Child's Play (1988)

   

Directed by: Tom Holland

Written by: Don Mancini, John Lafia & Tom Holland

Starring:

Catherine Hicks .... Karen Barclay
Chris Sarandon .... Detective Mike Norris
Alex Vincent .... Andy Barclay
Brad Dourif .... Chucky
Dinah Manoff .... Maggie Peterson
Tommy Swerdlow .... Jack Santos
Jack Colvin .... Dr. Ardmore

Release Date:
Theatrical: November 9, 1988

Rating:

 

A psychopathic killer named Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) runs away from the police and hides in a toy store.
From there he sees a box of dolls named Good Guy Doll. He then summons up a chant and puts his soul into a doll while the police have killed his body.

The next day the Good Guy Doll that Charles is in accidentally is thrown out on the streets and a hobo picks it up.
During that same day it's a little boy's birthday and all he wants is a Good Guy Doll but the dolls are very expensive.
The boy's name is Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) and his mother Karen (Catherine Hicks) buys it off the hobo and gives it to her son.
Andy is so excited as he realises the doll talks to him as the doll introduces him saying his name is Chucky.

Chucky tells Andy where he wants to go so he can kill his enemies and Andy tells his mother exactly what Chucky wants.
Andy realises that his present is his worst nightmare as Chucky plans to use his body to put his soul in.

 

The film starts off terrifically in which we spot a killer which is of course Charles Lee Ray running away from the police firing his weapon along with his criminal buddy betraying him which definetely leaves an impression that he will get something coming to him much later on for this. The actrion looked terrific with Charles struggling after being injured from a bullet shot by breaking into a toy store and it's nice to spot all the toys displayed there from when we grew up playing with them along with spotting the good guy dolls in which they look too friendly they're creepy. The effects looked impressive with the storm clouds hovering over the store when Charles does a voodoo chant with a doll next to him along with nice explosions of the store which also looked exciting to watch. Indeed the film was off to a perfect horror start here and should please the horror fans since the opening credits was displaying when the gunfighting and other moments were happening here.
Then it's the next day on a little boy Andy trying to make breakfast in bed for his Mom showing the Good Guy Doll commercial in which this seemed well put in for a little kid enjoying his special day along with making the food in which wasn't done right at all including junk cereal and him dumping in pounds of sugar. Making this seem unhealthy and sickening as well as him making a mess here. Definetely typcial little kid stuff which looked well done too. Plus after he wakes his Mom up to want to open his presents reminds you of that age and hoping to have your birthday wish as there's a big present there which he hopes it's his Good Guy Doll. This looks exciting to watch when he opens his gift only to be disappointed that it's clothes. We all have been there once before in our lives.
Then Karen which is Andy's Mom has to go to work and her best friend Maggie Peterson tells her some exciting news about a homeless person selling a Good Guy Doll since they are sold out in other toy stores which as parents would make anyone excited to go and grab one before it's gone to make their child happy. This was perfectly put in not caring if you're on a break or not and forgetting it all just running out to get a hold of this bum.
Of course we deal with her boss who is very closed minded as this was also well put in reminding you of an employer who wants you to work over time and doesn't care if it's someone's birthday or not as there's some humor added during this moment too. This looked very realistic on a stressful job indeed.
Then the story starts getting suspenseful after Andy got the gift that he wanted as they both are watching TV while Maggie is babysitting him. Then when she gets short with him on situations leaves a deadly impression while watching this that this Good Guy Doll who's name is Chucky is going to kill her for being strict about stuff. This moment definetely leaves a chill down your spine as Maggie is in the den alone and acting frightened about something which is a great drawing card to the story on Chucky's first victim. This keeps you watching to what will happen to her.
There's impressive one liners after the first deadly incident when Karen tries to talk to Andy on what happened while there's police around in the building and tells her that Chucky did it and telling her some awful things that he said along with the main detective Mike Norris is in the room as well who was respsonsible for shooting Chucky when he was a person. This moment certainly is a perfect traditional slasher moment if you've seen similar situations like this in A Nighmtare On Elm Street and so fourth. This scene was cleverly written. Also it's great seeing Karen being protective of her son when Mike questions Andy on stuff which looked like a stressful situation indeed since we've had seen in a slasher film on someone being a suspect and the one close to you is in denial about it. These moments looked incredibly strong.
It's really spooky with Karen listening in Andy's room hearing him talk to Chucky but yey you don't hear this doll talking back just yet which piles up the suspense knowing that this doll will eventually reveal itself.
There's also an interesting moment when Chucky tricks Andy to skipping school in order to go to a junkyard house to pay a visit to his former friend who betrayed him. The junkyard house inside looks ugly infested with rats and it's freezing cold in which gives you an uncomfortable feeling as to who would stand living there. Also there's good camera shots zooming in the hallways of the house pkanning a deadly trap as this looked very slick.
Also great scenery on the house exploding as this looked incredibly suspenseful.
The scariest moment in this film is when Karen picks up the box on the Good Guy Doll and batteries spill out and goes to check on the doll as it still is speaking time to time to look at the back to spot if batteries were installed and finding they're empty and then the dolls head turns backward speaking its usual quote asking to play but this time it sounds a little more tense. Man this is a real bone chiller especially when she drops the doll and it rolls underneath a carpet and she peeks underneath to see if it's still there making it look too scary to watch wondering if this object will attack her.
It does look interesting when we spot Chucky turn lifelike with his facial expressions as the doll suddenly looks goofily evil while getting menacing towards Karen in which things look suspenseful while he attacks and bites Karen and everything else here.
Also it looks suspenseful and humoress when Karen tells Mike that Chucky is actually an alive doll leaving an impression that she is absolutely crazy out of her head leaving the impression that she is believing her son about it all. The writing for this was impressive enough that she was nuts talking to someone about something so far fetched.
Also a good moment is when Karen tries to talk to that street person on where he found that doll he approaches her as if he will do something terrible towards her in which this looked spooky to watch. This was another good touch to the story.
More suspenseful moments with Chucky spotting him in the back of Mike's car while driving and choking him while doing this which makes you wonder if he will crash his car plus Chucky stabbing through his seat with a kitchen knife and him dodging this. Very clever for a slasher film in which Michael Myers I'm sure would take a nod to this.
Late in the story Chucky tries to put his soul into Andy to become human again while Mike and Karen try to rescue him in time which makes you keep watching wondering if they will succeed in rescuing him in time. This defientely packs some suspense as well as great shots looking up on a building with storm clouds rolling in.
There's also great special effects while we spot Chucky being burnt up in a fireplace as well as another detective entering the apartment later on to go near a burnt head of the doll slowly grabbing for it which also looks scary to watch making you wonder if it will lunge out and attack.
Bottom line is that this is an excellent horror flick that stands alone. Many sequels were made but they never had the effective chemistry like this one which was quite a disappointment.
This film was very dark and packed with suspense and a great plot too for a horror film. It was incredibly creepy too and very original with what was going on throughout the whole story which inspired other horror flicks with similar ideas. That is if you've seen Kevin S. Tenney's flick Pinnochio's Revenge and so fourth.
It's non stop fun in this film followed by many sequels but they are nowhere as good.
First comes Leatherface, then Michael, next Jason and Freddy and now .... Chucky!!!!! Followed by many sequels which were nowhere even near as good like this one. A definete cult classic in the same lines as A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween.

The acting is very good. Catherine Hicks (Karen Barclay) is great as a loving mother and does well wondering about the terrifying events that unravel with everything that's going on. She does well with her emotional and intense attitude and was increidlby believeable while doing this. She really got into all of this as well as showing energetic aggressions too which was also impressive. All in all was a terrific character actress. She lived to play this role without a doubt.
Brad Dourif
(Chucky) is believeable intimidating and crude as Chucky. His role is very real with his aggressions and temperament looking like a typical criminal with an attitude. He has acted in many other horror films but was most noted in this one. Just brings up high intensity with his speaking too. He is the best.
Young child actor Alex Vincent (Andy Barclay) is well focused in his role as Andy in which he makes himself out so innocent that you don't want anyone to harm him. He has a good softness to his speaking along with the right baby faced looks to his appeal in his character. Plus he knew on how to act emotionally scared when the terror happens. In the beginning he performed terrifically when he prepares breakfast for his onscreen mother on his birthday making it look realisrtic as a typical child looking forward to celebrating his birthday. He is also terrific when he gets mad at the doll and slugs it while he's in a room for questioning.
Chris Sarandon (Detective Mike Norris) performs his role as a detective very nicely. He shows a good seriousness to his role and knowing how to do business. He was also great by getting tough whenever necessary. He comes across perfectly with all of this and studied this role incredibly well. Again I always found him very versatile in any show that I've seen him in. I was never disappointed into what he did. Two thumbs up for this guy as no one could do it any better than him.
Supporting actress Dinah Manoff (Maggie Peterson) shows nice aggression as well as outgoing attitude and would make a good strict disciplinarian. She shows off alot of great spunk and enthusiasm in her speaking coming across as someone who is sharp and really on her feet about stuff. Definetely reminds you as one of those intelligent types that have been involved with your life and a good protective type of behavior too in which she came across well by portraying.
Tommy Swerdlow (Jack Santos) shows good humor as an assistant detective in his role acting full of life in whatever he does and trying to not be too serious in what he does in which this came across clearly and perfectly. He was certainly an attention grabber within all of this. He was a believeable and likeable type of personality in whatever he did in his role.

Chucky is vicious but isn't all too gruesome with his slayings in this one.
He stabs some guy in the ankle with a scalpel and fries his head which is the only gruesome event.

The music composed by John Renzetti which has a creepy edge to the film and great booming sounds with violin playing. There's also terrific chiming and string pucking sounds with icy sounds too. Great hissing types here and there plus the odd rumbling noises for the creepy still moments along with similar dark creepy music like you'd hear in something such as Black Christmas making each segment that we spot in the flick believeably scary on what we hear here. It's very original I must say with everything that was put together.

There are also songtracks in the film like
"Chucky's Animated Theme" by Mike Piccirillo
"I'm Hanging" by D.B. Night
"Is it Really Love" by Michael Lanning
"Grass" by African Suite
"Second Sight" by David Darling.

Charles Lee Ray: You hear this, you son of a bitch! I'm gonna get you for this! I'm gonna get you and I'm gonna get Eddy, no matter what!

Mike Norris: Give it up, Ray. It's over.

Chucky: Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna play?

Lady in Elevator: Look George. Some child left their doll on the elevator.
George: Leave it alone. Let whoever is looking for it find it, and it will be there.

Lady in Elevator: Ugly Doll.
Chucky: Fuck You.

Chucky: The only person that I let in on the fact that I was still alive was a six-year-old kid. I'm gonna be six years old again. Well, John, it's been fun, but I gotta go. I have a date with six-year-old boy... and you have a date with death.

Chucky: Good night, asshole.

Andy Barclay: Chucky says Aunt Maggie was a bitch and got what she deserved.
Karen Barclay: Andy. How can you say such a thing?
Andy Barclay: I didn't say it, Chucky did.

Andy: His real name is Charles Lee Ray and he's been sent down from Heaven by daddy to play with me.

Karen Barclay: I said talk to me, damn it. Or else I'll throw you in the fire.
[Chucky comes alive]
Chucky: You stupid bitch! You filthy slut! I'll teach you to fuck with me!

Chucky: [screaming] Give me the boy, and I'll let you live!

Chucky: Hello John. Over here. Hi. It's me Chucky. What do think? The gri gri work? You know, when I came here learning that stuff about how to cheat death, I thought that you were pulling my chain. But, not now. But, there is one problem.
John: What?
[Chucky points at gunshot wound]
Chucky: This. I didn't think anyone could hurt me. Last night I got shot. You know something? It hurt. It hurt like a son of a bitch, it even bled. Why is that, John?
John: You're turning human. The more time you spend in that body, the more human you become.
Chucky: You mean I have to live out the rest of my life in this body? No fucking way! You got me in to this, so you get me out!
John: I can't do that, Chucky.
Chucky: Why not?
John: Because you're an abomination. An outrage against nature. You've perverted everything I taught you, and used it for evil. And you have to be stopped.

Chucky: We're friends 'til the end, remember?
Andy: This is the end, friend.