PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Film

'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.

Related Articles Around the Web

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.

Books

Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon
Music

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.

Music

'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.

Music

ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.

Music

The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.

Books

Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.

Film

Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.

Music

Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".

Music

John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.

Music

The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.

Music

Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.

Music

In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.

Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.