One especially vivid memory I have came around 1992 when I was about seven years old. I can remember walking down and up the long, dipped street in my hometown that drops down in the middle of a valley. When you come up the hill, there are some stores and a 7-11. Back in those days, you could rent movies at all sorts of places and I had money in my hand and my parents' 7-11 movie rental ID card. I was going to rent Child's Play 3 for the dozenth time, but for the first time on my own. 95% of the time, we wouldn't get hassled as ten year olds renting out all the violent slasher franchises, but I guess as a scrawny seven year old, my luck hadn't yet turned. The 7-11 clerk wasn't having anything of it and ordered me to put the tape back on the shelf and pick something else. Well, I didn't fucking want anything else (yes, in true Chucky fan fashion, I had a potty mouth), so I walked home empty handed. It sucked. It's safe to say I've been a Child's Play series fan from the start and it's been a sort of unsaid tradition in my family for me and eventually my cousins to show off our Chucky flicks to the newest generation of kids to veg out on. And for this reason, I pay this under-appreciated series proper respect in my second Worst to First List:
5. Childís Play 2 (1990)
My least seen Childís Play, 2 is more vibrant than 3 and at the very least remains true to the horror spirit of the original while shining a huge spotlight on Chucky to please hungry audiences. Alex Vincent really puts on a good performance making certain the viewer is attached to the troubled Andy character, still very much scarred from the previous film and out of place in his new world. It might be the worst on the list (well, probably notÖ more on that next), but it is a helluva lot of fun with laughs and frights aplenty and is a true testament to the franchise forever cast to live in the shadows behind Leatherface, Michael Myers, Jason and Freddy. To me, little Chucky has always been able to entertain with the big guns.
I recorded this one off of SuperChannel as a kid and thus it has had the most repeat viewings to grow on me Ė which is probably why it comes in at number four on this list rather than sucking the hind tit. There arenít many true scares to be had in this third instalment (but Chuckyís mangled face towards the end is sure to scare some) as the series takes a Nightmare on Elm Street 4 turn and really throws Chuckyís witty and ironic one-liners to the forefront at the expense of story. Sure, itís funny and I still think Justin Whalin did all right replacing Alex Vincent as teenaged Andy, but I canít lie. This one wraps me up in nostalgia, a fact I will neither shy from nor display too proudly. I love it to death, but this is the sole Childís Play film that really serves little purpose in terms of innovation and growth to the now vast Chucky back story.
Although personal nostalgia won the previous battle of the Chucks, the part of me that respects creativity and technical filmmaking skills assures Seed its place in the middle of the pack. Not quite as entertaining as Bride, the fifth entry in the series remains funny and relevant to the current landscape of self-referential horror. For my money, though, this is the film where the series has jumped the shark. With an upcoming remake with Dourif still lending his voice, fans canít really contest against a revamp over a sequel starring the gender-confused killer son of the great Charles Lee Ray. Itís a terrific ride, but the greedy side of me doesnít like all the limelight Glen/Glenda (nice Ed Wood reference!) is stealing from the star of the show. From voodoo practicing madman to proud fatherÖ Don Mancini really deserves credit for writing the reluctant Chucky into situations fans simply canít resist.
I will admit to having my doubts about this 1998 effort, but after a rental, Bride of Chucky easily climbed to my number two spot in the series. Jennifer Tilley has the perfect voice Ė nagging, yet sexy for Brad Dourifís wise cracking, chauvinistic Chucky. Ronny Yuís film is downright hilarious while still incorporating vast amounts of seriously violent Chucky mayhem that we all know and love. As much as I love the film coming next, Bride always seems to find a way to beat it out when itís Chucky time around my household. The interplay between Dourif and Tilley is priceless, John Ritter puts on a great performance and the plot is a non-stop thrill ride of comedy and terror. Itís hard to not put it atop the list, and it certainly wasnít an easy decision to ponder. And, I absolutely love Chucky's new, ragged, stitched up visage.
I can recall having nightmares about the charred Chucky from the first and (barely) best instalment of Manciniís series. As much as I always was a Freddy and Jason fan, when I was very young, there were no movies I demanded more than those featuring killer dolls. In this, a perfect blend of voodoo, suspense, commercialism, violence and comedy, I still hold Childís Play in high regard and consider it the scariest killer doll film of all time. Keviní Yagherís intricate doll stands up to this day and I will forever be impressed just how smooth Chucky moves in the first film of the series, especially in comparison to the primitive, yet entertaining stop motion effects used in numerous knock-offs in the years to come. Even after seeing the classic One Flew Over the Cuckooís Nest, I consider Chucky to be Brad Dourifís most recognizable role.
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