The Chucky films have always been accused of inspiring violence in children. One case linked to the series was a gang in Manchester kidnapping and murdering a 16-year-old girl. While they tortured her, they forced her to listen to recordings of the gang leader repeating the catchphrase "I'm Chucky, wanna play?" Director Tom Holland has always defended the first film from these accusations, stating that viewers of horror movies could only be influenced by their content if they were unbalanced to begin with.
All of Brad Dourif's voiceover work for Chucky was recorded in advance so they could match up Chucky's mouth with the words. Because of this, Dourif rarely ever appeared on set during the "doll" scenes. Instead, recordings of his voice would be played back for Alex Vincent to go by. Also, Brad would act out the scenes with the actors before they filmed said scenes.
The original plot idea was to have life-like Good Guy dolls that had blood and latex skin. If the kids tore the latex skin, they could go out and buy Official Good Guy bandages. In a blood-brother pact, Andy cut his own hand and mixed his blood with Chucky's, thus causing him to come alive and become human.
The first draft of the script was completed in the summer of 1985 and referenced Chucky as Buddy who came to life after mixing blood with Andy and killed those against Andy (for example, the babysitter and teacher) manifesting Andy's loneliness and isolation from an overworked mother and absent father. In addition to being a more psychologically driven horror film, "Buddy" also only came alive at night when Andy was asleep.
The original working title for the film was "Batteries Not Included" before it became known Steven Spielberg was also making a film with the same title. It was then changed to "Blood Buddy" before settling on "Child's Play".
Original writer Don Mancini stated in an interview that his original script toyed with the audience a bit longer, making them wonder if young Andy was the killer rather than Chucky. This idea was used by Kevin Tenney in Pinocchio's Revenge (1996).
The working title for the film was "Blood Buddy," which seems to confirm the widely believed notion that the film was inspired by Hasbro's My Buddy toy doll, which also dressed in denim overalls and a striped shirt.
In a September 2008 interview, Don Mancini and David Kirschner spoke of a reboot of the franchise. They wanted to do a remake over a sequel, because the fans were eager to see a scary Chucky movie again, and not a funny one like the last two in the series. If the remake is made, Brad Dourif will return as the voice of Chucky, because Mancini believed no-one else would fit the part. In a later interview, Mancini described the script as darker and scarier than the original film, with twists and turns that didn't stray too far from the original concept.
During the initial release, a crowd of protesters formed around the entrance to MGM, calling for a ban on the film. They claimed it would incite violence in children. Local news reporters were broadcasting live from the scene, and the producer David Kirschner was watching, disturbed by what he saw. Jeffrey Hilton, who worked with Kirschner at MGM, said he could defuse the situation in ten minutes. Hilton went down and spoke to the ringleader and then the group disbanded, to the chagrin of the newscasters. Hilton never specified whether it was threats or diplomacy that saved the day.
The film used various ways to portray Chucky, including RC animatronics and little people or child actors. Various animatronics and cosmetics were used for every scene throughout the movie, Chuckie's cosmetics transition from looking toy-like to a more human look. The film created multiple Chucky animatronics such as a flailing tantrum Chucky, a walking Chucky, and a stationary Chucky. The animatronics face was controlled by a remote control through a rig that goes on one's face and captures facial movements.
The toy shop used in the opening scene was actually a Chinese restaurant that closed down in Chicago, on the corner of Wabash and Van Buren. Chris Sarandon even says the name of the street corner when calling for backup.
Chris Sarandon previously appeared in Fright Night (1985). Both films are directed by Tom Holland and feature the main character that sees something supernatural and can't get anyone to take them seriously.
A possible translation of the chant, which is Haitian Creole but mistaken as French, is as follows: "To the almighty Damballa, Give me the power I beg of you! To the mercy of my soul. To the point of my death. Hear me out of from my condemned voice."
Don Mancini has stated that around 50% of the finished film retains the concepts of his original script. New elements introduced by other writers included the voodoo mythology angle and the character of Eddie Caputo.
Composer Joe Renzetti and singer/songwriter Simon Stokes recorded an ending credits theme song about Chucky the Doll that wasn't used in the final finished film because studio executives thought it made Chucky seem less scary. The song can be heard in one of the trailers for the film.
Deleted scenes include: Mike Norris dressed in drag attempting to capture Charles Lee Ray, Andy celebrating his birthday with Chucky, John (Dr Death) dressed in voodoo garb performing a ritual, More footage of chucky stalking Andy at the mental hospital, Footage of Andy talking extensively with the little girl who tells Karen that she talked to Chucky and he was looking for Andy, more footage of the girl helping Chucky reach a door, As well as footage of Andy falling into a ditch in front of Eddie caputo's hide out as it exploded. Stills of these scenes can be found online however no footage has turned up yet.
Despite their long-running collaborative effort to bring Chucky to life, voice actor Brad Dourif and special effects wizard Kevin Yagher never met in person until they were both guests at a horror convention in May 2018.
This film was quite a change of pace for Chris Sarandon, having played two infamously wicked characters in Fright Night (1985) and The Princess Bride (1987) respectively. In this film, he has a chance to portray not only a good guy, but a heroic character.
Don Mancini explained that Chucky draws heavily from the My Buddy dolls: "In my original script, he was originally called Buddy, and we couldn't use it because of the 'My Buddy' doll. The director went out and got a 'My Buddy' doll, a Raggedy Ann, a Raggedy Andy and one of those life-size baby infants. What I told [designer] Kevin Yagher was, I wanted something similar to a My Buddy doll. I described "Buddy" in my original script, now "Chucky", as wearing red-buttoned overalls, red sneakers, striped sweater, with red hair, blue eyes, and freckles. Kevin went off and sketched many designs of Chucky, until the final was picked. Yagher then built the first doll from those sketches and my details."
In the early 90s a chain of appliance stores called the Good Guys thought about changing there name after the Child play movies starting coming out. Because they were getting a lot of prank calls about the movies. Plus people kept calling the stores, and going in them asking them if they sold good guy dolls.
There are many similarities to the film Fright Night (1985) in this movie. Both movies have a child or teen whose mother is either divorced or widowed. In both movies the male protagonist sees something supernatural, but can't get anyone else to take them seriously. The hero confronts the villain in his turf. The hero gets help from adult supervision who does not believe them at first but then later learns the truth.
The movie Child's Play has two alternative beginnings where the primary one starts off with Charles Lee Ray summons his soul into a doll during the last seconds of death. The second due to the split of the executive producer and producer was that doll was placed voodoo on by a priest. The split between the two producers were caused due to superstition level that the movie was showing.
Geto Boys sampled various lines for their 1991 song "Chuckie." Geto Boys rapper Bushwick Bill used a Chucky doll with his stage costume during the early 1990s - including an appearance on YO! MTV Raps.
Actor Chris Sarandon has a similar resemblance to actor Michael Nouri. Coincidentally, his character, Detective Mike Norris, is close to the name. Both actors, in this film and The Hidden (1987), played policemen investigating "otherworldly" killers.
When Karen goes looking for the tramp who sold her the Chucky doll a person in a wheelchair passes by her in one scene. This foreshadows Nica who is revealed to be wheel chaired bound in Curse of Chucky. Like wise the mental hospital foreshadows Cult of Chucky where Nica was sent to and where a now adult Andy Barclay ends up.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
According to an interview with Brad Dourif, who voices Chucky in all films, his daughter, Fiona, who was 7 years old at the time, came into his recording room during a session. He was recording his scream of agony during the scene Chucky gets set on fire in the fireplace. No one, not even him, knew that his daughter was in the room with him until she got scared by his screaming then started crying.
Original workprint of the movie was over 2 hours long. Other sources mentioned that original cut was two and a half, or near 3 hours long. Some of the scenes that were deleted or cut down are: 1. Original opening in which Mike is dressed in woman's clothing in order to catch Charles Lee Ray (if you watch normal opening scene closely, you can see that Mike throws the dress on the ground when he chases Ray down the street). 2. Andy celebrating his birthday with Chucky. 3. Andy falling into a ditch in front of Eddie Caputo's hideout as it explodes. 4. Chucky's witchdoctor friend John/Dr. Death performing a ritual dressed in voodoo priest clothes. 5. Andy befriending a young girl during his time in mental hospital; later on, Chucky tricks the same girl to help him out to find Andy. 6. More footage of Chucky stalking Andy at mental hospital. The DVD commentary also mentions alternate ending in which Mike is the one that kills Chucky by decapitating him with baseball bat. The deleted scenes in Child's Play (1988) are gone forever. Director Tom Holland says the scenes were in his script, he shot them, but was deleted as he cut movie.
According to Don Mancini, the original idea for Chucky was that he was not possessed by the soul of a cold-blooded serial killer, but was part of the Andy's rage. Chucky was going after the people that were Andy's enemies. Don would later use it for the sequel.
It is quite possible Andy's father who is deceased as Andy mentioned that Chucky "was sent from heaven by daddy" was murdered by Charles Lee Ray prior to the events of this film. Chucky for one thing seems to know Andy's father was dead which backs this theory up and he killed many people before this film takes place including Nica's late father Daniel.
During the DVD commentary it was mentioned that originally chucky is decapitated while approaching Karen and Andy, not by Karen shooting his head off, but by Mike quickly entering the frame and knocking his head off with the baseball bat. If you slow that scene down you can actually see a bat coming into frame and knocking Chucky's head off.
During the intense scene where Karen is alone in the living room and tries to coerce the doll to talk, if you watch closely there is a picture of a man inside the room. He is probably Andy's deceased father.
According to the shooting script, Andy's father was called Bob and he was killed in a car accident a few months before the events of the film. A deleted scene would eliminate the controversy surrounding the mystery as to how Chucky knew the family history. During the birthday celebration Andy would make a tour in his room, showing his toys to his new friend. He would also show Chucky a picture of his family and would comment on how much he still misses Bob. Apparantly Chucky tapped on the emotional attachment of the child to his father in order to convince Andy to follow his plans. Another deleted scene would have Andy talking with Karen about the whereabouts of his father. These scenes never made it to the final cut.
When Karen threatens Chucky into coming alive she says, "I said talk to me dammit or else I'm going to throw you in the fire," foreshadowing the ending when Andy sets Chucky on fire but it doesn't kill him.
Maggie's death is similar to that of the more famous demise of Burke Dennings in The Exorcist (1973) as both fall from a widow several stories to their deaths and both Andy and Regan McNeil are both suspected by detectives Mike Norris and Kinderman respectively.