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Living with Chucky (2022) Review

Living With Chucky’s title refers not only to the longevity of the Childs Play franchise, the original film premiered on November 11th, 1988, but to writer/director Kyra Elise Gardner’s (Dollhouse, Strange To Me) own life. Not only did she grow up as a fan, but she is the daughter of makeup and effects man Tony Gardner who has worked on everything from Blood Salvage and Dark Angel to Studio 666 and Hocus Pocus 2, and, of course, Seed, Curse, and Cult of Chucky.

There’s also actress Fiona Dourif, who has appeared in a couple of the later films, as well as the Chucky series. As you probably guessed, she’s the daughter of Brad Dourif who has voiced the killer doll from the start, so she has also been living with Chucky from a young age. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Starting at the beginning and taking the films in chronological order, Living With Chucky interviews many of the key figures from the franchise’s history such as Alex Vincent who played Andy in the first two films as well as later installments as well as the show, writer Don Mancini, producer David Kirschner, and of course Jennifer Tilly.

Adding a different perspective are the likes of long time horror journalist Tony Timpone, actress Lin Shaye (Insidious, Room for Rent), comedian Marlon Wayans (A Haunted House, Air), and filmmaker John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Lust in the Dust) who talks about having his wish to be killed by Chucky come true with a cameo in Seed of Chucky.

That includes the decision to take the films in a more humorous direction before coming back to straight horror. Or perhaps not so straight as it also covers the somewhat mixed reactions to the increasing amount of LGBT content in the films, including Chucky and Tiffany’s offspring, Glen/Glenda, one of the first trans characters in a major studio film.

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Unfortunately Living with Chucky has some glaring omissions, Child’s Play 3 is pretty much glossed over beyond mentioning that Alex Vincent was replaced due to the aging of Andy. It also totally ignores the controversy in the UK, where tabloids tried to link the film to actual child murders. Hearing how those associated with the film felt about this would have been interesting.

The 2019 reboot is ignored as well, but that’s more understandable. With a different cast and crew, not to mention a story that makes the AI-controlled Chucky a precursor to M3gan, it lacks any connection to the main franchise besides the name.

The last forty or so minutes of Living With Chucky are where the family connections I mentioned in the opening paragraphs come to the front. At that point, it becomes less about the films and more about growing up in a show business family, which may cause some viewers to lose interest. Some of it is actually interesting, such as young Fiona’s reaction to seeing her father die on-screen.

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Other things, such as having a parent absent due to shooting on location, will be relatable to many not involved with the film industry. But however genuine it might be, the whole “we’re all like a family” finale just felt trite and overly familiar.

For the most part, Living With Chucky manages to stay interesting, and I did learn quite a bit from it. That might be due to the fact that while I’ve seen most of the films, I’ve never been a massive fan of the franchise either. Those more devoted to Chucky’s story may already be familiar with some of what’s covered here.

Living With Chucky will be available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Platforms in the UK & Ireland from April 24th via Lightbulb Film Distribution. In the US, it’s currently available on Digital Platforms including Screambox. It will be available on Blu-ray on April 18th. And you can find more showbiz documentaries by checking with FilmTagger.

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