MSRP: $29.98 RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 88 Minutes
• Two feature-length commentaries
• Pop-up trivia
• Deleted scene w/ commentary
• Bonus featurettes

Seed of Chucky marks the first time founding
writer of the franchise Don Mancini has taking up the directorial reins. It’s
not a bad fit; Mancini created the character of Chucky and oversaw the series
through all four of its previous installments, so he is familiar with the
(admittedly scant) mythology and makes a solid debut as a director. The movie
is less solid, shot through with ineffective humor, but at least it is
consistent in its goals and accomplishes them.

The Flick

The bar
wasn’t set very high. The first three Child’s Play movies ostensibly fell
into the horror genre, the slasher subgenre. They were trying to be creepy,
playing off our irrational fear of small things that look like humans. (I can
identify with this fear; babies terrify me.) Then there was a lull in the evil
doll world until 1998’s Bride of Chucky, which had stronger
elements of humor than its predecessors. Now, with Seed of Chucky, the humor
is about all that’s left.

The story
picks up some short time after Bride of Chucky ended. The child
that Chucky and Tiffany birthed has ended up working as a ventriloquist’s
dummy. The orphan, Glen, knows only one thing about himself: that he was made
Japan, thanks to the apparently
hereditary birthmark on his wrist that says as much. Glen wants nothing more
than to find his parents, discover himself, maybe become a samurai in proper
Japanese fashion.

back in Hollywood, the inert Chucky and Tiffany dolls (having been put to sleep
in the previous episode) are being used as props by a studio during filming of a
fictitious Chucky sequel. Glen catches an interview with the dolls, operated by
puppeteers, in a promotional interview on the television, and spies the
"made in
Japan" mark on Chucky’s own wrist.
In a flash, he’s off to
Hollywood to reconnect with his mother and

Psychs? What kind of name is Psychs?

This new
doll character, voiced by Billy Boyd, is one of the brighter parts of the
movie. Boyd plays him earnest, frightened, and gender-confused. Glen is not at
all a chip off the old block, and some of his interactions with Chucky are
funny in an exaggerated way. You see, in addition to being meek and mild, Glen
is also a pacifist and abhors violence.

He finds
his parents in a studio storage room, along with the amulet bearing the
incantation that awakens their spirits. Unaware of the ramifications, and
desperate to know his family, Glen repeats the magic words, and Chucky and
Tiffany are brought back to life.

Most of
the humor comes directly from this bizarre family dynamic. Glen’s gender
confusion (which stems from the fact that his body was built without genitalia)
brings out the maternal instincts in Tiffany, softening her disposition. She
thinks that Glen is a girl, and names him Glenda. Chucky, on the other hand, sticks
with Glen and tries to goad him into enjoying a little father/son homicidal
rampage. Tiffany thinks that she and Chucky need to start behaving responsibly,
and perhaps curb their killing ways for the benefit of their darling child.

not above a little borrowing of human bodies, though, in order to get their
souls out of the dolls they’re trapped in. They decide to accost Jennifer Tilly
(playing herself, and who also does the voice of Tiffany) and artificially
inseminate her so that Glen will have a child’s body to transpose his soul
into. Babies born from voodoo semen only take a couple of days to gestate, so
the happy family doesn’t have to wait long. They spend the intervening time
murdering people, in Chucky’s case because he wants to expose Glen to the
family tradition, and in Tiffany’s case because quitting murder cold turkey
just didn’t agree with her.

The bane of angels and Smurfs alike.

The body
count is surprisingly low, and the kill scenes are brief and perfunctory
(except for Tiffany’s offing of Redman, which is a delightful scene for gore
lovers). The humor is the real focus in this outing and, for the most part, it
falls flat. You wouldn’t expect to find sophisticated jokes in a Chucky movie,
but I was a little disappointed that they didn’t even try for anything higher
than the blood-drenched equivalent of dick and fart jokes. If you’re into that
kind of humor (my hand is raised), you still may be frustrated with the lack of
funny in Seed of Chucky, since the jokes are repeated ad nauseum. There are only three or four
solid gags (Tiffany’s rehabilitation, for one) and they get cloned and
regurgitated throughout the running time, so that by the last time you hear them,
they’re downright boring.

horror elements are, as mentioned above, less prevalent here than in previous
offerings. The kills are played more for humor than for terror, and most are
choreographed like slapstick routines. There’s not much to impress fans of the
franchise who were hoping to a return to the creepy Chucky of yore; here, the
little bastard’s just foul-mouthed and flippant, and his kills are over too
quickly to make room for more of the humor.

There is
a short list of unqualified redeeming factors. John Waters appears as a member
of the paparazzi, and he’s as pervy and slimy as ever; in other words, a real
delight to watch, especially in his introductory appearance. Jennifer Tilly as
herself makes for some great moments of self-parody, which Tilly pulls off with
just the right mix of good spirits and honesty. The interplay between Tilly and
Tiffany is pretty funny, as they both compliment each other on having such
beautiful, angelic voices. I already mentioned Billy Boyd as Glen being
wonderful, so I’ll just reiterate that, with the minor caveat that in the third act, when Glen has a bit of a personality
divide, the character becomes largely uninteresting. Brad Dourif once again
does the voice of Chucky and, though he’s not given any of the funniest lines,
he’s still as wretchedly unrepentant as ever.

deliberately set out to make a funny Chucky movie and he’s wise enough, both
with scripting and direction, not to give his baby a conflicted aim. If you
want slasher gore, I’d suggest looking somewhere else, but if you’re in the
mood for a red-tinted diversion, there are worse places you could look.

5.4 out of 10

Somebody’s not being conservative with their use of acid.

The Look

In the
supplemental material, it is noted that cinematographer Vernon Layton was
directly influenced by the look of Dario Argento’s films, particularly Suspiria.
It’s easy to see how that influence made it into the final film. The color
palettes for the death scenes are all quite vivid, with varied schemes and
garish blood. Chucky’s outfit is rendered in childlike primaries that stand out
well against the more muted night scenes. In short, the world is a carousel of

There are
visual homages to a number of classic horror movies throughout; it’s kind of
fun to spot them, but only in the same way it’s fun to do a scavenger hunt for
a church group: there’s no reward for it. The aping of Psycho was the only one
that was even moderately distracting, though; the others aren’t too obtrusive.

transfer is a clean, anamorphic 1.85:1 that looked equally great on the three
different sets I tried it out on. This is a professional-looking disc, which is
great for those of you who like or respect Jennifer Tilly’s talents, because she isn’t in
a single shot without her cleavage fully displayed.

8.3 out of 10

He’s composing another masterpiece.

The Noise

soundtrack is close to the quality of the visuals, with good use of directional
sound throughout. The dialogue is high in the mix and clear; my one complaint
is that Jennifer Tilly’s rather unique, and soft, voice seems to have been
amplified to achieve the same volume as Chucky’s and Glen’s. For the most part
the background noise that results from such amplification has been scrubbed
out, but I did notice a few rough spots, all of which occurred during portions
where she was supplying the voice for Tiffany.

not much to say about the music. The composer, Pino Donaggio, has done a few
higher-profile movies in his time, such as The Fan and Blow Out. His score here,
though, seems a by-the-numbers approach. The visual homages mentioned above are
supported by references within the music to the film being honored (a bit of Psycho
strings here and there, for example).

It’s all
serviceable, but not spectacular.

7.5 out of 10

The Goodies

This disc
is plenty packed, though the actual information is buried alongside gags that
get as repetitive and boring as those within the feature.

There are
four different ways to view the feature: plain, with pop-up trivia, and with
two separate full-length commentaries. The first commentary features Don
Mancini and puppet master Tony Gardner, and is the more technical of the two.
The second commentary features Mancini alongside Jennifer Tilly, and is more
anecdotal. Both are fun, and Mancini proves himself a well-spoken, and
unpretentious, sort of guy. The pop-up trivia mode of viewing displays little
white boxes with contextual information during the film, letting you know that
so-and-so also acted in such-and-such, and that sort of thing. It’s a bit
unnecessary, since much of the information is also included in the

You pity the poor victim, right up until you learn she was in S-Club 7.

there are a few spoof featurettes. "Family Hell-iday Slide Show" has
Tiffany displaying slides of their family vacation while Chucky kibitzes. It’s
filler. There’s also "Heeeeere’s Chucky", a mock interview that shows
Chucky testing for roles in Scarface and American Pie. Also,
surprisingly, filler. There’s a mini-documentary, "Conceiving the Seed
of Chucky
" which wobbles back-and-forth between being a spoof and
actually giving behind-the-scenes information. There is also a mock interview
with Tiffany and Chucky as they discuss what it’s like to be a hot Hollywood
couple. These featurettes are for people who are in love with Chucky and/or
really enjoy watching puppets move. Me, I just like to hear those velvet,
Dourif tones.

also a funny sketch with Jennifer Tilly on The Tonight Show, wherein the actress
travels to Romania for the film shoot. And, finally, selections from Tilly’s
diary regarding the progress of development, starting way back in 1999. Tilly
has a fairly good insight into what works about these recent entries in the
franchise, and it’s fun to read her thoughts, though, like pop-up trivia, most
f the ideas are already communicated in her commentary.

There’s quite
a lot of features to wade through, but most of them are diverting rather than

7.6 out of 10

The Artwork

would have looked balanced if it weren’t for the title. Chucky’s and Tiffany’s
proud heads occupy the top third, weighted to the left, while a toy chest from
which a baby’s arm protrudes take up the bottom third, weighted to the right.
The title and tagline float centered between Chucky’s and Tiffany’s chins,
rather than in the center of the canvas. That just bugs me like an earwig in my

it’s a bit misleading to have a baby’s hand extending from the toy chest.
Glen’s first appearance in the movie (ignoring the sub-par CG version during
the amateurish opening credits) is as a fully grown boy. Er, girl. Whatever.

5.4 out of 10

Overall 6.5 out of 10