Universal Home Entertainment will unleash the excellent Curse of Chucky, directed by series creator Don Mancini on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow, October 8th. As evidenced by Brad’s review, we’re fans of the film here at Bloody-Disgusting.
So when I was offered the chance to speak with Mancini about the film, I jumped at the chance. We talked about the return Curse makes to more suspenseful horror as well as his plans for continuing the franchise. Last, but not least, I got him to discuss which installments in the franchise he would rank the highest.
In terms on continuity this is a sequel, but in terms of tone it’s a reboot.
Yeah, exactly. We called it a “tonal reboot.” It feels good to be back, it’s about time. I’ve wanted to get it going for several years, it just seems like it takes longer and longer in the post recession, post strike age. So I’m just glad that we’re here and that people are seeming to like it. We’re getting the best reviews in the history of the franchise, so I’m eager to see how it does.
So from the get-go you wanted it to be darker than the last few installments?
Oh yeah. After Bride and Seed, which of course were comedies, we wanted to take a severe turn back into gothic horror territory. It’s what the fans have been saying they wanted, and after the last two I think we mined the comedic stuff as much as we could, for now. I think Chucky is a particularly versatile character and I think he can be plugged into a number of different forms. But it was time to go back to his roots.
Chucky really enjoys killing people. He takes a palpable sense of glee in it, can you talk about constructing the kills around that?
It’s definitely an occupational hazard when you write horror movies, particularly if you have a franchise, constantly trying to find new ways of killing people. It’s tricky. Chucky operates a lot differently from most horror villains whether it’s Freddy or Jason or Dracula or Frankenstein’s Monster. All of those villains are sort of marauding, they come at you and you run away. Chucky is different, he hides in plain sight. He’s a doll. So is MO is generally surprise attack and sabotage.
Right off the bat it sort of suggests you get a little more creative with your kills. In the comedies, Bride and Seed, the murders in those movies were deliberately stylized and over the top. But with this one, because I wanted to make it scary again, I wanted his murders to seem more plausible. “If a doll could kill people this is how he would do it.” It’s a matter of wanting to balance the plausible quotient with the clever glee quotient.
The poisoning was a new one. That’s kind of a set piece that had abstractly been in my mind, not necessarily for a Chucky movie. I realized that it could be a fun, suspenseful set piece – someone poisoning one bowl of soup or one bowl of chili and we don’t know who’s going to get it. And that was specifically very Hitchcock-ian as well. I wanted a lot of this movie to be about suspense.
How did casting Fiona Dourif come about?
I had met Fiona glancingly as she was growing up but I never spent any substantial amount of time with her. But, being friends with Brad, I was always hearing about what she was up to and I knew she had become an actress. She came in initially and read for the role of the sister and I was watching her thinking, “maybe I’m crazy but she’d be great as the lead.” I’d seen a lot of actresses for that role and a lot of them were excellent but they just weren’t quite right for a number of reasons. I didn’t believe a lot of them in the wheelchair, but somehow with Fiona I really bought it. Perhaps some of it was that she had actually played a paraplegic before in a TV movie. There’s also a haunted quality she has, it’s hard to describe but I believe supernatural things would happen to that girl.
It seems like Chucky is primed for more installments after this one.
We’ll see how it goes but that was definitely part of the plan, to kick off a new phase of legitimately scary Chucky movies. That is our hope and our fingers are crossed.
In what order would you rank the prior installments?
I would be an idiot not to put Curse Of Chucky at the top of the list right now. Take that with whatever sized grain of salt is appropriate. I would rank the first movie, Curse and Bride – those are my favorites, but I like [everyone's work on all the films]. And that’s all I’ll say. And I’ll never join the chorus of voices who don’t like Seed Of Chucky.