Retro Film Review- Child’s Play (1988)

Child’s Play‘ is a 1988 film and the first in a horror franchise. It is directed by Thomas Lee Holland, who co-wrote the script with Don Mancini and John Lafia. It was made by MGM and United Artists.

Serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) is on the run from police detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon). His accomplice Eddie Caputo (Neil Giuntoli) flees, allowing Norris to shoot and mortally wound Ray. As he dies, he performs a strange ritual and transfers his soul into a “Good Boy” doll. A few days later, single mom Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) buys a Good Boy Doll for her son Andy (Alex Vincent), who is a fan of the show. However, strange events start to occur with Andy insisting that the doll, named Chucky, is speaking to him. When family friend Maggie (Dinah Manoff) and Voodoo expert John “Dr. Death” Bishop (Raymond Oliver) are both killed, Karen and Norris begin to wonder if there is more to Chucky and his smile.

At the height of slasher and supernatural horror, a new pop culture icon was born. That is the creepy, murderous doll known as Chucky. Sure, the movie has that eighties cheese with the overacting, extreme close-ups for no reason, excessive screaming, and gore that does not resemble blood. That being said, it still gives you some chills.

What is fascinating about this movie is that it was done with no computer-generated special effects. Chucky’s movements were done with puppeteers, children, or small-statured adults, making his movements incredibly organic and that makes it even scarier with seeing how easily he behaves on the screen.

Putting on my analyst hat, it is plain to see that the movie preys on a parent’s fear of bringing a toy, video game, or another third party into the home and having it become something dangerous to the point of possessing their child. From that perspective, it definitely nails that message, making it a horror gem that you can enjoy on a Halloween night.

As mentioned above, there is some overacting, but most of the cast does do a good job making you feel the sheer terror they have at being stalked by Chucky. Dourif was perfect for the role as his voice definitely gave the doll a unique sound that was drowned out by the other actors.

Bottom line, while Child’s Play does have some cheesiness, it plays on your fears and delivers some serious chills as you watch a family be terrorized by a creepy doll.

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Extreme violence, Strong foul language, Disturbing imagery

FAVORITE QUOTE: Hi, I’m Chucky, and I’m your friend till the end. Hidey-ho! Hi, I’m Chucky, and I’m your friend till the end. Hidey-ho!

Check out the trailer below:

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of The Inside Man and Sahara. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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