Director – Tom Holland
Cast – Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Dinah Manoff, Tommy Swerdlow, Jack Colvin
Release Year – 1988
Reviewed by John of the Dead
If you know me, then you know that I LOVE inanimate horror flicks, with a huge focus on killer dolls. I don’t know what it is about these types of flicks, but they sure to get me and make me happy. It could be the fact that dolls are pretty much everywhere, which would make our lives pretty damn creepy if they really did have to potential to be possessed…heh. I remember suffering many creeped out nights as a child thanks to this flick, and still to this day I can see why this flick has survived two decades of horror and still remains one of horror’s better known flicks. When it comes to killer dolls, Chucky rules!
This flick follows hard-working single mom Karen(Catherine Hicks) and her six year old son Andy(Alex Vincent). Andy doesn’t have very many friends, and has waited patiently for the best friend any kid could ever ask for, a “Good Guy” doll. One day Karen is presented the opportunity to buy a Good Guy doll from a street peddler for a very discounted price, desperate to give Andy the present he so rightfully deserves, she never thinks twice about where the doll came from and buys it on the spot. Little does she know, a low-life criminal named Charles Lee Ray was “killed” some time back, but not before he managed to use a satanic ritual to transfer his soul to the plastic body of a Good Guy doll. When strange and deadly occurences begin to happen around Andy promptly after he receives the Good Guy doll, it seems only Andy could have committed those crimes. He knows his doll did it, but neither his mother nor officer Mike Norris(Chris Sarandon, who played the vampire in “Fright Night”, also directed by Tom Holland) will believe him, that is…until their very lives are put in danger when Chucky decides to add Karen to his kill-list alongside the very officer who killed him…Mike Norris.
“Child’s Play” is one of my favorite horror flicks ever, and I will have no problems explaining why. The subject matter is one that heavily appeals to me, and is sure to please those who also enjoy this killer-doll horror sub-genre. I’ve seen flicks where vengeful spirits enter dolls, but not to the extent where they walk and talk like good ole Chucky. The look of him as he is doing his bidding is awesome, and I think director Tom Holland(who also directed “Fright Night”) for creating such a creepy looking antagonist and including lots of action involving him. It does take a little while before we get into the Chucky action, but when it hits it hits hard and never relents. This helps with the film’s pacing, which is excellent and never left me bored nor uninterested. The deaths at the hands of Chucky were pretty sweet, with the voodoo priest one being my absolute favorite. I personally wish Tom Holland would direct another full-length film(he has not helmed the director’s chair since his 1996 film “Thinner”), because it is obvious this guy has talent. After giving us the awesome vampire flick “Fright Night”, he used his great direction to make this film as creepy as can be with very little to work with. It is his timing and execution that set up the awesome Chucky scares we get in this flick, and I’d love to see him do another inanimate horror flick sometime.
Writer Don Mancini, who has penned all five Child’s Play films thus far, struck gold with this flick. Sure the dialogue isn’t the best and we do get some cheezy scenes, but for an 80s horror flick he sure did a fine job bringing the goods and giving us an awesome storyline. You already know I loved this film’s killer doll aspect, but what really made this element different from others like it is it’s use of voodoo. I really liked this addition to the plot and found it all the creepier given voodoo oriented flicks are another creeper sub-genre not to be messed with.
Overall, this is a great horror film that I recommend to all fans of the genre, and to those who love the killer-doll type horror flicks. This flick provides great scares, atmosphere, story, and an awesome antagonist sure to remain in the minds and possibly even the hearts of all who have ever seen him do his thing.