Living with Chucky (Kyra Elise Gardner, 2022, USA)

Living with Chucky is a charming documentary about the Child's Play franchise and its titular villain/hero Chucky. First-time filmmaker Kyra Elise Gardner has a particular history with the doll. Her father was the lead puppeteer on all of the later entries of the franchise, and thus Chucky was a constant presence in her childhood. The film grew out of a short documentary that Gardner made examining both her relationship with Chucky and how her childhood mirrored that of Fiona Dourif - actress and daughter of Brad Dourif, aka the voice of Chucky. This short subject documentary evolved into a feature-length documentary.

In some respects Living with Chucky feels like a short documentary stretched out to feature length, however, this is not necessarily a bad thing. For those unfamiliar with the Chucky franchise, it does provide a straightforward and linear overview of the films in the franchise, including some behind-the-scenes details as well as interviews with the key figures in the franchise, including Don Mancini. Other talking heads include director John Waters, who is not only a fan of the franchise, but also appeared as one of Chucky's victims in Seed of Chucky. The film is filled with clips from the films to illustrate.

The heart of the film however is still the segments with Gardner and her father, as well as the interviews with Fiona Dourif and her father. Gardner's interest in the franchise came from her connection to the franchise. While Living with Chucky is unlikely to bring anything new to the table for diehard fans of the franchise, it is worth viewing for some insight into the people who worked hard behind the scenes to make the franchise happen over the years. Just don't expect things like dirt on Tom Holland and disputes over the writing credits of the first film.



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