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We are back with Haunted MTL’s continuing coverage of the Chucky franchise. This week, we talk about Chucky S2 E2, “The Sinners Are Much More Fun.” The momentum of a new season continues to establish new players and returning favorites. We also get a surprising team-up and a whole school full of potential victims of a killer doll.

Plus, we get probably the biggest tease in the run of the television series thus far.

Chucky – S2 E2 – “The Sinners Are Much More Fun”

Jake, Devon, and Lexi find themselves in a tough predicament as the house rules of the school restrict their movements. Meanwhile, a Chucky doll has arrived with a mysterious new plan. Jake (Zackary Arthur) deals with the loss of Gary. Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson) takes the new situation in stride. Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind) befriends someone new – while reawakening an old enemy.

Chucky airs Wednesday nights on SyFy and USA.

How Was It?

“The Sinners Are Much More Fun” wastes no time establishing a new set of characters and wastes some folks. It also touches on a significant development from last season’s finale that did not make this season’s premiere. The episode is neatly divided between the developments at the Catholic School of the Incarnate Lord and the developments with Tiffany/Jennifer and Nica back in Hackensack.

Our A-plot involves the immediate arrival of a Chucky doll disguised as a donation for a toy drive. He wastes little time getting to work and making his presence known to the kids. Curiously, he seems to be taking photos of his work, but to what ends? We are also introduced to Nadine (Bella Higginbotham), who quickly takes to Lexy. However, Lexy immediately starts trouble with an old frenemy, Trevor (Jordan Kronis). Jake, however, takes some of this new religious discussion to heart, given his guilt. He is quickly focused on by Father Bryce (a returning Devon Sawa).

Meanwhile, in Hackensack, Tiffany Valentine, still playing the role of Jennifer Tilly (as played by Jennifer Tilly), has kept Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) trapped. However, the foundations of her fragile domestic state begin to crumble as Nica continues to resist. A mysterious visitor (Sergio Di Zio), a surprise in the bed, and the inevitable return of the twins, Glen and Glenda, threaten to throw this situation into complete chaos.

Fiona Dourif as Nica Piece in Chucky S2 E2
Nica deserves a big, fat “W” this season, and she may be on her way…

Highlights

Don Mancini and Mallory Westfall co-wrote this week’s episode. Samir Rehem returns to direct his third episode, following the season one standouts “Cape Queer” and “Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss.” Rehem is a good choice for this episode, given it has a plot of place-setting while also introducing intriguing new directions. The episode is also gorgeously shot, especially the rich, chiaroscuro lighting that consumed the school even during the day. While other shows can struggle to shoot effectively in the dark, Chucky manages it quite well.

I am eager to see where next week goes, especially given the growing cast of children and how that may play into whatever this Chucky’s mission is. We have quite a mystery on our hands this season, and the tease of Glen and Glenda at the end of the episode, after a very poorly-timed murder, promises to delight.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Chucky -S2 E2 – Kill Count and Spotlight

Two kills are added to this season’s roster, bringing the season to three. One kill evokes an anti-climax of Child’s Play 3 as a fun little nod. The other is a hasty, bad decision in a traditional slasher sort, and while not the flashiest, offers a ton of potential for next week’s episode.

Seeds of Chucky

As always, each review features some notes on references and continuity in the whole Chucky franchise.

  • This week’s title card features hundreds of Nica and Chucky photos. Given the reveal later on, this makes a ton of thematic sense.
  • Chucky gets some air in this episode, referencing a popular train of thought on how most people would respond to him.
  • I can’t believe the show casually dropped a reference to Jennifer Tilly’s “The Simpsons” money.
  • By the end of the episode, the Chuckybusters seem to have an idea of what this Chucky’s job is. The Chucky memory loss element will be a major part of the season.
  • I mentioned on the podcast that we’re getting a remix of Child’s Play 3. That seems to be lining up, given one of this week’s kills.
  • The franchise trope of leaving traumatized children alone in a room with the doll is continued.
  • I had covered in the podcast for the show’s latest episode that I felt confused by the timeline of events. Still, the show has finally addressed that. The events of this episode are about a year removed from the finale, which helps soothe some of my confusion.
  • Introducing a new Devon Sawa character every season seems perfectly in line for this show.
  • Speaking of which, some references this week include Sawa’s own Idle Hands (1999), The Godfather (1978), and Psycho (1960).
  • We get the briefest of teases of Glen and Glenda as they arrive to the sounds of The Slits’ “Heard it Through the Grapevine,” and I loved it.

We’re continuing to cover the Kids’ Stuff – A Chucky Podcast show. However, unlike these written reviews, our discussion show contains plenty of spoilers. If you missed the latest Kids’ Stuff about S1 E2, “Halloween II,” you could listen to it wherever you get your podcasts.

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine Special Live Watch Party February 10th!

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The sweet putrid stench of love lingers through the air which can only mean one thing…Valentine’s Day and its annoying little winged cherub, Cupid, is fast approaching. Soon, partners will be spoiling one another with extravagant bouquets of roses, heartfelt Hallmark cards, obnoxiously large teddy bears, glistening diamond jewelry, and heart-shaped candies or boxes filled with assorted mediocre chocolates. You know? Normal things couples do. I tend to prefer my chocolate boxes filled with bleeding hearts, à la ‘My Bloody Valentine’ but, beggars can’t be choosers, right? All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day is special for many couples, however, there are also many others who find themselves celebrating this day without a significant other. Luckily, Shudder, along with drive-in king Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) will graciously be keeping us lonely mutants’, and yes, all you horror fanatic couples’ company on Friday, February 10th as they return with The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine, premiering live at 9pm EST.

Love Spells Abound…

Back in 2021, Joe Bob and Darcy invited us to a gruesomely passionate night of spell-binding love witches and animatronic dinosaurs infused with teenage human brains during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You. Many, including myself, were introduced to the tantalizing 70’s inspired retro throwback ‘The Love Witch’ and the graphically goofy cult classic ‘Tammy and the T-Rex’, providing the perfect viewing pleasure to mend any broken heart. While the two films for this year’s morbid love-induced special have yet to be announced, as a special treat, Briggs has announced for the first time on The Last Drive-In, he will be marrying one lucky couple during the live showing. We here at HauntedMTL are eagerly awaiting the return of the ghoulish duo so, as is tradition, we will be proudly hosting a watch party on Twitter during the broadcasting of The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and tag us  @hauntedMTL as well as @shudder@therealjoebob, and @kinky_horror to partake in this night of unholy love.

Drawn image of Joe Bob Briggs pouring  a drop of pink liquid into a clear glass potion bottled filled with a glowing red substance. To his left lies a book a magic spells with a golden pentagram necklace resting on top. Also on the books rests a human skull with heart shaped pupils for eyes hiding behind a pair of clear glasses. In bold white letters a text reads "Join us on February 10th as we live tweet The Last Drive-In Valentine's Day Special".
Follow @hauntedMTL for live tweets and replies!

What started off as a one-time special premiering on Shudder July 13, 2018, ‘The Last Drive- In’ was originally meant to be Brigg’s swan song; one last special before hanging up the bolo tie in retirement. However, due to so many mutants, excuse me…viewers tuning in and breaking the Shudder servers, it was only natural to announce an official full season of ‘The Last Drive-In‘, which would make its explosive debut March 19, 2019. Since then, Darcy and Briggs have spawned many exclusive holiday specials, have graciously donated to many charities within the community, and have accumulated 4 seasons of ‘The Last Drive-In’, with a fifth currently in production premiering on Shudder’s 2023 schedule sometime this year, let’s hope sooner rather than later.

Picture of Joe Bob Briggs, Darcy the Mail Girl, John Patrick Brennan and Yuki Nakamura standing together dressed in medieval costumes. A cardboard cutout of Tom Atkins stands between Darcy and Yuki. Darcy is seen drapped in a beautfiul elegant princess dress, satin white with gold trim. Yuki is seen holding a small wreath of purple, white, and yellow flowers that match his loud medieval king costume. Resting atop both their heads are golden crowns. Joe Bob Briggs is seen standing to the left of Darcy, as he smiles whilst wearing a half-put together jester costumer. Lastly, we see Brennan with two wooden recorders in his hand as he mimics playing them both dress clad in a bright yellow dress.
An unexpected ceremony during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You (2021) special.

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Movies n TV

Horror Noire, a Film Review

Horror Noire is a horror collection that includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.”

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Horror Noire is a horror collection brought by the combined efforts of AMC+ and Shudder. The collection includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.” Horror Noire boasts Black directors and screenwriters, providing six unique stories.

As this collection explores six stories, I will skip the usual synopsis to assess the genres and ideas explored, albeit limited as needed. Expect to find supernatural horror, creature features, and psychological thrillers. Many short films deal with these genres while exploring Black issues, but this isn’t universal for the collection.

The directors and writers include Zandashé Brown, Robin Givens, Rob Greenlea, Kimani Ray Smith, Steven Barnes, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Tananarive Due, Shernold Edwards, Victor LaValle, and Al Letson.

Woman and man wearing a vote for candidate shirt, scared of something off screne
Image from “Sundown” Directed by Kimani Ray Smith

What I Like

Each story remains unique, holding different strengths and weaknesses that highlight drastically different perspectives. Collections like VHS hold a similar premise to create their collection, but Horror Noire gives more creative freedom to its talent to be independent.

My personal favorite short film is Zandashé Brown’s “Bride Before You.” This period piece unravels a fable set in the Reconstruction Era. The entry feels Fabulistic in approach, which happens to be my preferred niche.

However, the best example of horror goes to Robin Givens’ “Daddy,” providing an existential horror tied directly to the characters involved.

Woman listening to a preacher amidst a crowd
Image from “Fugue State” directed by Rob Greenlea

What I Dislike

As mentioned, all have a particular style and idea. The downside of this approach always remains to keep the viewer interested long enough to find their favorite. If you find several underwhelming choices, this becomes a chore. But I imagine that is rare as the variety makes the options refreshing.

Personally, “Brand of Evil” had an interesting premise, but the execution fell short. On paper, it might have sounded like my favorite, which makes the lackluster execution a bigger letdown.

Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

Horror Noire gives power and control to Black creators, providing a formula for a unique collection against others in the space. While the various subjects and approaches mean you aren’t likely to love them all, there should be a short film for everyone.
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Dahmer, Silenced

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Episode six of Netflix’s Dahmer was not, honestly about our title character. Instead, it was about one of his victims, a man named Tony. We’ve actually seen Tony a few times during this series. We just didn’t know it was him.

Rodney Burford in Dahmer

And, well, he wasn’t exactly alive the first time we saw him.

Tony was born into a supportive, loving family. This is good because soon after he was born a viral infection took his hearing. He is black, deaf, and gay in the early 90’s.

Tony has a dream of becoming a model. And he certainly has the looks for it. He is beautiful, body and soul. He has lots of opportunities for romance, but it’s not what he’s looking for. He wants a real relationship. 

Eventually Tony moves to Madison, trying to pursue his dream. He gets a job and starts getting modeling work.

Then, he meets Jeff Dahmer at a bar. 

At first, we can almost believe that it’s going to be alright. Jeff seems happy. He’s taking care of himself. He’s not drinking as much. He even has his dad and stepmom over for dinner. It seems like his life is getting on track. Even better, he’s treating Tony right.

Then, of course, things go bad. 

One thing that has always bothered me as a true crime fan is that we know so much about the killers, but not as much about the victims. Not so much if we don’t know who the killer is, of course. But the names that are part of our pop culture are those of the killers. Dahmer, Manson, Jones, Bundy, Holms. The names we don’t know are Roberta Parks, Beth LaBiancas, Leno LaBiancas, and Tony Hughes. And clearly, we should know them.

If Tony Hughes was half the shining, positive person that the show Dahmer made him out to be, I’m so sad that he isn’t with us anymore. We need so many more people like him. And many of Dahmer’s victims were likely just like him. After all, he was attracted to them for a reason.

This was a significant episode, and I understand why it’s the highest-rated episode of the series. I finished it with a heavy heart, saddened by the loss of a man who should still be with us today. 

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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