Spoiler Warning: Article contains spoilers from the new film Cult of Chucky. If you have not yet seen the film, read on at your own risk!
Last week, the seventh installment in the Child’s Play/Chucky franchise was released on Blu-ray, DVD and video on demand platforms and if you were to ask us, it just might be the best Chucky film yet!
Cult of Chucky is not just your typical slasher/horror film. It’s a film which clearly displays the continued evolvement and growth of Chucky mastermind Don Mancini. Mancini expertly combines horror with humor and beautifully poetic cinematography shots with old-school gore making this film an enjoyable ride for any fan of the franchise.
The film picks up four years after that cliffhanger ending from The Curse of Chucky as the official synopsis for the film says, “Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica (Dourif) is wrongly convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new group-therapy tool — a “Good Guy” doll — a string of grisly deaths plague the asylum and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all. Andy (Vincent), Chucky’s now-grownup nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.”
We had the honor of kicking off New York Comic Con by catching up with creator/director Don Mancini and the cast of Cult of Chucky Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Fiona Dourif, Alex Vincent and Christine Elise to discuss the new film and to get their insight on what makes Chucky a continued success. Don Mancini describes the film best when he says:
“Part of what I wanted to do was f— with the audience. It’s a mind f— movie. I thought that for the seventh film, that would be a fun thing to do. To make even the audience question, once again after 30 years and seven movies, we’re actually legitimately questioning whether or not the doll is alive.”
This is effectively accomplished when the audience learns that it’s not just one doll but multiple Good Guy dolls which are running rampant within the mental institution. A mental institution – what a spectacular setting for a film which makes you question each characters’ sanity and if what you’re seeing on the screen is really happening or if it’s just a figment of the characters’ imaginations. Jennifer Tilly (who plays a version of herself as Tiffany) commented on the significance of this setting and why it was so vital to the audience’s perception by saying:
“I just love the idea of the mental institution. Who’s crazy, who’s not? The thing that’s insane is that their reality is actually crazier than anything that the people in the mental asylum could come up with, with their deranged minds. So it’s really sort of a brilliant idea by Don [Mancini].”
Mancini’s creative brilliance was echoed by the rest of the cast as well including by Fiona Dourif who stars as Nica in the film franchise. Dourif said:
“The films are thoughtful, you know? I feel like seven installments of a thirty-year franchise are often not thoughtful or not as thoughtful and, to the credit of Don Mancini, these movies are. I just saw it [Cult of Chucky] in a theater a week ago and I was jumping out of my seat. It’s just really fun!”
So, what exactly is it that makes a 30-year-old franchise still fresh and appealing to its audience? What keeps Chucky fans loyal and coming back for more? We asked Brad Dourif, long-time voice of Chucky himself and he thinks the franchise is a family affair. Dourif modestly said:
“I guess it’s been years since it’s dawned on me what a huge star Chucky is. It’s been a family affair, a great way to scare your siblings, you know when you were a little kid. Chucky has had this generational existence, and now it’s really taken on a life of its own apart from the movies. I think the person who should be really proud and happy is Don Mancini.”
Fiona Dourif echoed her father’s sentiments that Chucky has taken on a life of his own by adding:
“I feel like a thing about Chucky is he’s a fully formed personality and he is really really really fun, I mean he’s a serial killer with a ton of specific personality.”
Alex Vincent, who once again reprises his role as Andy Barclay thinks fans have become emotionally attached to the franchise and to the characters themselves. Vincent said:
“I think when you form an emotional attachment to the characters, especially at a younger age, and of course there are new fans that identify with the franchise all the time, but for the fans that have been here since the beginning of the franchise, they emotionally connected with those characters and as the years go by their connection to them stays strong. That, and just the inherent fear of the inanimate coming to life and killing you. Plus Chucky’s charm. I think all those things play a factor in why it’s had the longevity and why the fans are so dedicated to the franchise.”
Christine Elise, who plays Kyle featured in a super secret post credit scene only available on the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film, credits Mancini’s evolving storylines and the fans’ enthusiasm for the continued longevity of the franchise. Elise said:
“I think that also the fact that the story is evolving. Every film is very different. I think that that keeps people’s attention. And Don [Mancini] is smart. It seems like a doll is childish by definition but it’s not written childishly and that’s a mistake that people make when they underestimate horror viewers. Horror viewers are very savvy. They’re smart and I think that Don has not let them down.”
So, what’s ahead for the Chucky franchise? Without giving too much away, Cult of Chucky ends with the perfect set up for another installment or, if Mancini and the cast have any say in things, several installments still to come. It’s clear that this Chucky family wants to continue making these films as long as the fans want them. We asked Mancini if there was anything he could tell us about the next installment or the future of the franchise. He replied:
“I wanted to end the movie in a place that you legitimately just could not see coming and could not have anticipated. It seems like that worked so that’s cool. But, it takes all of the characters, as well as the franchise itself to a new place. Seven films in, you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to shake it up and stay fresh. So the future… Just you wait.”
We can’t wait, Don! We can’t wait to see where this franchise will go next and how Mancini and the Chucky cast will continue to evolve and surprise us with the next installment.
Cult of Chucky is “must see” for any horror fan and especially for Chucky film franchise fans. The film is currently out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital formats which include exclusive bonus features that delve deeper into Chucky’s twisted universe. Cult of Chucky is also available on streaming services such as Netflix however, the killer bonus extras are not available through this platform.