The last decent slasher film of the era, came about 2 years after the slasher film had really died. By 1988, slasher films had been reduced to sequels of all ready produced slasher films from earlier in the decade. Films like A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers all came out in 1988. But, by the hand of writer Don Mancini we would add another name to names you can’t ever name your child again because they will be related to evil. Along with the names, Damien, Freddy and Jason came the name Chucky.
Child’s Play is a story we’ve seen a million times over, a killer doll. We saw it on The Twilight Zone some 25 years prior to the release of this film. The movie follows Andy Barclay (Vincent) a young boy who badly wants a Good Guy doll for his birthday. But his mother Karen (Hicks) can’t afford one. She is able to buy from a pedaler in an alley for him. Andy loves his new toy, until people start dying around him. Everyone, including Detective Mike Norris (Sarandon), believe the murders to have been done by Andy. Andy swears up and down that it was Chucky (voiced, incredibly by Brad Dourif). It isn’t until Andy is put into an institute that his mother finally discovers that Chucky is indeed a murderer, and not only a murderer by the Lake Shore Strangler Charles Lee Ray (also played by Dourif).
The reasoning behind the greatness that is Child’s Play is that we haven’t seen a killer doll like this before. This predated Puppetmaster by a year, and even that movie wouldn’t have held up had it been released a year earlier. Chucky talks, swears, and can kill you with anything. Even a hammer to the face. Chucky was a nasty little fuck who could scare the shit out of you if you saw him in real life. Another thing that added to the fear of this movie was Tom Holland’s great direction. The camera angles he used were truly terrifying. The suspense that he used with the camera angles is what really made this movie jump out at you.
But, every great film has it’s down sides. The acting from young Alex Vincent was extremely horrible. I think it is very difficult when casting a child actor, but whoever picked this kid, really didn’t know what they were doing. I have to believe there was a better child actor who came in for the part. This acting is very one dimensional and his voice is monotone, except for the scene when Chucky is coming after him at the institute, other than that scene he sucked. And even in the sequel 2 years later he was still an awful actor. Now I can see why they chose to go with a different actor in the 3rd installment and finally drop his character in the 4th and 5th installments.
For it’s time, Child’s Play was very scary movie that made a good amount of money at the box office, which is why it went onto to spawn 4 sequels. Sadly, I have read news that they are also remaking this movie. I guess nothing is safe anymore from being remade. Look out Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer you guys are next!