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Universal Studios Home Video presents
"This is nuts! And I have a very high tolerance for nuts."
DVD ReviewSeed of Chucky is the most recent sequel (the fourth) in the tongue-in-cheek story of the vicious killer doll—the first since 1998s' Bride of Chucky—and this latest go round was written and directed by Don Mancini, who has penned every film in the series. Mancini's presence, both as a director and a writer, comes together nicely in this completely silly, gory, and sick joke-laden film that is pure comedy, and is a clever mix of parody and spot-on homage to countless horror films.
There isn't really a requirement to have seen all the films in the series. Suffice to know that killer dolls Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) and Tiffany (voiced by Jennifer Tilly) are reunited with their androgynous child (voiced by Billy Boyd), who, like most dolls, is not anatomically correct (though he does have a weak bladder) and looks like an eerie cross between Opie and Ziggy Stardust. This leads to some gender confusion issues as to whether he's a boy or girl, building to a nice Ed Wood moment as Chucky and Tiffany end up referring to their child as Glen/Glenda; there are also some self-help struggles with the family need to kill, which Mancini continually mines for some good laughs.
But it's not all killer dolls in Seed of Chucky, because we have Jennifer Tilly poking fun at herself playing actress Jennifer Tilly, who desperately wants to star in a new bible epic directed by hip-hop star Redman (played by Redman) even if it means sleeping with him. Their problem is not just a nosy tabloid photographer (director John Waters), but that a trio of killer dolls have pegged them as the portals for artificial insemination (bring on the turkey baster) and the human bodies that are needed to finally transfer souls.
Mancini goes for the outrageous quite often throughout his film, and this unrated cut sports the full masturbation scene, where Chucky uses Fangoria for inspiration. That is really something you don't see everyday, and here it is equal doses of funny and awkward, and he wedges this over-the-top stuff in between smart Hitchcock and DePalma nods. The whole premise is so blatantly ridiculous that Mancini wisely gives up on trying to be even remotely horrifying, and instead keeps the quips coming, with Tilly's constant mocking of herself actually upstaging that of the wisecracking dolls. Tilly doing Tilly is just incredibly funny.
I really love it when a film franchise can revitalize itself after a few weak entries, and with Seed of Chucky there is the obligatory open ending, ripe and ready for a sequel. Yet for all the blood here, this is still a comedy/parody, and a very enjoyable one at that.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-
Image Transfer Review: Seed of Chucky comes from Universal in a very sharp looking 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, and the print sports deep colors and well-defined black levels. There are some small grain issues in spots, but overall this one looks quite good throughout.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: There are two strong audio choices, available in either Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS, and either one is solid. Dialogue is crisp, with directional movement creating a full feel across the fronts, with a nice use of the surround channels to fill out the soundstage, as the sub delivers some boomy atmosphere when needed (somewhat more pronounced with DTS). The transfer really does justice to the score from the great Pino Donaggio, as well.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 22 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
2 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Unleashed, Assault on Precinct 13, White Noise
1 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Don Mancini, Jennifer Tilly, Don Gardner
Extras Review: Universal has included two commentary tracks, both featuring writer/director Don Mancini, who is teamed up with Jennifer Tilly on one and puppet master Tony Gardner on the other. There is a lot of frothy material under the extras banner, but the commentaries are easily the best part.
Mancini is never at a loss for words, pointing out homages and inside jokes, and I really enjoyed his commentary with Tilly, who is almost more effusive and chatty than the director, making it one of the more enjoyable tracks I've heard in some time Tilly's a hoot. The track with Gardner focuses more on the physical mechanics of the puppetry (and is slightly dryer), but both deal with shooting in Romania and the hassles of dealing with plastic actors. There is also something referred to as Chucky's Insider Facts on Demand, which I expected to be some sort of pop-up factoid kind of thing, but I activated the option and never saw any "facts on demand" during a second run through.
Slashed Scene (03m:19s) features a cut scene with actress Debbie Carrington (Total Recall), and the sequence features a commentary with Mancini and the actress talking about how it was to lead up to a big death scene that was never filmed. Hence the deletion. Of lesser interest is the Storyboard (13m:56s) segment, which does the typical side-by-side comparison
Here's Chucky! (02m:20s) has an interview with the killer doll, and includes an audition from a fictitious teen movie, while Family Hell-iday Slideshow (03m:32s) takes the tired concept of a photo gallery and spices it up with running comments from Chucky, Tiffany, and Glen/Glenda. Conceiving The Seed of Chucky (18m:45s) mixes the traditional EPK with even more "interviews" with the doll leads, and Tilly on the Tonight Show (01m:31s) is a filmed piece touting the questionable Romanian locale. Jennifer Tilly's Diary is pages of text spanning development of the project from February 1999 through May 2004. Fuzion Up Close with the Seed of Chucky Stars (04m:27s) is yet another puffy interview segment from a show I never heard of.
The disc is cut into 22 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsIt may have drifted away from the franchise a bit, but Seed of Chucky smartly forsakes horror for pure comedy and parody, and it works. There's plenty of blood and gore (including a clever decapitation scene), as well as a doll who masturbates to Fangoria magazine, and writer/director Don Mancini elicits a great self-effacing performance from Jennifer Tilly as Jennifer Tilly.
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