With the upcoming release of 'Cult of Chucky (2017),' I decided to watch not only the newest film in the series but also the six other films in the franchise. I had previously only seen the first three films, but it was many many years ago. 'Cult of Chucky' arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD this Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017. You can find my brief thoughts and ranking of all seven of the films below.
'Child's Play (1988)' is one of those films that seems like such a stupid concept, but in all honesty, the concept works. This original entry into the horror franchise is a classic. It terrified me as a child and still creeps me out as an adult. Much of the films eerie factor stems from the calm and innocent demeanor of Andy Barclay, who is played by Alex Vincent. Considering the film was made in 1988, I am still very much impressed with the quality of the special effects around the Chucky doll. I give 'Child's Play' a 6 out of 10.
'Child's Play 2 (1990)' drops a bit of the innocent psychological eeriness from the first film in favor of a slightly more campy horror tone. It was this newly added campiness that started the downfall of the franchise. I did, however, enjoy how the filmmakers utilized the Good Guy doll factory and its machinery to provide a new level of horror to the film. I was also always a fan of the addition of Kyle (played by Christine Elise), Andy's foster sister. The Andy/Chucky dynamic was in need of a strong and consistent female presence, and I was sad she didn't return as a series regular in the later films. I give 'Child's Play 2' a 5 out of 10.
'Child's Play 3 (1991)' once again, continues with the downfall of the franchise. The campiness is back, and now it is mixed with horrible characters, bad overacting, and an awful military school setting. It is almost like the writers of this film said "hey, let's take 'Toy Soldiers (1991)' and add Chucky, it will be awesome." Unfortunately, the concept didn't work. The saving grace for this film is an amusing yet entertaining climatic ending which takes place at a fair. I give 'Child's Play 3' a 4 out of 10.
'Bride of Chucky (1998)' is where the franchise completely falls apart. It is bad, like really really really bad! I think the biggest issue I had with this film is that is was trying to be a horror movie, but the campiness overshadowed the horror, and the comedy just fell flat. I am going to give 'Bride of Chucky' a 2 out of 10 because there are only two good things about it. One, it has a pretty creative “Air Bag” kill and two, it is only 89 minutes long. Thank goodness!
I think I am in the minority here, but I liked 'Seed of Chucky (2004)' way more than 'Bride of Chucky.' With this film, the campiness was glaring and at times quite funny. You knew right away they were not taking themselves too seriously and were going for more of a spoof concept. Plus I had to add a couple of extra points for the doll boobies and the death of a certain 90's pop star! Haha! I give 'Seed of Chucky' a 5 out of 10.
‘Curse of Chucky (2013)’ was a surprisingly enjoyable little film. After the abomination that was ‘Bride of Chucky' and the extreme campiness that was 'Seed of Chucky' this entry was a welcomed and refreshing return to horror for the franchise. 'Curse of Chucky' was a straight to home video entry in the franchise and this was most noticeable when you could tell they cut away from some of the kill shots for what I am going to guess was budgetary reasons. But even with a few blatantly obvious budget decisions, I was quite impressed with the quality of the film. The acting, set design, and camera work was all very high quality, and the confined creepy house setting helped to consistently carry the tension from scene to scene. This film also features an excellent post-credit scene that I would recommend checking out. While my favorite in the franchise is still the first film, 'Curse of Chucky' is a very close second. I give 'Curse of Chucky' a 6 out of 10.
'Cult of Chucky (2017)' is the newest addition to the Child's Play franchise and is another straight to home video release. While this latest installment does brings back a couple of characters from some of the previous films, it mostly revolves around Fiona Dourif's Nica from the last film. Nica has been confined to a mental hospital as nobody believes Chucky was the killer in the last film and instead it was Nica who killed everyone and Chucky was just a fantasy in Nica's mind.
Most of this film takes place in a minimum security asylum, and while the confined setting from the previous film worked well, this new confined setting did not work as well. The setting is too plain and simple and ultimately just resulted in the movie feeling dull and slow. I feel like horror movies thrive best when there is a lot of commotion and craziness on the screen. 'Cult of Chucky' is also held back by it's terribly written characters. Many of the asylum patients are very over the top and unnecessarily complicated. Writers keep trying to augment slasher films with complex storylines and over the top characters but really what makes a slasher movie so great is its simplicity. Most slasher fans are easy to please, all they want are some creative kills and consistent scares and tension.
Probably the biggest issue I had with this film was the Chucky doll itself. They made some changes to the design of the Chucky doll, and I found these changes to be puppet-like and very distracting. Most of the time Chucky was on the screen, I didn't find myself scared, but instead distracted by the facial expressions and mechanics of the doll itself.
I am going to give 'Cult of Chucky' a 4 out of 10. While it did for the most part stick to a non-campy horror approach, I didn't find it that scary and the new special effects on the Chucky doll were distracting and puppet-like. I do still have high hopes that the franchise can fully redeem itself, but it needs to return to it simplistic slasher roots like 'Curse of Chucky' did and stop trying to make Tiffany character work.