The Horrors of Child’s Play (1988)
Child’s Play is a classic American horror film that was released in 1988. A movie so gasp-worthy it gathered a huge following, leading to extensive merchandise lines, six sequels, and even a remake in 2019. Child’s Play is a movie that left the world talking but in a good way. Even people who have never seen this movie or one of its related films knows who “Chucky” is. He’s the terrorizing doll who finds joy in wreaking havoc and committing murder!
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Dissecting the Plot
At the beginning of the movie, a detective is seen chasing a serial killer named Charles Lee Ray through the streets, only to end up shooting Charles, nearly killing him. With his last breaths, Charles Lee Ray casts a voodoo spell, injecting his soul into a nearby “Good Guy” branded doll, in hopes of keeping his murder streak going. When the police officer sees Charles’ lifeless body, he considers that the end. Little did he know, this serial killer was deeply committed to haunting. It’s all Child’s Play!
When Andy Barclay asks his mom for a “Good Guy” doll for his birthday, she is forced to face the fact that although she wants to give him one, she cannot afford to. Luckily, Andy’s mom, Karen, sees a man on the street selling one of the dolls her son wants, and the price can’t be beat. She buys the doll, which is called “Chucky,” and gives it to her son. Child’s Play is about to get chilling
Later that night, while Andy is being watched by a babysitter, Chucky comes alive with the spirit of Charles Lee Ray, thirsting to take another victim. After Andy is put to bed, Chucky attacks Karen’s best friend, Maggie, who was babysitting Andy, pushing her out of a window to her death. When the police begin to consider Andy a suspect, he tells them that Chucky was the one who did it, though, of course, they don’t believe him. Andy insists that Chucky is really Charles Lee Ray but his stories don’t add up to the adults around him.
The Next Day
The next day, Chucky orders Andy to come with him downtown while he kills his old partner with a gas explosion. Andy is the prime suspect in this murder and is forcefully admitted to a psychiatric hospital. When Karen returns home without her son, she realizes that the batteries for the doll were never put in and that Chucky has been operating on his own. When she threatens to throw Chucky in the fireplace, he attacks her and escapes. Karen tries to explain this to the police, but the same officer who “killed” Charles Lee Ray doesn’t believe her.
Eventually, Officer Norris is attacked by Chucky who escapes from the brawl and goes to his old voodoo teacher, John. Chucky ends up killing John after learning that he must transfer his soul to a real person to stay alive – Andy.
The evil doll shows up at the hospital, but Andy escapes and runs home; Chucky follows. Karen and Officer Norris arrive at the home while Chucky is trying to possess Andy, they stop him, shoot him, and kill him…or so it seems. Child’s Play never disappoints!
Child’s Play 1988 Cast
Catherine Hicks – Karen Barclay
Chris Sarandon – Detective Mike Norris
Dinah Manoff – Maggie Peterson
Tommy Swerdlow – Jack Santos
Alex Vincent – Andy Barclay
Jack Colvin – Dr. Ardmore
Raymond Oliver – John “Dr. Death” Bishop
Neil Giuntoli – Eddie Caputo
Ed Gale – Chucky
Edan Gross – Friendly Chucky (voice)
John Franklin – Walkabout Chucky
Brad Dourif – Charles Lee Ray/Chucky
Fun Facts and Trivia
- The creator of the Chucky doll, Don Mancini, was inspired by the popular collection of Cabbage Patch Dolls.
- Don Mancini didn’t love the voodoo aspect of the plot-line, but ultimately that’s what the story ended up being.
- Famed movie critic Roger Ebert, who hates most horror films gave Child’s Play a glowing review
- In 1988, Chucky was essentially a large puppet that required 11 different people to move all the body parts.
- During the release of Child’s Play, protests by angry parents developed in some areas. They felt the movie would incite children to commit violent acts
- The original title for the film was “Batteries Not Included”. After producers found out that Steven Spielberg was making a movie with the same title, they changed it
- The story of Child’s Play 1988 takes place over a course of only three days
- Director Mancini was also inspired by such films as Magic (with Anthony Hopkins), Poltergeist, Freddie Krueger, and the doll Talky Tina that comes to life in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Talky Tina then kills her tormentor, Telly Savalas
- Child’s Play was filmed on location in the windy city of Chicago, IL
- The cost to make Child’s Play was $9 million but it grossed over $44 million (including all overseas distribution)
- Chucky’s full name is Charles Lee Ray, and is a composite of notorious killers Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray (no, not the Darth Vader guy)
- Child’s Play was originally meant to be a goof on toy marketing and it’s effects on consumers but later the plot became much darker