alex vincent, billy boyd, brad dourif, child's play, christine elise, chucky, david kirschner, documentary, don mancini, fiona dourif, jennifer tilly, john waters, kyra elise gardner, living with chucky, screambox, screamboxtv, tony gardener
Child’s Play along with its iconic killer doll Chucky has been classified as a gateway horror feature. I was 10 years old upon its release and the moment that Maggie (Dinah Manoff) fell out of the apartment window and to her death, was embedded in this impressionable mind. I’ve been hooked on the highs and lows of Chucky’s exploits ever since and immersing in each instant that it traversed from straight horror, to comedy and back again, evolving as Chucky did along the way and willing to be taking along the ride. Why? If anything it’s simply that with any Chucky film, you’re guaranteed to be entertained, whether it’s the one-liners, or the outrageous steps in story arc decisions that Chucky makes to carry out his kills. In many ways, I’m the right kind of audience for this documentary feature, because like the players involved, I too have grown up with Chucky and allowed him into my room so that he can play to his heart’s content and satiate my need for benevolent horror.
Where Living With Chucky fills the void between creativity and audience is that it steps into the Chucky vortex and drifts through the years, engaging in interviews and memories from the team that brought you the seven features from the franchise (with the exception of the one that shall not be named 2019 reboot… ahem.)
It could easily serve up as one of those memory lane doco’s that run the gauntlet of interviews with its key players, but the essential ingredient is one of ‘family’. Something that the creatives identify with or as, throughout the years that they have been devoted to the franchise. Integral to the narrative, is the films’ director, Kyra Elise Gardner who is also the daughter of special effects guru Tony Gardner, the man behind the many puppetry changes that Chucky has embodied over time. This father – daughter relationship is at first only the understory as we (the audience) go through the motions of the intricate details and recollections that went into each feature. By the film’s conclusion it is the heart of the documentary and sings to each tale that is told. Naturally involved in this is the more notable father – daughter team who collaborate on screen, the brilliant Brad Dourif and Fiona Dourif. And of course, Jennifer Tilly who marked the most significant change in the franchise with her role of Tiffany and here her accounts are equally engaging here. To complete the evocative journey we also have Alex Vincent, Christine Elise, Billy Boyd, John Waters, David Kirshner and Chucky creator Don Mancini to guide our nostalgic yearnings and tick all the necessary needs that fans of the franchise could possibly need.
This is more than a Chucky fan’s bible to instil the desire to walk through each of the franchise’ features and cast your mind back with the key players of the time. Living With Chucky speaks to the central premise and the reason that we keep going back to pint-sized elaborate kills from out favourite serial-killing doll. The sheer fun and frivolity that is had in the making of these films and the bond that is formed by the creatives in doing so. It’s what has united them and formed a family-like atmosphere with each passing tale. One that is evident when watching these films and here, this doco provides a window into the inventiveness and artistry.
- Saul Muerte
Living With Chucky is streaming on SCREAMBOX on iOS, Android, Prime Video, Roku, YouTube TV, Samsung, Comcast, Cox, and Screambox.com.