Monday October 19, 1998
As we're oft being told, there's simply not enough respect for our national institutions and after 10 years of cutting, ripping and tearing his way to the top, Chucky--the Doll of Death, the Toy of Terror, the Plaything of Pure Evil--deserves some respect. It's not easy keeping a franchise like this alive for 10 years.
"Bride of Chucky" stars Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany, the doll who's the ex-girlfriend--and, subsequently, the fellow FAO Schwarz refugee--of slain serial killer Charles Lee Ray, whose soul has inhabited the Chucky doll since 1988's "Child's Play" (followed by "CP 2" and "3"). If, like me, your favorite scene in Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway" was when Jennifer Tilly finally got blown away by Chazz Palminteri, then the mayhem in "Bride of Chucky" will probably make you feel warm all over.
Chucky (voice of the not-so-oft-seen Brad Dourif, who's also playing in "Urban Legend"), has become a camp classic and, fortunately, the makers of "Bride of Chucky" know it.
Onetime Hong Kong action director Ronny Yu milks the utter inanity of Chucky's existence for all it's worth and knows the conventions of the genre well enough that horror fans should feel total gratification--in the levels of both mayhem and grotesque humor. Any real terror, outside of the standard false-alarm quick cuts, is minimal. But even if Yu hasn't quite done a "Scream"-style deconstruction of the form, you know that he knows that this stuff is a hoot.
The Chucky-Tiffany romance has a rocky start, although Tiff's heart has always been with Chucky. A goth named Damien (Alexis Arquette) is hanging around and getting nowhere, except of course dead. "You know me," Tiffany tells Damien. "I'll kill anybody, but I'll only sleep with someone I love."
Enter the Chuckster, who wants to go to Hackensack, N.J., and retrieve the magic amulet that will allow him to possess another human body. Jersey, as usual, is treated as a joke and it's interesting that while Todd Solondz has incurred the wrath of the Garden State for setting "Happiness" there, no one's said a word about Chucky. Which says something.
Bride of Chucky, 1998. R for strong horror violence and gore, language, some sexual content and brief drug use. Universal Pictures presents a David Kirschner production, a Ronny Yu film. Directed by Ronny Yu. Written by Don Mancini. Producers, David Kirschner, Grace Gilroy. Executive producers, Don Mancini, Corey Sienga. Director of photography, Peter Pau. Production designer, Alicia Keywan. Editors, David Wu, Randolph K. Bricker. Effects created by Kevin Yagher. Music by Graeme Revell. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. Alexis Arquette as Damien. Brad Dourif as Chucky. Katherine Heigl as Jade. John Ritter as Warren. Nick Stabile as Jesse. Jennifer Tilly as Meg/Tiffany (voice).