Child’s Play (1988)
Starring: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Brad Dourif, Alex Vincent
Directed by: Tom Holland
Andy Barclay (Vincent) is a nice kid and gets a “good guy” doll (Chucky) for his birthday…..however, the doll is actually bearing the soul of a nasty serial killer (not what you want really is it…). In need of a new body, Chucky must transfer his soul from the doll into the little boy…..and his time for doing so is running out.
A well-crafted, if slightly camp, horror movie.
Holland’s direction sets a good pace whilst Hicks gives a believable showing as Andy’s increasingly scatty mother – which means we really do care about her eventual fate (and the same goes for Vincent’s performance as her son, Andy). Sarandon’s police officer, however, just seems to go through the motions. What the film lacks is a real hero – a character like Dr Loomis in the Halloween movies for instance – but let’s not to be too harsh. Here what we have is essentially a low-budget B movie and although the idea of a doll coming alive is by no means new, it’s well-done and Child’s Play is effective at delivering quite a few scares.
The film has a great underground feel to it – good examples being the scenes where Andy’s mother purchases the much-sought-after “good guy” doll from an old drunk’s trolley and the brutal slaying of a witch-doctor in his dingy voodoo den. Several other scenes have, by now, become pretty iconic – the shot of Andy’s mother frantically checking the chucky doll for batteries (and finding none) is almost genius.
Subsequent sequels suffer from the same fate of the later entries in the Elm Street franchise – transforming the killer from a dislikeable abomination into a wise-cracking anti-hero. Luckily, the original Child’s Play is quite different – Chucky’s character is decidedly darker and far more threatening in this movie – and brilliantly voiced by an almost unhinged Dourif.
In a nutshell, worth watching. If only to witness the unveiling of cinema’s smallest boogeyman. Note: the sequels go downhill fast.
hotdog rating: 7/10