There are two kinds of people in this world: those who rush to see killer puppet movies and those who laugh at people who admit they've seen killer puppet movies -- and it's hard to mistake one for the other.
The homicidal Chucky is back with his own brand of child's play. "Seed of Chucky," the fifth in the "Chucky" series, opens today. The hideous thought of more killer dolls on a rampage and having sex is so repulsive to some that even the publicity-seeking Britney Spears went out of her way to distance herself from this movie.
Spears nixed a plan for filmmakers to use her breakthrough hit "… Baby One More Time" in a puppet-on-puppet sex scene. Perhaps as a form of Chucky's revenge, the scar-faced toy is shown in previews chasing a Britney look-alike.
It's unclear how Spears reacted; however, "Seed of Chucky" trailers soon added this curious tag line: "Britney Spears does not appear in this film."
The studio also made it clear that "no actual Britney Spearses were harmed during the filming."
Jennifer Tilly, appearing in her second "Chucky" film, clearly doesn't mind getting her hands bloody. The 46-year-old actress, who earned a 1994 Oscar nomination for her work in Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway," is otherwise known as the voice of the evil doll Tiffany, Chucky's bride.
In the latest chapter of the Chucky saga, we meet the product of this unholy union, a boy named Glen who goes off to Hollywood, where his parents launch a new killing spree.
Tilly finds it easy to laugh at the insanity of it all, joking with reporters earlier this week at the Los Angeles premiere of the film as she walked a decidedly blood-red carpet.
"It's not all grit and drama," she said, dismissing notions that she's undermining her career by appearing in horror schlock.
"Sometimes you have to have a good romp, and that's what this is," she said. "And, plus, I stretch a good deal in this movie, because I became pregnant with twins."
Neither motherhood nor Chucky will slow Tilly's career. A few weeks ago, she signed on to star in "Tideland," an upcoming Terry Gilliam film. Her work in the "Chucky" movies might not be the first of her films that she'd want her kids to see, but she's nevertheless getting a kick out of plugging the film.
"You may recall in the last film, 'Bride of Chucky,' Chucky and Tiffany indulged in unprotected sex, which led to unplanned pregnancy," she said.
"And so, now, he's sort of mellowed out. Now, he's just your redneck, beer-swilling homicidal doll who only kills once in a while, just for relaxation."
Expect critics to sneer. Filmmakers didn't even bother screening it for them. The first four "Chucky" movies grossed more than $110 million at theaters, and horror titles do very well in DVD and video rentals.
For the uninitiated, the Chucky legend began in 1988's "Child's Play." Serial killer Charles Lee Ray, in a fatal shootout with police, uses voodoo to transfer his soul into Chucky, a "Good Guys" doll. When a little boy named Andy receives the toy as a birthday gift, the bloodbath begins.
Chucky, of course, is destroyed, once Andy learns of the doll's true identity. But he's brought back in "Child's Play 2" and "Child's Play 3: Look Who's Stalking" by the greedy "Good Guy" toy manufacturers, who think the curse is all baloney. When will they learn?
By 1998's "Bride of Chucky," the tag line says it all: "Chucky gets lucky."
At the premiere, director Don Mancini tried to shift focus away from the Spears controversy and back to the perverse Pinocchio, who was the evening's real star.
"I think it just boils down the fact that he's a metal head," he says. "He just doesn't like Britney's kind of music, and he just wants to make the world a safer place."
So, as Tilly says, maybe Chucky really is mellowing out.