Living with Chucky – STREAMING & BLU-RAY


Potty mouthed and frozen faced with a glassy dead eyed stare, Living with Chucky is not a documentary featuring Amanda Holden’s husband talking about their marriage but is instead a documentary about the iconic killer doll franchise that started all the way back in 1988 with Child’s Play. A low budget film its success prompted a whole spate of sequels including a reboot in 2019 with Aubrey Plaza and most recently a TV series. All of this came from the pen of film school graduate Don Mancini and his script originally titled,  ‘Blood Buddy’ who has written all of the films and directed three of them as well as the TV series.

Living with Chucky is the brainchild of director Kyra Elise Gardner one of many who grew up with the franchise and became a major fan and her documentary talks to cast and famous fans of the franchise including John Waters who himself appeared in one of the films earning a gruesome on screen death. In an era of vacuous CGI the Child’s Play films later evolved into being known by Chucky’s name alone and stayed with live action puppets rather than CGI and that is undeniably part of the charm. It’s something that the film makers are only too aware is an essential element for the fans. On that front the appeal is obvious with one contributor rightly pointing out that for fans it’s as relevant as a puppet Yoda to the later CGI Yoda in the Star Wars films. The Chucky puppet has evolved over the years with the pasty faced doll and its shock of red hair receding and getting ever more petulant and spiteful. Rumours that a live action film with Prince Harry in the role remain unfounded

The films were always low budget with none of them ever getting close to breaking the $100m box office but all had their appeal with gleefully absurd kills and clever development of the character that expanded to accommodate a girlfriend/ wife (Tiffany voiced by Jennifer Tilly) and later a son with transgender issues in a manner that was way ahead of its time.

The documentary follows the franchise film by film with cast contributing behind the scenes stories that takes in why Alex Vincent as a six year old in the first film didn’t return for the first sequel, how the budgets kept getting slashed by the studio and how the cast became something of an extended family with Brad Dourif who voices Chucky finding his own daughter cast as a lead in the later films to much acclaim. And the scripts became somewhat meta as the franchise progressed with Jennifer Tilly have provided the voice of Tiffany which reinvigorated the series when she appeared in No4 and later went on to appear as herself in an onscreen role.

Living with Chucky has been made by a fan for the fans with Mancini explaining that as the series veered dangerously close to becoming too comic he reined it back in to its horror origins. This first 70 minutes is well done but the latter half hour sees director Gardner bring herself in to talk about the influence of the franchise on her life and is of zero interest and is a little too self-indulgent from that point on.

One incident it does overlook is the impact of Child’s Play 3 had in the UK – the VHS of which was found in a police search at the homes of  John Venables and Robert Thompson a pair of ten year old boys who lured the two year old Jamie Bulger away from his mother before torturing and murdering him in a case that rightly shocked the UK back in the 1990’s. As it was the film had nothing whatsoever to do with their heinous crime but it didn’t stop the Daily Mail running with the story. But that aside Living with Chucky is engaging if uncritical  look at the franchise

Related featureChilds Play (2019) review

Related feature: Megan introduces M3GAN at the UK premiere

Here’s the trailer…….

Living With Chucky will be available to own or rent in the UK & Ireland from 24th April 2023 via Amazon, AppleTV, Sky Store, Virgin Media and Google Play. Also available on Blu-ray


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