Of all the various slasher icons to star in their own long-running franchises, few were probably less likely than Chucky (voiced by the legendary Brad Dourif), possessed doll host to the soul of dead serial killer Charles Lee Ray.
After all, Chucky is a doll, and thus not very physically imposing. Yet, as easy as it would seem for a grown adult to kick Chucky’s ass, the diminutive death dealer always manages to survive to slay more victims, while taking a few more lives along the way.
The Chucky – or Child’s Play – series has certainly had its ups and downs in quality over the years, although each entry has its fans, even the insanity that is Seed of Chucky. Still, I don’t think anyone really expected the series’ first DTV entry Curse of Chucky to be as downright awesome as it was.
Curse in many ways took things back to basics, trying its best to make Chucky more of a brutal force of evil again, and less of a wisecracking comedian. Earning raves from fans, the film proved successful enough to inspire Universal to greenlight another sequel, entitled Cult of Chucky.
Set four years after Curse, Cult once again centers on Nica (Fiona Dourif), who was sent to an asylum after being framed for the murder of her family by Chucky. Nica has been convinced that she in fact killed them and that Chucky was a hallucination, that is until a familiar doll arrives at the snow-covered facility.
During a recent interview with the CBC writer/director – and Chucky creator – Don Mancini offered the following comments on how Cult is coming together:
“I wrote it with snow in mind. We shot all night outside for one sequence, and we got snowed out with a blizzard. We had to shut down for safety reasons. Our zoom lens also froze. But the snow was great — that really paid off. It gave the film a Shining-like feel.”
“In Cult of Chucky, we’re doing a mental institution movie. There will be dream sequences and lots of surrealism. This will be Chucky on drugs. To me, I don’t know why people would take the approach of doing the same things with a sequel. Sequels offer the opportunity to subvert expectations. All good storytelling is about good surprises. Sequels, by their very nature, bring baggage — how can I subvert them in a fun way?”
Hmmm, dream sequences? Surrealism? Could Cult of Chucky end up giving fans a bit of a “Chuckmare on Elm Street” vibe? That’s definitely one path the series hasn’t taken before, and could prove to set apart Cult from its predecessors.
Joining Dourif on this crazy ride are Chucky’s old nemesis Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), and Chucky’s wife Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly). In an amusing bit of continuity between wildly different films, Tiffany remains inside the body of actress Jennifer Tilly, who Tiffany possessed in the fourth wall-breaking Seed.
Chucky is one of the only major horror franchises to retain the same continuity between all installments, with no remakes or alternate timelines being introduced to muddy up things. Here’s hoping Cult proves as good as Curse, and Mancini gets to bring Chucky back again for an 8th go-around.