When Charles Lee Ray needs to get a quick escape from cop Mike Norris, he takes his soul and buries it into playful, seemingly good guy doll Chucky. Little does he know a little boy by the name of Andy Barclay will be the new owner of him soon-to-come. Charles confides in Andy while he commits numerous murders and once the adults accept Andy's story as truth, it's too late.Written by
Kris Hopson <email@example.com>
Child's Play was billed as a horror movie, but it's hard to categorize it as such. Especially by 1980s standards. There's no brainless teenage cattle, no gratuitous nudity, and no ridiculously high body count. If anything, Child's Play runs like an episode of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. It's creepy, but ultimately not shocking. This is no coincidence. An episode of The Twilight Zone called Living Doll used a similar premise.
Child's Play is done very well, considering it's about a serial killer who uses voodoo magic to transfer his soul into a doll. The acting is way above average for a horror movie and the momentum builds nicely. The viewer is forced to wait quite awhile before they actually see Chucky kill anyone. If anyone has seen VH1's "I Love the 80s" then you've probably seen Dee Snider mock the movie: "It's a doll! Step on it! It's over!". If Chucky tried to go on a killing rampage, this would work. But he doesn't. He uses stealth and cunning to make up for the failings of his diminutive body. He reveals his true self only to young Andy, the boy who gets him as a birthday present. He kills all his hapless victims without much trouble. After all, who would suspect an innocent little doll could kill you when you're not looking?
Perhaps the biggest problem with Child's Play is that it was billed as an evil doll movie. Chucky was on all the posters and commercials, knife in hand. It would have worked much better as a suspense thriller, where you suspect that little Andy Barclay is the murderer.
Despite it's failings as a horror movie, Child's Play is still a great movie because it paints a dismal and accurate picture of the 80s: the frustration of single parenthood, the dark dangerous inner cities, and trying to get your kid that overpriced toy that they just *have* to have. Child's Play also came at a time when dolls were really popular: Teddy Ruxpin, Cabbage Patch Kids, My Buddy, and Kid Sister were all hot items. Little kids loved these things, but there's something inherently sinister about dolls. Those glassy eyes and perma-smiles seem insincere.
Overall, Child's Play is a movie that probably succeeded because it was in the right place at the right time. Nonetheless, it's worth at least a few viewings. Chucky is easily one of the top 3 horror movie villains of the 1980s along with Freddie Krueger and the Gremlins.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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