CHUCKY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION Blu-ray Review

     November 2, 2013

chuck-the-complete-collection-slice

It’s been 25 years since Chucky came to life in the original Child’s Play, and he’s never looked better.  Now, in Chucky: The Complete Collection, fans can watch Chucky’s transformation over all six films in the franchise, including the recently released Curse of Chucky.  There’s something for everyone here, whether you enjoy the satire of the early films, the comedic horror of the fourth and fifth installments, or the return to scares in the latest picture.  The collection is loaded with extras, particularly in the original Child’s Play, Seed of Chucky and Curse of Chucky.  It’s a must-have for Chucky lovers and a great collection for horror fans in general.  Hit the jump for my review of Chucky: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Chucky: The Complete Collection Limited Edition Blu-ray review:

childs-play-posterChild’s Play

Feature

The film that started it all.  Child’s Play introduced audiences to the psychotic serial killer/voodoo practitioner Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) who transfers his soul into a child’s Good Guy doll, named Chucky.  Dourif’s name has become synonymous with Chucky and both have enjoyed 25 years of cinematic success.  The themes and tone of the pictures may have changed over the years, but the franchise always has the hellish little doll at its heart.

Extras

  • Feature Commentary with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and Chucky Designer Kevin Yagher
  • Feature Commentary with Producer David Kirschner and Screenwriter Don Mancini
  • Select Scene Chucky Commentaries – Chucky (Brad Dourif) provides commentary to his favorite scenes, including his first kill, his thoughts on Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks), his feud with Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) and his preferred method of killing.  Creator Don Mancini joins him for a bit, but Chucky’s not impressed.
  • Vintage Featurette Introducing Chucky: The Making of Child’s Play (~5 minutes) – A 1988 featurette behind the scenes of Child’s Play, with director Tom Holland, Kirschner, Sarandon, and Yagher.
  • Evil Comes in Small Packages: The Birth of Chucky, Creating the Horror, Unleashed (~30 minutes total) – Three behind-the-scenes featurettes on the creation of Chucky, with commentary from David Kirschner, Don Mancini, and more of the cast and crew.  Highlights include Chucky’s original origin story, rehearsal footage, behind-the-scenes production footage, and the beginning of Chucky as an icon.
  • Chucky: Building a Nightmare (~10 minutes) – A behind-the-scenes featurette and retrospective on designing Chucky, with commentary from Kirschner, Mancini, Yagher, Tom Savini and more.
  • A Monster Convention (~5 minutes) – A recording of cast-members Vincent, Hicks and Sarandon appearing at the 2007 Monster Mania fan convention.
  • Photo Gallery – 73 images from Child’s Play, including behind-the-scenes, promos and production stills.
  • Theatrical Trailer

childs-play-2-posterChild’s Play 2

Feature

The film picks up where we left off, as the camera is zoomed in on the bright blue eye amidst the burnt plastic and rubber that became of Chucky.  In a continuation of the satire of big corporations manipulating childhood toy culture, we then see a pair of suits attempting to control the fallout from the attack on Andy and his mother by the company’s Good Guys doll.  Andy is now in foster care and is undergoing regular psychiatric treatment to recover.

Of course Chucky manages to find his way back to Andy in order to supplant the boy’s soul.  The doll’s mechanics are much improved this time around, and that’s saying something, as the original was already pretty convincing.  There are some callbacks to the original film as well, including Andy checking “Tommy’s” batteries for reassurance.  Unfortunately, Chucky’s overt method of murder makes the sequel less about satire and more about shock value.  A bit of the magic is lost along the way, but it still makes for a fun, albeit sick ride, especially the sequence at the nightmare-inducing Good Guys factory. (And props to the writers for giving Chucky about a half-dozen death scenes, haha)

Extras

  • Theatrical Trailer

childs-play-3-posterChild’s Play 3

Feature

This film, too, starts off where we left off, with the cleaning out of the dilapidated Good Guys factory eight years later.  Of special note is the bloody torso of Chucky that’s carried out on a crane during the opening credits, where we see his blood mixed in with the paint/molten plastic mixture. (What could possibly go wrong?)

This time around, Andy is all grown up and is now played by Justin Whalin.  Again, we’re thrown into the corporate world where an exec board in a smoky conference room discusses the public relations nightmare of the Chucky doll.  Sadly, like in the sequel, this is as far as the satire goes, even though Chucky does manage to get another quick corporate kill in.

Andy is now attending a military academy (one that houses the creepiest barber since Sweeney Todd).  Chucky once again manages to infiltrate the facility to eventually find Andy, but things play out in much the same way as the previous two installments.  (The picture also features one Perrey Reeves, who would later go on to star as Ari Gold’s wife in Entourage.)

The third installment feels like a film that had good intentions during the writing phase and then fell apart during execution.  Seeing as the third movie came out a mere nine months after the sequel, it’s clear that production was rushed.  Even Chucky’s death comes much more quickly at the end of this film, and without nearly as much fun and creativity as in the earlier installments.

Extras

  • Theatrical Trailer

bride-of-chucky-posterBride of Chucky

Feature

This installment introduces a new femme fatale in the form of Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), who is after Chucky’s remains.  (The pic also features John Ritter and Katherine Heigl.)  Unfortunately,  the credits (and probably the promotions that ran before the film’s release) ruin the fact that Tiffany will eventually end up as a doll.

In classic 90s movie-making, it takes pot-shots at the 80s while also being self-referential.  Happily, there’s some clever writing this time around to go with the improved puppetry. The time off between films certainly helped Mancini take a unique, if unexpected route. Tiffany stars as Charles Lee Ray’s former lover, who has been searching for him for 10 years.  It gets a bit irritating watching the human Tiffany argue with the Chucky doll as they work through their surreal romance, but at least the movie stays true to its conceit.  When Tiffany eventually inhabits the body of a doll, the two are free to engage in awful toy puns for the rest of the film.

The human side of the plot centers on a pair of teens attempting to elope and they end up taking the dolls along for the ride.  Once Chucky and Tiffany get engaged, the movie features the creepiest doll-on-doll scene in movie history, at least until Team America: World Police take the title a few years later. (Hold that thought, as the very final scene in the film might still take the cake on that one.)  Bride of Chucky was way more of a romantic horror comedy than a straight-up horror film, a trajectory that continued in the next film.

Extras

  • Bride of Chucky Spotlight on Location (~10 minutes) – Behind-the-scenes featurette on production of the fourth film in the Child’s Play franchise with David Kirschner, Don Mancini, and director Ronny Yu, plus Jennifer Tilly, John Ritter, Nick Stabile and Katherine Heigl.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Ronny Yu
  • Feature Commentary with Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif and Don Mancini
  • Theatrical Trailer

seed-of-chucky-posterSeed of Chucky

Feature

So what is to become of the little baby Chucky? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves as the opening credits show Chucky sperm swimming toward Tiffany’s eggs and … well the creation of hellish life ensues.

I won’t spoil the reveal here as the killer may not be who you expect, and the reality of the opening scene is a bit skewed as well.  Seed of Chucky takes some strange twists and turns throughout the picture while leaning more heavily on the silly side of the comedic horror genre.

The film-within-a-film Hollywood satire also features Tilly playing herself and the Tiffany doll, along with co-stars Redman, John Wateres, Tony Gardner and Jason Flemyng, plus Billy Boyd as the voice of Chucky’s progeny.  Much as Bride of Chucky took shots at romantic comedies, Seed of Chucky pokes fun at family dramas.  While it’s certainly funny, fans of the original Child’s Play and early sequels will likely enjoy the most recent installment a bit more as it returns Chucky to his roots.

Extras

  • Slashed Scene with Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Don Mancini and Debbie Carrington (~3 minutes) – Carrington (Total Recall) talks about her deleted scenes in the movie where she’s stalked by the Tiffany doll down the backlot of Universal Studios.  She played herself playing an actress who plays the bride doll.
  • Heeeeere’s Chucky (~3 minutes) – An interview with Chucky by Jim Moret, plus screen tests of Chucky auditioning for various iconic movie roles.
  • Family Hell-iday Slide Show (~3 minutes) – The three dolls show off their vacation slides.
  • Conceiving the Seed of Chucky (~20 minutes) – Mancini, Kirschner and the dolls give a retrospective talk about the history of Chucky and the Child’s Play franchise.  Plus, an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the teams of puppeteers behind each of the dolls.
  • Tilly on The Tonight Show (~2 minutes) – Tilly writing Jay Leno a missive from Romania and recounting her experiences on the set.
  • FuZion Up Close with the Seed of Chucky Stars (~5 minutes) – A TV interview with Jennifer Tilly, Tiffany and Chucky.
  • Storyboard to Final Feature Comparison – Split-screen of storyboards next to scenes from the final version of the movie.
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Don Mancini and Puppet Master Tony Gardner
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Don Mancini and Actress Jennifer Tilly
  • Trailer

curse-of-chuckyCurse of Chucky

Feature (Rated and Unrated Versions)

Centering on a disabled young woman, Nica (Fiona Dourif), who lives with her over-protective mother (Chantal Quesnelle) and longs to escape the house and explore the world.  Everything changes when a Chucky doll is delivered to their doorstep and Nica’s mother dies that very evening.

From there, the movie moves squarely into the horror realm as the family gathers in the house after the funeral, each of them dying off one by one.  This new Chucky doll, who arrives brand new and sports longer hair, is clearly behind the murders, but everyone is so far removed from the events of the previous films that they can only barely recollect the string of Good Guys murders.

Curse of Chucky acts as a new start to the Child’s Play series while staying true to the previous films.  Chucky’s clearly been overhauled, but his puppetry isn’t overused, heightening the tension and increasing the realism for scenes where he does come to life.  While the film features every horror trope in the book, it does a nice job at bringing the scares back.  A clever bit of writing ties the film nicely into the franchise and keeps both fans and newcomers guessing.  Make sure to stick around through to the end of not just the movie, but the credits as well, as there’s a rewarding post-credits scene.

Extras

  • Deleted Scenes (6)
  • Gag Reel
  • Playing with Dolls: The Making of Curse of Chucky (~15 minutes) – Behind-the-scenes featurette with the cast and crew, featuring writer-director Don Mancini talking about the fans’ desire to see Chucky return to horror.
  • Living Doll: Bringing Chucky to Life (~10 minutes) – A featurette on bringing Chucky up to date with modern technology and basing him on the old doll, while masking his scars.
  • Voodoo Doll: The Chucky Legacy (~15 minutes) – A retrospective look at Chucky throughout the Child’s Play movies.
  • Storyboard Comparisons (4 Scenes) – Don Mancini takes viewers through the storyboard sequence.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Don Mancini, Puppet Master Tony Gardner and Fiona Dourif

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