Bride Of Chucky

Bride Of Chucky (1998)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Jennifer Tilly
Extras: 2 Commentary Tracks, Production Notes, Jennifer’s Diary, History Of Chucky

It is obvious from taking a look at only the first few seconds of Universal Home Video’s brand new release of "Bride Of Chucky" that this film is different from other horror movies. The viewer is immediately captivated by the film’s elaborate, atmospheric cinematography and the pounding song by Rob Zombie that quickly lead up to the great opening of one of 1998’s surprise horror hits. The film has a strong Asian look, highly reminiscent of fantasy films from Hong Kong and it comes hardly as a surprise. Acclaimed director Ronny Yu has picked up the "Child’s Play" franchise for this fourth installment in the series and reinvigorated it with his own touch.

The last Chucky adventure left the infamous "Good Guy" doll literally in pieces, but his old flame, Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) rescues the battered doll from a police impound. With her new found Voodoo talents – from the book "Voodoo for dummies" – she tries to resurrect the soul of serial killer Charles Lee who had been inhabiting the doll for the last ten years. To her own surprise she succeeds and Chucky comes back to life! But time had obviously romanticized many of her memories. Chucky is still the same foul-mouthed, bad mannered and insensible demon he had always been. In disgust Tiffany keeps him imprisoned and gives him a bride doll to play with. Chucky has other plans however. He breaks from his prison and kills Tiffany, reciting the same chant that made him immortal and before he knows it, Tiffany’s soul manifests in the bride doll next to him. After a radical make-over, Chucky and Tiff go on their homicidal honeymoon, a killing spree that leaves everyone in their wake dead.

There are some very striking things about "Bride Of Chucky" that immediately helped elevate the film above the other parts in the series early on in the project. Things are different with this particular movie. When first it was rumored that writer and "Chucky" inventor Don Mancini decided to do another sequel in the "Child’s Play" series, many people were wondering what you could actually do with the franchise that hadn’t been done before. The "Child’s Play" series was originally initiated in the late 80s with a great start, presenting us the possessed "Good Guy" killer doll Chucky for the first time. The film boasted a great script, ideas, special effects and became a fan favorite almost instantly. The sequels, while mostly cashing in on the same premise but in front of varying backdrops, were far better than most horror film sequels we have seen, but none of them had the inventiveness of the first "Child’s Play" movie. Interestingly, "Bride Of Chucky" manages to maintain the original theme but this time re-invents many of the surrounding elements to create a highly entertaining roller coaster ride of horror. "Bride Of Chucky" is easily the best part of the entire series, eclipsing even the series’ very good fist part.

Jennifer Tilly as Chucky’s bride Tiffany is a hoot. Although she has only 20 minutes of actual on-screen time, she turns these moments into some of the most memorable performances in recent horror history. She also lends her voice to Chucky’s newfound sidekick, Tiff the killer doll, and it is in that performance that she becomes a pivotal part of the film – and the series. Director Ronny Yu and his long-time cinematographer Peter Pau create a magical world for this new Chucky movie. The people who brought you stunning ghost stories like "The Bride With White Hair" used their skills in a way that perfectly meshes Western audiences’ expectations with the sensitivity and esthetics of Eastern filmmaking. Chucky has never looked better! Speaking of which, Kevin Yagher has created a new look for Chucky that is far better and more life-like than in any of the previous films. Using the latest in animatronics technology Yagher breathes new life in the film’s dolls in a way we thought never possible. These are definitely dolls you don’t want to mess with – but they are a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

Finally Don Mancini’s screenplay for the film puts an end to the prejudice that sequels have to be bad. This is the finest script in the series, constantly surprising the viewer with new lines and twists, and now that Chucky has a true sidekick to interact with, Mancini plays off this mean little doll’s self-righteous sarcasm to newfound heights in remarkably witty dialogues. Of course Brad Dourif’s and Tilly’s voice talents helps immensely to have you rolling on the floor between some of the film’s not-for-the-skimpy scenes. And, believe it or not, it is a rather romantic lovestory at its heart. What’s interesting though, is that Mancini entirely refocused the series’ approach and now makes Chucky and Tiff the central focus of the story. They are omnipresent. The story always evolves around them and gone are the times where the doll is a side attraction to some average campus scenes. This is the real thing – a real Chucky movie!

Universal Home Video have released "Bride Of Chucky" in a pristine looking 1.85:1 <$16x9,anamorphic> <$PS,widescreen> transfer. Considering this is a brand new film and one of Universal’s hottest box office successes of last year, we expect nothing but the best for this release and Universal deliver only the best; a stunningly clean transfer without flaws, razor sharp edges, rock solid colors and deep shadows. There are no artifacts anywhere on this disc. Colors are vibrant with strong hues and no <$chroma,chroma noise> or bleeding, and deep, solid blacks. The image contains an immense amount of detail and brings out the best in Peter Pau’s often mesmerizing cinematography, creating an astonishing feel of depth.

Graeme Revell, the man behind memorable soundtracks like "The Crow" and "Strange Days" has lent his talent to create the music score for "Bride Of Chucky" and the producers could not have made any better pick. The score is modern and hard hitting sometimes, yet mystic and almost demonic at others. It encapsulates the essence of the film, driving many of the most memorable moments home with its well placed atmospheric cues and heavy metal riffs. The disc contains a very dynamic <$DD,Dolby Digital> <$5.1,5.1 channel> mix of the soundtrack that makes efficient use of the split surrounds and has a very good bass extension to rumble your guts. "Bride Of Chucky" comes in English and French and also contains English captions, as well as Spanish subtitles.

Universal’s release also contains a few extras that are noteworthy. One of the most interesting ones is "Jennifer’s Diary", an entertaining recollection of memories from Jennifer Tilly on her involvement with the project. Excerpts from it were previously published in "Premiere" and "Fangoria". Here it is now in its entirety, and it is truly enjoyable and fun to read. The disc even gives you the chance to print the entire diary out from a DVD-ROM drive. You will also find two separate <$commentary,commentary track>s on this disc. One features director RonnyYu as he elaborates on the film’s shoot and the technical aspects that went into the production, while the second one features Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif and Don Mancini in an almost party-like atmosphere, telling anecdotes and stories about the film’s shoot.

Now let’s get ready for "Son Of Chucky", the sequel which got green-lighted by Universal only two days after "Bride Of Chucky" opened in theaters nationwide to great success. Unfortunately director Ronny Yu was unable to witness the success his film had here in the US. Immediately after finishing the project he had to return to Australia and was completely tied up ever since. He only heard through other people about the acclaim and enthusiastic response his film got nationwide. "Bride Of Chucky" is cult material – but in a really good sense. It is the film all fans of Chucky have been waiting for, and it is also a film that has certainly won many new fans a thing that rarely happens in sequels. It is the best new horror comedy I have seen in a long time and is perfectly produced, written, directed and acted. Kudos to everyone involved and a big nod to all of you get this disc! This is a must-have. This is Chucky at his best!