete with lightning, bubbles and a classic horror movie playing on TV. On top of that, she gets to come back to life moments later so we don't lose Jennifer Tilly. Some people don't like the Tiffany years in the Chucky movies, but I've always enjoyed her. It's Glen I never liked.
#5: Andy's return in Curse of Chucky (2013)
This was actually spoiled for me before I saw the movie, because apparently everyone decided to upload it to Youtube and it popped up as soon as I typed "Curse of Chucky" to look for a clip for work. I was thrilled with the news, but I think I would have loved it more if I had been able to see it without knowing it was coming (as I did with Tiffany's cameo). It's a great nod to the fans who keep the series going, probably longer than it should be.
Andy hasn't been seen since Child's Play 3 and Alex Vincent wasn't a part of the series after Child's Play 2. Curse was sold as a stand-alone movie but the more it progresses the more you realize it's actually very important to the overall story. Andy's return and subsequent killing of Chucky are just icing on the cake. It's nice to see Andy has learned a lot over the years in how to deal with the psychotic plaything.
#4: Chucky's rebirth in Child's Play 2
Something you'll notice as this countdown continues is that, for my money, Child's Play 2 has more memorable moments than the other films in the series. One thing you can give them credit for is trying to make the film bigger than the original as they clearly had a higher budget. The opening is actually not as bombastic at first, but it gets there.
I love the opening credits as it shows Chucky being rebuilt from the remains that were found at the end of the first movie. You wouldn't think that he could come back from being burned to a crisp, losing his limbs and getting shot through the heart. But all he needs is a little lightning and a remade body and his soul can live on again. The fact that it was still the original doll at its core probably helps. Chucky then comes back in a big way by killing a man before he's even officially "alive". It's not often that the killer in a slasher causes damage without doing anything.
#3: The good guy factory in Child's Play 2
We continue in the same movie with the finale, which takes place in the Good Guy doll factory. It's just a coincidence that Chucky and Andy end up there, but it seems fitting that Chucky should finally get to finish his chant to remove his soul from a doll in a similar situation that he put his soul into the doll. When I first saw this movie and saw Chucky complete the chant on Andy, I thought we were about to have a completely different movie than we had originally. However in a great twist, Chucky has been in the doll for too long (remember, this was still the doll from the first film).
What follows is a chase in the factory for the rest of the movie, with Chucky now deciding if he's going to be a doll for the rest of his life, he's going to make Andy and Kyle pay. They go down the factory line, through the various machines that put the dolls together and Chucky keeps taking damage but he just keeps coming. This is what I meant when I said they did more with the higher budget they received. I'm not sure "epic" is something that can be used to describe anything with Chucky in it, but this was definitely the best finale of the entire series.
#2: "Hi, I'm Chucky...wanna play?" from Child's Play
For six movies, Chucky has been fun to watch. However, I don't think he's ever really been scary. The first film was the only time they could really pull that off, so they tried their best to keep the fact that Chucky was really alive hidden as long as possible to throw you off the trail. Once the cat is out of the bag, he's no longer scary to the audience. The longer you go without the reveal, the more you are able to keep the audience hooked and get them to buy it when he finally comes alive.
That's one of the reasons I wish I was able to see the first film without knowing about Chucky. I like being surprised in movies. The moment itself is great, as Andy's mother is clearly desperate and begins yelling at Chucky to come alive just so she has proof that Andy isn't crazy. As the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for. Chucky comes to life as only he can, letting out a string of curse words and trying everything he can to kill her.
#1: Chucky stalks in Child's Play 2
This is my favorite moment for one big reason. It's the absolute peak of what they are able to do with animatronics. Chucky is seen walking, stalking towards Andy's teacher and we see him moving closer and closer in a full body shot. His face begins to grin and he starts slapping that ruler against his hand and it's just amazing to see. It's not only an impressive special effect, but it's great to see all the work from the filmmakers pay off in what they wanted to achieve.
The one disappointing thing about the Child's Play box set on blu-ray is that the second and third films had no special features. We know how the animatronics are pulled off (from features elsewhere in the set) but not for this specific scene. You can get an idea of how it's used at certain times but there are moments when it looks like Chucky's not a special effect...he's alive. The magic of movie-making is why this is my favorite moment in the entire series.
Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)
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