This doll isn’t simple. And it’s not awesome, unless you tote major adoration for murderous pieces of plastic.
Chucky ends up in the clutches of young Andy Barclay, sharing his sinister secret with the naïve child. When bodies begin piling up and Andy points the finger at Chucky, all adults present (including Andy’s own mother Karen) shrug off such absurd claims. But the eyes of these wise adults are about to be opened to the horrors of Andy’s world, and learn the killer capacity within that friendly looking little fellow Chucky.
Tom Holland’s franchise kickoff feels so extremely far distanced from other similar features. The tone of the flick is extremely dark, and somehow the special effects crew manage to make an 18-inch doll legitimately frightening. That’s more than can be said for plenty of other killer doll flicks. The look of Chucky was iconic the moment we glimpsed him in all his lively glory and he’s remained a fixture of the genre ever since. There’s something just a bit more menacing about this little bastard than the playthings of flicks like Puppetmaster and Dolls (both quality films, for the record, just inferior to this specific piece). I’m guessing the real savagery and impact of Chucky comes in the fact that there’s a sharp yet cruel mind at work within the doll, and he’s got a clear design all penned out: He wants out of that body and that means possessing a still-living human being. The thing is, according to that hoodoo voodoo he practices, that living person has to be the first individual that Chucky reveals his true identity to. In other words, Andy’s screwed, and it’s undeniably chilling knowing an intelligent doll with murder on the mind is stalking a kid who can’t be a day over six.
Freaky business here folks, freaky business!
Technically this one doesn’t disappoint. Sure it’s a bit dated, but with the decades to pass comes a certain nostalgic charm that intoxicates. This movie looks and feels like the best of ‘80s horror and it’s difficult to deny that. Solid acting, direction and screenwriting go a long way. They do today, and they did in 1988. That’s never going to change.
There’s a reason the Child’s Play franchise has continued to thrive for more than 25 years is really rather simple: Chucky resonates. Although he’s often taken to comedic nature (watch the latest in the franchise, Curse of Chucky for a nice return to those seriously macabre roots), Chucky still creeps people out. He’s a hard little fellow to shake from the memory bank. And if Don Mancini, the driving force behind this creation, keeps things on a bleak note, these films will continue to impress. The only time the Child’s Play series has looked to be on the cusp of jumping the shark was when Chucky tackled the role of full-time funny guy. If Mancini keeps the darkness breathing for the inevitable next film, we’re likely to see another impressive feature.