In October of 2012, I was invited to Winnipeg to visit the set of now-completed sixth film in the Child's Play film series, Curse of Chucky, written and directed by the series' mastermind Don Mancini. The experience was a delight. In addition to meeting the stars and masterminds of the film – including Mancini, Fiona Dourif, A Martinez, Danielle Bisutti, Maitland McConnell, Brennan Elliott, and Brad Dourif, the voice of Chucky himself – I was also given the opportunity to examine some of the filmmaking nuts and bolts of the production, including, most notably, a bizarre chance to have a sit-down with one of the Chucky dolls used in the film.
Mancini has (rightly) elected to eschew CGI, and animate Chucky using old-school animatronic technology, just like the series used when it started up in 1988. Sitting next to Chucky on a darkened set, while his head slowly swiveled back and forth, his eyeballs slowly rolling to meet mine, his tony plastic lips curling into a ghastly smile, was very much a fulfilled childhood fantasy for a boy who grew up with the series nearby. It was also the stuff of nightmares. That doll is still effing creepy!
The goal of Curse of Chucky was, from the very start, to reclaim Chucky's old-school horror cred from the previous two films, which had been comedic and satirical, despite their violence and murder. The filmmakers wanted the series to be scary again. As such, the set felt less like a gooftastic party, and more like enthused engineers trying to make a large and detailed and expensive haunted house. Although it was far from the duct-tape-and-Metallica-records haunted house of our youths. As this was a feature film, this haunted house was the real deal.
Each of the actors proved to be talented and charming, and each offered up their own unique insights into the world of the Child's Play franchise, from old-school series regulars like Mancini and Mr. Dourif, to first-timers like Martinez and lead actress Ms. Dourif (who, you will find, was not given the job by her father; it actually was just a happy coincidence). I asked them about their approach to acting, their familiarity with the franchise, and tried to suss out what the movie was without delving too deeply into plot reveals. The cast and crew were all playfully coy about when this film was to take place within the franchise; they refused to reveal if it was a sequel or a prequel. You can watch brief videos of my interviews above.
I also was given the opportunity to wander the spooky haunted house-like set, complete with its grimy kitchen, cavernous foyers, and creepy steel-trap elevator. I wish this had happened earlier in the day, but late at night, talking to the film's masterful makeup artist Doug Morrow, I was given a very real-looking gash to my left temple using little more than mortician's wax and stage blood. Maybe it's a good thing this happened late at night. Had I been given a realistic gash early in the day I would be tempted to take to the streets of Winnipeg in the afternoon, showing off my a grievous cranial injury, scaring the normals.
I also got to hold one of the single most realistic severed heads I have ever had the opportunity to see. Seriously, if I hadn't also met the actor on whose head it had been molded, I would begin to worry about the whereabouts of the rest of his body.
Curse of Chucky was released on home video on the 8th of this month, and CraveOnline has been offering extensive coverage of it. In addition to my interviews with the cast and crew below, William “Bibbs” Bibbiani has also been conducting a series of more extended interviews with Mr. Mancini on every one of the Child's Play movies, all of which he has written. That series of interviews is called The Chucky Files.
So, as you can see, the Child's Play movies are kind of important to us. Please take a moment, and soak up some of our enthusiasm.
Witney Seibold is a featured contributor on the CraveOnline Film Channel and the co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. You can read his weekly articles B-Movies Extended, Free Film School and The Series Project, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind.