Filmhounds Magazine

All things film – In print and online

Living with Chucky (Film Review)

2 min read

Dolls are inherently creepy things, it probably plays into the uncanny valley thing. They're almost human but not quite. Anyone who has seen some of the baby dolls on sale will know they are terrifying. It's no surprise then that a franchise about a killer doll would capture the imagination – and fear – of millions of people.

Director , daughter of special make up effects designer Tony Gardner, charts people's involvement in the still going strong franchise. Her father being the man behind designer for the past three films, and the TV series. 

For the most part, Gardner has some great people talking – Brad and , Christine Elise, , Billy Boyd and Alex Vincent all talk about being in the films, while series creator Don Mancini gives interesting insights alongside franchise producer David Kirschner. She dutifully goes through each film, examining aspects of the film – especially Seed of Chucky. Seed being the first film her father worked on creating Chucky and the one where the series LGBT+ themes came to the fore in the form of transgender Chucky / Tiffany child Glen / Glenda. Billy Boyd and John Waters excel at talking about the importance of horror on the LGBT community and Chucky's place within that.

The big issue with the film is that it's far too brief. Unlike a film like Pennywise: The Story of It that focusses on one two-part TV film, there's simply too many films and too much to unpack to simply do it in an hour and a half. What the film needed was a Daniel Farrands-style epic runtime. Like Never Sleep Again or Crystal Lake Memories, the film would have benefitted from spending a good half and hour on each Chucky film, going through every aspect of the film.

It's also strange the lack of directors interviewed. Despite Don Mancini directing Seed, Cult and Curse, there's nothing from original director Tom Holland (not that Tom Holland) or Bride's Ronny Yu. It's also curious that the film purports to be about people related to the series but has no real input from original Chucky creator Kevin Yaeger. 

As a brisk run-through the franchise, this will appeal to the die-hards of the series, and it's especially nice that Fiona and her father Brad are interviewed together so they can give insight into the dynamic of their relation to the series, but there's nothing particularly deep about what is being said.

Chucky as a franchise and character is interesting, a character that has gone through horror to comedy to horror again, a firm standing in the LGBT+ community, meta-films and even real life controversies. There's also no mention of the remake film which sours the idea that this is to go through the entire series.

For die hards, this will be a fun trip down memory lane, but it's not yet the definitive doc on the killer toy.