[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00DTPRYY8][/pullquote] Tom Holland is a writer and director whose back-catalogue is filled with horror films. He wrote the original and helped with the remake of Fright Night. He penned the sequel to Psycho and in Child’s Play he has his greatest cinematic triumph. Like vampires and zombies, ‘possessed dolls’ have been part of horror films and literature for decades and Child’s Play, while not experimenting much with the core ideas, did find a way of making a shocking horror that caused outrage on release.
The film begins with Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) chasing notorious strangler Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) inot a toy store. After being shot, Lee Ray uses dark magic to transfer his spirit into a doll. Later that day Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks), a single mum in New York City, buys her son Andy (Alex Vincent) a ‘Good Guys’ doll as a present, unaware that it is actually the sinister killer.
In Chucky, a combination of animatronics, live actors and Dourif’s voice-over and you create one of the most memorable horror villains of all time. As sweet-looking as he is deadly. The parody on the success of dolls like the Cabbage Patch Kids lead to protests forming upon the films’ release. Worried adults feared that the film would lead to an increase in violence from children. As is often the case though the film-makers refused to bow to public pressure and the controversy actually benefited the film at the box office and people flocked to see this ‘diabolical’ film.
The acting is passable, even if the characters are all rather stupid, but it is the visual effects that caused Child’s Play to be remembered to this day. In fact Child’s Play is worth seeing for the terrifying The Terminator homage in the thrilling final act if nothing else. It’s not the finest example of horror of all time, but the plot zips along at a good pace and does not make any excuses in it’s over-the-top set-pieces.