top of page

Child's Play (1988)

I remember as a child having a fear off dolls, which most definitely initiated by my sisters collection of porcelain ones in her bedroom. I recall staying up late one night and seening an episode of the 'X-files', which features said dolls coming to life. This terrified me no end for many years to the the point where I could never enter the room where the dolls where. Child's Play is a franchise I didn't visit untill much later in life and I believe that is due to the subconscious childhood trauma that I suffered at the hands of these dolls. One thing I really enjoyed in this film is the level of complexity that went into an already pre established concept. At this point killer dolls were not something new, but the plot development that writer Don Mancini provides with his story of serial killer Charles Lee Ray is done to a level of complexity that a killer doll story doesn't necessarily require. Having Ray transfer his soul in a last minute moment of desperation, the journey he then goes on for revenge on those have wronged him, and the mythology involved in to returning him soul to human form is way beyond the complexity a story like this requires. The cast is all round better than most horror films of this decade, with strong performances from Cathrine Hicks as Andy mum Karen, Chris Sarandon as detective Mike Norris and Andy Barcley himself played by the very young Alex Vincent. As great as all of these performances are though, none of them hold a candle to the ground breaking and career defining role Brad Dourif takes on as both serial killer Charles Lee Ray and the voice acting work he provides for Chucky the Good Guy Doll. Although he has had an impressive career outside of this franchise, I think he will for ever be known as Chucky the killer doll - a role he is still playing to this day 34 years later. The kills in this are rather tame and minimal for an 80's slasher, especially in comparison to some of the later entries in this franchise. The most shocking (no pun intended) of them being the electrocution of Andy's psychiatrist towards the climax of the film. It is in this scene we see Chucky repeatedly electrocute the doctor until he bleeds from all of his orifices. That's not to say that the lack of kills holds any form of comprimise on the film, this is a very story driven slasher that places the majority of its focus on character and plot development whilst heavily showcasing there creative use of animatronics. The puppetry and visual effects work that are used for making Chucky come to life was groundbreaking for the time of this films initial release, something that still holds up incredibly well today. The puppet being controlled by a team of nine, led by Brock Winkless, wearing a rig that captured his facial movements that was linked to the puppet via radio control. It's going back and watching productions such as this that really makes me question why practical effects are not the insisted upon with modern day cinema, especially within the horror genre. Watching the scenes where a melted Chucky is relentlessly continuing to attack looks outstanding and the level of emotion that is shown upon the dolls face throughout is just so compelling to watch. Whilst this is that franchise that has its fair shares of ups and downs, it is certainly one if the more consistent narratively throughout all of its installments. Child's Play has firmly cemented its place as one of horrors finest and created one of the most iconic character in cinema. It’s a regular watch for me and one that I never find myself getting tierd of repeat viewings.



bottom of page