Calling all the basic witches! Put on your dusty wigs and moth-eaten capes, and grab your moldy chalices because another serving of drag, filth, horror, and glamour is bubbling in the cauldron. After a legendary opening night of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Titans, the smoke has settled, and the stage is set for an epic showdown. Shade has been thrown so far and wide that it’s almost impossible to make out a Teletubby from a toilet bowl, but after a kaiju-sized episode, we now have a better understanding of who these Titans are since their time spent six feet under. And while we saw Abhora, the purveyor of chaos, cast back into oblivion, Halloween isn’t over for the Boulet Brothers. It appears they have one more trick up their bewitching couture.
Before that trick can be treated, our chronically costumed creatures enter the boudoir for a fresh day in Hell, and the shit-talking commences. Not fond of this particular form of a death drop, the Titans are still in disbelief over the floor-dropping elimination they witnessed last week. Erika – forever bruised like a bad apple – insists she will neither forgive nor forget being voted into the bottom. Evah’s pissed too, only her anger is directed towards Abhora due to their defeatist attitude, and most others agree. Well, aside from HoSo and Astrud, who have empathy for their beaked beau and wish the world could have seen more of Abhora’s art.
With those words, the first spell of the episode is cast as Abhora – cupping an iconically creepy baby doll mug for all the tea she overheard – casually strolls into the boudoir. Everyone is understandably shocked by this turn of events, and lore-wise it doesn’t make any sense – Miss Thing had been banished into oblivion with no explanation for her return! Some are bothered, but Evah hugs her friend, relieved to see her back for a second (third?) chance. HoSo and Astrud, meanwhile, are overjoyed as their horniness gets the better of them. All three embrace, despite Astrud and Abhora not-so-secretly wanting to murder each other over the beloved third in their throuple. Kendra, always the voice of reason, shrugs her shoulders and says the show must go on, and so it does as the cast is beckoned to the main stage.
None of us like to see corporate America turn Halloween into the holidays overnight, so in Samhain’s spirit, the Boulet Brothers are keeping the spook alive with a Revenge of the Witch challenge. Considering the return of our favorite witchy weirdo, it’s quite the apt title. The Uglies must design and create an original and terrifying look based on the iconic theme of the witch. Creativity is key, but their unique brand of drag must not get lost in the brew. But the real kicker of this challenge is that they must also create a pair of custom-made shoes to go with their witchy wardrobe and serve it ancient city style to a lip sync performance of a “special song” the Boulets have picked out. It’s giving Pearl in her Wicked Witch of the West fantasy.
Not one to forget torturing their cast for entertainment, the Boulets announce that this week’s Fright Feat is to play and survive a game of Burn the Witch in which they’ll be served some of the hottest foods on the planet. Whoever manages to stuff it all down like Vhagar the dragon, will be given the ability to cast The Curse of Baldness on a fellow competitor. In a wig-snatching twist, the cursed Titan’s wig or headpiece will evaporate for the entirety of the floor show. As Melissa so eloquently puts it, they will be “bald, just pelona, bald.” Given the typically grotesque nature of this show’s lewks, being a bald baddie may prove less of an issue for some more than others, so it would be wise to direct this witchcraft strategically.
HoSo quips that they’re “worried for a lot of white people here,” while Erika the Extermination Kween says she is determined to win the Feat and prove her worth. Kendra leads a toast as they gulp down their first ill-advised consumable, and the ‘ookiest episode of Hot Ones begins!
Level 1: Vato Loco Blood Mary – Easy, right?
Level 2: Cayenne-laced Jalapeño – Tears are welling.
Level 3: Moruga Scorpion Peanuts – Gags are gagging.
Level 4: Plutonium No. 6 Hot Sauce – Snot is flying.
Level 5: Hellfire Wasabi Habaneros – Yovska and Koco are first out.
Level 6: Ghost Chili Pepper Amuse-Bouche – HoSo and Evah lead the charge as the Uglies start dropping like flies.
Level 7: Whole Ghost Chili Pepper – Melissa and Victoria are out.
Level 8: Trinidad Scorpion Chocolate – Abhora, Erika, and Kendra remain.
Level 9: Whole Carolina Reaper Pepper – Kendra is out, leaving last week’s bottom two to battle for the win.
Level 10: Pepper X – A bonus round, since production did not think anyone would last this long.
Level 11: All Levels Combined – Somehow, Abhora and Erika stuck it out this long and are forced to consume everything on the list at once.
Ultimately, Erika licks her plate clean first and prevails. Without any semblance of strategy, she predictably casts The Curse of Baldness upon Abhora for “doubting” her during the Feat, which she later explains was to put Abhora in her place.
And with that tomfoolery finished, Koco leads a group vogueing session to the tune of “Who that witch bitch?” while Erika presumably sets fire to the rain in the restroom.
Floor Show & Judgment
The lights dim, and all oxygen is sucked out of the room. The Boulet Brothers appear on the main stage with high ponytailed deep space lewks that can only be described as “Ellen Ripley listened to Ariana Grande while skinning a Xenomorph.” The pair introduce returning guest judges Bonnie Aarons of The Nun, whose enthusiasm for horror is always appreciated, and Darrein Stein, director of Jawbreaker and first-ever guest judge on the show way back in Season 1.
The first true floor show of the season begins, and the witchy mist-shrouded silhouettes we love to see, appear on stage. This eeriness does not last long, though, because the super secret lip sync song is revealed to be the early aughts viral-before-there-was-viral classic “Shoes” by Kelly. Gagula has somehow gotten gayer and the juxtaposition of these (mostly) terrifying witches performing such a silly and flamboyant song is hilarious. The clear lipsync assassins of the night are Kendra, Evah, HoSo, and Koco. Kendra is nothing if not a performer, with Koco not far behind, and Evah and HoSo bring their characters to life with broom and bubble wand props, respectively. Astrud and Erika kinda-sorta-not-really-vogue-the-house-down-toots, while Yovska, Victoria, and Melissa fade into the background. And finally, the resurrected witch bitch, Abhora, quite honestly slays the performance despite suffering from curse-induced alopecia. Their performance is campy, creepy, and everything we love about that goon.
Now, let’s get some shoes. The Titans model their hooves for the judges, and the Boulets are left somewhat unimpressed. They describe a disconnect between those who succeeded and those that stepped in shit. Erika, displaying a candy corny witch lewk and poorly performed lip sync, remains safe due to a sickening runway in which she literally gags on a sickle. Her fellow Haus of Basic competitor, Astrud, gets by on all looks and no substance, and Koco remains safe by doing the opposite. Abhora, always her own worst enemy, could have easily been at the top of this challenge. Their shoes were Dracmorda’s favorite of the night, and her spiral design turned her Curse in on itself, but as usual, they could not get through the performance without tripping over themselves.
Melissa, serving Diane Keaton back from the dead First Wives Club eleganza, tried a bit too hard with the prosthetics. While not necessarily bad, it isn’t the “deadly, serving, c*nty” Melissa BeFirece we know and love, and Titans is not the time to try something new. She remains safe, with her bottom-landing critiques more of a warning than a scolding. Kendra, on the other hand, performed to perfection, but her shoes were the worst of the week as she hardly customized them at all. And finally, Yovska gets into trouble for serving last week’s Abhora. During judgment, their skull-themed candy witch becomes an eyesore under the harsh studio lights, and their paper mache shoes are hardly visible underneath the outfit. Potion backfired.
That leaves Victoria, Evah, and HoSo at the top of the coven for this week’s challenge. Victoria, as expected, looks fantastic as a one-eyed witch who carries her plucked oculus in a jar of its own. Her bony shoes are jaw-dropping, but her performance was lacking compared to her sisters. HoSo wowed the judges in rat-strewn shoes as a Mad Catter animalistic witch who wears their victims like this year’s runway. But their witch-adjacent vibe isn’t enough for the win, and so it’s handed to Evah Destruction. Evah’s witch lewk may be a bit on the nose, but that’s exactly what’s so charming about it. The broomography sold her performance, and her shoes looked as if the Book of the Dead had a date with a cobbler. She’s over the moon with positive critiques. Blessed be!
The voting from last week, which added a certain level of spice to the competition due to a lack of Exterminations, is strangely missing this time. Instead, Yovska and Kendra must await the Boulet’s final judgment backstage while the ghouls get to gaggling. As such, the drama is fairly chill this week, with the biggest scuffle occurring between Kendra and Yovska. Kendra seems to be asking the others who did the worst for the pleasure of hearing Yovska’s name called out, which Yovska says comes across as a display of insecurity. A small cussing match ensues between the duo and Koco, who sticks up for Kendra before everyone agrees to disagree and shuts up. But before any souls can be damned, production creates some drama of its own by conveniently forgetting to clean up a vote from last week. Abhora quietly saunters over and sees that the name written down is Yovska, and HoSo admits to voting for them in an attempt to stave off votes from one-third of their throuple. Abhora’s revelry is short-lived as HoSo and Astrud fondly reminisce on a hot wax session that fell between the “cracks.” Oh my!
The time has come for Kendra and Yovska to climb the Staircase of Souls and brace for impact. In congruence with everyone’s thoughts backstage, Yovska is the unlucky soul. They drop into oblivion, and we watch as their portrait appears where Abhora’s once hung. We hear the faint sound of a flushing toilet as the screen fades to black.
Quote of the Episode
“My bussy is sweating!” – Melissa BeFierce during the Fright Feat
Last week’s victim and this week’s surprise twist, Abhora, laid it all on the line during the challenge. Their spiral concept swatted away that pesky Curse of Baldness, and their wacky personality shone through during the lip sync. Unfortunately, they couldn’t manage to stand up straight through it all.
As entertaining an episode as any, it’s always curious to see what witchy wonders the show’s Uglies conjure up. However, the drama is cut down considerably with no voting and no exterminations. Instead of a climax, we’re given blue balls. Yes, these Titans have already been murdered during their seasons, but if we’re not going to get an exquisitely filmed death scene, it’d be nice to watch them slit each other’s throats over votes. Perhaps filming so soon after the World Tour threw a wrench in the usual theatrics? (7/10 Fiery Snot Rockets)
A VERY HACKENSACK CHRISTMAS: Chucky Season 2 Episode 8 “Chucky Actually” Recap & Review
He’ll be back. They always come back. And when this show comes back next year…man, I’m getting a serious case of déjà vu!
Jokes aside, I want to thank all my recap readers out there and hope you enjoy this last one until next October rolls around; if you like them, try out the other assorted horror morsels here on Horror Press. But in the meanwhile, let’s get this final festive R&R going!
Following Andy’s execution of the final Chucky, her life flashes before her eyes…yes, HER, because it’s Mixter who’s trapped in there. It’s revealed Charles knocked Dr. Mixter out while Glenda was taking care of Sister Ruth in the Chapel, and that’s when he got his Ade Due Damballa switch in. Chucky’s early Christmas present is a clean slate, with nobody’s knowledge of his continued survival.
Three days before Christmas, Lexy visits N.A. and drops the truth about her addiction to an audience, in which Jake is sitting as her sponsor. It’s revealed everyone ended up getting their 100 hours of community service in following the Incarnate Lord chaos that got the school closed permanently, and Jake is crashing at Chez Cross with Lexy and her family for the holidays (namely so the former Mayor Michelle Cross can exploit the good PR of taking in two orphans at Christmastime; I mean, come on, that’s publicity gold!). I also should have been more suspicious of getting the holiday gift of more Barbara Alyn-Lind in this episode because she is at her peak of playing a perfectly preened and focus test polished scumbag.
Elsewhere, Glenda keeps vigil over a comatose Glen in the hospital, reporting to Tiffany that their condition is only worsening. A desperate Glenda asks her to pull out her Jennifer Tilly persona one last time to smuggle in the Glen/da doll so they can save Glen with another soul transfer. A cop catches them red-handed and Tiff hulk smashes a vase over his head before Glenda gives into the intrusive thoughts and electrocutes the cop’s face into bursting into flames (a tribute to their first flaming kill in Seed of Chucky).
Question: Is it still a yule log if it’s made of pork?
What matters is that the transfer goes off without a hitch. Good news: Glen and Glenda are back into one doll, voiced once more by the beloved Billy Boyd! Bad news, both of Lachlan Watson’s physical incarnations in the series are now dead, so we probably won’t get them again unless it’s through flashback. Better news: the new Glen-Glenda composite, now going by G.G., looks so glam! G.G. tells Tiffany they plan to travel the world, mentioning a visit to England before mother and child part ways tearfully.
Jake gifts Devon some podcasting equipment (awkward gift choice), and Devon splashes the cold water on him when he reveals he hasn’t been into it for a while (awkward-er way to receive a gift). As everybody digs into Christmas dinner, the argument over the gift reignites, and they end up addressing their broken relationship. I love that Don Mancini took the season finale to effectively make the show a family drama where a killer doll is running around in the background.
Lexy apologizes to her mother for seeing her as the sole source of her problems, and the two have a surprisingly tender moment where they both admit they made mistakes. At night, the Hackensack Gang also reconcile for letting themselves get lost in the Chucky sauce and, do I even have to say Jake and Devon reconcile again? This is like the tenth time this season.
Chucky, transferred into you-already-know-its-not-the-last Chucky doll, drops down the chimney with a Santa cap and the world’s quietest chainsaw. Riffing on “Twas the Night Before Christmas” inside as he munches on some cookies and milk as murder fuel, Tiffany arrives outside to get that Belle doll so she can finally transfer back into a plastic soul shell. When she breaks in, Mayor Cross catches a large Jennifer Tilly-shaped mouse stirring, and is enchanted by Tiffany long enough for Chucky to float down from the stairs like a Christmas fairy, bisecting Mayor Cross in the goriest kill of the season, and taking her off the naughty list permanently. Saving the best for last Mancini, I see you!
Tiffany and Chucky get into a verbal spat where he threatens G.G. for “misbehaving,” and Tiffany poises herself to protect the children upstairs. This leaves Chucky open for Lexy to jump down from the top rope—sorry, top of the stairs, and pin the doll. Fueled with rage, Lexy revs up the power tool and chops up seemingly the last Chucky with his chainsaw, while Tiffany runs upstairs and attempts a transfer into Belle. This only gets her a slash to the shoulder and back from Jake and Devon.
For a minute it seems like this is the end of Tiffany as the trio corners her, but if you noticed that I hadn’t mentioned Lexy’s little sister Caroline much in this episode, it’s because she only steps out here. Caroline then forces herself into a hostage situation with Tiffany holding a knife to her throat. She reveals that she’s been Chucky and Tiffany’s real daughter this whole time and has been stringing everyone along, a thought planted into her head by Chucky. Despite the trio’s protests, the sociopath in training flees with Tiffany and the Belle doll, leaving behind a heartbroken Lexy. The kids get taken into their former science teacher Ms. Fairchild’s care, which is good since she immediately believes them about Chucky. Time to get back to hunting Hackensack Gang!
In a 3-week flash forward, Tiffany hides in New York City wearing a very Selene Gallio outfit and being stared at by creepy Caroline. She gets a threatening call from Nica, who expresses her condolences but mentions that the hunt to torture her for everything she did is still on. Which doesn’t threaten Tiff much…until Nica mentions she can see her through a window. Panicking and trying to finalize the ritual to transfer her soul into the Belle doll, Voodoo for Dummies fails her. After all, we all know you can’t transfer your soul into a doll that already has one.
Standing up and wiping off his makeup, Chucky confirms that HE WAS IN THE BELLE DOLL THIS ENTIRE TIME, IN DISGUISE! He approaches Tiffany, ready for vengeance, as she screams. While we’re left to process our emotions, Chucky closes off with a song for the 22 deadly days of Christmas that confirms every kill in the season.
We’ve been playing checkers.
Chucky has been playing chess.
And Don Mancini has been playing fifth-dimensional mind games with everyone since 1988.
VISUAL HIGHLIGHTS: I wasn’t kidding when I said the big boss saved the best for last with the death of Mayor Michelle Cross. This is potentially the gnarliest kill of the franchise, just for how it’s framed and the absurd levels of gore involved. The fact that it’s followed up with Lexy turning Chucky’s face into cubed cheese with the same chainsaw shows that no matter what threshold you have in mind for how nasty you think Chucky can be as a slasher, chances are it’s not high enough.
PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHT: It’s not that I forgot to get everyone on the show presents this year, I just genuinely must give this to the whole ensemble of the Chucky cast. The tonal pivot of this episode and the way many of these characters’ storylines end up, both permanently and temporarily, just forced the whole cast to bring their A-game. From the sweet but not maudlin reunion of Jake and Devon to the parting of Tiffany and GG, down to even the simplest interactions between the entire gang, I don’t think there was an episode with better overall performances.
QUOTE OF THE EPISODE.
“I feel like…if the public were just reminded of all my charitable endeavors, that, perhaps, they would just make that silly murder charge go away!”
– Tiffany Valentine, on making the most of your charity this holiday season
OVERALL RATING: 9 (Chainsaw Induced Christmas Cleanups)/10. I’d say this is the overall score for the season. Was I less critical of this season in general than my season 1 reviews? Yes, most likely. When you serve up nothing but good television, I just have less to complain about. Learning from all of the mistakes of its previous season, the pacing was tightened up to perfection, and all the intrigue we got was given satisfying payoffs; “Chucky Actually” is the embodiment of all those improvements and the promises of another great season, wrapped up and set under the tree just in time for the holidays.
THE EXORCISM OF CHARLES LEE RAY: Chucky Season 2 Episode 7 “Goin’ to the Chapel” Recap & Review
Somewhere between science and superstition, there is another world, and in it…lies another perfect hour of television, and another excessively long recap!
The episode opens in a flashback stylized after Curse of Chucky, with Jake (and other key players throughout the episode) in a monochrome confessional booth opposite Father Bryce. While Jake and Nica wallow in self-hatred over being unable to stop Chucky, Andy confesses he’s worried he might lose all purpose if he destroys the doll and isn’t sure who he would be without the little redheaded menace. Glenda confesses that all they wanted was to know who their father was, and now that that trail has gone cold, they feel completely lost.
In the present, Mixter holds a gun on the kids in exchange for Good Chucky. Kyle arrives to stop Mixter, and the two have a standoff. Outnumbered, Mixter makes a deal with the crew: Bryce gets to destroy “Good” Chucky’s spirit in an exorcism, Nica gets to put Nica-Chucky into the doll, and Mixter walks free with this final iteration of Chucky, aka Chucky Prime.
On the road to the exorcism, Tiffany is caught at a diner by her own vanity and flees after being recognized by stray fans. She insists on taking control of the original Tiffany doll body and swapping with Tilly…but not before the car engine burns out, leaving Team Glen stranded in a parking lot. Soon after, a botched escape attempt by Tilly results in the actual real-life Jennifer Tilly dying, getting splattered in doll form by a truck, sending Tiffany into tears.
How many people with the voice of an angel do we have to lose this season?
As everyone prepares for Hurricane Divine Intervention, Lexy is at the end of her rope and has completely lost all her faith in Jake and Devon’s reassurances. She confronts them with the hard question of whether misery and death are the only things keeping the crew in one piece, and it’s not only an impressive performance by Alyvia Alyn-Lind, but it also brings into question the nature of their relationships in a significant way.
Lexy relapses and takes the temptation of Good Chucky fully, hearing Nadine’s voice before tearing down all her posters and seeing a hallucination of Nadine as an angel. In her last appearance of the season (maybe, there’s still a Christmas episode!) Nadine reassures Lexy that she and everyone else will be okay, and convinces her not to commit suicide by overdose. Sister Ruth, however, wakes the sleeping Lexy and takes her hostage.
Downstairs, Team Glenda officially expands to Team Incarnate Lord (including Jake, Devon, Dr. Mixter, Andy, Kyle, Nica Pierce, Glenda, Father Bryce, Sister Catherine, and DEAR LORD what is this, an Avenger’s line-up?), with all the characters finally united and playing off each other wonderfully. Father Bryce settles on going rogue following his excommunication from the church, you know, on account of telling the Vatican there’s a possessed doll running around. He even gets a cute suiting-up montage, so that’s how you know he’s serious.
It’s then that we get the biggest of all the flashback confessions, surprisingly coming from Father Bryce to Sister Ruth. He confesses that he’s struggled with his sexuality his entire life and has been externalizing some seriously internalized homophobia. Father Bryce made such a standout heel-face turn in such a short time, and it hurts that he really started to grow on me here. Why did it have to be so close to his inevitable death?!
Father Bryce begins the exorcism with the whole Chucky Survivor Support Group at his back, and following a chorus of “the power of Christ compels you” Father Karras style, Charles Lee Ray’s spirit is sent back to Hell!
…Sorry, did I say Hell? I meant directly into Father Bryce’s body, who he makes violently explode all over the chapel and its inhabitants.
What did we say? It was inevitable!
Following that grisly demise, Nica unveils a new, uncut Damballa chant, and finally rids herself of her father’s presence in her body and mind. A vengeful Jake begins drowning Chucky Prime in burning holy water, but Sister Ruth comes in with Lexy at gunpoint and forces him to give the doll up. Mixter runs, and before Ruth can turn this church to Jonestown, Glenda throw’s Chucky’s very own bowie knife into her eye and kills her. Andy catches up and blow’s Chucky’s jaw off with a few expertly placed shots, forcing Mixter to retreat. Andy finally gets to finish off his long-time nemesis. Temporarily at least, this little rascal will never die.
As Chucky’s final(-ish) doll body burns, the kids watch with worry. Andy and Kyle walk off into an uncertain future together, and we get a heartwarming flashback to the ending of Child’s Play 2. Nica shares a cigarette with Glenda and thanks them for the second chance at life. Tiffany and Glen arrive at the showdown late, and while the twins reunite, a wrathful Nica pulls a gun on Tiffany. Though Valentine begs her to spare the kids from having to see this, Nica takes the shot anyways, and Glen jumps in front of the bullet, trying to save their mother. Tiffany and Glenda drive off with Glen in hopes of saving them while Mixter rides off into the night.
Oh, and we see one last off-screen confession…at some point in the exorcism, Mixter became the true host of Chucky’s spirit, and everything went exactly according to her plan. So much for ending the season on a win.
PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHT: If Father Bryce had been played by anyone else this season (including Michael Theriault), I don’t think they could have pulled off the challenge Devon Sawa did in this episode. His confessional was heartfelt, and painfully explains so much about his character, granting magnitudes of unexpected depth. Though part of me wished this wasn’t all crammed into one episode, the emotional whammy his performance delivers is undeniable.
VISUAL HIGHLIGHT: All of the special effects in this episode stunned me. From Glenda’s insane knife throw to Father Bryce exploding out of nowhere, to Tilly getting turned into a jelly donut getting smashed at high speeds, this episode was a crunchy, wet, gore-filled special effects fest that would make Childs Play’s 1 through 3 blush with how wild we’ve gotten. But of course, the love has to go to the incredibly lifelike severed, post-explosion Bryce head.
QUOTE OF THE EPISODE:
“You think I’m scared to go to hell?! I’m from Jersey!”
– Chucky, on state pride
OVERALL RATING: 10 (Ooey Gooey Person/Doll Explosions)/10. With a classic scenario as the central set piece of the episode, homage’s-a-plenty to the most legendary horror film of all time, as well as an incredible closer for several characters, “Goin’ To The Chapel” is as close to a perfect episode as can be. From Father Bryce, to Lexy, to Nica, the episode is as much of an emotional thrill ride as it was a visual one. The only question left: how we’re going to top this level of quality, let alone insanity, in the finale?