Valley of the (killer) dolls

Pub date February 10, 2011
WriterCheryl Eddy

CHUCKY CHEESE It’s hard not to fall in love with Jennifer Tilly. Star of hits big (1997’s Liar Liar) and cult (1996’s Bound), she’s an Oscar-nominated (for 1994’s Bullets Over Broadway) actor who also happens to be a champion poker player. Though she specializes in dim-bulb sexpots, Tilly is no dummy — witness her hilarious turn in 2004’s Seed of Chucky. In addition to providing the voice for killer doll Tiffany (whom she also portrayed in 1998’s Bride of Chucky) she also plays “Jennifer Tilly,” a character who kinda but not really resembles the real Jennifer Tilly.

Seed of Chucky, directed by Child’s Play series creator Don Mancini, is the most gleefully campy Chucky film to date (John Waters cameo!) San Francisco’s favorite horror hostess, Peaches Christ, is bringing Tilly and Mancini to town for a special pre-Valentine’s Day screening. What better excuse to talk with Chucky’s main squeeze?

SFBG Are you excited about the Seed of Chucky event with Peaches Christ?

Jennifer Tilly We are so thrilled to be getting the Peaches Christ treatment. We loved the trailer — Don Mancini was like, “Oh my God, this is so exciting!” He’s the one who created the Chucky series. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but over the years the franchise has just gotten more and more warped, and I really think the true spirit of Don Mancini is starting to come through.

SFBG I remember the first few Child’s Play movies did actually try to be scary.

JT A lot of people say that they were so scared when they saw the first Chucky movies that they couldn’t have any dolls around. But by now, everybody knows what Chucky is about. When we did Bride of Chucky, I think, there’s a line where somebody goes, “Oh my God, Chucky isn’t even scary. He’s so ’80s.” So when Don did Seed of Chucky, he just decided to go to town with it. Don just kind of got free reign to do whatever he wanted — though the studio did give him some notes when they got the first draft. They said, “It’s too funny. It’s too gay. And there’s too much Jennifer Tilly.” When he told me that, I thought, “How could there be too much Jennifer Tilly”? (Laughs.)

SFBG Did you have a hand in creating the “Jennifer Tilly” character?

JT After Bride of Chucky, Don became one of my very best friends. When he said I was going to play myself in Seed of Chucky, I said, “Oh, you have to make me an over-the-hill, horrible, obnoxious diva.” The studio was saying, “She’s too unlikable. She’s the protagonist, she should be likeable!” They didn’t understand that we were sort of deconstructing the genre. But a lot of the lines that were in the movie, I actually came up with — like when Tiffany is dragging Jennifer Tilly’s unconscious body, she goes, “Fuck, she’s fat!” Which was something I just ad-libbed. There were a lot of lines about how my career was in the toilet, like the famous line “I’m an Oscar nominee, and now I’m fucking a puppet!” The only thing Don had me do that I didn’t want to do was throw up in my purse. But I’m a pro. (Laughs.)

SFBG I heard that Don Mancini is planning a return-to-scary remake of Child’s Play (1988). Are you involved in that?

JT There are a lot of rumors — they definitely have the go-ahead to make the next Chucky movie, and I think that was one of the ideas. The other idea was to continue the Seed of Chucky story, because people really like the character of (Chucky’s child) Glen-Glenda. I honestly think we’ve come too far to turn back now. (Laughs.) I think the idea behind the remake is that we have so many more special effects, so you could do it so much more realistically. But I don’t think a good horror movie is about having the most brilliant special effects. It’s in the writing and the presentation and the acting.

Also, I just think the direction that Chucky is going — I’ve made over 60 movies, but everywhere I go, the No. 1 movie that people know me from is Bride of Chucky. I go to foreign countries where they don’t know any English at all, and they point at me and yell “Bride of Chucky!” And Don conceived Seed of Chucky as being a cross between Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Ordinary People (1980) — it’s not just a slasher film. There’s something for everybody!


Sat/12, 8 p.m., $20

Victoria Theatre

2961 16th St., SF