Child’s Play, 1988.
Directed by Tom Holland.
Starring Brad Dourif, Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and Chris Sarandon.
Widowed mother Karen is eager for her young son Andy to have the best birthday possible so she buys him a Good Guy doll named Chucky, a toy that Andy had been desperate to have. After her friend is killed in mysterious circumstances and with Andy blaming Chucky for the death, it soon becomes clear that Chucky is in fact possessed by a recently deceased serial killer. But Chucky is not merely content with killing those who wronged him while alive – he also seeks to transfer his soul into Andy’s body and thus be granted new life, and he won’t let anyone stand in his way.
This being Christmas time those of you reading who have children will probably be used to the annual harassment by your little ones, pleading with you to get them some new fangled toy for them to open on December the 25th. So naturally that leads me to the nightmare-inducing 1988 slasher Child’s Play which introduced the world to the iconic killer doll that is Chucky, which has lost none of its ability to scare and excite even after nearly 30 years.
Brad Dourif undoubtedly is the star of the film as the homicidal plaything Chucky, bringing his usual insane charm and terrifying voice to the character. Dourif is just one of those actors, whether it’s his onscreen presence or just his voice, he manages to instil this sense of funny unease within the viewer; you’re laughing at the jokes and funny dialogue that Chucky has, but at the same time, you’re still crapping yourself at the same time because you know that he’s probably going to kill you after.
Dourif’s terrifying voice performance is aided by the overall look of Chucky, with the effects for the most part still being quite effective even decades after its initial release, with the facial expressions and movements on Chucky being very unnerving. Although to me, Chucky is arguably scarier when he’s just pretending to be a normal doll, there’s just something about that smiling face that makes me crap myself.
The Good Guy doll company really needs to rethink its doll designs, there peddling nightmare fuel to impressionable children the bastards.
The supporting cast also does a fine job with Catherine Hicks being a solid horror heroine as Karen, initially disbelieving of her son’s tales of Chucky, and is utterly believable as a mother devoted to protecting her son and making him happy. Although I’m still curious about the circumstances in which she gets the Chucky doll in the first place – what kind of back alley peddler sells children’s toys from a shopping trolley? Just a weird set of circumstances that really made me think. They made me think that I had too much time on my hands.
Alex Vincent portrays Andy and I really can’t criticise his performance too much, otherwise, I’d come off as a massive bastard. I mean come on, the guy was like 6 when he made this movie, and honestly he does a decent job, even if he does deliver his lines rather woodenly at times. He’s a child, he doesn’t have to be bloody Laurence Oliver. Besides in later scenes when he’s pleading with doctors to protect him from Chucky, his fear looks genuine and you can’t help but pity the poor boy.
This film is almost 30 years old and frankly it holds up really well even today, thanks primarily to its fast pace and numerous exciting sequences, with the climax to the opening Toy shop shootout being of the most ridiculously awesome openings to a horror film ever. The finale of the film itself is a bloody tense affair, although it does go a bit Monty Python with the number of attempts it takes for our heroes to finally kill Chucky, but nonetheless, it’s great finale.
Although as some of you might point out, this is technically not a Christmas film and in all fairness it really isn’t, with the holiday never mentioned and Andy getting Chucky for his birthday, not Christmas, but with a film this enjoyable, does it really matter? With a nightmare inducing villain, (seriously he still gives me nightmares and I’m bloody 23), a lightening quick pace and great horror set pieces, Child’s Play is just bloody good fun and well worth checking out this Christmas or even anytime of the year for that matter.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★