Chucky is back, and this time he’s got wifi. OOOOOO! Scary! Nothing is scary as new untested technology! Production conflicts lead to some interesting questions.
I’m not sure who was clamoring for it, but Child’s Play is getting a modern reboot. The original film took advantage of the somewhat modest popularity of the “My Buddy” doll of the 1980’s, which was in turn a reaction to the popularity of Cabbage Patch Kids. (Or maybe it was the Garbage Pail Kids, a horror satire of the Cabbage Patch Kids by way of Rat Fink.)
Chucky the killer doll became an icon, and played the horror comedy route into box office silver, if not gold. In an era that emboldened production companies to squeeze every ounce of blood in their franchises by creating sequels until they stopped being viable, the Child’s Play franchise managed to keep their brand propped up by going with Bride of Chucky and the disturbingly titled Seed of Chucky. But, like Jason, Freddy, Michael, and soon, Candyman, the time to re-invent Chucky has come.
The new movie stars Gabriel Bateman as Andy, the new lucky boy to get himself a psychotic killer doll, and Aubrey Plaza plays the mom foolish enough to buy him one. Full disclosure, Scariest Eric is not a fan of the Child’s Play franchise, but this retelling looks to be a more serious, and potentially scarier version of the original.And there is no evidence from the trailer of the bad puns and double entendres that were so prevalent in the franchise previously. Aubrey Plaza has announced on Movie Web, that the movie will not be campy in the same way as the original.
So, for fans of the original franchise… is this a good thing or a bad thing?
That said, it was that sarcasm and referential humor that helped lift Child’s play from being just another killer doll, and the sinister presence of Brad Dourif will be sorely missed, as he will not be the voice of Chucky. So far, Orion has not announced who the voice of Chucky is, and there is no mention of the who will be providing the voice in IMDB.
The biggest departure about this new franchise roll-out is indicated in the teaser trailer, that puts a contemporary twist on this new doll, (Nicely renamed Buddi…) and is introduced by veteran “That Guy” actor Tim Matheson as the CEO of Kaslan Corporation, which has imbued Buddi with an Alexa-like suite of commands and AI. So this Chucky will be an AI gone bad, not a doll possessed by the soul of a serial killer. Make of that, what you will.
The main trailer release itself is also promising. It is tonally quite dark, and it looks like Orion has backed this movie with a Halloween-like budget, with some slick looking sets and production work. The movie has not yet been rated, but the hope here is that they will stick with the roots of the franchise and keep it a light R, with enough gore to satisfy slasher film fans, but not so over the top to scare away a younger audience. Since the producers also handled IT, I suspect we’ll get that level of violence and language, which feels about right. No need to go full Puppet Master TLR here. I suspect they are gunning for a wide audience.
And here’s an interesting rub… Creator of the franchise, Don Mancini was not included in the making of the new movie, and he was pretty disappointed with this decision. Jennifer Tilly, the vampy actress who helped elevate the movies in Bride and Seed also has disowned the new production. So, Mancini has taken his version of the story to Universal, where he will be doing a competing television show, and it is suspected that Dourif, and maybe Tilly will be involved with that. So, unlike the Halloween reboot, this one has some bitter feelings going into it.
Who will the fans turn out for? The new high production and serious tone film coming out? Or the continuity of the tongue-in-cheek B-movie aesthetic of the TV show? Let them FIGHT!
Scariest Crew, are you in or Out on the reboot?
Eric: Honestly, I think I’m going to pass, unless I hear great things about it. Again, I wasn’t a fan of the original, and my motivation to catch a reboot is limited. Then again, maybe since it is a rethinking of the film, it might be an improvement… but I’m not betting on it.
Mike: You know this is happening! For sure. Charles Lee Ray is coming back/back/back to life? Got to be there for that! The original is still a fun little slice of slicing. Here’s hoping the reboot does Chucky proud.