Determined not to be outscreamed by the competition, the once-dominant house of horrors at Universal is back in business with killer doll Chucky, a king-size cult franchise dating back to 1988's "Child's Play".
Starring the sizzlingly vampish Jennifer Tilly
and directed by Hong Kong veteran Ronny Yu
("Warriors of Virtue"), "Bride of Chucky" is bloody good fun, when one isn't repulsed by its brutality. Needless to say, standards have changed tremendously since the studio created the "Bride of Frankenstein".
In fact, James Whales' 1935 classic is directly referenced in the story of a possessed, homicidal doll brought back to life after barely surviving three previous films. In this post-"Scream" era of savvy teen chillers, "Bride of Chucky" is irreverent toward itself, with the characters aware of Chucky's previous exploits.
Opening with the throat-cutting of an unlucky pawn by very bad girl Tiffany (Tilly), "Bride of Chucky" is graphic and shocking, darkly humorous and kinkily sexual. From man-slayer Tiffany's habit of wearing lingerie as she performs demonic rituals to the preposterously funny lovemaking of Chucky and his new doll-bride later on, the scenario sticks with the twisted romance of two monsters who are most compatible when causing mayhem and suffering.
Tiffany, who was Chucky's girlfriend before he died and his evil spirit moved to a doll, pieces together the little demon rescued from a police warehouse. Tattooed, pierced weirdo Damien (Alexis Arquette
) shows up in her trailer at the wrong time, and Tiffany makes the awakened-after-years Chucky (voice by Brad Dourif
But after the little fiend has his fun, unamused Tiffany locks him up. Wanting Chucky to suffer because she has truly loved him all these years and he laughed at the idea of marriage, Tiffany has a vicious sense of humor and gets him a cutesy girl doll.
It's Tiffany's turn next as Chucky escapes and she dies horribly when a TV monitor showing "Bride of Frankenstein" is dropped into the tub while she's bathing. Tilly in the flesh goes out with a memorable scream and is reborn as the voice of Tiffany the doll. Of course, it's not a marriage made in heaven, with Tiffany retaining a soft spot for true romance and Chucky treating her badly.
The regular humans of the story are not nearly as entertaining, with attractive duo Katherine Heigl
and Nick Stabile playing young lovers who end up with the dolls on a wild ride to Niagara Falls and New Jersey. Also making the trip is the local police chief (John Ritter
), albeit as a corpse with about 20 nails in his head. Meanwhile, trying to help out his fugitive friends, who are being blamed for Chucky and Tiffany's trail of corpses, David Gordon Michael Woolvett
) is pulverized into spaghetti and meatballs by a big-rig truck.
BRIDE OF CHUCKY
A David Kirschner production
Director: Ronny Yu
Screenwriter: Don Mancini
Producers: David Kirschner, Grace Gilroy
Executive producers: Don Mancini, Corey Sienega
Director of photography: Peter Pau
Production designer: Alicia Keywan
Editors: David Wu, Randolph K. Bricker
Puppet effects: Kevin Yagher
Music: Graeme Revell
Costume designer: Lynne MacKay
Casting: Joanna Colbert
, Ross Clydesdale
Tiffany: Jennifer Tilly
Chucky: Brad Dourif
Jade: Katherine Heigl
Jesse: Nick Stabile
Damien: Alexis Arquette
David: Gordon Michael
Warren: John Ritter
Running time -- 89 minutes
MPAA rating: R