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'Seed of Chucky' (2004)

Cynthia Fuchs

Seed of Chucky obscures its reconsideration of how slasher victims and monsters are gendered.

Seed of Chucky

Director: Don Mancini
Cast: Jennifer Tilly, Redman, (voices of): Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Billy Boyd
MPAA rating: R
Studio: Rogue Pictures
First date: 2004
US Release Date: 2004-11-12

What do killer dolls use to masturbate? According to the strangely campy but not so witty Seed of Chucky, the text of choice is Fangoria magazine. This point discovered as the fifth-time-returned Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) endeavors to produce "seed" with which to create a (second) child. In these censor-happy times, such an image in itself is probably enough to raise a ruckus (if everyone weren't so distracted by Terrell Owens' arms around a white woman), but the kicker to this scene is, in fact, its designated voyeur. As Chucky's shock-headed silhouette pumps and twitches in the bathroom window, in the bushes below, camera at the ready, stands paparazzo Pete Peters (John Waters). He can't believe his tabloidy good fortune: "A masturbating midget!"

Crazed and depraved, this scene stands out in Seed of Chucky, which too much of the time pokes along, laying out singularly uninteresting plot details as if anyone might care. It hardly matters that Hollywood star Jennifer Tilly (here playing herself as well as voicing Chucky's bride, Tiffany) is concerned that her career's in the toilet, or that she endeavors to seduce neophyte director Redman (also playing himself, but without a puppet to call his own) by describing her sex scenes with Gina Gershon (that is, from Tilly's heyday, in Bound). It's mildly amusing that Redman's "vision" has to do with a Christ movie, and that Tilly wants to play the Virgin Mary. But it matters not at all that Tilly's assistant (Hannah Spearritt) picks up after her or that her limo driver/sometime-sex-only-partner (Steve Lawton) is actually in love with her: their brief appearances only make them obvious dead meat, after all.

All these distractions fill up time in between Chucky and Tiffany trying to deal with their new family obligations. It turns out the child she bore became an "orphan" in the UK, abused by a bushy-headed ventriloquist, alone and bereft until it sees a promotion for dad's new movie, Chucky Goes Pyscho. Oh my god. Noting the matching "Made in Japan" tats on their wrists, the child doll, named Shitface by the ventriloquist and voiced by Billy Boyd, suddenly and at long last feels that it "belongs." Its eyes go wide, whereupon it promptly escapes the bad ventriloquist and mails itself to Hollywood, in search of its parents and heritage.

Once in La-La Land, poor Shitface must reveal to his alternately overjoyed and skeptical parental units that it isn't quite sure whether it's a boy or girl -- its genitals unformed in the way that doll parts tend to be. Appropriately homagey, it can't decide whether to be called Glen or Glenda, at which point dad and mom takes sides (she wants a girl, he a boy), endeavoring to convince it which it must be. At the same time, Tiffany persuades Chucky to give up his awful addiction to killing, and think of the child they should be raising in some vaguely, relatively "healthy" way. Not likely. Chucky's combined cynicism, pathology and addiction to killing don't allow him even to think about making the addiction-line phone call when he feels the urge to slash (Tiffany at least gives this a try), and so he decides to go behind wifey's back, and train his son -- emphatically male -- to follow in daddy's bloody footsteps.

The lessons involve predictable victims (you know that Peter Peters' career cannot end well) as well as the usual splatty effects. That sperm from Chucky is destined for Tilly's eggs (implanted by Tiffany, and leading to a startling image, as she impregnates herself). And thus, although she's been celibate for four years (she attributes it to depression and poor career choices, making this reputed slut less active than most people think), Tilly is granted a virgin birth, accelerated because it's voodoo and because this film really needn't spend any more time on such particulars.

The result is twin babies, one Glen and one Glenda, literalizing and embodying poor Glen-or-Glenda's own dilemma. Unfortunately, said dilemma is only sketched here, turned into a series of gags: here's Glen-or-Glenda with a pink bow on its head, here's Glen-or-Glenda in blood-red lipstick and blond wig, emulating mama in full frenzy mode. As it delivers piles of penetrated corpses (including a castrated black man), Seed of Chucky obscures its little bit of an idea, namely, its tentative reconsideration of how slasher victims and monsters are gendered. By the end, even this seems not to matter.

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