Bride of Chucky

USA 1998

Reviewed by Linda Ruth Williams


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

The US, the present. Tiffany steals Chucky the doll from a police-evidence depository. She takes him back to her trailer where she rebuilds and reanimates him using a book called Voodoo for Dummies. She brings back to life the personality of Charles 'Chucky' Lee Ray, Tiffany's dead lover, who inhabited the doll before (as recounted in the three previous Child's Play films). Tiffany gives him a bride doll to keep him company. However when she is electrocuted to death by the television falling into her bath, her personality transmigrates into the body of the bride doll.

Tiffany's neighbour Jesse agrees to take both dolls to Charles Lee Ray's grave in New Jersey where a buried amulet provides the couple's only hope of being made human again. Jesse brings his girlfriend Jade along on the journey. Tiffany and Chucky plan to possess their bodies once the voodoo ritual with the amulet has released them from the dolls. However, at the grave the dolls fight; Chucky is killed and Tiffany gives birth to his child.


As any jobbing film theorist will tell you, the pleasures of horror must always be framed by sado-masochism. You might think these dubious desires would be the main forces animating this latest outing of Chucky, the infernal doll star of the Child's Play film franchise which in the UK was accused of influencing perpetrators of at least two appalling crimes. But the thrills of Bride of Chucky, the possessed doll's fourth cinematic outing, are laudably cerebral. Like Wes Craven's Scream, its sequel and its imitators, Bride of Chucky plays to the connoisseur, inviting viewers to tick off the cinematic references, so deeply embedded is this film in its genre's history.

From the opening shots, Bride of Chucky establishes its quite complex sense of place in the line-up of usual suspects: alongside Chucky in the evidence depository lie Jason's hockey mask (from the Friday the 13th series), Freddy's glove (Nightmare on Elm Street), Michael Myers' mask (Halloween) and Leatherface's chainsaw (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre). Two feet tall and less than human he may be, but this sequence suggests the slasher film's pantheon of serial killers have embraced Chucky as one of their own. The only crimes Ronny Yu's witty and knowing film will be associated with are those of other movies. So embedded are these references in a context of fiction, it's absurd to try to relate them to fact. It's Alive, The Exorcist, Hellraiser, Natural Born Killers, even David Cronenberg at his most gynaecological, are all points in the film's reality co-ordinates, along with its own fictive past referred to in Tiffany's newspaper cuttings. Of this history, Chucky himself quips, "It's a long story. In fact, if it was a movie it would take three or four sequels." Unlike Scream, where the participants redirect their world so it looks like a movie, Bride of Chucky refuses to countenance that there is a world beyond the movie.

For something so schlocky and - quite frankly - bizarre, Bride of Chucky also generates the curious sense that if its makers have done their homework, then so should you. Relentlessly erudite, as Bride of Chucky piles on the references you get the strange sensation you're watching a parody of a parody, a film which gleefully grabs this very 90s form of filmic self-reflexivity, chews it up and spits it out: been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. "Chucky? He's so 80s," says Tiffany's lowlife boyfriend Damien before being dispatched, clearly a thought which also occurred to writer Don Mancini and Yu (a veteran Hong Kong director who made the recent Warriors of Virtue). So Chucky's Bride makes herself over by out-parodying horror-as-parody.

If all this sounds too clever by half, it's also very funny. Dolls and toys are the most conventional props of the uncanny: scary and sinister alter egos in Dead of Night (1945) and Magic (1978); grotesquely murderous in Dolls (1987, which also features a giant killer teddy bear) and in the long-running 80s-90s Puppetmaster series made in Hong Kong. But in Ronny Yu's hands they also become the building blocks of fun: essential elements of child's play as well as Child's Play. Tiffany plays at dressing-up, transforming her new bride-doll body into an approximation of the foxy lady she was in human form to the tune of Blondie's 'Call Me', invoking the opening of American Gigolo. The film's weirdest moment, in which Tiffany and Chucky have sex, reminded me of Todd Haynes' all-doll avant-garde short Superstar. The scene's sheer unabashed strangeness crystallises horror's much vaunted relationship with surrealism. As Chucky and Tiffany get it on in front of an open fire, bobbing up and down in a bizarre frenzy of plastic passion, they pause for a safer-sex moment - a failure, as the ending proves.

Bride of Chucky is an impeccable construction, well wrought and efficiently paced. Like its hero, it is small but perfectly formed. It also has aspirations: if Freddy et al are left in the lock-up in that opening sequence, this is only so the film can make its bid to occupy a more substantial place in film history. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is clearly the most obvious benchmark - Elsa Lanchester is seen on the television which kills Tiffany. Bride of Chucky also knows it's a monster made of many parts: The Godfather (1972), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), even a fleeting flirtation with I Walked with a Zombie (1943) when Tiffany sombrely marches through the long moonlit grass at the film's climax. Whether this parody is plagiarism, pastiche or punk postmodernism is perhaps irrelevant given the fun Bride of Chucky has with its sources. Mixed together in this unholy way, what emerges is a loving homage to a movie history gleefully raided by body snatchers.


David Kirschner
Grace Gilroy
Don Mancini
Director of Photography
Peter Pau
[Pau Tak-Hei]
David Wu
[Wu Dai-Wai]
Randolph K. Bricker
Production Designer
Alicia Keywan
Graeme Revell
©Universal City Studios, Inc
Production Company
Universal Pictures presents a David Kirschner production
Executive Producers
Don Mancini
Corey Sienega
Laura Moskowitz
Production Co-ordinator
Deborah Zwicker
Production Manager
Grace Gilroy
Unit Location Manager
Keith Large
Post-production Co-ordinator
Redd Knight
2nd Unit Director
David Wu
[Wu Dai-Wai]
Assistant Directors
Myron Hoffert
Simon Board
Katrina Lee
Catherine Lew
2nd Unit:
Simon Board
Script Supervisors
Blanche McDermaid
2nd Unit:
Catherine Taylor
Wayne Pells
Joanna Colbert
Ross Clydesdale
Additional Photography
Bill Mitchell Cinematography
Blue Sky Stock Footage
2nd Unit Director of Photography
Raymond A. Brounstein
Camera Operators
Keith Murphy
Marvin Midwicki
Steadicam Operator
Keith Murphy
Visual Effects Supervisor
Michael Muscal
Visual Effects
Gajdecki Visual Effects
Sue Riedl
Mark Savela
Mike Borrett
Barb Benoit
Elizabeth Holmes
Christine Petrov
Matthew Talbot-Kelly
Jason Snea
Animation/Visual Effects
Toronto Toybox
Dennis Berardi
Josa Leah Porter
Derek Grime
Brian Anderson
Mike Manza
Mark Stepanek
Nelson Yu
Alex Boothby
Jeff Campbell
Jonathan Gibson
Mark Goldberg
Rob Gyorgy
Paul Rigg
Mike Ellis
Visual Effects/3D Animation
Perpetual Motion Pictures
Richard Malzahn
Kimberly Sylvester
Visual Effects
Nerve Effects, Inc
Anthony Paterson
Ariel Joson
Larry Adlon
Ian Britton
Enrique Lim
Derek Lang
Additional Visual Effects
Metrolight Studios
Chuck/Tiffany Dolls Creator
David Kirschner based on characters created by Don Mancini
Chuck/Tiffany Puppet Effects
Kevin Yagher
Kevin Yagher Productions, Inc
Studio Manager:
Mark C. Yagher
Project Supervisor:
Mitch Coughlin
Mario Torres
Jeff Buccacio
Mold/Silicone Technicians:
Tony Acosta Jr
Zachariah Cveticanin
Frank Diettinger
Brian Engebretsen
Anthony Matijevich
David Perteet
David Selvadurai
Christopher Walker
Garth Winkless
Thomas Killeen
Animatronic Design:
Evan Brainard
Hair Construction:
Jill Crosby
Special Effects
Colin Chilvers
Arthur Langevin
Tony Kenny
2nd Key:
Rocco Larizza
Shop Key:
Allan Meuse
Assistant Shop Key:
Emile Godin
Lead Hand:
Daniel Godin
David Hill
Kevin Hughes
Dean Stewart
Puppeteer Co-ordinator
Kevin Yagher
Tony Acosta Jr
Evan Brainard
Stephen Brathwaite
Pamela Cveticanin
Sam De La Torre
Brendan McMurray
Frank Meschkuleit
David Miner Jr
John Pattison
Anton Rupprecht
Johnnie Spence
Rob Stefaniuk
Ron Stefaniuk
Fred Stinson
Mario Torres Jr
Garth Winkless
N. Brock Winkless IV
Associate Editor
Annellie Rose Samuel
Art Director
James McAteer
Set Designer
Gordon White
Set Decorators
Carol Lavoie
Mike Harris
2nd Unit:
Theresa Buckley
Key Scenic Artist
Willi Holst
Storyboard Artists
Kelly Brine
Jim Craig
Peter Von Sholly
Costume Designer
Lynne MacKay
Costume Supervisor
Cori Burchell
Wardrobe Master
Graham Docherty
2nd Unit Wardrobe Mistress
Gerri Gillan
Key Make-up Artist
Patricia Green
Hair Designer
Judi Cooper Sealy
Special Make-up Effects
Paul Jones Effects Studios, Inc

Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Claire-Jane Deacon
Kyle Glencross
Matthew Galliford
Martin Astles
Grant Mason
Buffy Shields
David Scott
Allan Cooke
Cinebotics, Inc
Main Title/Opticals
Film Effects Inc
Opening Title Song Performed by
Rob Zombie
Tim Simonec
David Russo
Music Supervisors
Mary Ramos
Michelle Kuznetsky
Music Co-ordinator
John Katovsich
Music Editor
Ashley Revell
Additional Music Editing
David Trevis
Michael Dittrick
Music Sound Design
Brian Williams
Music Scoring Mixer
John Kurlander
Music Mixers
Slamm Andrews
Mark Currie
Music Consultant
Andy Gould
"Living Dead Girl" by Rob Zombie, Scott Humphrey, performed by Rob Zombie; "Boogie King" by Michael E. Farris, performed by The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies; "Crazy" by Willie Nelson, performed by Kidney Thieves; "Call Me" by Deborah Harry, Giorgio Moroder, performed by Blondie; "Ziti" by Victor Indrizo, performed by Drizz; "So Wrong" by Christopher Hall, Jim Sellers, Walter Flakus, Andy Kubiszewski, performed by Stabbing Westward; "Blisters" by B. Dez Fafara, Miguel Rascon, Rayna Foss, Mike Cos, performed by Coal Chamber; "Bled for Days" by Wayne Richard Wells, Kenneth Jay Lacey, Antonio Campos, Koichi Fukuda, performed by Static X; "See You in Hell" by Dave Wyndorf, performed by Monster Magnet; "Finally Over" by Trevor Mote, performed by The Assholes; "Thunderkiss 65" by Robert Bartlett, Shauna Reynolds, Ivan DePrume, Jay Yuenger, performed by White Zombie; "Bloodstained" by Glenn Tipton, Kenneth Downing, performed by Judas Priest; "Trumpets of Jericho" by Bruce Dickinson, Roy Z, performed by Bruce Dickinson; "Human Disease" by Tom Araya, Jeff Hanneman, Kerry King, performed by Slayer

Sound Mixer
Owen Langevin
Re-recording Mixers
Don White
Andy Koyama
Tom O'Connell
Supervising Sound Editor
Stephen Barden
Dialogue Editor
Elizabeth Pajek
Sound Effects Editors
Paula Fairfield
Craig Henighan
Stephen Roque
Greg Shim
Jill Purdy
Paul Germann
Bernadette Kelly
Goro Koyama
Andy Malcolm
Ron Mellegers
Tony Van Den Akker
Stunt Co-ordinator
John Stoneham Jr
John Berger
Animal Wrangler
Rick Parker
Film Extract
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Jennifer Tilly
Tiffany/voice of Tiffany doll
Katherine Heigl
Nick Stabile
John Ritter
Chief Warren Kincaid
Alexis Arquette
Howard Fitzwater, 'Damien Baylock'
Gordon Michael Woolvett
Brad Dourif
voice of Chucky
Lawrence Dane
Detective Preston
Michael Johnson
Officer 'Needlenose' Norton
James Gallanders
Janet Kidder
Vincent Corazza
Officer Robert Bailey
Kathy Najimy
motel maid
Park Bench
Emily Weedon
girl at one-stop
Ben Bass
Lieutenant Ellis
Roger McKeen
Justice of the Peace
Sandi Stahlbrand
Metrodome Distribution Ltd
7,987 feet
88 minutes 45 seconds
Digital DTS sound/SDDS/Dolby digital
Colour by
DeLuxe Toronto
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011