Dolls have never frightened me. Sure, maybe certain ones can be a little creepy, but at the end of the day, it’s a doll, it’s smaller than you, just punt it or something. Tom Holland’s “Child’s Play” (1988) didn’t suddenly give me an intense fear of dolls, but I did have a fun time watching it.
Chucky Is Alive
Single mother, Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks), gives her son, Andy (Alex Vincent), the Good Guy doll he’s been obsessed with as a birthday gift. As it turns out, Karen shouldn’t have indulged her son, because the particular doll she gives Andy is possessed by the spirit of serial killer, Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif). There’s always a few defective toys in the bunch, I suppose.
Andy struggles to make Karen believe that his doll, Chucky, is alive, and then, once she’s a believer, Karen struggles to make Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) believe that Chucky is alive. Holland must have a thing for characters that witness supernatural phenomena, but no one will take them seriously; one of Holland’s other films, “Fright Night” (1985) has a similar theme.
The main theme running through “Child’s Play,” however, is don’t buy your kid a toy just because it’s super popular and everyone has it and your kid is obsessed with it. Seriously. It’s bad news. This Andy kid is clearly brainwashed by the Good Guy television show when it comes on TV – he even has Good Guy pajamas. “Child’s Play” seems like it’s a horror movie about toy companies using the media to brainwash children.
Controversy Surrounding Theatrical Release
Ironically, there was controversy surrounding the theatrical release of “Child’s Play” as people thought the film would incite violence in children – could we get anymore meta? Since Chucky bore a resemblance to the popular Cabbage Patch and My Buddy dolls, protestors grouped outside of MGM Studios and called for a ban on the film as it might make children violent. MGM would end up disowning the film because of the controversies surrounding “Child’s Play” and Universal would pick up the rights for the sequels.
Besides all of that, “Child’s Play” is just a fun movie to watch. Chucky is a very charismatic psycho doll (similar to the very charismatic psycho, Freddy Krueger), his dialogue consists of snappy one-liners that end up making you laugh along with him instead of being afraid of him. Although, had I been exposed to Chucky at a younger age, I might be more frightened of dolls as an adult. Scared or not, I still had a good time watching “Child’s Play.” The most enjoyable parts were watching fully-grown adults being taken down by a children’s toy – it kind of reminds me of those infomercials with the people who can’t seem to perform the most mundane tasks.
I recommend “Child’s Play” for anyone who doesn’t mind some laughs with their horror. If you’re a fan of the likes of Freddy Krueger, you’ll enjoy Chucky.