Twenty-five years later and it may come as a complete surprise to see the Child’s Play series still going strong. A fan from the start, I’ve always had a soft spot for little Chucky (played and voiced by Brad Dourif in every installment) and his murderous antics. While the sequels may have gotten sillier with each entry (culminating in self-referential status by the time Seed of Chucky rolled around) creator Don Mancini is taking Chucky back to his roots, with Curse of Chucky, the darkest entry in the series since the original on October 8, along with Chucky: The Complete Collection, bundling all six films (four for the first time) on Blu-ray.
Curse begins with the arrival of a mysterious package to the isolated home of paraplegic Nica (Fiona Dourif) and her mother, Sarah (Chantal Quesnelle). Inside the box is, of course, Chucky. Creeped out by the doll, Sarah dumps poor little Chucky into the garbage. Later that night, Nica is awoken by her mother’s scream and finds her dead in the foyer. Now, her sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) comes calling to get their mother’s affairs in order and try to talk Nica into selling the house. Along for the trip is Barb’s husband Ian (Brennan Elliott), their daughter Alice (Summer H. Howell), her caretaker Jill (Maitland McConnell); and Father Frank (A Martinez). It’s not long before Chucky starts talking to Alice, and everyone starts dropping like flies.
Curse of Chucky comes in an absolute perfect, digitally filmed 1080p presentation. If you can find anything wrong with the transfer, you’re one up on me. There’s no aliasing, banding, color bleed, crush, not even noise to be found. Most shots deliver the requisite 3D pop Blu-ray owners want from their displays, even if it’s not exactly the kind of movie you’d pop in to show off your setup. Colors are nice and vibrant with razor sharp detail lending every crack and peel of the sets the gothic appearance necessary for this kind of production. It also helps make the practical effects, and animatronics, look even more lifelike, adding an extra layer to the “ew” factor. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track keeps things eerie as well. Dialogue is always clean, with a rainstorm keeping things active on the LFE front.
The special features are chock-full and leave no stone unturned. First is an audio commentary featuring Mancini, Fiona Dourif, and puppeteer Tony Gardner. Dourif and Gardner had not seen the final cut until this recording, but the trio keep things lively offering up all kinds of anecdotes, with even Gardner admitting that the Chucky dolls were the bane of the production. A rather lengthy “Storyboard Comparisons” runs 25-minutes and is introduced by Mancini, covering four scenes: “Electrocution,” “The Attic,” “Ian’s Death,” and “Nica vs. Chucky.”
A quick 87-second “Gag Reel” consists mostly of a surprise character flubbing lines and dropping a prop. Six minutes of “Deleted Scenes” include wisely excised material. “Playing with Dolls: The Making of Curse of Chucky” offers traditional behind the scenes interviews with cast and crew, but also delve into the special effects and stunt work, running 15 minutes. “Living Doll: Bringing Chucky to Life” is an 8-minute featurette showing the different stages of the Chucky doll, with the 7-minute “Voodoo Doll: The Chucky Legacy” showing cast and crew talking about the series’ longevity and their favorite kills throughout the franchise.
Curse may be the first direct-to-video release for Chucky, but it has even higher production values than Seed, the last theatrical release. The cast is clearly having a ball starring in the latest edition of the surprisingly still spry Chucky series, Brad Dourif in particular seems to still relish his pint-sized role. But Mancini must be given props for making it to a sixth installment, and some surprises in the final scenes clear the path for some new routes he can take, especially a bonus scenes after the end credits. It’s a nice touch to the fans, and all I’ll say is it’s something we’ve been waiting for since Child’s Play 2. I’m glad to see Universal continuing to bring us the further adventures of Chucky, even if straight-to-video; Curse of Chucky looks to be the beginning of a whole new era to the franchise, and I can’t wait to see where Mancini heads next.
Cover art and photos courtesy Universal Pictures