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John’s Horror Corner: Cult of Chucky (2017), from the 1988 classic to the guilty pleasure sequels, I continue to enjoy this evil doll franchise!

October 16, 2017

MY CALL:  Another entertaining installment to this killer doll franchise!  In style it’s somewhere between Seed of Chucky and Curse of Chucky.  [I viewed the Unrated Version.MOVIES LIKE Cult of Chucky:  The other Chucky movies most worth watching are Child’s Play (1988), Child’s Play 2 (1990) and Curse of Chucky (2013).  Other quality evil doll films include The Boy (2016), Annabelle: Creation (2017), Dolly Dearest (1991), Dolls (1987) and Puppet Master (1989).

This 7th Child’s Play installment continues Curse of Chucky’s story and offers a brief recap—but ideally one would see Curse before moving on to this.  Andy (Alex Vincent; Child’s Play 1-2, Curse of Chucky) continues to live a tortured life.  With now scores of victims in the wake of his childhood killer that has gone uncaught for over 30 years, Andy’s social life has been reduced to spending weekends chatting up and torturing the severed head of an undying Good Guy Doll that taunts him to no end.  Even with proof that Chucky (Brad Dourif; The Hazing, Dune, Curse of Chucky) is a “living” possessed doll, no one believes him, passing it off as a clever stunt.

Meanwhile, after being diagnosed a schizophrenic and electro-shocked in a mental institution for four years, Nica (Fiona Dourif; True Blood, Curse of Chucky, The Master) has been tutored by psychiatrists that Chucky was just a fantasy masking her mass murder of her family.  But her grasp on reality is taunted as Good Guy Dolls seem to improbably find their way into her psychiatric facility: appearing her group therapy sessions, mailed packages and even from a gift from a strange visitor (Jennifer Tilly; Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, Curse of Chucky).

Other members of the cast include Elisabeth Rosen (The ABCs of Death, House of the Dead), Grace Lynn Kung (The Strain, Cube 2: Hypercube), Ali Tataryn (Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings, Curse of Chucky), Zak Santiago (Cult, The Eye), Michael Therriault (Hemlock Grove, Nurse 3D), Marina Stephenson Kerr (Channel Zero) and Summer H. Howell (Channel Zero, Curse of Chucky).

Unlike Curse, which demonstrated a tactful restraint before revealing Chucky, this movie dives right into the deep end using Curse as the diving board.  Because of the story continuity with Andy and Nica’s recent experiences, the mystique of the possessed doll gets skipped entirely.

Brad Dourif continues to please fans voicing Chucky (as he has for the entire franchise), and Fiona nails some good scenes (those that were written well, anyway).  Their performances along the loving direction of Don Mancini (Curse of Chucky, Seed of Chucky)—who took part in writing all of the Child’s Play franchise installments and several related short films—make this another entertaining contribution to the series after the campy Bride of Chucky (1998) and Seed of Chucky (2004).  After the outlandishly farcical events and pacing of the 4th and 5th movies, Curse dialed things back only for Cult to return us to insanity!  Whereas Curse boasted a serious poker face (with a reasonable story) and a return to the old-fashioned malevolence that could make homicidal dolls menacing again, Cult is reintroducing us to Chucky’s sadistic sense of humor and the franchise’s historical tendency for lunacy.

Maybe this movie is going too far off the deep end again much like Bride and Seed.  The third act is incredibly zany and the dialogue takes a very campy shift.  Many of the lines and death scenes were over the top, but I enjoyed them anyway.  My favorites were the broken glass death and the two (yes, two) extremely gory head-stomping scenes.  When things start to feel a bit silly, the gore keeps our interest.  And as with Curse, the production quality was solid, including some decent cinematography.  As for the Chucky effects, I really enjoyed the range of facial expressions (as with Curse).

Cult ties in perfectly to Curse and then leaves the potential for an infinite supply of sequels.  Although, I’m not so sure as to how many we’ll get.  Whether Mancini continues to back them or we get a big budget reboot/remake for theatrical release, I’ll be on board!

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