Repeatedly returning to the scene of the crime with more scores to settle in their trademark twisted style isn’t just an enticing tool for depraved horror film villains to use anymore. A beloved genre franchise can now powerfully span over the course of several decades, as its initially innocent protagonists are no longer afraid to stoop to the level of their nemesis as they seek revenge. That’s certainly the case for the title antagonist and his enemies in the latest installment of the ‘Child’s Play’ franchise, ‘Cult of Chucky.’
Series creator, Don Mancini, returned to the writer’s chair to pen the new entry, after he scribed all of the previous six movies in the franchise. Also stepping into the director’s chair for the third time, after helming the last two chapters, ‘Seed of Chucky’ and ‘Curse of Chucky,’ the filmmaker expertly created a bone-chilling new story. The latest plot perfectly retains the series’ signature blend of horror and demented humor, as the title doll and those who are trying to stop him once again fight for control over their relationships.
As the anticipated sixth sequel in the franchise, ‘Cult of Chucky’ follows Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif), who has been confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, since the ending of ‘Curse of Chucky.’ She was wrongly convinced by the court and her doctors that she, not Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif), murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new group-therapy tool-a Good Guy doll-a string of grisly deaths plague the asylum, and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all.
When he hears the news, Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), Chucky’s now-grownup nemesis from the original ‘Child’s Play,’ races to Nica’s aid. But to save her, he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment released the unrated version of ‘Cult of Chucky’ on Tuesday on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. A rated version of the movie is also now available to stream on Netflix. The disc and digital releases include a post-credits scene, as well as exclusive bonus features that delve deeper into the title doll’s twisted universe, and reveal how the filmmakers made the demented toy even more deranged.
The ‘Cult of Chucky’ Blu-ray, DVD and Digital exclusive bonus content includes the featurette ‘Inside the Insanity of Cult of Chucky,’ during which viewers will discover what it was like to film inside an insane asylum, and the challenges production faced on set. The audience will also hear from the cast and filmmakers as they discuss why they were attracted to this story, and how the filmmakers’ vision brought the horror film together. Another featureete is ‘Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations of Chucky,’ which offers viewers a peek into the workshop of Alterian, the studio behind Chucky’s puppeteering. The audience will see how the magic is created, and how the look of Chucky has evolved over the years. The home distribution also includes feature commentary with Mancini and Head Puppeteer Tony Gardner.
In addition to the ‘Cult of Chucky’ Blu-ray, DVD and Digital releases, the ‘Chucky: Complete 7-Movie Collection’ is also now available on Blu-ray and DVD, in the United States only. For the first time ever, Chucky fans can experience all seven movies in one set, including ‘Child’s Play,’ ‘Child’s Play 2,’ ‘Child’s Play 3,’ ‘Bride of Chucky,’ ‘Seed of Chucky,’ ‘Curse of Chucky’ and ‘Cult of Chucky.’
In honor of ‘Cult of Chucky’s home release on Tuesday, Shockya was generously given the opportunity yesterday to speak with Tilly and Mancini paired, as well as Vincent and actress Christine Elise paired, during exclusive interviews at The London Hotel in New York City. (The nature and extent of Elise’s appearance, and the fact that she’s even in the film, have been kept secret until now, as to not spoil the details of her arc in the story.)
The exclusive interviews coincide with the cast and crew’s appearance today at New York Comic Con. Mancini, Tilly, Barclay, Elise and Brad and Fiona Dourif will participate in a panel from 5:15-6:15pm EST in 1A06 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, where they’ll further discuss making the sixth sequel in the beloved horror series.
Mancini began his conversation with Tilly by explaining why he decided to return to the ‘Child’s Play’ franchise, and once again write the script for the latest installment. “I proceed by following the characters. We left the character of Nica in a precarious position at the end of the last movie (‘Curse of Chucky’). She was framed for a bloodbath and sent to the” hospital, where she’s still living in ‘Cult of Chucky.’
“So I wanted to continue her story. I was very jazzed up putting her in a arc that ended in a very surprising place. But the insane asylum setting provided an opportunity to make a new kind of Chucky movie. It’s a drug-fueled, psychological thriller, and that was a lot of fun to work with,” the scribe further disclosed.
Tilly then delved into the reason why she decided to reprise her role of Tiffany Valentine from the past few entries in the ‘Child’s Play’ franchise, including ‘Bride of Chucky,’ ‘Seed of Chucky’ and ‘Curse of Chucky,’ in ‘Cult of Chucky.’ She shared that she’s “always very excited when Don calls me, because like all actresses, I fear becoming obsolete. So when Don calls me and says “I wrote a new ‘Chucky’ movie and you’re in it, I’m like, ‘Yay!,'” the performer enthusiastically revealed with a laugh. “So he called me and said ‘I wrote Tiffany into this movie, and you’re really hot,’ I got very excited. At my age, people don’t usually ask me to be hot anymore!”
So as a result, Tilly was very excited to read the script for ‘Cult of Chucky.’ She noted that “When I read it, I couldn’t believe what a fantastic script it was. We just had a screening of it last week, and that was the first time I saw it. I was so impressed with Don. It’s a brilliant and amazing film, and very eerie and strange. I’ve known Don for 20 years, and I didn’t know he was this talented!”
“What?!?” Mancini jokingly interjected with a laugh.
“I always knew you were talented, but I didn’t know you were this talented!,” the actress playfully assured him. “He’s been working on the ‘Chucky’ franchise for 30 years, and has written every single movie from day one, and directed the last three. I think that the reason why these movies are so successful is because Don writes what he would like to see” in a ‘Chucky’ movie as an audience member. “Would you agree with me, Don, except for the part where I didn’t know you were so talented?”
“Precisely!,” the filmmaker amusingly responded. “I was extremely gifted from the beginning. I just didn’t tell her, because I didn’t want to intimidate her,” he added with a laugh. While Tilly then assured her writer-director that she was just joking around, Mancini turned to a more serious note by saying, “Hopefully you do get better as you go along. This is just the third film I’ve directed, but you do get more confident each time.”
The performer then cut in to share that she thinks ‘Cult of Chucky’ is “really beautiful. It’s a strange word to use for a film where severed heads are flying, and people’s body parts are being pulled out of their chest cavities.”
“Well, if you’re going to create a blood bath, you might as well do it with some style,” Mancini laughed as he playfully agreed with his star.
During his interview with Elise, Vincent shared that they have both “stayed in touch with Don, and we’re all friends. So it’s just a matter of him writing (our roles) on paper. Him then asking us (to reprise the roles of Andy and Kyle) was a no-brainer, and we were definitely up for it.”
The actress chimed in that “It’s a really unique opportunity. How many actors get to come back and reprise a role almost 30 years later? These characters are now in completely different times in their lives. So how could we say no?”
Vincent added that the series creator “is so receptive to including our ideas about how our characters have evolved. But ultimately, it’s his story. The particulars of where Andy is in his life now are all Don’s doing.”
One of the things that producers do, particularly on long-running film franchises, is hire strangers to write the scripts and star in the projects, but the cast and crew quickly bond, according to Elise. “So often times, the writing will begin to cater to either the actors’ personalities or talents. Everyone doesn’t remain strangers for long,” the performer explained. “So Don has had the advantage of knowing (some of the actors in the ‘Chucky’ franchise) for 25-30 years. So I think that totally informs his ideas for the stories” for each new sequel, a sentiment which Vincent agreed with.
With the writer introducing the character of Nica in ‘Cult of Chucky’s immediate predecessor, ‘Curse of Chucky,’ the actor really embraced having Andy truly be integrated into the new protagonist’s storyline in the latest installment. Andy “came back at the end of ‘Curse,’ but my (character’s) story wasn’t connected to Nica’s story at all. So this is the first film where I have any knowledge about her character. But I love Fiona as an actress…”
“…and as a person!,” Elise exclaimed.
“She is a great person, too, and a phenomenal actress,” Vincent agreed. “Her taking on the lead character role during the past two films is a great move on Don’s part, because she has the ability to carry them. Her character of Nica is fascinating.”
Elise also noted that “Putting the damsel in distress who’s fighting Chucky in a wheelchair was a brilliant move. Before, there was the question of why these adults can’t overcome this tiny doll. But (Nica’s) in a unique situation that allows people to understand that she can’t fight back.”
Vincent also explained that he feels it was important to incorporate both the horror and comedy elements into the last few ‘Chucky’ movies. “When the scale was tipped to straight horror, that was effective” for the stories that Mancini was telling. “But when the scale was then tipped to the comedy side, and the characters began making fun of themselves, before the other characters started ridiculing them, that was also effective.
“Having been a part of the franchise when it was just focused on the horror elements, I’m happy to see that it now has a good mix of both elements. I think ‘Curse’ went back to the roots of being just plan scary, with only a few laughs here and there. ‘Cult’ has a couple more laughs, but is also scarier at times. I think it’s a really good mix now,” the performer pointed out.
Elise agreed with her co-star, and pointed out that “Comedy has always been in the mix, even in the first movie.” She noted the quote between the lady in the elevator, who says ‘Ugly doll’ to Chucky, who responds to her by saying, ‘F*ck you.’ “That’s a highlight of that movie!,” the actress exclaimed.
“What’s great about combing comedy and horror is that it puts your defenses down. You stop being tense, and waiting for sh*t to happen. That makes the next scare all the more effective,” Elise further noted.
Mancini agreed with his actors’ sentiment about the comedic element of latest ‘Chucky’ follow-ups. “We put comedy into ‘Bride’ and ‘Seed,’ so ‘Curse,’ the last film, was a tonal reboot. We adjusted the flavor of it, so it was a more straight-forward horror movie. It was more in line with the first film from 1988. But we included some injections of humor, because Chucky’s a funny character, and that’s an important part of his personality. That’s the same for the character of Tiffany.”
So with ‘Cult of Chucky,’ the filmmaker “wanted to continue the legitimate, creepy vibe, and make it scary. But at the same time, I also wanted to increase the comedy element that we had in ‘Curse.'”
“This movie does walk that very thin line between comedy and horror,” Tilly agreed. “I said to Don, this is a very melancholy and haunting film. Everyone in it is so haunting and lonely…But some of the comic relief is very funny. That comes in terms of things like heads exploding,” the actress revealed.
Tilly added with a laugh that “When I was watching the movie, I was sitting next to my boyfriend, who was screaming like a little girl! I thought, I love the fact that I’m in a movie that it sends my boyfriend into such a tailspin,” which garnered a laugh from the filmmaker.
“There are a lot of things in the story that shouldn’t be funny, but really are,” the performer acknowledged. Mancini then promoted Tilly to share some of the comedic moments, and she noted that she likes the fact that the story’s “so splattery! There are grim white and gray walls, and then all of a sudden, there’s a splat of red blood everywhere.”
The performer then delved into discussing her admiration for Mancini’s approach to filmmaking, and the camaraderie he creates on all of his sets. “Everybody loves Don. I showed up on (the set for ‘Cult of Chucky’) in the eleventh hour in Winnipeg. We were filming in -40 degree weather on a very tight budget. When you show up on a set, everyone’s usually cranky, and can’t wait to finish the movie. But this set was a lovefest. The actors and crew love Don, and everyone wants to do everything for him, and that’s really unusual in this business. He’s an amazing person, and is talented.”
“That’s so nice!,” the helmer sentimentally said to Tilly.
The actress added with a laugh that when she arrived to shoot her scenes, Mancini “rubbed his hands together with glee, and said, ‘I love being on the set with Tiffany again!’ So he makes everybody feel good.”
Vincent also chime in on the experience of shooting ‘Cult of Chucky’ on location, and noted that he “left Florida to go to Winnipeg in the middle of winter! So it wouldn’t have been my first choice of location. But traveling, and being in a new place, is fun. When I was a kid, there was no complaining when I got to leave New Jersey to go to L.A.”
Elise also called the experience “great. You get to form a family, because everyone’s displaced. So there’s an accelerated intimacy, which is wonderful. Filming on location is a magical thing.”
The actress added that “The first ‘Chucky’ movie that I was in (‘Child’s Play 2’) was also the first real film that I worked more than a day on. I worked for three months on that movie, and I cried when it was over. Most of the time, the only thing that the cast and crew have in common is the project. As much as you like them at work, they’re not always people who are going to stick in your real life…It took me a couple of projects to learn to not cry” at the end of shooting.
In addition to being able to reunite with the rest of the cast and crew, one of the best aspects of returning to the ‘Child’s Play’ franchise with the anticipated seventh installment, according to Elise, is “the payoff of 30 years of telling the same story, and seeing how the characters grow. The audience understands all the secrets and details of the continued story, even if the newer characters don’t know them. So that’s a unique reward to have that continued investment” from viewers.