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Seed of Chucky (2004) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

The episode of WTF Happened to This Horror Movie? covering Seed of Chucky was Written and Edited by Jaime Vasquez, Narrated by Tyler Nichols, Produced by Andrew Hatfield and John Fallon, and Executive Produced by Berge Garabedian.

Along with most Horror franchises that skyrocketed in the ’80s, Child’s Play had plummeted by the mid ’90s. But in 1996, Scream became a pivotal moment for the genre. Wes Craven’s self-referential slasher helped revive mainstream interest in Horror. And it gave birth to a new wave of slashers that featured characters with smarter dialogue, who made less stupid decisions (for the most part), and delivered the all-important meta humor. That wave included a bride, mostly dressed in black leather. Bride of Chucky checked all the boxes of the updated slasher formula, especially when it came to the satire. In the opening scene of Bride, you can see Freddy’s glove, Leatherface’s chainsaw, along with Jason and Michael’s masks all in the same crime evidence lockers as the doll himself. The added dash of timely humor mixed with the stellar performances of series newcomer Jennifer Tilly and franchise vet Brad Dourif struck the right chord with audiences, becoming a solid financial success, earning a worldwide total of 50.7 million against its 25 million dollar budget. The new comedic element seemed to push the killer doll series in the right direction. And as most slasher icons do, Chucky returned in a new sequel. As outlandish and humorous as Bride of Chucky was, its successor, Seed of Chucky (watch it HERE), went further off the rails, and possibly off a cliff. But did it go too far? Find out on What the F*** Happened to Seed of Chucky.

Series creator Don Mancini began writing a follow-up to Bride of Chucky in the late ’90s. It was originally titled Son of Chucky, and a draft was submitted to Universal Studios in 1998. Mancini penned the journey of Chucky’s son to mirror his own struggles with coming out as gay. But the title of the movie would change to Seed of Chucky as it wouldn’t exactly introduce a son, but a young doll that would struggle with gender dysphoria, as a nod to 1953’s Glen or Glenda, with Mancini even using the titular names for the character and its alter ego. Directed by the infamously eccentric Ed Wood, the 1953 docudrama also starred Mr. Wood as the protagonist, crossdressing when playing the role of Glenda.

Unsurprisingly, Mancini’s script was rejected as the studio expected a more traditional slasher film. Instead, Focus Films, a division of Universal, agreed to finance the project in 2003 after their latest project, Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever was a success, with Roth joking that “for those who saw Cabin Fever and hated it should know that their dollars ultimately went to a good cause.”

Mancini had also written a more true-to-form script that ultimately never got made. Entitled Chucky Goes Psycho, it would once again feature his bride, but this time she’d be killed outside the infamous Bates Motel by a group of teenagers recklessly driving and hitting Tiffany. This would inevitably lead Chucky to go after them seeking revenge, a nod to I Know What You Did Last Summer. Clearly the sequel was always meant to continue the recently added meta approach.

In one of the early scenes of Seed of Chucky, there is a sequence with a man dressed as Santa who is killed in the snow by Chucky and Tiffany. It is revealed to be a movie set, with the camera eventually exposing the film crew and equipment. The movie they’re shooting is Chucky Goes Psycho. The man dressed as Santa is actor Jason Flemyng, who has since stated that Seed of Chucky is the only film that he regrets doing, saying he was “dressed as a Santa, getting killed by a doll on a set in Romania” and wondering “where did it go wrong?”

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Seed of Chucky (2004) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

Character actor Joe Pantoliano was considered for the role that would eventually go to rapper Redman. Another actor considered for that role was Quentin Tarantino, who unfortunately turned it down, though the role was written with Tarantino in mind. The part of Pete Peters, the snooping sleazebag reporter, was written specifically for filmmaker and actor John Waters, as he was a fan of the Child’s Play franchise. He would later return in the season 3 finale of the Chucky TV series as Wendell Wilkins, a doll maker with a sinister agenda.

Bringing the role of Jennifer Tilly to life is actress Jennifer Tilly, who pulls a double stint as the voice of Tiffany, Chucky’s wife and killing companion. Brad Dourif returns to voice the pint-sized predator Chucky. Playing the role of Jennifer Tilly’s assistant, Joan, is singer and actress Hannah Spearritt, who has the honor of best death in the movie. Playing himself is rapper turned actor Redman, who plays a rapper turned director. Actor Steve West portrays Stan, Jennifer’s limo driver, who spends the duration of the film trying to tell Jennifer he loves her, but constantly finds himself interrupted. Puppeteer Tony Gardner has a cameo as himself early on, and might just be runner-up for best death scene. The titular seed and son/daughter Glen/Glenda is played by musician and Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd.

Glen’s look and personality is based on a character Tim Burton might create, like Edward Scissorhands, according to Don Mancini. Mancini wanted to give Glen his own signature look, while a producer felt that he should resemble his father. Glen does possess blue eyes, red hair, and freckles, however, his hair and eyes are a different shade than Chucky’s. Glenda’s personality and the fact that the doll does the killing only while dressed in female clothing is inspired by Brian De Palma’s film Dressed to Kill.

Composer Pino Donaggio, who frequently collaborated with De Palma and scored Dressed to Kill, also composed the score for Seed of Chucky. He also worked on several horror films including Piranha, The Howling,Tourist Trap, and another De Palma classic, 1976’s Carrie.

Glen/Glenda’s journey begins as a recurring nightmare where he kills the parents of a little girl who owns him as a toy. Don Mancini originally wrote this scene with the characters of Jesse and Jade from the previous film as Glen’s victims. Glen wakes up to a berating ventriloquist with whom he puts on a show in London. Seeing his parents on TV prompts Glen to board a truck headed to Hollywood. He’s shipped to the set of Chucky Goes Psycho, and he woefully reads the voodoo chant on Chucky’s Heart of Damballa amulet, inadvertently bringing the dolls back to life. Soon enough, Chucky and Tiffany are back to killing before Glen’s eyes, which horrifies him. Or her.

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Seed of Chucky (2004) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

The new parents check under Glen’s pants to find…no discernable reproductive organs. Tiffany wants a daughter and calls the doll Glenda, Chucky wants a son and refers to him as Glen. Chucky also wants his son to join the family business of viciously murdering people. This scares Glen and he hopes his parents can change their murderous ways.

Tiffany tries a 12-step program (which has her calling people to make amends, including the wife of the police officer she killed in the previous installment). Tiffany thinks of killing as an addiction that she can beat. Meanwhile, Glen takes after his father in regards to killing, but only if he can dress up as Glenda, who looks like a cross between Tiffany and Greta, the Gremlin “seductress” from Gremlins 2.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Tilly is desperately trying to revive her career and believes she can make a comeback by starring in Redman’s upcoming film The Virgin Mary. The dolls overhear her plans to seduce Redman. The “ever-conventional” murderess Tiffany disapproves of Jennifer using her body to advance her career, while Chucky wants to take over Redman’s body. They plan to ambush the pair to possess their bodies, and impregnate Jennifer with Chucky’s…seed via a turkey baster, and live as a family of humans.

It turns out Redman is no longer available to possess after Tiffany has what she calls a “slip,” deviating from her 12-step program by killing him. So they find a replacement in Stan, Jennifer’s limo driver. By the way, in case you’re wondering, none of these plans or plot points were a joke. This is what really happened on-screen.

Seed of Chucky opened in mid November of 2004, earning 8.7 million on its first weekend, debuting at #4 behind The Incredibles, The Polar Express, and After the Sunset, respectively. It was the only Horror movie to debut that week. Oddly enough, it wasn’t released in time for Halloween. Though releases like Saw and The Grudge both premiered in October and garnered impressive box office results.

During its theatrical run, the film grossed an estimated 17.1 million domestically, and an additional 7.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of nearly 25 million against its 12 million dollar budget. Despite earning double its budget costs, Seed of Chucky’s box office performance was seen as somewhat underwhelming. Also underwhelming were critic’s reviews which were mixed to negative, earning a 34% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus on the site reads, “Give Seed of Chucky credit for embracing the increasing absurdity of the franchise — even if the end results really aren’t all that funny or entertaining.” The audience approval score is at 43% based on over 100,000 ratings. Roger Ebert gave the film 2 out of 4 stars and remarked that “Seed of Chucky is actually two movies; one wretched, the other funny,” favoring the scenes with Jennifer Tilly. On Metacritic, the film holds a 46 out of 100 based on 17 critic reviews, and an audience score of 3.6 out of 10 based on over 100 ratings. On IMDb, users gave it an average 4.9 out of 10. Amongst critics and fans, Seed of Chucky is often ranked among one of the worst, if not the worst of the Child’s Play movies.

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Seed of Chucky (2004) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

But like many derided or underappreciated slasher films, appreciation has grown for the film over time. Upon rewatching it, I found it entertaining and engaging thanks to its take on the harshness of Hollywood and the twisted family dynamic amongst the dolls. But it all boils down to expectations. If you’re expecting a horror movie, this will be a disappointment. The kills are brutal, but they’re mostly brutal for the sake of being comedic. With the combination of its notoriety and its upcoming 20-year anniversary, perhaps a reevaluation will earn the film some new fans. Its bad word of mouth could make it come off better than it’s been made out to be.

Another bright spot is the performance of Jennifer Tilly. Tilly showcases great range, from living a glamorous yet hectic Hollywood life, to dealing with industry sleazebags, and not to mention, reacting to the insanity of living dolls, running and screaming at the top of her lungs. She also takes on the task of talking so badly about herself via Tiffany, who calls her “fat,” and a “slut,” Insults that would land Tiffany in hot water in 2024.

The film also features a significant point in the series that comes just a moment before Tiffany and Chucky are about to carry out their twisted plan. Chucky gives up on the attempt to switch bodies altogether.

For the sequel that followed, the studio wanted a spinoff movie that featured a darker tone, with Glen as the main antagonist and a new slasher villain. Don Mancini agreed only to reintroducing the darker tone, but scrapped the idea of Glen and brought back the original Good Guy doll as the film’s central villain. In fact, Glen and Glenda are weirdly absent in sequels Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky, with Don Mancini stating that they were originally referenced in the script for Cult, however, most of the references were removed. They do, however, appear in the Chucky TV series, thanks to a variety of chaotic storylines.

After writing every script of the Child’s Play films, Seed of Chucky became Don Mancini’s directorial debut. Mancini as the director became a new staple for the franchise, as he would subsequently direct each Child’s Play film from that point on (save for the 2019 reboot) and even direct several episodes of Chucky.

In the grand scheme of things, Seed of Chucky introduced us to Glen and Glenda, love them or hate them…or maybe you’re just plain indifferent toward them. They’ve been a bit inconsequential and superfluous throughout the years. But some fans still wonder if and when they’ll reappear, which makes them unpredictable and even exciting. They may never be the central story again, but they’ll most likely return in some outrageous fashion.

In any case, between Seed of Chucky and Don’t Breathe, I can confidently say that I have absolutely no interest in ever using a turkey baster.

A couple of the previous episodes of WTF Happened to This Horror Movie? can be seen below. To see more, head over to our JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!

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