Perhaps it’s a grizzly observation, especially for a faith-based site, but someone’s gotta admit it:
Slasher films can be fun.
Sure, it’s satisfying–and almost justifiable–to see obnoxious, unruly teens meet their doom at the hands of some crazed killer. But to really enjoy slasher movies, you have to enjoy the slasher. And there’s perhaps no slasher more enjoyable than the star of the Child’s Play franchise, the diabiolical demonic doll, Chucky.
Every bit as funny as Freddy Krueger of Elm Street fame, Chucky brings an added tongue-in-cheek, nostalgic Saturday-morning-cartoon-advertisement vibe that makes every kill as ludicrous as it is horrific. And lest there be any doubt of the fans’ endearment with the pint-sized killer, consider this: the latest installment in the franchise, Cult of Chucky (film number 7, if you’re keeping track at home) just debuted on Netflix, Blu-ray and On-Demand video–twenty-nine years after the original Child’s Play tickled and terrrified moviegoers.
Cult is a love letter to those fans who’ve stayed true since day one. Written and directed by franchise creator Don Mancini, it builds upon cannon and reunites former characters and cast members including the sultry/scary bride of Chucky, Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly) and an all grown-up Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), the first poor little tortured soul to feel the wrath of the gruesome Good Guy doll.
Cult picks up where 2013’s Curse of Chucky left off. Atypical, paraplegic final girl Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif–daughter of Chucky voice talent Brad Douriff) is now locked away in a mental hospital, after Chucky framed her for the murders of her family (his handiwork, of course).
During a tense group thereapy session with fellow patients who doubt her innocence, Nica’s psychiatrist, Dr. Foley (Michael Therriault) utilizes a Good Guy doll named Chucky (of course) to encourage her to accept that she actually killed her family and transferrred her guilt onto the original Chucky. Dr. Foley insists that Chucky couldn’t have come to life and harmed anyone. Nica rejects the doll, but another patient, Madeleine (Elisabeth Rosen) adopts Chucky to take the place of her own child, whom she smothered.
Later, Nica is visited by Tiffany Valentine, who claimed that Nica’s niece, Alice has died. According to Tiffany, Alice left Nica her own personal Good Guy doll (of course) as a gift. That night, overcome with fear and frustration, Nica tries to kill herself by cutting her own wrists. She passes out from blood loss, but she wakes in the morning to find her wrists sutured. A hand-scrawled “not so fast” is written in the pool of blood left by her bed. It isn’t long before orderlies discover that another patient is dead, and this time, the message left in her blood reads, “Chucky did it.”
It isn’t long before the body count begins to add up when yet another Good Guy doll gets delivered to the hospital. Turns out ol’ Chuck has been boning up on his black magic and discovered how to split his consciousness between multiple hosts. And the more Nica tries to convince everyone else that the dastardly dolls are responsible, the less they seem to believe her (of course).
Nica’s plight calls to mind the struggles of the prophets who tried, time and again, to warn the Israelites of God’s judgment against their wrongdoing. From Moses to Malachi, the prophets all struggled to make the people believe their Holy message. Instead the Chosen scoffed, strayed and struggled, part human nature, part hubris. And much like the Chucky’s victims, they ended up dead or enslaved, either literally or figuratively.
Things haven’t changed much. Pastors and preachers declare the Word of the Lord to an unbelieving, unbudging population, watching and waiting for hearts of stone to be broken, clinging to the hope that one day, all hope will be restored. And all the while, we, the supposed people of God, keep seeing just how far we can push Him, just how far we can separate ourselves. That’s crazier than getting locked in an asylum with a killer doll.
But back to our picture.
If you’re a fan of the Child’s Play series, or if you just like some clever horror, check in to the Cult of Chucky. The kills are creative, the inside jokes are fun and the performances–especially Vincent’s and Ms. Douriff’s)–surpass most found in such a long-standing horror series. It won’t scare your overalls off, but it will provide some jumps and some laughs. And it will prep you for the inevitable sequel (of course).