‘Bride of Chucky’ Gets a Facelift [4K Review]

bride of chucky feat 568x320 - 'Bride of Chucky' Gets a Facelift [4K Review]
bride of chucky 4k - 'Bride of Chucky' Gets a Facelift [4K Review]

Prior to receiving this new 4K release my only viewing of Bride of Chucky (1998) came 25 years ago when it opened in theaters—and I hated it. I had become so accustomed to the wise-cracking Chucky who kept things horrific that this tonal shift into absurd, self-aware humor peppered with violence turned me right off. And I mostly stayed away from the series until 2013’s Curse of Chucky, which revitalized things as this entry did, only differently.

But I digress because watching the film again now it’s clear creator Don Mancini knew the series needed a recalibration and his script completely delivers, poking fun at horror tropes, icons, sequels, endless resurrections, and relationships. Especially because this time Chucky isn’t the only human trapped in a doll’s body. Andy Barclay’s story is wisely dropped providing a much more resilient thorn in Chucky’s side in the form of Tiffany, former lover to Charles Lee Ray now his doll-sized bride/ And she gets under Chucky’s skin like no one else.

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Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly) bribes a police officer to give her the shredded remains of Chucky (who was last seen falling into an industrial fan). She takes the doll home, pulls out her copy of Voodoo for Dummies (not a joke), and performs the same ritual Charles Lee Ray did all those years earlier to transfer his soul into a Good Guy doll. Reborn once more Chucky, wanting his former flame to be on his own level, electrocutes Tiffany and transfers her soul into a bride doll, which she quickly glams up into a leather jacket-wearing misfit.

As Chucky explains, the plan is to retrieve an amulet that was buried with his human body ten years prior, currently residing in a New Jersey graveyard. Tiffany calls up her friendly neighbor, Jesse (Nick Stabile), and asks if he’ll deliver “two dolls” to the graveyard in return for a couple hundred bucks. Jesse agrees, taking his girlfriend Jade (Katherine Heigl) along for the ride. But this won’t be a simple road trip since Chucky and Tiffany can’t control their murderous impulses along the way.

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Everything with Chucky and Tiffany is pretty great. They’re the perfect deranged couple—madly in love one minute, aiming for each other’s throat the next. In every film prior Chucky would simply kill anyone who got on his nerves, but he can’t do that with Tiffany, and watching him resign to the pitfalls of a toxic relationship makes for good humor.

Of course, Mancini couldn’t resist the opportunity to give viewers a puppet sex scene and while it doesn’t come close to the perverseness of Team America: World Police, Chucky did do it first. Having a partner might be new ground for Chucky but killing is still his business and business is bloody good, with some of the most inventive and horrific kills in the series. Horror comedies can usually get away with being more visceral thanks to their “lighter” tone and Bride of Chucky plays that card to the max.

One thing I gotta question, though… you’re telling me the Charles Lee Ray I saw in Child’s Play was able to pull a bombshell like Tiffany? That’s maybe the most incredulous thing in a movie with living rubber dolls.

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The other relationship here, Jesse and Jade, provides a way for Chucky and Tiffany to go on their road trip and… not much else. It’s the typical “forbidden love” scenario, with Jesse the misfit who loves Jade, the sheriff’s daughter. But of course, the sheriff disapproves of his daughter’s choice of men. At least in this case, the sheriff is played by John Ritter and he gets to be an over-the-top prick for a little while. The best supporting character, Damien (a hilarious Alexis Arquette), starts off the feature with a sadistic and kinky scene that sets the mold for what’s to come.

Ten years ago Bride of Chucky came out on Blu-ray in the complete collection set from Universal, and five years ago it got a standalone release. Scream Factory has done a new 2023 4K master from the original camera negative and the results are quite impressive. This is a large and clear leap over any previous releases. The 1.85:1 2160p Dolby Vision/HDR10 picture is excellently defined and vivid; colors look more vibrant and the black levels are smooth and dense. Film grain is present and natural. It’s a beautifully shot film thanks to cinematographer Peter Pau, who did The Bride with White Hair (1993) with Ronny Yu and is best known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). So the guy knows how to make visually arresting images on screen.

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English DTS-HD MA 2.0 and 5.1 surround soundtracks are included. I really love the sound design on this one. There are moments of discreet channel use all around when Chucky and Tiffany are stalking, and there are big moments, like when an RV crashes, where the low end is just monstrous. Graeme Revell’s score is also a winner. It sounds like a sinister orchestra using children’s instruments; playful but ominous. The soundtrack is also packed with heavy metal from bands like Rob Zombie, White Zombie, Type O Negative, Slayer, Judas Priest, and many more notables. Ah, the sound of the late ‘90s/early ‘00s sure was great. Subtitles in English SDH.

The 4K contains two audio commentary tracks – director Ronny Yu; and, actors Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, and screenwriter Don Mancini.

Those commentaries are also on the Blu-ray, which has a mix of old and “new” (new-old) features:

Bride of Chucky – Spotlight on Location” (SD, 10:22) is a fairly stock behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.

“Making of Bride of Chucky” (SD, 10:58) is similar to the previous featurette, only a bit more in-depth.

“Additional Deleted TV Scenes” (SD, 2:40) has a couple of extended scenes that were added to the SciFi Channel broadcast (the logo for which is still in the corner).

A theatrical trailer and a couple of TV spots are also included.   

Special Features:

DISC ONE: 4K BLU-RAY

  • NEW 4K MASTER FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • Audio Commentary with director Ronny Yu
  • Audio Commentary with actors Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif and screenwriter Don Mancini
  • Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
  • Optional English subtitles for the main feature

DISC TWO: BLU-RAY

  • NEW 4K MASTER FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • Audio Commentary with director Ronny Yu
  • Audio Commentary with actors Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif and screenwriter Don Mancini
  • BRIDE OF CHUCKY Spotlight on Location
  • The Making of BRIDE OF CHUCKY
  • Additional screens from the television version
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Optional English subtitles for the main feature
  • Bride of Chucky
  • Special Features
3.3

Summary

Don Mancini and Ronny Yu put Chucky on a whole new trajectory with this entry and if you love it then this 4K release is a clear winner. There may not be any recent extras but the audio and video quality are superb and the bonus features Scream Factory was able to include are brief but worthwhile.

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