Franchise Fred Report: Cult of Chucky Combines Andy, Tiffany, Nica… and Glen/Glenda?
Chucky may have been the first franchise that Franchise Fred could feel ownership of, because it began when I was old enough to see it. All the other great ‘80s franchises had already begun by the time I caught up, but I saw 1988’s Child’s Play in theaters. My father had to take me, and ever since he’s had a soft spot for Chucky even though he hates horror movies. In the new Cult of Chucky, characters from every phase of the Chucky franchise will collide.
At a panel at Monsterpalooza in Pasadena, CA this weekend, Chucky creator Don Mancini and stars Tilly and Fiona Dourif answered questions about the upcoming Cult of Chucky. Fangoria founder Anthony Timpone moderated their preview. Here are 16 things we learned about the new Chucky movie.
1. Alex Vincent is confirmed!
Curse of Chucky featured a cameo by Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay all grown up, with Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany having possessed the body of actor Jennifer Tilly. The panel confirmed Vincent would have a featured role in Cult.
“He is a badass man,” Tilly said. “He is one mean motherfucker!”
Tilly obviously returns and Dourif, who played the new character Nica in Curse of Chucky is also back. “In putting this together, I wanted to see what would happen if these various characters from disparate parts of the universe all collided,” Mancini said. “It was important to me that it didn’t just see perfunctory. It wasn’t just a little cameo. I wanted to see what happens if you put these characters together. It’s like locking them in a cage and stepping back to see what happens.”
2. Glen/Glenda may be back too.
Fans asked if Chucky and Tiffany’s gender ambiguous “seed” Glen/Glenda would return. Mancini cryptically said, “Wait.” Tilly added, “You can’t keep a good transgender down.”
3. Who is the Cult of Chucky?
Another fan asked if the title Cult of Chucky alluded to the voodoo spell that allowed Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) to put his soul in the Chucky doll. “The movie will answer that question,” Mancini said.
Fiona Dourif added, “The movie has a really clear answer to why it’s called Cult of Chucky in a way that I feel like is going to be really surprising. It’s taking the franchise to a place I feel like is unexpected and not seen before.”
“It has a double meaning,” Tilly said.
Perhaps the title has a real world meaning as well. “On a certain level, we are all the cult of Chucky,” Mancini said.
4. Catherine Hicks is not back, yet.
Catherine Hicks, who played Andy’s mother in Child’s Play and bought the doll in a back alley because toy stores were sold out, has not appeared in the series since the original. Mancini was open to brining her back too.
“I love Catherine Hicks,” Mancini said. “I thought she was great in the first movie. I think we would all love to see her again.”
5. Jennifer Tilly has a lead role again.
And of course Tilly has a starring role again.
“There’s a lot more of me in this movie,” Tilly said. “In Curse of Chucky, my scene was just a teeny, tiny little sliver of Jennifer Tilly to whet your appetite for the fabulous banquet of Jennifer Tilly.”
6. It’s a brand new Chucky.
Dourif, who is Brad’s daughter, said to expect a new Chucky. “Also Chucky looks really different than the last few movies in a way that I feel like is going to surprise people,” she said. “I think he’s so much creepier.”
Mancini said they made a conscious effort to improve Chucky after Curse. “I heard some of the complaints about sometimes the way Chucky looked in the last movie,” Mancini said. “We listened. We’ve really finessed it.”
7. It’s the goriest of all the Child’s Play movies.
Chucky fans can also expect some of the most graphic kills of his three decade cinematic career.
“This is definitely the goriest of all the movies,” Mancini said. “That wasn’t even necessarily my goal. It wasn’t something I set out to do but it just kind of turned out that way. It’s also I think the most disturbing. A lot of the work on this movie reminded me of Dick Smith. It’s just almost beautiful in how disturbing it is.”
8. It’s Chucky Therapy, the latest in psychiatry.
Cult of Chucky is set after Nica was convicted of Chucky’s murders in Curse. In a mental institution, doctors have convinced her (with the help of drugs and electroshock) that Chucky was in her head. Perhaps incorporating modern therapeutic methods into the story, a misguided doctor gives Chucky a way back in.
“Her doctor complicates matters by introducing into her group therapy sessions a new therapeutic tool: a Chucky doll,” Mancini said. “One of the major characters is Nica’s psychiatrist played by Michael Therriault.”
9. It’s Chucky meets Inception.
Each Chucky movies has taken a somewhat different tone, with Bride and Seed embracing the ‘90s postmodern horror comedy tone. So too does Cult of Chucky take a new approach.
“With this one, basically what it is is the mindfuck movie,” Mancini said. “It’s really kind of Chucky meets Inception. You’re dealing with a bunch of characters whose perception of reality is altered by their madness, by the drugs that they’re on, by hypnosis, by dreams. So this movie is distinct from all the other ones. Our hope is it’s intended to be very hallucinatory and surreal.”
10. Cult of Chucky references classic horror movies.
With the mental institution theme, Timpone suggested it is One Flew Over Chucky’s Nest, a reference to a classic Brad Dourif movie too. “We may have a couple little allusions,” Mancini said.
Tilly told fans to look for other horror movie homages in Cult of Chucky. “You’ll see there’s references to other movies because Don Mancini loves horror movies,” Tilly said. “He’s incorporated homages to great horror films that have come before.”
Mancini revealed, “We have lots of Brian De Palma.”
11. It’s even more emotionally grueling for Fiona Dourif.
Playing a paraplegic in a wheelchair who was the only one to see Chucky alive was already demanding in Curse of Chucky. Fiona Dourif has an even more demanding job in Cult of Chucky.
“It’s having your really close friends write you scenes of self-flagellation,” Dourif said. “Then you’re weeping. It’s over and over horrible torture scenes. You’re like, ‘Cool, thanks for giving me a career.’”
12. Chucky will bleed again.
The new film will also address other questions about Chucky’s mythology. For example, in Curse, Chucky bled stuffing instead of blood. “That won’t necessarily adhere in the new movie,” Mancini said. “You might be pleased.”
13. It’s not the last Chucky.
Mancini confirmed he has plans for more Chucky movies. Fans want even more, including standalones for characters like Tiffany.
“Noted,” Mancini acknowledged, joking, “Rogue One: A Child’s Play Story.”
Tilly of course is game, pitching a more and more graphic spinoff. “The continuing adventures of Tiffany,” Tilly said. “The continuing erotic adventures. Tiffany, the homicidal slut!”
She also proposed giving Glen/Glenda his/her own movie.
14. Cult of Chucky continues LGBTQ themes.
One of the final audience questions asked Mancini about the series’ gay following. Mancini is openly gay and said he really began embracing it in the Chucky movies with Bride, where there was a gay character. That will also develop further in Cult of Chucky.
“I think it’s kind of cool to have a mainstream studio horror franchise that has a gay sensibility. I think that’s one of the things that sets it apart and makes it unique. It’s important to me and it’s also something that we continue in Cult of Chucky.”
15. Universal may put it in theaters if you ask very, very nicely.
Curse of Chucky premiered on DVD and Blu-ray, as many theatrical franchises now continue in the lucrative home video market. But Tilly revealed that Universal may be convinced to open Cult of Chucky in theaters simultaneously if the fans clamor for it.
“The studio right now, they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this movie is so good. We want to release it on video because that’s how we do things but we’re thinking of releasing it in theaters.’” she said. “I feel like you might be able to see it in IMAX instead of on your iPhones.”
16. Stay after the credits again.
The big cameos in Curse of Chucky came during end credits tags. Mancini confirmed you should stay until the very end of the credits in Cult too. Tilly added some extra hype.
“In a Don Mancini movie, he always gives the fans what they want,” Tilly said. “Also if you stay for the credits, you’ll know who the gaffer was. And the craft service person, that’s very important. Everybody works hard on these movies.”
Franchise Fred will be eagerly awaiting Cult of Chucky on October 20, 2017.