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Child's Play (1988) Revisited

This Movie Review is the Brain Child of so many different personalities!!!

That lady looks way too big to have fallen from that little window.

That lady looks way too big to have fallen from that little window.

MPAA Rating

R

Running Time

87 minutes

Director

Tom Holland

Writers

Don Mancini, John Lafia,and Tom Holland

Before the Child’s Play 2019 hits theaters later this June, you’re probably asking yourself in emails saved to your draft folder, “Should I see the original just to refresh my memory before the remake comes out?”

The answer is yes. Or no. Do what you want with your life and quit depending on me to make decisions for you. Just know you also saved those erection pill ads in your draft folder because you are a grandpa.

Just know again that if you choose to see Child’s Play 1988, you will not be disappointed like you were last April/March when you re-watched the original Pet Sematary.

Personal note: The first Child’s Play holds a special place in my heart because I saw it in theaters right as my nephew Mortimer was being killed by a doll and not from me neglecting him when I was supposed to be babysitting and instead went to movie about a possessed doll that killed people.

RIP Mortimer. Sorry you’re dead but I really didn’t feel like paying for a child’s ticket when you wouldn’t have enjoyed the movie anyway.

Child’s Play opens in the midst of an exciting foot chase in what looks to be downtown New York. We meet serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif). He’s killed a bunch of people (you don’t get the nickname the Lakeshore Strangler by not strangling people in the Lakeshore area), but his long flowing hair shows that he uses excellent conditioner. Ray is being pursued by tough cop Mike Norris (Chris “My Name is not Susan” Sarandon). We can tell by the puffy white turtleneck sweater under the suede jacket that his mom still dresses him.

Both are armed with pistols. Both are terrible shots.

It looks like Ray’s goose is cooked but he breaks his way into a closed toy store. Ray is shot, and it looks like he’s not long for this world. He runs into a wall of Good Guy dolls (the hottest toy you must get your kid this Christmas). He grabs one and spews some gobbledygook into said doll. That’s something you don’t normally see in a toy store.

Right after Ray does his chanting, the store explodes and now those Good Guy dolls really are the hottest toys of the season.

Because they’re on fire.

The dolls are hot because they’re melting and they’re on fire.

Just wanted to make your you knew why they were hot.

It seems that Charles Lee Ray is dead. Or is he?

So convenient that there's a Chucky-sized flashlight

So convenient that there's a Chucky-sized flashlight

Child’s Play opens again in the apartment of 5-year old Andy Barclay. I’m wrong, Andy is 6-years old because today is his birthday. Andy loves Good Guy Dolls. He loves the Good Guy TV show. He eats Good Guy cereal. Andy is clearly brainwashed by the Good Guy Corporation and this is not really Andy’s fault but a reflection on terrible parenting.

Andy has been up since 4 in the morning since it’s his birthday. Again, he’s been up since 4 eating nothing but sugar cereal and watching corporate sponsored cartoons. His mother Karen (Catherine “My Name is not Susan” Hicks) is sleeping because she works for a living but is content to let the Good Guy Corporation raise her child as it looks like there is no father figure because there is no father.

This section of the review is brought to you by the Good Guy Corporation.

Andy wakes Karen up and brings her breakfast in bed. Andy is terrible at making breakfasts.

Andy demands his birthday presents.

Andy gets clothes and what looks like Good Guy accessories. What Andy really wanted is a Good Guy Doll but Karen wasn’t able to save enough to get him the doll because they’re $100.

Andy whines that he wanted the doll.

Andy is a dreadful child.

Later that day, Karen is at work at the mall feeling guilty because she couldn’t get Andy the doll. You need not feel guilty Karen; your child is an appalling human being. She chats with her soon-to-be-dead best friend Maggie (Dinah “My Name is Susan” Manoff) about how Andy really wanted that doll.

Maggie says that in the mall’s alley there’s a homeless guy looking to peddle a Good Guy Doll he found for a really cheap price.

Karen ditches her counter at the mall. Because going to an alley to purchase a toy from a homeless person is a really promising idea.

Chucky is a chakra kind of doll

Chucky is a chakra kind of doll

Karen buys the doll at half price. She gets HPV for no charge.

Karen’s boss makes her work an extra shift because someone called in sick. Karen says it’s her son’s birthday and she had plans. Her boss could care less.

Maggie says she’ll watch Andy while Karen is at work. This is kind of Maggie because Andy is not a good person and she’ll soon be dead.

Before Karen goes back to work, she drops off the Good Guy Doll for Andy.

Andy is so happy he got the doll he wanted. Karen is relieved and is glad she finally did something right.

Andy takes his doll, pulls its cord, learns that its name is Chucky and that they’re friends to the end. He’s barely aware his mom exists anymore. Karen goes back to work. Andy could give an F.

Maggie watches Andy for the night.

Maggie puts Andy to bed, but not without a struggle because Maggie thinks that Andy got out of bed to watch a news bulletin about serial killer Charles Lee Ray.

Andy says he didn’t do it. Even though Andy is an abomination of a human we believe him because we saw Chucky do it.

We also saw Chucky stab Maggie and throw her out of a window. You don’t normally see dolls act like that.

Let’s hope Karen, Detective Norris and Andy find out what’s happening soon, because it looks like 6-year old Andy might be the prime suspect in Maggie’s murder.

This isn’t too far-fetched of a scenario because Andy wears his Good Guy shoes to bed and only serial killer wear their shoes to bed.

Stranger things, indeed.

  • Brad Dourif’s voice work as Chucky still makes you laugh and creep you out after all these years. Yes, the novelty of it is diluted by the many sequels, but you still feel the frisson of shock when you hear a doll say the F word for the first time
  • Catherine Hicks’ hysterics when she, um, converses with Chucky. Rarely has the word “Bastard” elicited so much laughter. In 1988, Cher won the Best Actress Oscar for Moonstruck. I’m not saying Catherine Hicks was robbed, but Chucky might…in his own distinct way.

BTW- I’m am in no way advocating Cher get murdered by a doll. I got in trouble with that last time.

  • I hadn’t seen Child’s Play in years and it’s amazing how well it still holds up (unlike, as I’ve previously stated, Pet Sematary). Director Tom Holland (Fright Night), stages what could have been ridiculous scenes with genuine suspense and surprise. From the Chuck-in-the-Car to the fiery climax, Holland re-reminds you why Child’s Play genuinely stands the test of time and not just trades on nostalgia.
  • Mike Norris’ sweaters are a scary movie unto themselves. I surmise that Norris wore them as a protective shield as no bad guy would dare look at his sweaters and therefore could not aim a gun at him directly. I mentioned the turtleneck…but there’s one that’s worse.
  • A sequence where a white woman goes into downtown New York ALONE to interrogate homeless people and nothing remotely rape-y happens to her. In a movie with a talking serial killer doll, this is the least believable part of the movie.
She is illustrating why she likes the doll more than him.

She is illustrating why she likes the doll more than him.

Overall

This is the end, friend, of the review. See the original Child’s Play again. Be surprised at how good it still is. Then remember how mediocre the sequels are until Bride of Chucky.

This review brought to you by the Good Guy Corporation.

Buy Child's Play Here!

Comments

Noel Penaflor (author) from California on July 27, 2019:

Sam- Dolls staring at you while you sleep can be quite unsettling

Jennifer Jorgenson on June 07, 2019:

Poor Mortimer! There's something so disturbing about dolls that go bad. I'm both surprised and not surprised that it still holds up. Great review! Thanks!

Sam Shepards from Europe on June 07, 2019:

Seen this movie when I was 8-9 years old by accident or something. The bad thing was that I regularly stayed at my grandma's place. She let me sleep in one of the large old bedrooms there that had some of those weird old looking dressed dolls. Never felt comfortable sleeping there when those were in the room.