“The Boy II” is one of the most inexplicable horror movies released in 2020 so far. The surprise success of the abysmal “The Boy” from 2016 (made cheap, producing big bucks) prompted the studio to make a follow up and franchise. And for some reason the writers and producers decide to completely retcon and reboot the entire mythos and story that was established from the original movie. Rather than stick to their successful formula, the original writer and director come back to reconfigure “The Boy” in to a limp, dull, and incredibly tedious “Annabelle” facsimile. It embraces all of the haunted doll clichés that’s become so common in this sub-genre wholesale, and completely ignores the 2016 horror drama.
Killer dolls are popular once again and now seems like a better time than ever for Chucky to enter stage left and remind people that once upon a time he was the plastic maniac with a butcher knife. 1988’s “Child’s Play” is still a mini-classic that dabbles in the killer doll sub-genre and offers up its own twist. It’s essentially a slasher movie through and through, but it has small doses of the supernatural, and mysterious to add some kind of logic to the origin of Chucky. Brad Douriff’s turn as Chucky is immortal as he plays serial killer Charles Lee Ray, a man who is chased by police during a robbery. After being mortally wounded during a shoot out, Ray ducks in to a toy store and finds no other option but to summon magic to keep himself alive. Said magical incantation allows his soul to be transferred in to a popular doll named the “Good Guy Doll.”
One thing is certain after watching “Curse of Chucky.” While it is a lower budget reboot of the series that also works as a sequel, director Don Mancini loves the character. There are call backs to the previous movies, and director Mancini keeps the series focused on Chucky and Chucky alone, without the intervention of side characters. Brad Dourif returns to voice the character of Chucky, and has a good time reprising the monstrous killer doll that returns to wreak havoc on a dysfunctional wealthy family with many skeletons in their closet.
You would think a horror movie about a killer doll would age after so many years. And you’d be correct. “Child’s Play” while not the worst movie ever made, certainly has lost much of its impact since its initial release. It’s not a horrifying movie by any means, but it’s not the worst of the killer doll sub-genre I’ve ever seen. Chucky may not be the Zuni Fetish Doll from “Trilogy of Terror” but he’s a charming horror character you love to hate.
With a screenplay by David S. Goyer, Charles Band’s brand of miniature madness presents the audience with something of an imagination and creativity. It’s “Demonic Toys,” another in a brand of Full Moon tiny terrors that I loved as a child and continue to to this day and for a Full Moon fan like yours truly, “Demonic Toys” has somewhat evaded me over the years. The 1992 horror film is a wicked entry in to Brand’s trademark creativity where director Peter Manoogian manages to make good use of the single setting piece he sets up for the audience.
It’s not at all surprising that “Trilogy of Terror” has risen to cult status based solely on the success of Richard Matheson’s “Amelia” segment involving the murderous Zuni Fetish Doll as it is sadly the only remotely entertaining and spooky sequence in the 1975 anthology of three mixed tales. While the film has managed to become a bonafide horror classic I found myself wondering when the terror actually was set to begin, primarily because “Trilogy of Terror” is less centered around invoking terror and more on exploring the psyche of the mind and nothing else. The first two stories are just mere psychological thrillers, while the third story entitled “Amelia” is a straight forward monster in the house cat and mouse story but with a psychological twist setting in to question the mind set of its protagonist. “Trilogy of Terror” is one of the most underwhelming anthology horror films I’ve ever seen and one that’s based around a sense of self-importance that keeps it from sticking true to its nature of television movie horror.