Who doesn’t love dolls? They’re just about the only companion who will stay with you forever… your friend to the end, if you will… Yes, some dolls laugh, some cry, some blink their eyes, and some go tinkle in their pants… but the doll we prefer is a cut above the rest… Of corpse, I’m talkin’ about Chucky, the tiniest tit-an of terror since Peter Lorre! Yikes! Sorry, Mr. Ray!
Anyway, Back in the glory(hole) days of VHS, studios would send VHS screeners of their new releases to video stores to entice them to stock their shelves with those movies. Well, MGM really took it to next level with their screener for 1989’s Child’s Play! They actually got the star of the film to scare ’em straight! In this 6(66) minute video, The Chuckster goes huckster! Brad Dourif voices the killer doll, who brags about his slashing boXXX office success, (g)rave reviews, and even takes time to smack-talk Freddy and Mah Boo… not cool, Chuck!
The video also includes clips and the most ’80s theme song to ever ’80s. In short, this Child’s Play screener is Chuck-ing great! 🙂
(Submitted by our Ho-mie in Ho-rror, Mr. Andrew Peters. Thanks, Friend Till the End!! 😉 xoxox)
During the mid ‘80s, for some reason we latched on to two foot tall, creepy dolls with lifeless eyes that we could dress as the toy we all just had to have. Be it a Cabbage Patch Kid or a My Buddy, these things were everywhere. They even had their own cartoons. I was more of a Teddy Ruxpin guy, until one night I was listening to it and it started eating my tape and the voice sounded all demonic and warped. I threw that thing in the bottom of my closet and never touched it again. My Buddy and Cabbage Patch Kids though… never trusted them. They always looked like they were watching you with their emotionless gaze and they were enough nightmare fuel to get me through my childhood.
My Buddy looks eerily familiar…
So, of course someone saw this and thought, “hey, a movie about a killer children’s toy is a great idea!” If we’re being totally honest, it is and I would do the same thing. Having a doll come to life and go on a murderous rampage isn’t exclusively scary to kids, it’s also scary to adults. In fact, I think it’s more frightening for adults, because you lack a child’s imagination. It’s because of movies like Child’s Play that we had to live in fear of our toys and question what exactly it was that we were hearing when we heard something go bump in the night. Director Tom Holland seemed to have a knack for this, previously having directed Fright Night, a vampire movie that explores a young teenager who suspects his neighbor is a vampire and lives in constant fear of this. Noticing a trend in his films? Tom Holland likes to frighten you where you think you are safe, which is how good horror works.
So, we’re gonna be jumping right into the action here. What was happening? What were they doing? Who knows, but something is going down. After his partner Eddie bails on him, notorious serial killer Charles Lee Ray (a combination of Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray) has finally been put down by detective Mike Norris after a shootout in a local, um, Chicago (?) toy store, but not before Charles Lee Ray, aka Chucky, does some sort of ritualistic voodoo chant on a Good Guys doll, which is this movie’s equivalent of something like a Cabbage Patch Kid or My Buddy. I know, this sounds ridiculous, but the guy was dying and he had to try something. Lightning strikes and blows the whole toy store to hell and propels Det. Norris out the window with nothing more than a few mere scratches. All in a day’s work when you’re in an ‘80s movie.
But now we are introduced to the movie’s central character, little Andy Barclay. He’s just a six year old boy who wants nothing more for his birthday than a Good Guys doll. Unfortunately for him, his single mother can’t afford it, because she’s too preoccupied working her ass off to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. She does manage to scrape together a few bucks and get him some clothes for Andy, since he does need them after all. That. Heartless. Bitch. How dare you give your growing boy what he actually needs instead of what he wants! Luckily, some hobo just so happens to be selling a Good Guys doll behind her work, so she risks her job and snatches it up to bring home to Andy, who couldn’t be happier with his new gift.
However, Andy’s mother has to work late, so her friend Maggie volunteers to watch him. Andy and his new friend Chucky are watching the news when they are sent to bed. Chucky wants to continue watching the news, but that bitch Aunt Maggie won’t let him, so Chucky stalks her around the apartment before whacking her in the head with a toy hammer and sending her falling out the window and crashing onto a car below. Worst babysitting gig ever.
It’s actually a really creepy scene and uses POV’s effectively, because you already know what Chucky looks like, so what exactly are they hiding? You do get a glimpse of him from another angle as he darts past an opening in a hallway and appears to be about child height, so could it actually be Andy? The police seem to think so, but Andy’s mother has a hard time believing he could be capable of such a thing. You know, until Andy’s caught cutting school after Chucky tells him to go to an old hideout where his partner Eddie is hiding and the place ends up exploding. You think you know your own child and then they are the prime suspect in two murders.
That scene was also cleverly shot, using POV, except this time it’s a little more clear that it’s not Andy, since he’s wandering around outside looking for Chucky. This charade can’t go on much longer, so the film has Ms. Barclay pursuing this Chucky character and finds out that his real name and tracks down the hobo who sold it to her and learns that it was from the toy store the night Charles Lee Ray was murdered! What a string of unfortunate coincidences. But a talking doll? That’s crazy, right? Well, only way to find out is to ask the doll himself and that’s when this movie really becomes what everyone knows.
They spent about half the movie making you question that it may not be the doll and then he begins screaming and swearing at Ms. Barclay, pretty much clearing up any doubts you may have had. Director Tom Holland spent half of the movie setting this up, so when you actually see Chucky come to life, it’s shocking and scary… which it is. The first time I ever saw that, it scared the crap out of me and to this day, it still gives me goosebumps. Of course, that’s also due to the incredible special effects by Kevin Yagher and crew. Oh, and Brad Dourif’s malign voice. One moment, he can be speaking to you softly in such a trusting way and the next, he’s thundering from the depths of his throat in such a way that will permanently haunt you. That’s why his voice works to well for Chucky. As a doll, or a killer in a doll’s body, he can be deceiving and trusting, but when you cross him, he will send chills down your spine.
Chucky believes he’s invincible, until he goes after Det. Norris and gets shot and finds out that it hurts and bleeds. Figuring that the person who taught him the voodoo spells would have an answer, Chucky finds his old friend only to find out some bad news; he’s actually becoming the doll. That’s right, he’s been spending far too much time in that body and the only way to get out of it is to transfer his soul into the first person he revealed himself to. Looks like Chucky’s got a date with a six year old boy… wait, that sounded wrong. But again, you start to see a change in Chucky’s look, becoming more human looking in his doll form and it’s unnerving and weird. But that’s exactly what we want. Anyway, the hunt for Andy is on and Chucky is running out of time. But then again, so are Det. Norris and Ms. Barclay!
The original Child’s Play, I feel, is a film that’s hurt by its sequels. Sure, Chucky cracks jokes in this and there are funny moments, but the sequels really took off with that idea and even sewn him back together which took away from him actually looking scary. It’s like when people try to make a scary looking clown that they are missing the point that normal looking clowns are scary on their own. Most people today probably think of the “Hot Topic” Chucky that doesn’t care about getting a new body back, that doesn’t look scary, that has elaborate murders and a goofy sidekick. But there was a time when he was actually frightening and had a purpose. You know how when you go into an old store or your grandparent’s house and there is that creepy looking doll just sitting there and it’s just a normal doll? I really enjoy this movie for that reason. Chucky was something we were all terrified of as kids. He was that toy we all wanted, but then feared because we knew it was truly sinister.
It was nice to see this movie in a new 2K transfer from Scream Factory. They always do such a nice job cleaning up the prints instead of just giving you another digital transfer that doesn’t look all that great. They even invited director Tom Holland to do a brand new audio commentary (finally!), which all other releases kept passing on for whatever reason. It also includes two other older commentaries with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, Kevin Yagher, David Kirschner and Screenwriter Don Mancini. There’s even select scene commentaries with the man, er, doll himself, Chucky! Scream Factory also threw in some new old footage from Howard Berger that goes behind the scenes of making the Chucky doll and there’s even an all new interview with him as well. The final new featurette is an interview with Ed Gale, the actor who played Chucky when the animatronic doll couldn’t do the trick. You got a few other older features and your usual original theatrical trailer to round off this two-disc set that any boy would be happy to get for their birthday.
Child’s Play is a really cool concept that wasn’t played that much with back in the day and helped bring an slasher icon to the ranks of Freddy and Jason, even if they continued to take him in the wrong direction with each sequel. I will never say this about any role in any film, but I honestly could never picture anyone but Brad Dourif doing his voice. It’s that iconic.
Director Tom Holland and Star Charles Lee Ray.
(Director Tom Holland and Kinky Ho-stess Derpy Diana.;))
Usually I like to save the bummer news til the end of these posts, but we’ve been so bombarded with craptastical crap lately that I figured I’d get the sad stuff out of the way first. That way we can just start looking fwd to frighteningly fun stuff! 🙂 Here we go…
Michu Meszaros(Alf, Big Top Pee -Wee) has passed away. 🙁 BBC
Janet Waldo (aka Judy Jetson) has also passed away. 🙁 NY Times
(Only slightly relevant, but it’s forever my ultimate 4th of July movie, so it totally stays. ;))
And, last but not least, one of my favorite Tumblr pals, “Monsterman“ has also passed away. 🙁 His blog was/is amazing, and all Monster Lovers should definitely check it out…Mosterously big hugs to his fam and fans, who are all missing him very much. #MonstersForever xoxoxo
Grrr…So much sadness!!! Let’s move on to the frivolous fun stuff now, ok??
Yeah, yeah…HAPPY STUFF!!!!! 😉
Watch (almost ;)) 5 minutes of the upcoming, badass, cannot-wait-for-it Friday the 13thgame!! (I helped this sucka out on Kickstarter, btw, so my pic or something is going to be in it somewhere…#SOBLESSED!!!!!!!! :)) Friday 13th Franchise
G.L.O.W., which I was unhealthily obsessed with when I was ten or so, IS CUMMING BACK!!!!!!!!!! All glory to Netflixxx!!!! 🙂 PW Torch
(Vine was my fave, fyi. :))
Our loooooooooong wait for a film adaptation of The Killing Joke is finally (almost ;)) over!! 🙂 Nerdist