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Neo-Splatter: Bride of Chucky and the Horror of Heteronormativity

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Abstract

In a scene at the end of Ronnie Yu’s 1998 neo-splatter film Bride of Chucky that is reminiscent of a whole decade of glorious, scream-filled horror films, various characters face off across a freshly dug grave and begin a fight to the bitter end, or at least a fight to one of the many bitter ends that the various monsters will meet in the next ten minutes. In the splatter films of the late 1970s and 1980s, this final confrontation would have featured a loose-limbed girl in tattered clothing and her horrifying tormentor bathed in the blood of his victims and high on the carnage he has wreaked. Against all odds, the “Final Girl” would prove herself to be a wily adversary and, by hook or by crook, she would slay the monster and deliver herself and her community from evil (see Clover, Men, Women and Chainsaws). In the conclusion to Yu’s masterpiece, the stand-off features two evenly matched couples: Chucky and his doll bride Tiffany and the human teenage pair, Jesse and Jade. As it turns out, it is the human bride and groom who prove to be far more bloodthirsty, homicidal and violent than their diminutive adversaries. Chucky, a serial killer whose soul has migrated from his human body to the body of a “Good Guy” doll, is shot dead (again) by Jesse, his human counterpart, and although his bloodthirsty spate of murders seems like reason enough for his death penalty, we are still left to wonder whether he might have been the good guy after all. He and his foul-mouthed bride have delivered searing critiques of romance, domesticity, love and couplehood throughout their ghastly Bonnie and Clyde run, and their relationship is a testament to the horror of heteronormativity.

Keywords

  • Police Officer
  • White Hair
  • Serial Killer
  • Horror Film
  • Lone Male

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230801301_3
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Works cited

  • Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. New York: Routledge, 1993.

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  • Clover, Carol. Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1993.

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  • Freeman, Elizabeth. The Wedding Complex: Forms of Belonging in Modern American Culture. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2002.

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  • Halberstam, Judith. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1995.

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© 2007 Judith Halberstam

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Halberstam, J. (2007). Neo-Splatter: Bride of Chucky and the Horror of Heteronormativity. In: Brabon, B.A., Genz, S. (eds) Postfeminist Gothic. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230801301_3

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