Different Perspectives: Chucky: The Complete Collection and Curse of Chucky

Chucky The Complete Collection

Chucky: The Complete Collection. This awesome little box set arrives on Blu-ray on October 8, 2013. You can buy your copy here.

The set compiles all six films in the Child’s Play/Chucky series. The first disc is the same as the previous MGM release (review here), but Universal has also included first-ever Blu-ray releases for Child’s Play 2-3 and Bride of Chucky. Also included in the set is a brand-new direct-to-video sequel titled Curse of Chucky, which was written and directed by series creator Don Mancini.

The Chucky franchise is an interesting one. The movies aren’t necessarily very scary, but they’re almost always fun. I’ve rather enjoyed each entry in the series (even the lesser efforts, like CP3 and Seed of Chucky), and I genuinely love that writer Don Mancini has stuck with this series since it began way back in 1988. It’s rare to see a writer stay on board his own creation as the series progresses. He’s even taken to directing a few of the movies, too, which is equally awesome.

Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect from the new film, Curse of Chucky, especially after the wayward Seed of Chucky, which took the franchise in a very bizarre, meta-centric comedic direction that seemed largely inspired by John Waters (who also appeared in that film). Thankfully, the new film, also directed by Mancini, is actually quite great, especially when factoring it’s the fifth sequel and a direct-to-video production. Here’s a trailer to fill you in on the core story:

What I love about Curse of Chucky is that it’s a return to form for the series. Chucky’s token love it or hate it wit is still intact, but there’s a refreshing sense of style and menace that hasn’t been a part of the series for some time. It’s also probably the scariest entry in the franchise since the second film. I literally jumped twice, a feat I can’t recall doing with any other film in the series.

A great many of the thrills hinge on when Chucky is going to, well … become Chucky, and that actually worked for me more than I expected. Just waiting for him to do his thing became the most unnerving aspect of the entire experience. Even better, the film is stylishly shot in a way that evokes classic storytellers like Dario Argento, Alfred Hitchcock and Brian De Palma. Yes, you read that right. It’s clear Mancini is (at least somewhat) aware of the negative stigma surrounding DTV films, and it was refreshing to see such style in a low-budget, usually phoned-in, effort. His work here is truly admirable.

There’s a quirky bit of melodrama, too, that adds to the themes of family this series has explored for the past few entries. The back-story aspect of the film was fascinating, though it’s a bit too confusing. The film also has a loose placement in the series canon. I honestly can’t tell you where it fit with the other chapters. Chucky mentions the events of the previous five films, though the new movie almost seems to take place at the same time, or roundabouts, of Bride of Chucky. I’ll leave that mystery to the Chucky diehards on the forums of IMDB to dissect and analyze. Have at it!

Obviously, if you weren’t a Chucky fan before, the new film won’t win you over, but for fans of the series, Curse of Chucky ranks as one of the best entries in the franchise. There are plenty of thrills, an interesting story, and a few AWESOME cameos that make the whole experience worth it. Seriously, stick through the credits for one of the single best cameo gags in any film seen this year!

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The Blu-rays for Chucky: The Complete Collection are pretty decent. The first film is simply a port of the already released Blu-ray. There are a decent assortment of bonus features on that disc (super fans should also check out Tom Holland’s own Child’s Play commentary). There’s also a slew of goodies for Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, ported over from the DVDs. Child’s Play 2-3 are scant, with only trailers. It’s a shame Universal didn’t toss in the deleted scenes as well. You can find those below:

Curse of Chucky includes a commentary, deleted scenes, a gag reel, a featurette and three Blu-ray exclusive featurettes. Picture and audio quality on all five films is about average. The first film looks the worst of the bunch. The second films looks great. The third looks pretty mediocre. And the rest get better with each entry. Also, audio didn’t seem to work properly for Child’s Play 3 when played through my PS3. Not sure what that was all about. But it worked fine on my backup player.

So, that’s what I’ve been watching these past few days. What are your thoughts on the Child’s Play series? Which film is your favorite, and which is your least favorite? Sound off in the comments and let me know!

Also, be sure to check out my buddy’s thorough Child’s Play retrospective, where he discusses all six films in detail, and offers his own ranking of the series.

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Top Ten Favorite Horror Films Part 1: The Classics

Time for some lists! And since Halloween is nearing, I thought I’d start with a series of Halloween Horror Lists detailing my favorite horror films, starting with … The Classics.

Every week in October I will offer a different list outlining my favorites (four lists total, no repeated films). I’ll also do a list for my favorite horror/thriller books. Feel free to sound off in the comments below with your own horror favorites!

Please be aware that I change my mind often. The ability to change one’s mind on any subject is paramount for our culture’s growth and development. With that in mind, don’t be surprised to see another version of this list next year, with totally different movies on it … what can I say, I absolutely love horror films. It’s hard to pick favorites.

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10) The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

It might not be a classic yet, but just you wait. Drew Goddard’s horror send-up is a delightfully fun, funny and freaky spin on the “evil cabin” horror subgenre. In many ways, it’s a better follow-up to the Evil Dead franchise than the somewhat thin remake of Evil Dead we got in 2013. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor.

9) Evil Dead 2 (1987)

The original Evil Dead scares me a bit more than Evil Dead 2, but the second film delivers that fine blend of horror and laughs, while solidifying the B-movie icon status for star Bruce Campbell, and setting up director Sam Raimi for one hell of a career.

8) Friday the 13th The Final Chapter (1984)

If you only watch one Friday the 13th film, let it be this one. It’s not a masterpiece in the writing department, but the colorful cast, and equally colorful gore, make this one the absolute highlight of the series.

7) An American Werewolf in London (1981)

A tragic, scary, funny outing about a man who slowly comes to realize that he’s a werewolf. Every beat is stunning, and the film rarely ceases to surprise. The makeup effects are staggering, too. Many horror fans go back and forth as to which werewolf film is the best: The Howling or American Werewolf, but this one tops it for me. Always has. Always will.

6) The Fly (1986)

David Cronenberg’s creepy creature-feature is easily one of the best monster movies ever made, rich with taught direction, clever characters and outstanding writing. I am completely invested in this feature from start to finish. Honorable mentions here: The Thing and Alien. Also classics. Perhaps I’ll include them on another list at some point. Best Horror Sci-fi, perhaps?

5) Halloween (1978)

I often credit Black Christmas as one of my favorite slashers, but let’s face it – John Carpenter’s Halloween is the true classic. It’s frightening. It gets under your skin. And it’s still really great more than 35 years later. You just can’t beat it.

4) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Gritty and fiendishly dreamy, A Nightmare on Elm Street feels like a soap opera that’s been invaded by a nefarious force of evil. Robert Englund is terrific as Freddy Krueger, and Wes Craven’s direction keeps things intense and scary as hell, even on repeat viewings.

3) The Exorcist (1974)

This is a freaky masterpiece of spiritual horror. I still recall watching it with my friends and family and feeling the room grow silent, cold and nervous as the priests performed the exorcism. To say The Exorcist is riveting cinema is a bit of an understatement. Now, I’m torn about which version to suggest watching. If I had to pick, I’d go theatrical cut first, followed by the altered Director’s Cut.

2) Jaws (1975)

To this day I am still terrified every single time Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) dips into the cage to go one-on-one against Steven Spielberg’s killer shark. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for this film, and I’m not alone. Jaws is often credited with inspiring more writing/filmmaking careers than pretty much any film ever made. It’s THAT good.

1) The Shining (1980)

Stephen King’s clever, but admittedly meandering book is tinkered and adapted into an absolute cinema masterpiece. It’s also one of the best horror films I’ve ever come across, and is mandatory viewing for any self-respecting fan of the genre. What Stanley Kubrick does, and says, with his frame is still studied to this day. Don’t believe me? Just check out Room 237. Note: there are two versions of this film available, a longer US cut and a shorter international version (or Director’s Cut, as it is sometimes called – it was Kubrick’s preferred cut). Both versions are terrific, but I tend to prefer Kubrick’s shorter Director’s Cut. The pacing and intensity is much tighter, but you can’t really feel the cuts at all.

Next week: My top ten favorite horror books!