Running Time: 84 minutes.
Tag-line: "Look out Jack! Chucky's back!"
Notable Cast or Crew: Brad Dourif (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, DEADWOOD, BLUE VELVET), Jenny Agutter (WALKABOUT, LOGAN'S RUN, EQUUS), Gerrit Graham (PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, USED CARS), Grace Zabriskie (TWIN PEAKS, WILD AT HEART, DROP ZONE), CHRISTINE ELISE (ER, BEVERLY HILLS 90210), Alex Vincent (CHILD'S PLAY, CURSE OF CHUCKY), Beth Grant (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, SAFE, THE WIZARD). Written by Don Mancini (writer of all 7 CHUCKY movies). Music by Graeme Ravell (FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, BOXING HELENA, PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING).
Best One-liner: "Okay, sport. We're gonna have a little game of 'Chucky Says.' Chucky says move your ass!"
As I said in my review of CHILD'S PLAY 1: Maybe you have an affinity for killer dolls. Maybe you're a die-hard Dourif fan. Maybe you're a devotee of Chucky's complex, Miltonian love affair with the word "bitch," a relationship that is only rivaled by Fred Krueger's. Hell, maybe you thought you were seeing the film adaptation of Robert Marasco's Tony-winning CHILD'S PLAY.
Nevertheless, you're here––so prepare yourself for a journey in murderous My Buddies, Voodoo enthusiasts, and the foster care system––it's a list of my eight favorite things about CHILD'S PLAY 2!
#1. The opening sequence. With shrieking strings from composer Graeme Ravell (who later in the same year scored PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING) and vivid, VERTIGO-spiraling imagery, it feels like the opening credits to an Alfred Hitchcock... 80s slasher!
I also must give a shout-out to how much the "burned Chucky" from the finale of Part 1
resembles a Lucio Fulci zombie.
#2. For a brief moment, CHILD'S PLAY 2 turns into a walk n' talk, "corridors of power" drama set at a Good Guy factory, in the vein of Aaron Sorkin.
Sure, it only lasts about two minutes, but it's a nice change of pace, and you appreciate that the film is not simply content to ape the first installment.
#3. Franken-Chucky. As in the first film, we have an "it's alive!" moment, and it does not disappoint.
In this instance, "does not disappoint" translates to there being plenty of 80s lightning on hand. I approve.
#4. Brad Dourif. Unlike in the first film, the Dourif we have here is entirely voiceover. We can live with this, because Dourif is brilliant, no matter the context.
He has portrayed Chucky in seven feature films, an episode of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, a horror movie awards show from 1990, and a surreal big-time wrestling crossover that defies human comprehension.
Every time, no matter the venue, the Oscar-nominated Dourif gives it his all. He has perfected the evil cackle, the gleeful screeches, the poetic utterances of "bitch" and "don't fuck with the Chuck."
Chucky has altered his persona somewhat; it seems he's no longer simply a serial killer trapped in a doll's body, he is an anarchic force of uninhibited childish rage, whether seeking revenge on a Kindergarten teacher he's never met (for no conceivable reason),
and burying him in the backyard with an exuberance that borders on profound ecstasy.
There's a reason the man has worked four times with Werner Herzog!
#5. Grace Zabriskie! One of my all-time favorite character actresses (TWIN PEAKS, BODY ROCK, WILD AT HEART, MY SON MY SON WHAT HAVE YE DONE), Ms. Zabriskie plays a social worker, and therefore has a number of opportunities to exude loving pathos––as well as mind-numbing fear at the sight of an animate, killer doll.
#6. Continuity. In rare form for a horror sequel, they actually bring back the same child actor (Alex Vincent) to play "Andy," Chucky's nemesis.
Most of this continuity arises from the fact that original writer Don Mancini penned the screenplays to all six (and counting) CHILD'S PLAY films. That's unheard of in a horror franchise, and I can't think of any other series (beyond, say, Coscarelli's PHANTASMs) that is guided by the same voice throughout.
#7. Jenny Agutter and Gerrit Graham.
As Andy's new foster parents, these two are (unnecessarily?) top notch. Jenny Agutter (WALKABOUT, EQUUS) brings a lot of poignancy to the role, and Gerrit Graham ("Beef" from PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE) brings some reserved silliness.
#8. The wonderfully insane final setpiece, which takes place in a candy-colored Good Guy doll factory. It feels like a gaudy, German Expressionist nightmare brought to life by Joe Dante in his prime:
One section of it feels like THE SHINING, as our heroes flee through a "hedge" maze made of Good Guy boxes,
and another section feels like THE TERMINATOR, with a maimed but persistent Chucky limping along, and he just won't die, he just won't die, and WHY WON'T HE DIEEEE!
Well done! Four stars.
2015 HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN