United States: 1998
Original title: Bride of Chucky
Director: Ronny Yu
Screenplay: Don Mancini
Actors: Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, John Ritter
Publisher: ESC Éditions
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Cinema release date: March 10, 1999
DVD / BR Release Date: March 17, 2021
Chucky doll is nothing more than an infamous piece of rag and plastic that is barely good to throw in the trash. But Charles Lee Ray, a serial killer officially dead for ten years, still lives in his carcass in lint. The luscious Tiffany, a creature entirely devoted to his cult, dreams of bringing him back to life. And now she manages to revive him. But as soon as he comes back to life, Chucky quickly gets tired of his toy appearance, because nothing in his eyes is worth three feet of flesh and bones, an advantageous physique in which runs hot blood, that of the handsome Jesse for example…
It is a commonplace in film circles who would like the first episode of a franchise to always be considered “the best” of the saga. In the realm of fantasy / horror-oriented cinema, however, this is far from always being the case. So, if we take a step back and look at the great “mythical” figures of fantastic cinema – the shark of Sea teeth, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Chucky, the Wishmaster, the Tall Man of Phantasm – we will quickly realize that with the exception of cases ofHalloween and Sea teeth, most of these famous boogeymen especially stood out through their “suites”. Crazier, more generous, more imaginative suites … And so in a nutshell most successful than the original movies.
Child’s play was thus a wobbly film, endearing but half failed, having however spawned the birth of a cult boogeyman character, namely the infamous Chucky, a serial killer stuck in the body of a plastic doll. We will quickly pass on the first two suites of the adventures of Chucky, namely Chucky – The Blood Doll (1990) and Chucky 3 (1991), which despite some qualities were sluggish little horror films, at the heart of which we nevertheless witnessed a shift which would make it possible to lay the foundations of Chucky’s Bride : black comedy had gradually taken a more important place, replacing pure terror. In the same vein, the evil devilish doll became a little more central with each new film, sweeping more and more clearly the “human” element of the saga, namely the little Andy, whose place in the film. third opus had become insignificant. Gradually, the murder scenes also became more “gory”, more imaginative, and the number of corpses higher.
This is the classic pattern of the horror saga. After the failure of Chucky 3, and a hiatus of a few years, everything seemed ready to launch with Chucky’s Bride a total reinvention of the elements of the franchise. This time, Chucky has clearly become the hero of the film; sharp wit, twisted sense of humor, voice of Brad Dourif – it’s all there. Don Mancini’s stroke of genius on this new film is, however, to have added a girlfriend to him in the person of Tiffany, played by Jennifer Tilly, who in a single film would establish himself as an essential figure in horror. From twentieth century. Don’t listen to her detractors, those who scream at death that it’s her and not Chucky 3 which really killed the franchise – on the contrary, we would rather consider on our side that Chucky’s Bride is the first real “good” film of the saga. And in part thanks to her.
We admit, however, that it is true that Chucky’s Bride represents a sudden change of tone in the saga; all the more brutal as the realization of Ronny Yu turns out to be absolutely crazy and inspired. Abandoning all horrific inclinations, the film allows Don Mancini to indulge his taste for excess, excess, gore, but also comedy and acerbic satire of theAmerican way of life. Hilarious, bizarre, reassuringly vulgar, Ronny Yu’s film never ceases to amaze, is never where you expect it to be. Brad Dourif and Jennifer Tilly are having a blast, the madness accumulates over the reels, and will accumulate until puffing up with creativity, with this scene of copulation between the two cute dolls and of course, to a final scene announcing Don Mancini’s fierce desire to take the franchise even further into nonsense. And if you saw Chucky’s son, which he himself would realize six years later, you know how far he was ready to go in the “What The Fuck” integral.
And if you are not convinced that Chucky’s Bride is a masterpiece, we invite you to (re) read the review by our editor Emmanuelle Langelot, who, more or less, had the same feelings as the author of these lines on Ronny Yu’s film.
After being the first country in the world to offer Chucky’s Bride in High-Definition in 2009, the hexagon returned the cover in March of this year, with a new Combo Blu-ray + DVD edition published under the colors ofESC Editions, and which had made consumers bitch because of the presence of a Quebec VF. Always attentive to the recriminations of moviegoers, ESC corrected the shooting by offering a replacement cake with the “real VF”.
Blu-ray side, the publisher offers us a 1080p transfer of very good performance. We have already seen it in the past, in some cases, the excellence of HD media in terms of details tends to highlight flaws that we did not necessarily notice in standard definition: we remember for example that Zack Snyder had the grain potato added to better integrate his special effects for the Blu-ray transfer of 300. In the case of Chucky’s Bride, the HD contribution could also vaguely harm the film: indeed, the multiplication of close-ups and compound shots does not really highlight the physique of its two main actresses, the sharpness of the foregrounds strongly emphasizing the makeup Jennifer Tilly’s outrageousness, as well as debutante Katherine Heigl’s rather unsightly skin texture. The two actresses therefore turn out to be two new victims of the format’s increased level of detail. However, as on the first edition Aventi as well as on the US Blu-ray published in 2018, the image has obviously been the subject of a slight degraining, the smoothing of the image can be at times a little annoying. However, for a film taking place mainly at night, the master offers beautiful chromatic nuances, ranging from deep blacks to pink / red light effects, which give pride of place to the hallucinating compositions of shots by Ronny Yu, as well as to the photo signed Peter Pau, official collaborator of the Asian filmmaker.
On the soundtrack side, the original version DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sends the wood: very active, powerful during the roughest sequences, the mix also gives pride of place to very rock songs from the soundtrack (especially on the “Living dead girl” by Rob Zombie which serves as the credits to the film). The French version, also available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, is much narrower, without nuance. Technically, we would much prefer the mix of the original version, more punchy in hysterical moments, and which above all allows to benefit from the dubbing of Chucky by the inimitable Brad Dourif.
Interactivity level, the editor went to find the two audio commentaries recorded on the occasion of the release of the American Zone 1 DVD edition in 1999: the first is provided by the director Ronny Yu, which will evoke the production and filming of the film in Toronto, the pressure and challenges surrounding the franchise and the character of Chucky, or the balance between humor and horror or his close collaboration with the writer and creator of the series Don Mancini. More alive and above all much funnier, the second audio commentary gives voice to Don Mancini, accompanied for the occasion by Brad Dourif and Jennifer Tilly. The valves and laughter erupt, which does not prevent the trio from taking again its seriousness on a few occasions, in order to evoke the change of tone of the film compared to the preceding ones, actors, improvisations on the set, etc. Very pleasant !
We will then continue with a handful of period featurettes (10 minutes), of which we will especially remember the moments stolen on the set and a very short fake interview with Chucky, during which the doll evokes in hints the opulent breasts of Jennifer Tilly. Finally, and in addition to the traditional trailer, ESC Editions offers us a presentation of the film by Julien Dupuy (21 minutes), which will put the film in its context, highlighting the “rebirth” of the character of Chucky through this film. We regret that said that the journalist gives in to the temptation – very contemporary – to analyze the film in the light of the sexual orientation of Don Mancini. It seems to us more judicious to qualify Don Mancini as a filmmaker of excess or bad taste rather than simply labeling him “gay filmmaker”. And since he justifies his point of view by citing in his intervention the winking appearance of John Waters in Chucky’s son, on our side, we see this rapprochement more as a way of emphasizing a filiation in provocation and pee-poo rather than as a simple sign of belonging to the gay community.