Favorite things about… Child’s Play

(Image via horror-movies.wikia.com)

The favorite film:
Child’s Play, the infamous 1988 MGM horror film that led to a plethora of sequels.
The film was directed by Tom Holland (1985’s Fright Night), who also co-wrote the screenplay along with Don Mancini (who came up with the story) and John Lafia (1993’s Man’s Best Friend).

The synopsis:
Desperate to give her child a good birthday, Karen Barclay buys a “Good Guy” doll from a peddler in the alley behind the store where she works. Her son was disappointed to find that she had only given him practical presents earlier that day, and being greedy (as kids usually are) would prefer that his mom spend her hard-earned money on a toy.
Little does she know, trapped inside the doll is the soul of criminal Charles Lee Ray, who plans to exact revenge on those who were involved in the scenario surrounding his death. When Karen gives the doll to her son, Andy, he is very excited to have a new “Good Guy” friend – until the doll starts talking to him and killing people, including his babysitter. Karen doesn’t believe her son when he tries to tell her about the doll, and cop Mike Norris thinks the kid is lying as well, but Andy will soon be proven right when the doll keeps his crime spree going.

The cast:
Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray/Chucky the “Good Guy” doll
Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay
Catherine Hicks as Karen Barclay
Chris Sarandon as Mike Norris

“Good Guy?” Not so much. (Image via wrongsideoftheart.com)

Fun facts:

  • The name “Charles Lee Ray” is derived from Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray – all notorious, violent criminals.
  • Brad Dourif, in order to get the right effect on his voice work as Chucky, would often run around the studio like a mad man before delivering his lines. In one instance, while recording one of Chucky’s screams, he got so worked up that he almost passed out.
  • Due to the scandal over the film’s subject matter of potentially violent children, MGM disowned the film. Universal bought the rights for the sequels when MGM decided to drop the series.
  • Don Mancini actually believes that only 1998’s Bride of Chucky and 2004’s Seed of Chucky are horror-comedies. He considers this installment, as well as Child’s Play 2 and Child’s Play 3, to be true horror films.

Favorite things:

(Image via wrongsideoftheart.com)

  • SUPER DRAMATIC OPENING!
  • Not only are there “Good Guy” dolls, but there’s a life-size “Good Guy” on TV! All the better for spreading Chucky’s killer influence, eh?
  • Alex Vincent has a way of both underacting and overacting throughout the film. There is no middle ground with him. He’s a kid and this was his first film so I can’t fault him for it, but his performance is hilariously exaggerated.
  • Good parenting means putting your life and job on the line to buy a doll from a peddler in a dark alley.
  • All Chucky wants to do is watch the 9 o’clock news. Is that so wrong, Maggie?
  • If you ever need to attack a home intruder (or a babysitter), simply hit them with a hammer and they’ll be catapulted out of a window.
  • Why does it seem like every student at Andy’s school – even the older boys – bring their dolls to class?
  • Even though Mancini insists it was meant to be a straight horror, I have a hard time believing that, especially since many of the shot sequences used increase the hilarity of the scenes.
  • When you’re a child and hear a gunshot, your natural instinct should not be to run toward it, but Andy does.
  • The montage of Karen’s “interviews” with the city’s many peddlers
  • The fact that Mike is able to keep control of the car for what seems like 15 minutes while Chucky is attacking him (and the fact that this scene includes a slow-mo shootout sequence)
  • The nonsense noises that Chucky makes when he attacks people (particularly near the end of the film)
  • At one point, Chucky’s limbs fly off in slow-mo.
  • Quotes:
    • Andy: “(Exasperated sigh.) I already SAW this one.”
    • Maggie: “I just had a bit of the ‘alone at night’ willies.”
    • Mike Norris: “What would Andy be doing up on the counter, right?”
    • Chucky: “YOU STUPID B—-! YOU FILTHY S—! I’LL TEACH YOU TO F— WITH ME!”
    • Karen: “Chucky is alive, and he killed Eddie Caputo!”
    • Chucky: “I’ve gotta go. I have a date with a six-year-old boy!”
    • Lady in elevator: “Ugly doll…”
      Chucky: “F— YOU!”
    • Andy: “This is the end, frrrrrrrrriend.”
    • Mike Norris: “The kid was right. The doll’s alive! It almost got the three of us!”
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7 thoughts on “Favorite things about… Child’s Play

  1. What the heck! I thought I’d wandered off your site and into someone else’s! You took me by surprise with this one, Lindsey…but then, I like classic films as well as 50s schlock, 60s outlaw biker, and 70s drive-in exploitation, so I guess I shouldn’t be TOO surprised !

    • I like a little bit of everything! I try to mostly stick to older films when posting here since the majority of the people who read TMP subscribed for that reason (which is also why I usually only do short blurbs on post-’70 films), but I couldn’t resist posting about this one after re-watching it recently. Cheesy horror from any decade automatically wins me over, haha.

      • Oh yeah, cheesy horror rules! Attack of the Crab Monsters, They Saved Hitler’s Brain, The Thing with Two Heads…classics!

        But if you ever get the chance, check out The Devil’s Hand…it’s part of Mill Creek’s cheese-laden ‘Gorehouse Greats’ set (and no, there’s not a hint of gore in any of the offerings), and it really made an impact: a small, smartly-done little horror film that delivers quite the thought-provoking punch. Give it a try on a slow night…it can be found on Amazon and the Internet Archive!

        • Ah, I was hoping it’d be on my 100 Horror set since there is a bit of overlap in some of their sets, but it isn’t. I’ve got The Devil’s Daughter and The Devil’s Messenger, but not his hand! I’ll check it out on the Internet Archive, though. :) Or I might have to pick up that Gorehouse set… (I’m not usually much for gore so the incongruous title wouldn’t be a problem, haha)

          • I am now anxiously awaiting your review for ‘The Devil’s Hand’, in all its gore-free glory! And don’t forget you can add a thumb to your ‘devil’ collection with ‘The Devil Thumbs a Ride’!

          • There’s an idea for Horror Half Week next year: films by decade with “Devil” in the title! There certainly are enough of them in the Mill Creek sets.

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