Taking a Shot: Bride of Chucky (Ronny Wu, 1999)

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There’s some interesting things going on in this shot. Plotwise, Tiffany is learning that Charles Lee Ray, AKA Chucky, never intended to marry her before he was killed, as she believed. Motivated by love, she’s spent ten years searching for the doll housing Ray’s soul, only to hear him laugh at her.

One of the best things about Bride of Chucky is that the relationship between Chucky and Tiffany has a great dynamic, and that Jennifer Tilly and Brad Dourif (with his voice, at least), play off each other so well. They take the characters seriously, exaggerated as they are, and the movie is all the better for it.

Ronny Wu emphasises Tiffany’s emotions here by using a diopter lens, so that Tiffany and Chucky are both in focus at once. I don’t always like this type of shot, but the image’s unreal quality suits the heightened nature of the movie, and what Tiffany’s feeling.

Wu’s strong sense of style elevates Don Mancini’s script. Perhaps inspired by Wu, Mancini used a range of visual techniques, including similar diopter lens shots, in his next two Chucky films, which were both self-directed. Seed of Chucky and Curse of Chucky had weaker stories than Bride, which was more of a problem than how they were filmed.

By some slip up, this camera was not fitted with a filter that Tilly jokes is the due of “a star of [her] stature.” As such, we can see the textures of Tilly’s skin, which, apparently, we would otherwise have been spared. These kinds of filters have been used thoughout the history of cinema and aren’t inherently bad, but it’s always worth questioning why conventional female beauty must be so unattainable for any woman, star or not.

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