It’s GOTH-tober here at Dread Central, so that means this month’s Drinking With The Dread has to be drenched in Gothic horror decadence. Plenty of examples exist, but how many fit my midnight-sleaze parameters? Movies like Return Of The Living Dead or Dude Bro Party Massacre III. Vincent Price headliners are more artful endeavors since most Gothic horror favors slow, brooding gazes into the macabre at tiptoe speeds. This entry took some digging, but here’s my compromise – modern gothic horror that’s part of a well-traveled franchise.
It’s about time Chucky showed his face around my column’s parts. Let’s see what we can do with a Curse Of Chucky Drinking With The Dread.
After Bride Of Chucky ushered in 90s comedy, after Seed Of Chucky ran the batton into slapstick realms, Don Mancini returned to creepshow basics with Curse Of Chucky. What’s initiated as a reboot turns out to be an outright sequel, introducing Fiona Dourif as Chucky’s new handicapped fixation Nica. The Fangoria masturbation jokes in Seed Of Chucky are abandoned for shadowy mansion horrors, as Chucky gets back to lurking when victims are least attentive. It’s the most Gothic of any Child’s Play franchise entry and meets all requirements of GOTH-tober. We’re good here.
Why am I opting for Child’s Play over movies like The House On Haunted Hill or, more recently, The Woman In Black? Because Chucky’s wicked “sense of humor” still carries a midnighter note that works with boozy additives. Getting a wee bit sloshed while watching theatrical or plodding horror doesn’t help in terms of party watches. Curse Of Chucky, while gothically inclined, still captures all the Chucky-fronted fun we’ve come to love. Sadistic zingers, comical kills, Charles Lee Ray’s mean streak – it’s still a slasher at heart. A Gothic slasher that melds both worlds with franchise appeal.
Since Curse Of Chucky was produced by Universal’s direct to video arm, part of me believes horror fans either missed its release or were scared away without theatrical backing. Shame, really, since Curse Of Chucky is yet another fun and freaky reinvention of Child’s Play mythology that displays so eloquently why Mancini’s franchise still hasn’t ceased production. Curse Of Chucky pivots *hard* back into more strenuous horror realms immediately after Seed Of Chucky. Mancini steers tonality as to reaffirm Chucky as a plaything stuffed with menace and hatred, not his court jester killer act – and yet, he’s still a crackup hoot. Chucky’s little rubber hand dumping rodent poison into chili or biting fingers with a cackle.
Mancini has never abandoned Brad Dourif or for a second questioned his iconic slasher’s pathway. Curse Of Chucky capitalizes on what’s most important – gory kills, top-tier puppeteer effects, and Chucky as himself. Between a jawbreaker kill and some sinister shadowplay as Nica and Chucky trade wits while utilizing her wheelchair-wide elevator, we’re sucked right back into Mancini’s terrifying world like Child’s Play 2 happened only a year or two back. I *love* the reveal when Chucky’s Frankenstein scar is revealed, confirming we’re all caught up in storyline development. No “new” Chucky, all a crafty ruse to withhold Cult Of Chucky setups forthcoming. It’s spooky, devious, and gothically inclined. Welcome back to the nasty shit, Chuckster.
Highlight moments include but are not limited to:
- Andy’s surprise.
- Cheaters never prosper.
- You have your mother’s eyes.
- Alice, sweet Alice.
- The pastor’s last words.
- A return to straightforward horror.
- A commitment to canon.
- Chucky’s range of motion and ability to move without heavy CGI implications.
- A reboot that’s a sequel yet still stands alone with strength.
Someday soon I’ll find a way to honor Bride Of Chucky with a drinking game, but for now, here’s my goth-creepy Drinking With The Dread rules for Curse Of Chucky.
- Take a drink whenever Barb does something bitchy.
- Take a drink whenever Chucky appears at random.
- Take a drink whenever someone refuses to believe Chucky is the killer.
- Take a drink whenever Chucky cackles.
- Take TWO drinks whenever someone dies.
- Take TWO drinks whenever we enter “Chucky Vision” (the camera goes knee-high first person).
- Rip a shot when Barb reveals Chucky’s true form.
It’s the last paragraph, so you know what time it is! Hoist your glasses into the air and praise the undersung Child’s Play sequel that kept Chucky’s boat well afloat. Respect the work Don Mancini has tirelessly completed to forge forward with his original franchise despite MGM’s lame A.I. reboot. Drink in the name of forgone innocence, Jennifer Tilly, and horror legends who refuse to stop scaring. Do you crave Gothic horror? Curse Of Chucky is yet another Mancini riff that furthers Chucky’s story while exploring another fresh-to-franchise subgenre of horror. Worth every gamble and obstacle.