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Child's Play (1988) - 11/31 Days of Halloween


Hiya, folks! I'm actually not home today. I'm at the Halloweenapalooza horror film festival and convention! The convention is being held at the haunted, historic Hotel Ottumwa in Ottumwa, Iowa on October 11th and 12th. I'll be there in the vendor room on both days, but I'm not the only reason you should come out. The guest of honor is none other than the young star of today's film, Alex Vincent!


I think we're all familiar with the killer doll Chucky by now, especially with this year's remake starring Mark Hamill, but I prefer going back to basics. I prefer Chucky back before the scars, the stitches, the, uh... wi-fi capability. Let's go back to the series' roots with the movie that started it all. Of course I'm talking about the 1988 original, Child's Play.


Our story opens as police pursue serial killer Charles Lee Ray (played by Brad Dourif) into a toy store. Detective Mike Norris (played by Chris Sarandon) shoots and mortally wounds Ray. Ray stumbles into a stack of Good Guy dolls, and in a desperate last act, removes one of the dolls from its box and begins chanting. Norris is closing in on Ray when lightning apparently strikes the store, causing an explosion. The next morning, Andy opens his birthday presents while the news reports the death of Charles Lee Ray. Andy is disappointed that he did not receive Good Guy doll for his birthday, but his mother, Karen, promises to make his wish come true when she can afford it. Fortune smiles on them when a homeless man peddling junk sells Karen a Good Guy doll for thirty dollars. Andy is overjoyed with his gift, but as Andy becomes acquainted with his new "friend" Chucky, strange things begin happening in the Barclay home almost immediately.


After Karen's friend Maggie is killed falling from the Barclays' kitchen window, the police suspect Andy of the killing. When Charles Lee Ray's partner in crime is killed in a gas explosion, and Andy and Chucky are found at the scene, the police are convinced that Andy is responsible for both murders, and he is committed to an institution, despite his insistence that Chucky is alive and doing these terrible things. When Karen discovers Chucky's batteries still in the box, she begins to suspect Andy may have been telling the truth. Questioning her own sanity, she confronts the doll, and Chucky reveals himself to her. His cover blown, Chucky begins looking for a way to restore himself to a human body, and he'll kill anybody who tries to get in his way.


It amazes me that after all these years, with all of the advances in special effects, Hollywood still hasn't managed to improve upon this original. Even after all these years, Chucky looks great and convincing. As if Chucky wasn't terrifying enough, the movie takes his creep factor up several notches in the fiery finale. Brad Dourif is undeniably an amazing talent, both on screen and behind a microphone. I love when Chucky gets pissed and Dourif just goes all in with his performance. And who can forget that trademark Chucky cackle? I haven't seen the remake yet, but Mark Hamill has some very... well... tiny doll shoes to fill.


I think you can already guess my verdict. Child's Play is essential viewing for any horror fan who grew up in the 80s. From the contemporary toys in the opening scene to the entire range Good Guys merch, this movie just screams 80s nostalgia. Do yourself a favor and put this movie on, pour yourself a big bowl of Good Guys cereal, and then come on down to Halloweenapalooza to meet Alex Vincent. Hope to see you there!


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© 2018 by Adam J. Whitlatch