TNCC frontman Matthew Cade was recently provided a batch of horror themed cigars from Famous Smoke Shop, each one named after a famous icon from horror film history. Cade came up with the grand idea that The Doctor should review a film to pair with his cigar reviews. Naturally I thought that this concept was brilliant. The first icon on the docket was Frankenstein, followed then by Leatherface and The Wolfman. Tonight we’ve chosen everyone’s favorite little buddy Chucky to place under the Tuesday Night Cigar Club microscope…
Another horror-themed cigar meant it was time, once again, for another sojourn into the vault by The Doctor. I do not refer to my actual vault, a dusty, serpentine crawlspace underneath my laboratory, but rather the metaphorical vault of the past. Let us sample some of the wares from the fine vintage of 1990. Motley Crue was playing to sold-out stadium crowds, the Cincinnati Reds upset the vaunted Oakland A’s in the World Series and twins Brandon and Brenda Walsh moved to Los Angeles and started attending West Beverly High. And most importantly, at least for purposes of this article, the foul mouthed, homicidal, possessed children’s doll known forevermore to the world as Chucky made his way back onto the silver screen in Child’s Play 2.
A quick recap of the significant details from the initial Child’s Play: demon worshipping serial killer Charles Lee Ray (the always enjoyable Brad Dourif), otherwise known as the Lake Shore Strangler, uses a voodoo spell to transfer his soul into one of the popular Good Guys dolls after he is shot by the police. “Chucky” continues his murderous ways and eventually learns that in order to return to human form he must perform another voodoo spell on the first person to realize he was possesed, in this case the six-year old Andy Barclay. Chucky is eventually shot multiple times and burned in a fireplace, but since the film brought in $44 million on a budget of $9 million it was destined to have a sequel two years later.
Enter Child’s Play 2. I always appreciate when a horror sequel – and The Doctor has seen most of them – purports to begin immediately following the events portrayed in the first film. Who cares what the characters have been doing since we last saw them? Not present in the sequel is Andy’s mother (Catherine Hicks, before her days on TV’s Seventh Heaven) who we are told has corroborated her young son’s tale of a serial killing Good Guys doll and as a result is now under psychiatric observation. I’m not sure what that entails. I’ve never performed psychiatric observation myself, but I have observed others that were performing psychiatric observation (on me, if you can believe it) and it was horribly tedious.
In the opening credits sequence of Child’s Play 2 it appears that some sort of autopsy or refitting is being performed on the charred remains of Chucky. We learn in short order that tabloid stories have surfaced about a homicidal Good Guys doll, so the suits at Play Pals Toys are having the doll in question reconstructed and examined. Does an unfortunate assembly line worker get electrocuted in the process? Well, of course he does. Inexplicably, the main Play Pals executive decides to abandon any further investigation into these obviously questionable goings-on and orders his lackey to make sure that the proper lid is kept on the proper jar. Another corporate bean counter makes a bad decision… don’t get me started. Although, to be fair, it does lead to this wonderful exchange:
Corporate Lackey: “What should I do with the doll?”
Silver-haired Exec: “Stick it up your ass!”
As a man who has performed his fair share of scientific research, I can inform you that the sticking of things up the holes of asses does not yield any meaningful data, but it’s still funny. Rather than chop the doll into pieces or throw it into the factory incinerator, the lackey throws Chucky into the back seat of his Mercedes. Good Lord, haven’t these people ever heard of a hacksaw? Apparently not, and Chucky asphyxiates the moron with a plastic bag.
Poor Andy (Alex Vincent, reprising his role from the original film) is subjected to foster care while his mom undergoes whatever it is that people undergo when they are confined to psychiatric observation. (I remember being forced to drink a case of Montucky Cold Snack beer but I’ll be damned if I can remember why. Something having to do with the effects of massive quantities of lager upon people with an IQ in a certain range. I digress.)
While reviewing Child’s Play 2 – and admittedly, it has been a while – I am reminded of the allure of the franchise. How can you not be entertained by a cursing doll? It was an interesting novelty at the time, and one cannot argue with the success. Dourif’s voice has the perfect pitch and combined with his maniacal laugh it’s impossible to imagine anyone else giving life to Chucky. It also occurred to me that Chucky is actually the precursor to another favorite little devil, Stewie Griffin.
Chucky and Stewie, separated at birth? Maybe it’s just the overalls. Come to think of it, Chucky looks more like Kuato!
Andy actually lucks out as far as foster parents are concerned. Foster dad Phil (Gerritt Graham) is a bit wary about taking Andy in so soon after the traumatic events of the first film – and with good reason, as it turns out – but foster mom Joanne (Jenny Agutter, who film aficionados will remember from Logan’s Run and An American Werewolf in London) is a warm, kindhearted soul who wants to provide a nurturing environment for orphaned or abandoned children. And how could I leave out Andy’s foster sister Kyle, played here by Christine Elise, if for no other reason than I get to make two references to Beverly Hills 90210 in the same movie review? Kyle is the hardened, street tough, cigarette smoking teenager who has been through numerous foster homes, but she is nice enough and she takes a liking to Andy.
The quaint home of parlor furniture, lace drapes and ceramic figurines would seem the perfect place to get away from troublesome affairs. Joanne has even prepared Andy’s room, which is all done up in little boy blue with toy trucks and… a Good Guys doll! Jesus Christ, Joanne! Did you even speak to the people at the children’s home or the police station? This doll is named Tommy, and he seems harmless. Andy decides to make an honest effort of confronting his demons by carrying Tommy around with him. A knife with a serrated blade would have been a better choice, but that is just my opinion. The Doctor doesn’t recall that dolls were very popular for little boys back in his own childhood. Even when I was Andy’s age, seven or so, I remember having a large collection of Star Wars action figures and Batman comic books. And by age eleven I had largely abandoned both of those things and replaced them with Budweiser. Maybe dolls are a good thing.
Chucky soon locates Andy’s foster home and is back to his old tricks, beginning with some doll-on-doll violence when he bashes in Tommy’s plastic face with one of the aforementioned ceramic figurines. Andy realizes that he is back in danger, alas, no one believes him, leading to the time-honored theme of ignorant adults who don’t even have the patience or fortitude to hear a child’s pleas. Seriously, why can’t you humor your kid? Should The Doctor become a parent someday – don’t laugh, it could still happen – or perhaps find myself babysitting one of my nieces, and the child tells me that a doll is trying to kill her, and said child is 100% serious, I am not wasting any time in search of further validation, I am going to draw and quarter the motherfucking doll. Same goes for any unsubstantiated reports of monsters or demons hiding under the bed or in the closet. Out comes the blowtorch. I may burn the house down in the process, but no supernatural entity will get the drop on any children while The Doctor is around! You’ll see what happens in Child’s Play 2 to the non-believers, be they unsympathetic school teachers or foster parents…
Andy finally grows a brain and decides to attack Chucky with a battery-powered turkey carver, something he should have done a long time ago. I shan’t reveal any more plot points in case you have never seen the movie, suffice it to say that the film reaches an entertaining climax inside the nightmarish Play Pals Toys warehouse/assembly line floor. This warehouse is like a warped version of the one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark but instead of housing crates of priceless artifacts, it is filled with row after maze-like row of packaged Good Guys dolls. That’s enough to give anyone a nightmare, or at least a minor headache. Anyone care for a can of Montucky Cold Snack?
It’s hard to imagine anyone hasn’t seen at least one of the Child’s Play films; part 2 was followed by a part 3 which was in turn followed by Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky and Curse of Chucky. I also believe that there is a 7th installment with a tentative 2017 release coming up. Either you get a kick out of a murdering, cursing puppet or you don’t. Strangely, I don’t remember the first film to be all that exciting. Since Famous Smoke Shop has also provided a Tiffany cigar, the Doctor may be checking out one of the later fare in the franchise shortly. At 84 minutes long Child’s Play 2 is never boring and is worth revisting if you haven’t seen Chucky in a while. And remember, all you parents or potential babysitters out there… if a kid tells you that one of their dolls is starting to talk back to them, you’d better not be dismissive. As always, The Doctor wishes you all a clean bill of health.
review by CADE
In an effort be transparent and honest with you, our loyal readers, I smoked the Pudgy Chuck cigar a week prior to reviewing the Skinny Chuck and I did not care for it one bit.
Was that little bastard Chucky a boring one dimensional sonofabitch? It’s been a while so I don’t remember but judging from The Doctor’s review above I’m guessing not. Unfortunately, the Pudgy Chuck was boring. A little chocolate and a generic coffee note but no transitions and no surprises. So would this year’s Monster Series release, THE SKINNY CHUCK, be another dud or swoop in and redeem the little psychopath’s good name?
I sensed sweet raisin, earth, and a faint hay aroma when sniffing the foot. The cold draw is wide open with lots of air traveling through and a little spice tingles my lips.
Ground black pepper followed quickly by a nice leather note to start things off. To get in the spirit of smoking the “Chuck”, I’m wearing a rather tight pair of denim overalls but I think they might be restricting my lung capacity so I quickly call an audible and remove them. Dammit I wish I hadn’t taken the tags off these things… do you think Marshall’s will still let me return them now?
Did Tiffany, Chucky’s girlfriend, wear a little doll dominatrix outfit? Because this cigar so far is all LEATHER. As an interesting comparison point, the Pudgy Chuck had zero leather flavors so we’re in unchartered territory so far which kind of makes sense in a cinematic way as I believe the Child’s Play sequels all took on a slightly different tone than the ones before them. But I could be wrong on that front, like I said it’s been a while.
The ash drops soon after the second third begins. I was slightly worried that the draw would be too open but that’s thankfully not the case. Draw, burn, and construction have been fine all around.
A mild coffee flavor is now intermingling with the leather. I had hoped some of that raisin I sensed on the prelight sniff would present itself to compliment the leather but so far it’s nowhere to be seen. However, unlike the Pudgy Chuck the leather note on this stogie is so enjoyable that I’m not bored but rather enjoying the Skinny Chuck. Perhaps I should’ve taken off the snug child-size denim overalls at the pub when I was smoking the Pudgy Chuck there last week, perhaps then I would still be allowed to go there without the authorities being called… summer nights.
Strength has picked up a notch in the home stretch, it’s a strong medium now. We’ve still got the tasty leather, coffee, and an unsalted almond note has joined the party as well. If I didn’t hear the police sirens approaching I would have stuck around and burned my fingertips nubbing this tasty stick but, once again, me and my little overalls had to run!
The Skinny Chuck was definitely a superior sequel to its Pudgy predecessor. It paired really nicely with a malty beverage and I’d certainly smoke it again. And, perhaps more importantly, I’m now off to track down one of the later Child’s Play entries to see if Tiffany does indeed wear a leather dominatrix outfit. For research purposes of course, I am a professional podcaster after all…
I hope you liked this collaboration between The Doctor and myself, if so let us know! If not, well, watch your back when you’re driving home from work tonight. You’ve been warned…