Child's Play (1988) - Reviewing The First Horror Movie I Ever Watched

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Evil Chucky from the 1988 slasher horror movie 'Child's Playy'

Hi I’m Chucky and I’m your friend till the end hidey-ho hahaha

The 80's was a great decade for horror movies, with a wave of psycho-stalker slasher films being released among others that would become classics, and amidst them all, Child's Play emerged and that little mental bastard Chucky was born.

It's fascinating to consider how he would eventually become one of the most iconic villains in slasher movie history, despite the fact that, honestly, he isn't all that frightening.

At his worst, Chucky just resembles an angry little person, but most of the time, he appears as an innocuous doll. Yet, what he lacks in physical intimidation, he compensates for with his attitude. Showing no regard for humanity, he treats his allies just as harshly as his foes. 

Take, for instance, a man who once saved his life using voodoo magic. Chucky relentlessly tortures him to extract information, breaking his leg and arm in the process, and despite promising to spare his life in exchange for a solution to his predicament, he just callously decides to kill him anyway. He even turns on his former partner in crime, destroying their entire hideout in a fiery explosion. Chucky is a bad ass.

Originally known as Charles Lee Ray, portrayed by Brad Dourif, who was a notorious criminal, the movie begins with him fleeing Detective Mike Norris, played by Chris Sarandon. Desperate to escape death, Charles resorts to voodoo magic, transferring his soul into a Good Guy Doll. 

Meanwhile, a young Andy Barclay, portrayed by  Alex Vincent, longs for a Good Guy Doll for Christmas. His mother, purchases one from a shady seller, and strange occurrences start to unfold as Andy starts conversing with the doll, and tragedy strikes when his aunt falls from their apartment window. Chucky, is alive and he means business.

When Chucky faces the threat of being thrown into the fireplace, he finally reveals himself to the unsuspecting mother. This reveal is brilliantly built up throughout the first half of the film, making it a satisfying moment, and witnessing the profane voice emanating from the seemingly innocent doll is probably me favorite scene in any of the Child's Play movies. 

Chucky from Child's Play 1988

The cast in this movie are really good. Chris Sarandon delivers, as he skillfully navigates the disbelief surrounding Andy and his mother's claims, opting to investigate rather than dismiss them outright. 

Catherine Hicks shines as the resilient and overburdened mother, showcasing strength and resilience in the face of adversitym and espite numerous confrontations with Chucky, she emerges nearly unscathed, solidifying her portrayal as a formidable female lead.

Brad Dourif voices Chucky and also portrays him in human form in select scenes. This early installment in the franchise presented Chucky in a less comedic light compared to the later films, but it still has that dark humored element that will make you laugh, but it's more evident in later films. But it is definitely more of an evil Chucky in this one.

His calculated actions, such as attempting to stab the detective while driving and manipulating him into accelerating, and his disturbing delight at the prospect of possessing the body of a six-year-old boy. is actually a joy to watch, and that sounds weird to write. 

The special effects in this movie also deserve praise as well. Long before CGI became popular, it had to rely on animatronics and puppetry to bring the doll to life.. 

The attention to detail in his facial expressions as he curses and argues with his victims and the ability for his plastic, cute face to quickly switch back and forth from innocence to malice is pretty impressive for its time.

There's a great Youtube video that goes into detail about the special effects which you can watch below.

And if you did not know, Chucky is actually based on the true life story of Robert the Doll. (Wiki link)

A doll that was once owned by a painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. The doll is said to be possessed by evil spirits, and has a terrifying reputation.

Eugene’s parents often heard him talking to the doll and supposed that the doll spoke back. Although at first they assumed that Eugene was simply answering himself in a changed voice, they claimed to have later realized that the doll was actually speaking.

If you haven't had the opportunity to watch this film, you should. I rank it as the 2nd best Child's Play movie, and it will always have a very special place in my heart. It has earned its status as a cult classic for good reason. It's a brilliant slasher movie that is also a horror movie that is hilarious as well. (Yes, nostalgia probably plays a large part for me, as well!)

What's your memories of the first Child's Play movie? Are you a fan of the mental doll and his killing sprees?

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