Bride of Chucky (1998)

Title: Bride of Chucky (1998)

Tagline: Chucky gets lucky!

Summary: Chucky hooks up with another murderous doll, the bridal gown-clad Tiffany, for a Route 66 murder spree with their unwitting hosts, two eloping high-school graduates.

Grade: B-

Initial Thoughts

I actually loved this when it came out. I jumped so hard on the bandwagon of horror movies being witty as well as creepy. The Scream trend was something I appreciated. Of course, witty is subjective, and more often than not it ended up being a lot of irritating people saying a lot of dumb shit that the writers thought was funny, but for me Bride worked. [JC: I had the Fangoria issue with this movie on the cover. I was hyped for this movie . . . and then didn’t end up seeing it until it came to video. For some reason. Anyway, I absolutely loved it when I finally did end up seeing it. And since my thing seems to be providing the critic scores (except I think I forgot to add them into either Child’s Play 2 or 3, oops), this movie has a 5.4/10 on IMDb, and 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. Which seems criminally low, btw.]

And I’ve adored Jennifer Tilly since the first time I saw Bound. And, this has fuck all to do with the recap, I think she seems like a cool person. Like, if you bumped into her somewhere, she’d be nice to talk to. Please don’t disabuse me of this notion if that’s not true. (Please do if she’s done something so awful I need to reconsider my stance because I will miss stuff. The only celeb I follow with any enthusiasm is Trey Parker.) [JC: As far as I can tell, she’s an absolutely adorable human being.] [Dove: Oh, thank goodness. Raven has a few friends who play poker professionally, and I keep hoping that they level up enough to meet her so they can tell me how awesome she is. So far no luck.]

Recap:

We open on a dark and stormy night at the Lockport Police Department Evidence Repository. We get quick flashes of evidence, including a chainsaw, a too-white-to-be-Jason’s hockey mask, a Michael Myers mask and Freddy’s glove. So I’m already happy. When you are 53 seconds in and you’ve already leant on the fourth wall hard enough to give the fans a cheery wave, you’re either doing something wrong or something very very right. And you know what camp I’m in.

A young cop, Bailey, goes to locker 22408 and takes a black garbage bag from inside it, then drives into the rain. He calls someone while driving and quickly demonstrates why this is illegal – he drifts into oncoming traffic – admittedly because he’s trying to look in the bag as well as drive and talk on the phone – and nearly dies as a bloody statistic on the road.

Tiffany, the person he called, laughs at him and tells him curiosity killed the cat.

We cut to Bailey parked in a warehouse, lighting a cigarette with a zippo (engraved “To Bailey”). God, I miss smoking. Not enough to actually go outside and have one, but if someone said, “You can have one cigarette at your desk, and it won’t make you or the house smell,” then I’d be in. (The health risks of a single cigarette are pretty slim, so that’s not a deciding factor.)

He reaches for the bag, but the police radio jump scares him, but not into stopping. We get a point of view shot of inside the bag, then Bailey’s head is wrenched back and his throat cut. Which, by the way, is a really grim death. I’m glad it doesn’t feature much in horror movies. I’d rather see the inventive Final Destination gore than a throat cut. It’s just nasty.

Tiffany walks around the car and files her nails with the file she just used on Bailey. She helps herself to the lighter, and the bag of evidence. She says “Well, hello, dolly,” to Chucky’s very mangled face, then walks off in her 9” stilettos to Rob Zombie’s Living Dead Girl.

And yeah, if I didn’t love her before, that’s a great entrance. I remember on the commentary, she was told that nobody could animate the doll version to walk in her signature walk, and her response was largely, “That’s not a signature walk, that’s just how humans do in such tall heels.” [JC: My “signature walk” in heels as high as hers would involve a sudden lurch, an ankle twist, a total wipe-out of anything within arms’ reach, and then a very embarrassing trip to the emergency room.]

And, small moment here (*melodramatic hands over heart*), JC and I actually got talking over Rob Zombie, so now I actually think of JC any time I hear his music or any reference to him. [JC: Aww! Um, every time I hear William Forsythe threaten to skull fuck the shit out of someone I think of Dove . . . ? (Look, I’m bad at compliments, okay?)] [Dove: I’ll take it.]

And then we get a montage of Tiffany’s trailer. It’s filled with dolls and cuttings about Charles Lee Ray and his death in Chicago and, for a bonus, I paused on some of the cuttings, and the text actually relates to the headings. It’s not just Lorem Ipsum or other unrelated text.

I seem to vaguely remember from the commentary that they didn’t actually have suitable pictures to accompany the text about the shooting – not sure why the picture of a corpse of a murderer should be running with the article… or… wait… is that standard for America? [JC: Nope. That should have been a mug shot, or a DMV photo, or literally anything but that.] – so they had to find a wig, approximate clothing equivalents, and take some quick photos of Dourif while they were shooting other things. I remember wondering why they just didn’t use a still from the original movie. I still wonder about that. [JC: I dunno, maybe because there was no fucking amulet around his neck in the original, despite what this one is trying to tell us? 🙂]

Tiffany sets about rebuilding Chucky, and the first time I watched this, it struck me as pretty creepy she has a box of doll parts and is happy to Frankenstein her beloved. Then I started collecting My Little Pony, and have pony heads and bodies on pikes in my kitchen (to air dry them after an oxy bath), have a shoe organiser full of hair on the back of my door, and have bits of ponies all over the house. tl;dr: I get it now. This is normal. [JC: *blinks* Should we ever meet IRL, I’m very grateful for the heads up regarding your pony house of horrors.] [Dove: I once posted a video of me boiling a pony in a pan and dying it purple on Facebook. People were weirded out. Well, not bat and Wing, but literally everyone else I’m friends with.]

Health and safety did their best to kill this shot dead.

Tilly can’t actually sew, so they use the same couple of shots over and over, which I think is adorable. She also put a doll eyeball in her mouth for one shot, and the health and safety people freaked out. They doused the eye in antiseptic before she did it again, and it tasted foul.

We cut to a very nice large house. So large it has one of those circular driveways so you don’t have to do a three-point turn to get back out. [JC: I once heard a comedian make the joke that houses with circular driveways have them so that you can just drive right back out again when you find out how much the house costs. Seems about right; this place looks huge.]

Here we meet David, a nice dude, and John Ritter, who plays Jade’s uncle Warren. David is here to pick Jade up for a date and quickly outs himself with his stereotypical gayness. He’s going to Princeton to study theatre arts (on a scholarship for figure skating), and gives Jade some tips on how to make her corsage last longer.

Warren comments to Jade that David is a great improvement on her last boyfriend, her parents would like this one. Jade snaps back that her parents liked all of her friends.

When the two leave, after much gay talking from David while Jade looks furious, Warren calls someone and announces, “She just left.” Then he glares out into the stormy night, just in case you missed that he was an asshole.

Down the road, Jade’s real boyfriend, Jesse, pops up from the back seat – inexplicably wearing a powder blue suit, are we in Sweet Valley? [JC: My first thought was Tommy Ross from Carrie.] [Dove: That’s it. It kept pinging something, but I couldn’t remember what.] – and gives her a big kiss. Jade clambers into the back seat and the two start snogging, which I’m sure is delightful for David.

Seconds later, a police car appears behind them and gets them to pull over. David announces it’s “Needlenose”.

Back with Tiffany, Chucky is now in a pentagram drawn out in sand and surrounded by a billion candles. She is reading from a book called “Voodoo for Dummies” which is probably one of my favourite gags in this. Apparently getting the OK from the publisher on using the format/name/look of the book was a hard sell, but it was worth it.

Tiffany does the standard chant, with the rising music and the terrible storm raging outside, and on her final “AWAKE!” … nothing happens. She repeats “Awake” several times, but nothing. She tosses the book over her shoulder and sighs.

And this is where we meet Damien, played by the late Alexis Arquette before she transitioned. And even though this probably doesn’t need to be said, I’m just going to clarify, so that I can be clear that I’m aware of Alexis’ gender (and the non-binary nature of it towards the end of her life). Damien is a male character and will be referred to as he/him.

Damien is an Eric Draven wannabe, with much makeup, piercings and jewellery. He’s desperate to impress Tiffany, who clearly and openly could not care less. He hands her a polaroid of his alleged first kill, and Tiffany is momentarily excited before she realises that it’s actually a picture of Damien covered in fake blood and makeup.

As Tiffany walks away in disgust, she realises that the sandy pentagram is messy and there’s no doll lying there. She guesses Chucky must be under the sofa and commands Damien to check for a lost lipstick under there. And we get a jump scare as he reaches under, only to have Tiffany’s tarantula, Charlotte, land on his face from above. Where on earth she was before is anybody’s guess, since Tiffany is leaning over him, but whatevs.

Tiffany puts Charlotte back in her terrarium (and Tilly actually handled the spider, even though the shots imply otherwise), and then the power goes out. Is Tiffany the only woman on the planet who is excited as classic horror tropes play out? She’s a buxom blonde, in a storm, the power’s out, and she’s like YASS! MOAR! [JC: It’s so cute. I just wanna hold hands with her through a Halloween haunted house.]

They end up in her bedroom – they’re in a trailer, so three steps in any direction is a new room, and it’s awesomely decorated, aside from the murder thing, Tiffany is totes wife material – and Damien tries to talk his way into her pants. Again, Tiffany couldn’t be any more bored or disinterested.

The lightning cracks and Chucky is suddenly beside Tiffany. Damien gets off of the bed to come and pick Chucky up, not just lacking fear, but showing as much disdain for Chucky as Tiffany shows for him. Tiffany says it’s the actual doll from the murders, and Chucky uses the voicebox to say, “I’m Chucky, wanna play?” but with a hint of malice.

Damien voices the haters’ thoughts: “He’s so… eighties! He isn’t even scary.”

Damien punches Chucky then tosses him across the room. Tiffany says that she thought he’d be “an interesting plaything” and asks if Damien wants to play. Cut to him being handcuffed to the bed. Then Tiffany puts the doll on top of Damien, who looks rather startled by this turn of events. Tiffany tells them to both watch her.

Tilly actually signed the no nudity clause, and said on the commentary that she couldn’t do sexy anyway because she’s too goofy (really, Tilly? I bet she oozes sex appeal wearing sweatpants and a mangy t-shirt), so her striptease consists of her swaying while taking off a glove. [JC: I think most people are at their sexiest when they’re not even trying. The ones who are trying tend to edge over into cringey territory for me. Having said that, I hate the “she doesn’t know she’s beautiful (until a man tells her)” trope with a passion.]

She explains to Damien that she and Chucky lived together for years, and he’d murder anyone for even glancing Tiffany’s way – this would explain why he was considered such a prolific killer then? She says that Chucky was the best sex she ever had and they were going to get married.

And yeah, no. Much as I love Tilly and the character of Tiffany, I really feel like this would have come up before now if it was actual cannon. This falls into “that brand new tradition we’ve always had”. In the first movie, they go to his voodoo dealer’s house, but nobody thinks to check in with the live-in lover? Really? Because pretty much every crime/horror show/book/movie I’ve ever encountered tends to go straight to the romantic partner(s) first.

Back to the movie. Damien comments that Chucky’s not man enough to take care of Tiffany’s needs. Chucky does an Exorcist twist head-turn and comments that it’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it. He then rips out Damien’s lip piercing and suffocates him with a pillow, while Tiffany giggles.

Just a gentle reminder. This guy was called the “Lakeshore Strangler”. I will be doing the maths on his lack of strangulations.

Chucky and Tiffany have a sweet reunion, kind of awkward, but both happy. Chucky spots Damien’s fake kill photo and announces that it’s “sick”. He romantically comments that she looks great and he always thought she’d let herself go. They hug and it’s actually quite charming.

We cut to Jade, David and Jesse being breathalysed by Needlenose. [JC: aka The Motherfucker Doing a David Arquette in Scream Impression.] Then Warren rocks up. He tells Jade to get in the car. She can go to hell for all he cares as soon as she turns eighteen, but until then, she’s not allowed to see Jesse, who he thinks is trailer trash. Warren threatens Jesse that he could fix the blood test so he looked like “Christian Slater on New Year’s Eve”, which is a reference that heavily dates this movie. Jade gives Jesse her bracelet for no reason at all, and it’s never explained (presumably a deleted scene that didn’t end up on the DVD? JC, any ideas?) and says she wishes they could choose their own family. [JC: Right. So, there’s a deleted scene that takes place while they’re in the car, where Jesse gives Jade this bracelet. (If you watch closely, you see her wrist with no bracelet, then the next time it cuts to her, BAM! Bracelet!) From the line about choosing your own family, I’m assuming the bracelet is a sentimental family heirloom or something.] [Dove: Ah. I thought you’d probably know. Their dialogue is really clunky here and it does feel like we missed something.]

As Jade and the cops walk away, David says if it were him, he’d take Jade away and never look back.

I’d say maybe swoop back in a few months when she’s turned eighteen and take any inheritance that Warren is holding over her. I’m assuming that she must have some, if the family is so well-to-do that dating someone who lives in a trailer park is a hard nope.

Back with Tiffany, she’s made Swedish meatballs, his favourite – uh… can Chucky eat? – and says she wanted tonight to be perfect. She then shows him a playpen and some toys, which is for the nursery, then adds she still has the ring he left for her.

He says it came from Vivian Van Pelt and it’s worth five to six grand. Tiffany’s face falls and she asks if this means he wasn’t going to ask her to marry him. His cold and incredulous, “What are you, fucking nuts?” followed by gales of iconic Chucky laughter rather sours the mood.

Chucky fails to read the room as Tiffany mutters to herself that Chucky would never change. He says he needs to get out of the doll body, and Tiffany says no, she prefers him like that. She tickles him and treats him like a baby, the unceremoniously drops him in the playpen under the table and locks him in.

At this point, Chucky realises that Tiff is somewhat upset about something, and half-heartedly says they can get married. Tiff is resolved though. She leaves him in the playpen and turns on the music to hide her crying jag. Which she has on the bed, beside Damien’s corpse.

The next morning, Jesse is washing his van shirtless as Tiffany staggers out of her trailer dragging a trunk. He stares at her until she notices him, then tries to hide. She spots him and asks if he can help her get the trunk into her car. She notices that some of Damien’s hair is poking out of the trunk and rushes to shove it back in before Jesse comes over.

Also, those are actually Jennifer Tilly’s own shoes, and apparently the gravel wrecked them.

She flirts with Jesse as he staggers to get the trunk into her car, and then we hear Chucky yell, “Tiffany, where the fuck are you?” and Jesse asks if she has company. She says she’s baby-sitting a “foul-mouthed little fucker”. She asks if he wants to get a drink later, but he says no, he’s seeing someone. Tiffany tells him to treat her right, if she cooks all day, the least the guy can do is the dishes. One of her mom’s sayings.

Do we actually get to meet Tiffany’s mom in Seed? Because I think it would be awesome to have an older version of Tiffany constantly spouting “wisdom”. I’m pretty sure the answer is no, but I’ve only seen it once. [JC: Unfortunately, you are correct. That would have been hilarious, though.]

We cut to Chucky who has used the building blocks to spell “Kill Tiffany slow” and argues with a Speak & Spell that woman is spelled B-I-T-C-H. he’s also drawn a bunch of murder scenes and ripped all of the toys limb from limb.

I’ve seen enough horror movies to know where this is going…

Tiffany returns home with a large gift-wrapped box and chides him that if he can’t play nice, she’ll take his toys away. She says that she’s been thinking and he should settle down, it would be good for him. Chucky is delighted because it means out of the playpen. Then Tiffany unwraps the box and puts a doll of Chucky’s size in the pen with him. The doll is dressed in a wedding dress and simpers, “With this ring, I thee wed…” and she’s wearing the Van Pelt ring on a necklace.

So… Tiffany took the ring out, bought a doll, put it on the doll and then wrapped it. It’s hardly impossible, but it does imply that Tiff is fucking seething about this situation. Rock on. [JC: Tiffany is petty as fuck, and I’m here for it! Although I’ve always assumed she put the ring-on-a-necklace on the doll in the .3 seconds it’s out of frame, before dropping it in the playpen.] [Dove: Oh. Yeah, that makes more sense.]

Tiffany makes a joke about them wanting to be alone and then gets in the tub. She watches a small portable TV, while sipping champagne (I guess?) and watching the news and making snide comments about their lack of leads on the murders of Bob and Damien, whose body has been found today. Side note: There’s a really awful picture of Damien in his pre-goth days. They’ve worked very hard to make the worst of Alexis’ striking features, but if it’s supposed to be a school photo, they should have cleaned up the photo because it’s either actual shadow, or five o’clock shadow, and makes it look as if both pictures were taken at the same age.

That hand is… so wrong.

While Tiffany channel surfs, Chucky uses the diamond ring to saw a dent into his playpen bars. Also, even with perspective, that hand looks so wrong for Chucky. Too big, right?

Tiffany settles on Bride of Frankenstein as Chucky breaks free. Tiffany thinks this is a real tearjerker of a movie – “We belong dead” really gets her in the feels. [JC: It gets me in the earworms. The Misfits song “Dust to Dust” repeats that line a few times.] Chucky approaches with a knife, dragging the wedding doll behind him by the veil. He then gives up all sense of subtlety and runs at her with a knife, yelling. Tiffany kicks out and he bounces across the room. Chucky then shoves the TV into the bath, and while Tiffany dies of electrocution, the little asshole stands there surrounded by bubbles.

And then we get what we’re here for. Chucky doing the infamous Damballa chant, between his dead ex in the tub and the wedding doll. This is probably the first time since the first movie he’s been able to complete the chant in the first hour of the film.

Nothing happens and we get an improbable jump scare when human Tiffany suddenly lunges out of the bath water, while doll Tiffany stands up behind him. Uh, how?

When Tiffany realises that she’s a doll, she reacts appropriately by screaming, swearing and punching Chucky out. There’s a short argument as they both insult each other, and we cut to Tiffany reading Voodoo for Dummies again. Chucky summarises for the audience, but she can find everything she wants on page 217. They need an amulet called the Heart of Dumballa [JC: Hrumph.], which will allow them to transfer their souls back into human bodies. Unfortunately, he was buried with it in Hackensack, New Jersey. And getting there as dolls is going to be hard.

Cut to Jesse taking a call from Tiffany, who is offering $500 to drive some very special, one-of-a-kind dolls to New Jersey. She can’t do it, she’s looking after a friend who is mentally incapacitated. Cut to Chucky, who is drinking the contents of Tiffany’s goldfish bowl with a straw. With the fish still in.

Jesse looks at Jade’s bracelet and says he’ll do it, for $1,000.

“Barbie, eat your heart out.”

And now we have a makeover montage set to Call Me by Blondie. Nail polish, makeup, blonde hair – she dyed it with real hair dye. That’s a bit weird. Rit Dye would be the natural selection, unless she managed to get a doll with human hair, which is unlikely. I’ve never used hair dye on doll hair before, but it’s one of the things you’re told not to do on the forums – especially since Rit Dye is much cheaper and lasts longer. Also, bleach? I mean, maybe it works well, but you’d think Tiffany would know all this. In fact, most doll enthusiasts prefer waft wigs or manual rehairing (the latter would be impossible though).

Then again, what do I know? Doll restorers freely use benzyl peroxide to remove stains, whereas that’s the kiss of death in the pony community because of the different reactions to the different plastics. Maybe hair’s the same.

All that said, Tiffany looks awesome as a doll. And Chucky agrees.

As Jesse approaches, Tiff gets all panicky. Chucky tells her to “act natural”, and this is the result:

Jesse finds the request to take them to a cemetery a bit strange, but money.

He drives to Jade’s house where she’s sitting outside with David, who says that we have very few chances to be happy. Jade and Jesse hug on the drive. Uh… is Warren out? If so, why is every light on in the house? Yes, he is, Jade confirms, so why is her beard there then? +5 to diversity, or just so we don’t forget he exists?

Jesse says that he loves her, he’d do anything for her, and if she cooked he’d do the dishes, she knows that right? And all the way through, he has her hoodie in his hands and keeps shaking it. It’s a weird fucking delivery choice. It’s like he’s angry with her hoodie while his tone conveys adoration.

Cut to the dolls, Chucky makes a jerking off motion, but Tiffany is charmed.

Jesse proposes to Jade, and suggests they run away, and he has money. Dude, it’s 1998 and you have $500. For context, my rent at that time was £450 per month, meaning my deposit and admin fees came to £1,150 (first month’s rent, plus the same as a deposit, plus admin fees for two people at £125 each). You’ve got fuck all, presh.

He’s going to put a deposit down on an apartment and he’ll get a job and put her through college – again, really? I don’t think that $500 is going to do as well as he thinks. It’s like when you get your birthday money as a kid and you gleefully announce “I have £45 I CAN BY THE ENTIRE TOY STORE!” and actually, you go home with two My Little Ponies, and suddenly you’re down to pocket change. [JC: Remember, he thinks he’s getting another $500 upon delivery, so $1000 total. If they found a super cheap apartment with a move-in special (usually either first month rent with no deposit, or first month free with deposit, which is basically the same deal phrased differently), then got jobs right away, they might be okay. Dubious, but within the realm of possibility.] [Dove: Ok, I’ll admit, I’m judging by how far it would go in England. Even so, it’s gonna be tight.]

Still, Jade accepts. Tiffany thinks it’s so romantic. Chucky gives them six months. Three if she gains weight.

As Team JJ (I’m bored of typing Jade and Jesse) [JC: There’s really no good portmanteau for Jade and Jesse, is there? Jadse? Jesde?] skip inside the house to pack for their new lives as below-the-poverty-line-but-deeply-in-love-idiots, Warren appears by the van. He talks on a cell phone saying the van is parked in front of his house. He hangs up then tries to get in.

Chucky produces a knife and says he needs the exercise. Tiffany asks if he was born with the knife superglued to his hand. He needs to drag himself into the nineties. Stabbings are over. He needs to be like Martha Stewart, who improvises a lot. Tiffany guides him away from a hammer (“predictable”) and spots some nails.

(Even his girlfriend thinks he’s a stabber or slasher, rather than a strangler. #JustSayin’)

Warren returns with tools to break into the van, ready to leave a bag of weed to get them arrested. The dolls have moved, and Tiffany creeps him out by laughing from her place in the front seat.

Somehow – and even the Final Destination stunt crew can’t figure this one out – there are nails lined up on the dashboard. Chucky cuts through something, and the nails launch themselves into Warren’s face. Chucky comments that nails in the face looks familiar. [JC: I didn’t realize until the first time I watched this with someone else and they pointed it out to me, that Chucky sets off the airbag here to launch the nails. Now I’m just trying to figure out if this old-ass van would even have airbags in the first place.] [Dove: Well, that’s a twenty-two year old mystery cleared up finally. Thank you.]

Team JJ return, carrying a single tiny duffle bag. Yep. Guess Jade grabbed a toothbrush and a couple of pairs of socks, and nothing else matters.

Team Doll [JC: Chuffany? Tiffucky?] quickly and improbably manage to lift the body into the storage area under the seats and clean up before Team JJ return. Chucky pockets the weed.

Obviously as soon as they pull away, Needlenose flags them down. They park… I don’t know. Is this a strip mall? It’s like a parking lot with mobile food vendors and an actual shop, and loads of teens congregated with their cars. I feel so fucking English looking at this and thinking, “I don’t know what this is.” [JC: That is, essentially, what it is. Here in Wichita we have places where the food trucks will congregate (usually one of the parks or one of our big shopping center parking lots) on weekends. I’m not sure how much of a teen hangout it turns into, and I’m pretty sure we weren’t doing it in 1998, but in theory at least, this is a thing.]

Needlenose asks them to get out of the car. Jade asks if he gets paid extra to harass them, and he confirms, with no hint of shame, he gets paid extra. He has no personal beef with them, they seem like nice kids, but the money. And then he goes off into a gleeful laugh. Jade punches him (kind of a flail with a closed fist, like she was expecting someone to stop her sooner and she doesn’t actually know how to punch) and threatens to “vaporise” him.

The surrounding kids go “ooooh”, like they’re all in primary school or something. The dolls are smoking weed, which makes me wonder how they skinned up with such shiny hands. Jesse takes Jade to a side, arranges her jacket (goddamn, this man likes to touch her outerwear, which sounds like a euphemism), and tells her to get some snacks for the road while he will “deal with” the situation.

Needlenose searches for the weed, which obviously isn’t there, because the dolls have been at it. He goes for the storage area, but Tiffany kicks him. In his surprise he headbutts the roof, and Chucky throws the weed to the side where it can be found.

If you can see this, it’s not weed you’re smoking

Needlenose gleefully finds the weed and shows it to Jesse, then returns to his car to call it in. Chucky takes the “to Bailey” zippo and tells Tiffany to sit back and learn from the best. Chucky crawls over to Needlenose’s car, opens the petrol cap and stuffs one of Jesse’s shirts in. He lights the bottom of it then crawls back, causing the zippo to fall out of his pocket. He pauses to give the finger to a stoner who is eyeing him in confusion (this used to be my Livejournal icon for sooo long). “Rude fuckin’ doll,” the stoner opines. I have never been so stoned that a Frankenstein-like doll moving independently would be “normal”. Admittedly, I only smoked rarely, and usually in good and comfy circumstances, but weed is not acid. And acid is not movie acid. [JC: Okay, so. I have smoked weed laced with coke twice, around the time this movie came out, in fact – once knowingly, and once I’m guessing that’s what was going on, because the effects were pretty much the same. On the time I’m guessing about, I didn’t actually hallucinate, but I was positive and paranoid that something was going to crawl out from under my bed and get me, or something was going to be looking in at me from my window, or something was going to crawl out of my TV. I was afraid to keep my eyes open because of what I might see, and I was afraid to close them because of what might sneak up on me. All in all, not a great night. Anyway, seeing Chucky crawling around and flipping me off wouldn’t have been too much of a stretch for me that night. Oh, also, apparently the actor playing this stoner dude also directs and is named Park Bench. Park. Fucking. Bench.] [Dove: Park Bench? Wow. And that experience sounds terrifying. You well full Heather Donahue.]

Eventually the flames make their way to the gas tank, and the dolls wave at Needlenose as he and his car blow sky high.

Jade comes out of the store into the panic and drops two bags of shopping – that $500 is even less useful now – and she and Jesse meet up and Jade takes complete charge of the situation, urging Jesse to drive right now. Jesse puts his foot on the gas without even starting the engine, and the van tears out of the parking lot while someone screams, “That’s them! Call the police!”

Cue a bunch of pointless car crashes as they escape.

Team JJ are now furious with each other, under the impression that the other is the pyromaniac, and the accusation comes out quite quickly. Both said something that implied they would kill Needlenose and neither believes the other. The dolls think this is deeply funny.

David calls them to ask what’s going on, because the police think they’re dealing with Bonnie and Clyde. Jesse is quick to point out that they were mass murderers (“multiple murderers,” David corrects), and Needlenose is only one. Well, they found the zippo that ties back to Cop Bailey, and the uncle is missing.

Goddamn, that’s a quick turnaround from the police. It feels like a maximum of two hours from Jesse arriving at Jade’s house, and they’re already working on the premise that Warren is missing? Jeez. Maybe they drove for a very long time after the explosion, but the movie didn’t imply that, and every scene from arriving at Jade’s and proposing onwards has been set at night. [JC: The way it’s shot makes it seem like this is literally five minutes after the explosion.]

David says that he knows they didn’t do anything, but it might be best to turn themselves in and explain everything. They say no, nobody will believe them.

The call ends and Jesse asks Jade when she saw Warren last. She says not since this morning. Did he? The dolls laugh again, and now we get a driving montage to show the passage of time. They take a turning marked Niagara Falls, and they show what I take to be Niagara Falls in the montage, and then we end with them arriving at a 24 hour wedding chapel, and it’s still night. [JC: Okay, this is where time gets really funky. They might be on Sweet Valley time, come to think of it. They actually drive all night and into the *next* night, because as they’re driving, we very briefly see either dawn or dusk before it gets dark again. However, from Lockport, Illinois (I’m assuming that’s where they are because of the police evidence locker, and because it’s 30 miles away from Chicago) it’s only about a 9 hour drive to Niagara Falls, and from there it’s about another 6 hours to Hackensack. Any way you look at it, it should not be night every time they’re arriving at their destination.] [Dove: Sometimes being British means you don’t notice the plot holes. So it’s actually even worse that it looks? Awesome.]

Neither party looks particularly happy about it, but they head on in. Chucky says “Suckers”, but Tiffany says they are a cute couple and it would be a shame to break them up.

She says she always dreamed of a big wedding, and a really classy picture, not her usual mugshot, in the paper. Chucky actually apologises for everything, and Tiffany says that she always wanted them to spend more time together. This strikes them both as funny. Chucky says life is full of surprises, and of course we have a jump scare. Warren is not dead and he bursts out from the storage area at the back. This causes everyone to look at someone and scream, prompting them to scream, etc. And yeah, jump scares are fucking tedious.

The least enjoyable wedding in the universe continues [JC: Yeah, no. We’ve been told Jade isn’t 18 yet, and in New York you can only get married at 17 with parental approval. So no, this marriage is in no way legal.], intercut with Chucky going back to his knife to finish Warren off.

We cut to the Honeymoon Sweets motel, where all four watch the news. I guess Team JJ thoughtfully arranged the dolls to be facing the TV, rather than leaving them in the van. Cops on the news say that Team JJ may be a hostage situation or one is not aware of the other’s actions.

They turn off the TV and Jesse announces that they’ll drop off the dolls tomorrow, as they’ll need the money. Then a woman with very little clothing and no personal boundaries steps into their room and starts jabbering away saying the suite door was open. Her boyfriend/husband/partner/whatever comes in and immediately settles himself on the very sloshy water bed.

Everyone is immediately counting down the minutes until Chucky and Tiff deal with them.

Underwear woman bounds over to the dolls and exclaims how adorable Tiffany is. Then says that Chucky has a face only a mother could love. Chucky uses his voicebox to say, “Hi, I’m Chucky, and I wouldn’t talk if I were you.” [JC: Rude fuckin’ doll.]

Underwear dude remembers the Good Guy brand, but Underwear woman drops Chucky on the floor and says she doesn’t like him. While dude distracts Team JJ with a request for a foursome, woman steals their money.

Team JJ usher Team Underwear out, and Tiffany is offended by “that thieving slut”.

Cut to later that night while Team Underwear are starting to get naughty, Tiffany appears at their bedside. She grabs a bottle of champagne, and glares at them in the mirrored ceiling. They have a moment of panicked realisation before Tiffany hurls the bottle upwards (in some really badly aged CG), shattering the mirror and the lighting around it, which rains down on the water bed and kills those thieving sluts.

Chucky is totally turned on by Tiffany’s creative murder. He says “I love you” unprovoked, and offers her the ring (including finger) from underwear woman. He adorably turns away to use his teeth to pry the ring off the dead finger before offering it. Then Tiffany starts crying, which is a nice change from a nosebleed – Tiffany always cries at weddings, apparently.

Then they wonder if “all the plumbing works”. Cut to a very funny doll sex scene.

The scene was supposed to end at the proposal/wedding, but apparently Jennifer Tilly and Brad Dourif wanted to make doll sex noises, so they did. [JC: If Jennifer Tilly and Brad Dourif want to make doll sex noises, you fucking let them. I don’t care if it’s at a dinner party or the grocery store, you fucking let them.]

Over with Team JJ, Jesse sneaks out of bed to call David. The moment he’s gone, Jade calls David. Both, on separate lines, report to him that their spouse is a murderer, but they love them. David says to go to the police before anyone else gets hurt.

Cut to a cleaner entering Team Underwear’s room. The cleaner is Kathy Najimy and I always wondered how this casting came about. Sister Mary Patrick (or just sister Mary, if you prefer Hocus Pocus to Sister Act) in a slasher comedy? Ok. But how?

She walks in to the darkened room announcing herself loudly, and laughs at the mess until she sees the bodies (underwear woman is visibly breathing), then starts screaming. Team JJ run in the connecting door, and we cut to them running off, bags and dolls in hand.

They get into the van, and Jade says she can’t do this. She can’t go with him. Jesse is grateful she said that first. He can’t do it either. They still both think each other is the murderer. As they argue, there’s a jump scare as David bangs on the window.

And we cut to the van driving and David concluding that since they were both so vehement, he could only assume they were both innocent. He comments that the van stinks and moves on. He thinks it’s more likely that Warren has been killing than them. He comments on the stink again and Jade feebly jokes that it’s Jesse’s socks.

David investigates and sees the blood from the storage area. He pops it open and sees Warren’s corpse. While Team JJ makes up in the front, David is horrified. He grabs Warren’s gun and demands they pull over. Which they do, under a bridge on what I assume is some kind of motorway. Basically, the worst place you could pull over.

Team JJ ask why David is suddenly so upset, so he flips open the storage seat and they both immediately turn on each other. David gets out the back of the van and waves down passing police cars on the other side of the road.

Any of you fucking pricks move, and I’ll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!

At this point, Chucky and Tiffany brandish their guns and show themselves. I did originally wonder where they got the guns from, but I suspect Team Underwear. [JC: Hey, this is ‘Murica. We’re all packing multiple guns on our person at any given time!] [Dove: Along with a complimentary pack of #ThoughtsAndPrayers for when it all goes wrong.]

David runs off in horror, straight in front of a truck which splatters him like red oatmeal. I always thought they stole this from Final Destination, but that movie came out two years after this one, so Bride was ripped off, not the other way around.

Tiffany demands they get moving now, and we have a high speed chase for all of three seconds before Chucky leans out the back and shoots out the tires of the cop car. The van drives off and the road sign shows we are entering New Jersey.

Chucky holds the gun on them and ensures they know who he is. Jesse correctly guesses Chucky. Wait. So he knew enough to immediately name the serial killer doll, but not enough to side-eye the creepy little abomination that is the same brand as the doll that was attached to all those mysterious murders through the years? It’s a good thing he’s pretty. [JC: The way he said “Chucky,” my guess is he’s just repeating the name he heard Chucky say when the female half of Team Underwear “activated” his voice box, and is actually clueless about any part of the serial killer/killer doll story.]

Chucky leans on the fourth wall and announces that if he was to give full backstory, it would take a long time. If it was a movie, it would take several sequels to do it justice. I dunno, maybe we could skip 3?

Jade asks what their plans are, and the dolls gleefully say that they’re intending to steal their bodies.

The radio breaks in to announce that fingerprints belonging to “notorious serial killer” (I feel they’ve dropped the Lakeshore Strangler) Charles Lee Ray has been found at the crime scenes and his body will be exhumed today.

Would they really release that? I feel like someone somewhere, probably in processing, some kind of admin or cleric, is getting massively fired for “mixing up results” or “contaminating evidence” somewhere. And the radio announcer is reporting it as if it’s fascinating. Maybe it’s just because I’m British, but if that was reported over here it would be done in a dry tone of “can you believe this monstrous fuck up?” [JC: We like to cover up and deny our monstrous fuck ups, and pretend it’s more likely the serial killer faked us all out than the authorities mixed something up. I’m more hung up on the idea that the fucking doll is leaving behind not just fingerprints, but apparently human-sized fingerprints.]

Why on earth are they exhuming the body? It has never been in question that he died. Everyone else’s sanity has subsequently been questioned, sure, but that’s because he was dead all along. This is just nonsense.

This doesn’t sit well with the dolls, and Chucky says they need a plan. Step 1: new wheels, something with style.

Smash cut to them all in an RV driving past the “Welcome to Hackensack” sign. [JC: And it’s dark again. If they left Niagara Falls in the morning, it probably shouldn’t be dark again. Then again, I have no idea how long it took to procure the Winnebago from Ma and Pa Kettle.]

Jade is tied up and being made up to look more Tiffany’s style. And Tiffany is also making cookies for her man. He’s already enjoyed the Swedish meatballs. The dolls are being very lovey-dovey. There is also an older couple dead in one of the cupboards.

Jade and Jesse lock eyes, and seem to be on the same page.

Chucky says to Jesse that had he known marriage would be so cool, he wouldn’t have avoided it for so long. Jesse checks the state of the kitchen area and comments in a low tone that Tiff’s not much of a housekeeper.

Chucky immediately calls back to Tiffany that the dishes won’t wash themselves. Jade also recalls some of Tiff’s mom’s wisdom and whispers to Tiffany that the least Chucky could do was wash up after all of her hard work.

It works. Tiffany chucks a bunch of plates at her beloved’s head, and then starts ranting about how hard she’s been working. Then it gets personal. Tiffany states that plastic is no substitute for a hunk of wood. Chucky counters that you’d need battery operated plastic to get a response out of Tiffany. [JC: Chucky would be very at home on the various subreddits that insist the clitoris is something we’ve made up to make men feel inadequate. Or something. Incel logic is fucking wild.] [Dove: That’s a theory???]

While the dolls are yelling at each other, Jade spins around and kicks Tiffany into the oven and kicks the door shut, while Jesse shoves Chucky out the window. Chucky shoots the gun and when Jesse ducks, he loses control of the RV, which tumbles down an embankment.

Jade comes to first and hears a scraping noise that wouldn’t be out of place in Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s Tiffany’s nails on the inside of the glass of the oven. A horribly burned Tiffany beats against the glass, and then goes quiet.

Then boom! Tiffany leaps out of the oven. She attacks the still-bound Jade until Jesse comes to and tosses Tiffany across the room. He cuts Jade free with a knife and wrestles with some electrical wires so she can get out of the RV. I’m really not sure where these wires lead, whether they’re from the RV or were power cables that came down on their tumble down the embankment, but they will fuck your shit up either way.

And, come to think of it, here’s another thing that turned up in Final Destination. He’s wrestling with the wires while Jade escapes, then he… falls down, and the wires ignite the gasoline, and he only just jumps free in time before the RV blows sky high.

A burned hand reaches for a gun, but Jesse stomps on Tiffany’s arm, stopping her. He’s about to shoot Tiffany when he notices that Jade has Chucky in her arms and he has a gun on her. Jesse takes Tiffany as a hostage instead.

They run for the cemetery and we cut to Chucky’s grave, which informs us he died on 9 November 1988, which is the US release date for the first movie. Nice.

Then blood explodes over the gravestone. Chucky has shot the grave digger. God only knows why he’s working so late, but y’know. [JC: They’re apparently in a huge hurry to exhume the body and try to figure out how to blame someone else for the dead serial killer’s prints being left everyfuckingwhere.] Also, might’ve made sense to keep the person skilled in digging graves alive to dig out what he needs, rather than Jade, but I suppose he’d done most of the hard work. In fact, the dude has cleared about 3’ of space all around the grave and dug down far enough so the entire casket is visible. That is some super hardcore digging.

Chucky tells her to open the casket, which is for some reason stone? Whut? Yeah, no. Why on earth would the state spring for a “nice” or “good” coffin for a fucking murderer? (I feel like Tiffany didn’t pay for this.) Back in my days working for a funeral direction (and I maintain, the best job I’ve ever had), there were government paid funerals. I won’t go into details, because you didn’t come here for that, but in all cases, the coffin was bottom of the line. Strong enough to do the job, but not an expensive material. Not fucking stone. In suitable cases, they even tried to push the cardboard coffin (not like shoebox cardboard, like compacted cardboard) because of the way it wouldn’t impact the environment and was cheaper. Not stone.

Then again, ‘Murica. *shrugs* Who fucking knows. [JC: This has always confused the fuck out of me but with what you said about the coffin, maybe it makes sense now, because here’s the thing – Chucky died in Chicago. So why is he buried in fucking Hackensack, New Jersey? Almost 800 miles away? Clearly he has family in NJ that’s never mentioned here, and they took care of funeral arrangements, as unlikely as that seems.] [Dove: Ok, that’s a fair point. And possibly could explain why he was wearing the amulet – his family put in on him, but they’ve already re-written history to say he was wearing it when he died. *shrug* I’m so confused.]

Behold the McGuffin we never needed until this movie!

Chucky tells Jade to get the amulet [JC: THERE WAS NO FUCKING AMULET!], and she does, ripping it off and breaking his skeleton’s neck, which disturbs him a bit. I find it gratifying. Jade throws the amulet to him, and Jesse arrives on the scene with Tiffany and a gun.

We have a standoff, Jesse wants Jade, Chucky wants Tiffany, and the two walk to their partners. Chucky threatens Jade, while Tiffany is touched by Jesse’s love for Jade and wonders why she can’t have a real good guy. She comments to Jade that she’s lucky as the two pass.

Jade rushes into Jesse’s arms, and Chucky steps aside to let Tiffany fall to the ground when she collapses, grossed out by her.

Chucky throws a knife at the humans, and Jesse whips them both around so that he takes the impact. He tells Jade to pull it out of his back and she does… uh, I thought you weren’t supposed to do that? [JC: I guess he just wants to bleed to death faster.]

All of a sudden, for no fucking reason, Chucky has the upper hand, so demands the knife back and keeps the gun on them. I guess Jesse dropped the gun when he was stabbed, but still… seems abrupt.

Cut to Team JJ tied up as Chucky chants the Damballa chant. Tiffany makes her way over to him and says she loves him and they belong together forever. She asks for a kiss and takes his knife in the distraction. She stabs him in the back. He asks why and she says, “We belong dead.”

The humans manage to get free of the bindings and embrace again. Tiffany looks on… and is twatted around the head with a shovel. She grabs one herself, and we have dolls fighting each other with shovels. Or, in the long shots, little people in masks fighting each other with shovels. The bounce between fluid movement but eye-poking masks, and appropriate looks but janky movement is fun to behold. [JC: I laughed out loud at the obvious masks.]

And, to be honest, the puppetry in this is still great. I’ve seen much more recent films do much worse.

The fight rages until Chucky skewers Tiffany on his knife and falls to the ground, whispering more words of wisdom from her mom.

Then Jesse wallops Chucky with a shovel and sends him flying into the open grave. He pulls up the ladder and Chucky is not happy with this turn of events.

As Team JJ train the guns on Chucky, Cop from TV shows up to arrest them and they drop their guns reluctantly.

Cop quickly rethinks that plan when he sees Chucky running around below them. He flounders helplessly, so Jade grabs his gun and threatens Chucky.

Chucky is wise to the trope and says she can shoot him if she wants, but he’ll be back. He always comes back. But he does concede dying sucks.

Jade empties the gun on him, and down he goes.

The cop says that nobody will ever believe what happened. He takes a call and confirms that Team JJ didn’t do the murders. He tells them to go home but stay put. [JC: Yes, go 800 MILES AWAY BUT THEN DON’T GO ANYWHERE. Also, HOW? The vehicle they were driving was not only stolen, but is now wrecked. Also, his car has New York plates, and I’m confused as to why a cop from NY is investigating a crime spree that started in Illinois.] [Dove: That didn’t even occur to me. I think I’m so broken that I assume anyone can investigate anything.]

They walk away as the sun comes up, and Cop sees the remains of Tiffany. Who suddenly starts screaming, scaring the life out of him.

And she gives birth to the sequel hook! The baby is covered in blood with sharp teeth and lunges for him. And we’re done. [JC: I guess you still need a rubber even if you’re “all rubber.” And hello to the fastest pregnancy/birth in history!]

Final Thoughts:

I don’t think my thoughts have changed at all about this. It’s still enjoyable. Objectively, I know it’s not perfect, but it was a very good example of bringing a dead fandom back from the dead – especially in the UK, where the franchise didn’t so much as die, but get buried alive and we all agreed to never speak of it again (see my comments on JC’s recap of Child’s Play 3 for why).

Not only was it brought back from the dead, it was updated to leap on the Scream trend, and I do love that trend. Maybe it went a bit too far and got a bit tiresome with it towards the end, but it’s still good fun.

Jennifer Tilly is always a win, and on the commentary, it sounded like she and Dourif had a blast doing the voice work for this, and you can kind of tell, because there are some really sweet moments and some really funny ones too.

In fact, the blandness comes from the human leads. They had some bad dialogue to work against and I got no real sense that they actually loved each other, merely that they were in a relationship and kind of got swept along in the wacky hijinks because of a lack of options, rather than true love. And I mean the constant police harassment as much as the murders that really did limit their options.

[JC: I don’t have much to add outside of what I already covered, so I’ll just mention that Jade’s gay BFF was played by an actor named Gordon Michael Woolvett, who went on to costar a couple years later in Andromeda, the Kevin Sorbo sci-fi show about a spaceship that gets trapped on the event horizon of a black hole for . . . well, a long time. I don’t remember how long. Anyway, I loved that show, and was always amused that the friend from Bride of Chucky was in it. Also, do you think there’s a Katherine Heigl shared universe where this works as a prequel to 27 Dresses? Or this is where she ended up after My Father the Hero?] [Dove: I haven’t seen 27 Dresses, but maybe she did give her father a heart attack eventually in My Father the Hero.]

The Maths Thing

Child’s Play – 0% strangulation

Maggie – hammer to face/fall from window

Eddie Caputo – explosion

John Bishop (not the Scouse comedian) – voodoo doll

Dr Ardmore – electrocution

Child’s Play 2 – 14% strangulation

Tech at Play Pals – electrocution and back flip of doom

Mattson – suffocation

Miss Kettlewell – stabbing and spanking (kinky)

Phil “Fuckwit” Simpson – broken neck (with creativity)

Joanne “Jerkass” Simpson – strangulation with an electric cable

Social worker – stabbing and photocopying

Factory tech – eyeball punch

Child’s Play 3 – 14% strangulation

Sullivan – strangulation

Garbage truck dude – crushing in a garbage truck

Cochrane – death by jump scare

Botnick – slashed throat

Shelton – friendly fire (via Chucky)

Whitehurst – explosion

Security guard – gunshot

Bride of Chucky – 0% strangulation

Bob Bailey – doesn’t count, Tiffany slit his throat

Damien Baylock (aka Howard Fitzwater) – suffocation plus piercing rips

Warren – improbable nails to the face / stabbing the following day

Needlenose – car explosion

Team Underwear – death of a million papercuts/drowning/electrocution/Rube Goldberg-esque nonsense that probably inspired Final Destination?

David – hit by a truck (not actually Tiffany or Chucky’s kill, but their presence didn’t help)

Old couple, owners of the RV – off screen, but something stabby probably, because they were covered in blood. [JC: Nope, shot. There are bullet holes in their foreheads.] [Dove: Welp. That’s a fail from me. Still no strangulation though.]

Overall strangulation: 7%

I am the evil twin. I'm in a feud with Richie Tankersley Cusick, and I'm waging a war on over-used en-dashes and ellipsis. All of these things are related. I worship at the altar of the ISUZU TROOPER, BITCHES.

2 thoughts on “Recap #256: Bride of Chucky (1998)

  1. So Dove, I have no clue which of these were conceived first, but when the Goosebumps TV show did an adaption of “Bride of the Living Dummy,” the living doll Mary-Ellen looks and sounds like a basement bargain version of Tiffany… but I have no idea if Goosebumps ripped off this movie, or if Bride of Chucky ripped off Goosebumps.

    1. They both came out in 1998, so it’s unlikely they drew inspiration from each other. If anything, they’re both playing off Bride of Frankenstein; the Bride of the Living Dummy cover is 100% playing off that with those stripes in Mary-Ellen’s hair.

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