Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bride of Chucky (1998)

Bride of Chucky (Canada/USA, 1998) - Color, Director(s): Ronny Yu
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 89 min.

Z-rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Cheese Factor: 4 out of 5 stars

Alright, I know I'm cheating a little bit here because I've reviewed this movie before, but I thought the review needed an update much like this franchise did at this point. This is easily my favorite entry in the franchise. Chucky gets a freaky new look, a beautiful new bride, and this movie is just a ton of FUN! Ronny Yu, who goes on to direct Freddy vs. Jason which is another favorite of mine, shows that he's got the talent and the right sense of humor to update these beloved horror franchises. Right from the start, we get some production credits in a font that looks like it came straight off the cover of a horror magazine. Not a big deal but that small touch sets the tone for rest of the film. We're immediately treated to references to other famous horror franchises such as Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Every time I bring up this movie, someone always mentions these references as though anyone could possibly have missed them. The only way it could've been less subtle is if there was a picture of the killer next to each item in the evidence locker with the title of their respective franchises labeled for the audience. Still, a fun nod to all the other slashers and shows this movie doesn't take itself too seriously.

"Is that the guy from Zombies Ate My Neighbors? Or is that Rick Taylor from Splatterhouse?
Hey look! Driller Killer is there too!

Less than 4 minutes into the movie and we get our first kill, I love when they jump straight into the action! Rob Zombie's "Living Dead Girl" blasts over the actors' credits, and title sequence, as we see Tiffany (played by the lovely Jennifer Tilly) sews the pieces of Chucky back together Frankenstein-style in the background. What is it about heavy metal and horror movies that goes so well together? (Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Heavy Metal Movies if you really want to find out, Mike "McBeardo" McPadden knows what he's talking about!)

The movie focuses on two different couples, Jade (Katherine Heigl) and Jesse (Nick Stabile) are two young lovebirds longing to be together despite the objections of Jade's Uncle (John Ritter). Tiffany conducts a ritual to bring Chucky back to life with the belief that he wanted to get married before he was shot. After being revived, Chucky reveals that he had no intention of marrying her, which sparks a lover's quarrel that eventually leads to Chucky killing Tiffany in the tub and transferring her soul into a bridal doll. The dysfunctional couple needs The Heart of Damballa, a magic amulet that Charles Lee Ray was apparently wearing the night he was gunned down by the police, in order to transfer their souls into human bodies. Funny, I don't remember him wearing it in the first movie, and why didn't he ever need this amulet before? Whatever the case, they have to get to his grave and exhume his corpse along with this MacGuffin amulet, so they hire Jesse to drive both dolls to New Jersey. Jesse sees this as an opportunity to elope with Jade and now both couples are on a road trip together. But when people start turning up dead, Jade and Jesse begin to suspect one another for a serial killer.

Nudity: This franchise has never really been known for its nudity but Chucky and Tiffany do get it on as dolls after a particularly disturbing proposal. What follows has to be the funniest doll sex scene until the one in Team America: World Police a few years later.

That's Tiffany's doll ass, you perv!

Gore: This franchise now has both feet planted firmly in the slasher genre. From the cop getting his throat slit with a nail file to the couple torn to shreds by a shower of glass in their waterbed, the kills are bigger and bloodier than they've ever been in this series. In a final nod to another horror franchise, Chucky makes a comment that the sight of John Ritter's face impaled by a dozen nails "looks familiar." This is a reference to Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies and is more subtle than the ones from the beginning of the film.

Awesome: Very! The movie is very self-aware and even pokes fun at the franchise itself. When Chucky first pulls out a knife, Tiffany comments that stabbings went out with Bundy and Dahmer and implies that he needs to keep up with current trends. The acting is terrific (probably because there aren't any kids in it this time) and the dialogue is smart and funny. The animatronics for Chucky and Tiffany look better than anything we've seen from this franchise before. The shovel fight in the graveyard must be seen to be believed, no words can describe how ridiculously awesome it is. Finally, the ending sets up the sequel with the demon spawn of Chucky bursting out from under Tiffany's dress. All-in-all, this movie is loads of fun and effectively updates the franchise and its characters. Definitely recommended for fans of the previous films, but also for anyone who's looking for a few good laughs.