Child's Play is a 1988 supernatural horror film written and directed by Tom Holland, along with Don Mancini and John Lafia. It was released on November 9, 1988 in 1,377 theaters, opening at #1. The film met with moderate success upon its release, and has since developed a cult following among fans of the horror genre. The film spawned six sequels released by Universal Pictures (which acquired the rights to the series shortly after the release of the original and before the release of the second film): Child's Play 2, Child's Play 3, Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, Curse of Chucky, and Cult of Chucky.
The story begins on November 9, 1988 in Chicago, Illinois. While being chased by detective Mike Norris, Charles Lee Ray ("Chucky"), the notorious "Lakeshore Strangler", takes cover in a toy store, but is shot and mortally wounded by Norris. Before dying, Charles finds boxes of "Good Guy" dolls, crashing into them. He uses a voodoo ritual to summon Damballa that will transfer his soul into one of the dolls. The store is then struck by lightning, and it burns to the ground. Norris, who survived, finds Charles' dead body and the doll.
Later that morning, Andy Barclay and his mother, Karen are introduced to the audience. It is Andy's sixth birthday and he wants a Good Guy doll he has seen in television commercials. However, his mother cannot afford the doll, it being very expensive, and instead buys a different toy. Realizing her son's deep disappointment, she later buys a Good Guy from a homeless peddler, the doll purchased being the recipient of the voodoo ritual.
That night, as Andy is playing with the doll (who's revealed himself as Chucky via the talking feature of the doll), Karen's friend Maggie, who is babysitting, takes the doll away when Andy is insubordinate in going to bed. The audience then sees a first-person perspective of a small figure taking a hammer and striking Maggie with it. She falls out of the apartment window, tumbling several stories to her death. The killer's identity (either Andy or Chucky) is left ambiguous. Andy, when questioned, insists that Chucky has revealed himself to be alive and that he killed Maggie, though he defends Chucky's decision by stating that Chucky told him "Maggie was a real bitch" and that she "got what she deserved".
The next day, Andy, apparently upon Chucky's request, visits the house of Eddie, Chucky's accomplice who had betrayed him. As Andy urinates outside of the house, Chucky is revealed as being alive. He sneaks into Eddie's house and blows out the pilot light on the stove and turns up the gas; Eddie, in panicked self-defense, fires his gun and the house implodes.
Later authorities place Andy in a psychiatric ward after he is found near the crime scene. Karen believes the doll to be the culprit after she finds that his battery compartment is empty and threatens to throw him into the fireplace. Chucky comes alive in her hands, bites her and runs out of the apartment. She contacts Mike Norris, who is now investigating Maggie's death. Although he initially doubts her story, the homeless man who sold Karen the doll confirms that he retrieved it from the burnt down toy-store where Charles Lee Ray was killed. Norris becomes a firm believer after he is attacked by Chucky in his car and survives only by shooting the doll.
Chucky later meets with John, his voodoo instructor from years past, and asks why his gunshot wound bled. John, under torture via voodoo doll, informs him that his body is slowly conforming to that of a human's, and that he will soon be trapped in the body if he does not transfer his soul into the body of the first person he revealed himself to, which is Andy. Offhandedly remarking that he will "get to be six years old again", Chucky stabs a voodoo doll and leaves John to die. Karen and Detective Norris, following leads from Charles Lee Ray's case file, find John as he lay dying and receive instructions on how to kill Chucky; although Chucky is a doll, his heart is fully human and vulnerable to fatal injury.
Andy escapes from the psychiatric unit, Chucky brutally kills a doctor in the process. Mike and Karen rush back to the apartment hoping that Andy is there. They confront Chucky in the apartment just as he is preparing to transfer his soul into Andy's body. After a prolonged struggle, Chucky is thrown into the fireplace and as Andy prepares to light him on fire. Chucky says " Andy, we're friends to the end, remember?". Andy replies "This is the end, friend!" and throws the match in the fireplace. Andy and Karen, thinking Chucky is dead, go to help the injured Mike Norris. After Andy gets the first aid kit from under the sink, he discovers Chucky is gone. Chucky chases after Andy and Karen; Karen shoots him several times, missing his heart, but scattering his head an arm and a leg in the hallway. After another police officer arrives, the scattered doll parts attempt to attack at the instructions of Chucky's severed head, but Norris finally shoots Chucky in the heart, killing Charles Lee Ray... for now!
List of deaths
|Name||Cause of Death||Killer||On Screen||Notes|
|Vivian Van Pelt||Strangulation||Charles Lee Ray||No||Few years prior to movie, mentioned in Bride of Chucky|
|Daniel||Drowning||Charles Lee Ray||No||Prior to movie, mentioned in Curse of Chucky|
|Charles Lee Ray||Shot in chest with revolver||Mike Norris||Yes||Transferred soul into Good Guy doll at time of death|
|Maggie Peterson||Head Trauma/Falling: Hit in forehead with hammer, fell out of 6th floor window/lands on van||Chucky||Yes|
|Eddie Caputo||Explosion: Gas pipe turned on/shot with revolver/house exploded||Chucky||Yes|
|John Bishop||Exsanguination: Voodoo doll, leg/arm broken, chest knifed||Chucky||Yes|
|Dr.Ardmore||Electrocution: Scalpel in leg, device placed on head/electrocuted||Chucky||Yes|
|Chucky||Immolation/Dismemberment/Shooting: Burned in fireplace, leg/arm/head blown off, shot in heart||Karen Barclay, Mike Norris||Yes||Resurrected in Child's Play 2|
Child's Play was filmed at the following locations:
Chicago, Illinois (on location) The Chicago landmark the Brewster Apartments located at Diversey and Pine Grove served as the location of the apartment where Andy and Karen lived. It is pictured on the movie poster. Silent filmstar Charlie Chaplin occupied the penthouse of this building when he lived in Chicago. Culver City, California (in studio)
It is rumored that the "Good Guy Dolls" were based on the My Buddy dolls created by Hasbro. However, during an airing of the movie on the morning of 7 January 2007, AMC claimed the creator modeled the doll after the Cabbage Patch Kids; he was tired of seeing commercials for the dolls. This was confirmed by an interview with the creator, Don Mancini, which was featured on the Seed of Chucky DVD. Don Mancini has stated that his original script toyed with the audience a bit longer, making them wonder if young Andy was the killer rather than Chucky. The actual film does make the viewer wonder for more than a few minutes, although it grows increasingly obvious that Chucky is the murderer. Chucky's full name, Charles Lee Ray, is derived from the names of notorious killers Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray. Maggie's death was originally going to be by electrocution while taking a bath. The idea was later used in Bride of Chucky.
- Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray/voice of Chucky
- Alex Vincent as Andrew William "Andy" Barclay
- Catherine Hicks as Karen Lee Barclay
- Chris Sarandon as Detective Mike Norris
- Dinah Manoff as Maggie Peterson
- Tommy Swedlow as Jack Santos
- Jack Colvin as Dr. Phillip Ardmore
- Raymond Oliver as John Aelsop Bishop
- Neil Giuntoli as Eddie Caputo
- Alan Wilder as Mr. Walter Criswell
- Aaron Osborne as the Orderly
- Juan Ramirez as the Peddler
Label: N/A Release date: N/A Mike Piccirillo - "Chucky's Animated Theme" D.B Boyle - "I'm Hanging" Michael Lanning - "Is It Really Love" African Suite - "Grass" David Darling - "Second Sight"
It has been adapted in comics a couple of times:
Innovation Publishing released a mini-series in the early 1990s. In the Spring of 2007, a comic book series which features Chucky was released by Devil's Due Publishing. The series is written by Brian Pulido, the creator of Evil Ernie and Lady Death.
There are several mistakes in the movie:
- After Chucky became alive, his red overall buttons appear and disappear throughout the film.
- Andy places Chucky in a rocking chair that is missing a runner on one side; minutes later, Chucky is gone and the chair is rocking, both runners intact.
- When Chucky is trying to get out of the fireplace, before he is set on fire, you can see a hand pushing him into the fire screen.
- The drink Andy makes changes color.
- In the police station when Andy is being interrogated by the detective, Andy smacks Chucky because he won't talk and his hair is in disarray. In the next shot, his hair is slicked down.
- 'Towards the middle of the movie, while Andy's mother is looking for the man who sold the doll to her, she finds him and asks him if he remembered her. She says she had bought the doll the day before when in actuality she bought it days ago.
- When Chucky follows Andy home and drops from the chimney and kicks the cover off, it can be easily seen that this isn't Chucky, but it's a real person dressed as Chucky.
- When Andy's mom is looking at the Good Guy box, where it says "Batteries Included", it says "Play Partners Toys" in the bottom left-hand corner. The company that produces the Good Guy dolls is called "Play Pals Toys", not Play Partners.
- This film was #94 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
- The film was released on the iTunes Store on April 11, 2007. It is reportedly available in widescreen, making it the first time Child's Play has been available in widescreen outside of the original theatrical exhibition.
- The chant that Chucky recites to transfer his soul into another body is mostly in French, though he often fumbles with the language, most notably calling on the "pepper of the dead" rather than the "power of the dead".
- The film became part of a murder trial in the UK. During their trial and subsequent conviction for the murder of Suzanne Capper, four murderers were alleged to have utilised themes from the film in their torturing and murder by burning of the 16 year old girl.
- The working title of Child's Play was Blood Brother.
- A Tollywood film "Ammo Bomma" was made on the basis of this movie Child's play.
- The rundown house which Charles Lee Ray and Eddie Caputo lived in is located at 730 Stony Island Avenue. However, in the movie "Stony" is misspelled as "Stoney".
- When Chucky chants at the end of the movie to transfer his soul into Andy Barclay's body, he mentions "Santeria," which is a Caribbean religion.
Home video releases
A 20th Anniversary DVD was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on September 9, 2008; special features include two audio commentaries with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, Kevin Yagher, producer David Kirschner and screenwriter Don Mancini, " a "Selected Scene Chucky Commentary," "Evil Comes in Small Packages" featurettes," a "Vintage Featurette: Introducing Chucky: The Making of Child's Play," an "It's Hard Being Evil" feature, "Theatrical Trailer" and a "Photo Gallery." On October 8, 2013, Child's Play was re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray as part of Chucky: The Complete Collection (alongisde Child's Play 2, Child's Play 3, Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, and Curse of Chucky). On October 18, 2016, Scream Factory re-released Child's Play in a brand new Collector's Edition Blu-ray.
- Child's Play at the Internet Movie Database
- Child's Play at AllMovie
- Child's Play at Rotten Tomatoes
- Child's Play (1988 film) at Wikipedia
- Child's Play at Box Office Mojo
- Child's Play at Horror on Screen
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