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All About Chucky Nov 30

I’m currently working my way through a three-months-for-the-price-of-one offer from those nice people at and consequently watching far more movies than usual.

This week’s two films would struggle to be more different: bona fide 1950’s classic All About Eve and 1998’s slasher Bride of Chucky. What they have in common is that both are surprisingly funny.

Having enjoyed Bette Davis’s peformance in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? I ordered All About Eve, which reignited her career in middle age. It tells the story of stage star Margo Channing (a scene-stealing Davis) and her adoring fan and budding actress Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). George Sanders also stands out in a strong cast, which features a small role from Marilyn Monroe. It’s a drama and filmed in a stagey style, with some rooms noticeably filmed from one side only, but given the subject matter of actors and actresses and some sensibilities of drawing room comedy, this is not a problem.

The real star, alongside Davis herself, is writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz extremely sharp script right from the conversational opening narration. The film buzzes with one-liners, witty retorts and sparkling badinage, and the actors lap it up. The result is a funny but dramatic story, mostly told in flashback, ending with one of cinema’s classic shots. My only criticism was that the second half was slightly long for my taste (the film is over two-and-a-quarter hours long), but arguably that’s just more bang for your buck. I blogged back in spring 2005 that I’d seen less than half of the IMDb‘s 100 then top-rated films. I haven’t made much advance since then, but at least I can tick off All About Eve and I heartily recommend it.

One film I wouldn’t have predicted a few weeks ago that I would be watching is Bride of Chucky, aka Child’s Play 4. Child’s Play 3 is a particularly notorious video nasty in this country and, not a massive fan of slasher films, I’ve never been tempted to watch any of the series. Recently, though, I read somewhere a review of the fourth film that indicated it was, unlikely though it seems, an entertaining change of direction for the series and worth a look, so I took advantage of my unlimited rentals to watch it.

And the review was right. Whereas the earlier films (so I read) concentrated on being violent, Bride of Chucky is a comedy first and a horror film second. It’s self-deprecating (on seeing the doll a chracter remarks, “Chucky? He’s so 80s!” while Chucky comments later “If this were a movie, it would take three or four sequels to do it justice”). As horror comedies demand, it parodies the genre, including visual references to Hellraiser, Bride of Frankenstein – obviously – and Psycho. It’s no more violent than some of the Scream movies and, to my surprise, manages to be funnier.

The cast includes Gordon Michael Woolvett off of Andromeda, Sunset Beach‘s Nick Stabile and Family Guy‘s Jennifer Tilly, with rent-a-madman Brad Dourif (off of Babylon 5 and Lord of the Rings amongst others) returning as the voice of Chucky. Coincidentally, Peter Preston’s Observer review draws comparisons between Tilly and Bette Davis – and, as if to prove this film is worth a try despite its pedigree, Peter Bradshaw hated it.

2 Responses

  1. 1

    You’ve obviously got too much time on your hands young Will.

    I hope you will be finding something more useful to do with it;-)

  1. […] Today is my last day at Napier, my last day working in Edinburgh, and my last day in the library world. (Fear not, the much loved Dewey Decimal posts will continue as infrequently as ever.) As alluded to recently, I am following in the footsteps of Richard and Steve (who has made a welcome return to blogging) by getting myself a new job. Like Mr Kitchen, I am heading to The Smoke. […]