#188 -- Child's Play (1988)

Rating: 5 / 5
Director: Tom Holland

Everyone knows his name; everyone knows his face; everyone knows what he was after. Well, at least I hope everyone knows about him. When it comes to movies about killer dolls, Child's Play is the best of the bunch, if not the only one worth watching at all. Maybe it's the fact that I saw it as a kid, and nothing could make me think it was anything less than great. But I think it's simply that it's the only one that made it work. Most other killer doll movies have something to do with ancient demons possessing the dolls, trying to take over the world through children--or some other dumb shit like that. But here, it's just a simple serial killer who didn't want to die. Charles Lee Ray got some help from his voodoo friend, and he was able to transfer his soul into that of a Good Guy doll. There's a little bit of witchcraft here, but none of that demonic mumbo jumbo that we see in all the others. Just a psycho who knew he was about to die at the hands of a police officer, and he decided he wanted to go on killing folks. Everything here was so well done that it couldn't possibly not work.

All Andy Barclay wanted for his birthday was a Good Guy doll. He was obsessed with the TV show, and he even dressed like the characters. The dolls were supposed to be very lifelike; they were able to turn their heads, blink, and talk. So when Andy got pants for his birthday instead, he was understandably devastated. His mother, hating the sad look on his face, bought a discount Good Guy doll from a homeless guy in an alley. Little did she know that he had found the doll in the abandoned toy store where Charles Lee Ray, an infamous serial killer around their town, was killed. The first person to notice that Andy was too convinced that the doll was real was his babysitter. That babysitter ended up with a hammer in her face, before falling to her death from a very tall building. The detective working that case was the same man who killed Charles Lee Ray, and it took him a good while to believe that he'd possessed the doll. The detective was played by Chris Sarandon (Jerry Dandridge from Fright Night; and I just realized that he was also the voice behind Jack Skellington), who did a wonderful job. Catherine Hicks (7th Heaven) played Andy's mother.

The Detective was convinced that Andy had something to do with the babysitter's death. There were footprints in the kitchen that matched Andy's, but that was because he and Chucky wore the same shoes. Of course, the detective wouldn't even consider that. Andy tried to tell everyone that Chucky had been talking to him and telling him some pretty nasty things. He tried to tell them that it was Chucky, but no one believed him. They thought he had mental issues and sent him away with a doctor. But Mrs. Barclay soon learned that her son was not crazy. She took Chucky home and, through what I can only describe as a fit of uncertainty (what if Andy's not crazy? what if the doll really is alive?), threatened him until he spoke. He did indeed speak, before biting a chunk out of her arm and fleeing to find Andy.

Chucky found out from his voodoo friend that the longer he stayed in the doll's body, the more human he would become. Meaning that he could get hurt, and he could eventually be killed. The only way to fix that was to transfer his soul into the first person he revealed himself to; which, of course, happened to be six year-old little Andy. Unfortunately for him, his attempts to possess Andy were thwarted by the Detective and Mrs. Barclay.

Watching this when it was first released, it probably would have been easy to believe, at first, that Andy was the killer. They tried to make it seem that way for a while, and it would obviously be the most rational explanation. Killer children are more believable than killer dolls, after all. But watching it now, it's  just a wait around for the killing to get good type of thing, because we all know who the true killer was. But that doesn't change the fact that this movie will always be awesome. There's just something about Chucky that is terrifying, where other killer dolls are just stupid. When I was a kid, I had a Chucky doll that hung in one of those mesh nets above my bed. He was on the bottom and face down, so he stared down at me at night. Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore and had my mom get rid of it. Now I wish I hadn't, but the point is that Chucky is scary. They made him so life-life, and I'm actually amazed at how great the effects were for that time. The '80s are notorious for bad effects, but the effects in Child's Play are extremely good. Chucky almost did look human. He had facial expressions, rather than just a mechanically moving mouth. He bled (because he was slowly becoming human, not because they didn't realize that dolls don't bleed), he moved just about like a small child would. He looked real. He looked like a doll that could truly come to life and kill everyone in sight. That's what made him terrifying; they took something completely far-fetched and made it believable.

So, here's my advice for you. If you've never seen this movie, crawl out from under your rock and go out to your nearest video store and get it. It is the only killer doll movie you'll ever see that's actually worth your time.

I also have a serious question that I would like answered. Do you think Chucky is the reason the world hates red-heads? As a red-head, I'm really interested in knowing why everyone hates us. Is it Chucky, is it South Park (gingers have no souls, blah blah blah), or is my boyfriend right in thinking it's Carrot Top? Completely off topic, yes, but I'd really like to know.

Some more screen caps, 'cause I can

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