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Seed of Chucky (2004)

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Starring Jennifer (Bride of Chucky)Tilly, Redman, John Waters, Brad (All the Chucky movies) Doriff

Directed by Don Mancini


So here we are in 2004, and a film has been released that, just a year ago, seemed like it would never happen. Say what you will about Freddy Vs. Jason, but without it’s success Don Mancini would’ve never got the green light for Seed of Chucky, and then where would us sick & twisted horror fans be?

The story picks up about 5 years after the events in Bride, and Hollywood has discovered the legend behind Chucky the killer doll, so of course they’re making a movie about him called Chucky Goes Psycho. Cute title. The dolls are in existence again, we assume that they were somehow re-created after the events of the last film or something, but the only life they now have is through circuits run through their backs controlled by special effects guys.

On the other side of the pond their offspring, Glen (or as he’s known at the beginning of the film, Shithead) is having a horrible life. Unable to come to grips with what exactly he is, all he knows is that he was Made In Japan and he’s not like other boys. Escaping from the ventriloquist show he’s been made a part of after seeing a special report on the making of Chucky Goes Psycho, he makes his way to California to find his parents.

They’re brought back to life thanks to the trusty amulet (gotta love Mancini for keeping this thing around), and are soon up to their old tricks again. Except Glen (or Glenda, as he’s sexless) doesn’t want to kill, he just wants a normal life. Tiffany’s ready to give up, but it’s Chucky’s very nature to be a psycho and he just can’t help himself. Jennifer Tilly, the real one, gets mixed up in the mess as does rapper Redman (playing himself) and a very unfortunate John Waters, as well as some other victims of the dolls new, somewhat more hesitant, killing spree.

So the real question is; was it worth the wait? Immediately after seeing it if you would’ve asked me that, I would’ve said no. Plain and simple, I just didn’t like it at first. Since then, though, I’ve realized that this was exactly the kind of movie that needed to come after Bride, and yeah, it was worth the wait.

In the first three movies, the Chucky character was established as joke-cracking psycho who just wanted to be a human again. Then, in Bride, he gets himself another dolly girl to kill with, and things were taken to a new level. Now, with Seed, we see him trying to deal with not only being a psychopath, not only being stuck in the body of a sewn-together doll, but having a gender-confused son and a wife that’s losing her taste for killing. It really was the next step in establishing Chucky as a character, and it worked really well.

A lot of talk has been going around about how funny the movie is, and I will give it the fact that it’s pretty out there for the most part. The humor here is not the kind of stuff you want to have to explain to your kids (though some moronic parents in the theater last night probably had to as soon as it was over…bringing SIX YEAR OLDS to this movie), but to me it just felt like it was trying too hard to be funny. You already had the inherit ridiculousness of not only dolls possessed by the dead, but able to reproduce as well, and to go out of your way to throw in jokes along the way seemed a bit much. I think if Mancini would’ve just played on the family unit side of things exclusively it would’ve worked much better.

There’s also been a lot of talk about the level of gore, and on that particular topic I cannot argue. It’s at a level you just don’t get in Hollywood movies nowadays (or ever, come to think of it), and I think this has a lot to do with the fact that the dolls are doing all the killing. Somehow that’s more okay with the MPAA or something. Whatever the cause, it makes for some great scenes, like John Waters’ painful death sequence or the steaming guts of Redman spilled on screen. No off-camera deaths for Chucky and his family unit, no sir, this is all right in front of the all-seeing camera.

One other area I’d like to touch on before I wrap up is the animatronics. I had a fear Mancini would go the CGI route for at least some of the scenes involving the dolls from a distance, but that’s just not his style. The facial expressions alone make these characters seem truly alive, you can tell the technology has improved leaps and bounds since even Brides’s release. The camera work perfectly accentuates just how great these creations are, it almost makes you sad to think how much CGI is used nowadays when animatronics is this advanced.

Despite the flaw of seeming like it was trying too hard in some spots, Seed of Chucky is still a great follow-up to Bride and a very cool horror/comedy on it’s own. I do hope Don takes the franchise back into a Chucky solo direction like he discussed in a recent interview, because the series needs to get back to focusing on just how crazy Chucky is and what he’ll do now that he’s had the revelation he comes to at the end of Seed. I can’t wait for it!


3 1/2 out of 5

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis


Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
3.5

Summary

Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

  • Film
2.0

Summary

Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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