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Child's Play is a American horror film written by Don Mancini and directed by Tom Holland. It was released on November 9, 1988. The film met with moderate success upon its release, and has since developed a cult following among fans of the horror genre. The film is the first in the Child's Play film series, which was originally a whodunit film in contrast to the latter sequels. This was the only film in the series released by MGM/UA, as the rights to the series were sold to Universal beginning with the sequel.

Plot

While being chased by Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), Charles Lee "Chucky" Ray ("The Lakeshore Strangler") (Brad Dourif), the main antagonist, is shot and mortally wounded. Before dying, Charles takes cover inside the toy store, finding boxes of Good Guy dolls, and uses a voodoo ritual, that will transfer his soul into Chucky. The store is then struck by lightning, and it burns to the ground.

Later that morning, 6-year-old Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), the main protagonist, and his widowed mother, Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks), are introduced to the audience. It is Andy's 6th birthday, and he wants a Good Guy doll, that he has seen in the TV commercials, starring Chucky. Karen buys the doll from a street peddler. This is the same doll, to which Charles had earlier transferred his soul into.

That night, as Andy is playing with the doll (who has introduced himself as "Chucky" through the talking feature of the doll), Karen's friend, Maggie Peterson (Dinah Manoff), who is babysitting Andy, scolds him for turning on the evening news and placing Chucky in front of the TV, but when Andy tries to tell Maggie that he did not put Chucky in front of the TV, she doesn't believe him. The audience then sees a first-person perspective of someone, striking Maggie with a hammer. She falls out of the apartment window, tumbling several stories to her death. The killer's identity (yet unrevealed to the viewers) 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 that "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 Caputo (Neil Giuntoli), Chucky's complice, who had betrayed him (which led him to his death). As Andy pees outside, 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 explodes, killing him.

Later, authorities place Andy in a psychiatric ward for the criminally insane after he is found near the crime scene and suspected for murders. Karen believes the doll to be the culprit after she realizes that his batteries had never been put in, and she threatens to throw him into the fireplace unless he reveals himself to her. 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 Simonsen a.k.a "Dr. Death" (credited as Raymond Oliver), 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 in the chest 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 and Chucky brutally kills the head doctor (a cameo appearance by Jack Colvin) in the process. The authorities believed Andy killed the doctor while escaping. Mike and Karen rush back to the apartment hoping that Andy is there. Chucky reaches the apartment where Andy is and knocks him unconscious with a baseball bat to steal his soul. After a prolonged struggle, Chucky is thrown into the fireplace and as Andy prepares to light him on fire. Chucky says, "Andy, no, please! 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. Very burnt but alive, 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 Norris' partner arrives, the scattered doll parts attempt to attack at the instructions of Chucky's screaming, severed head, but Norris finally shoots Chucky in the heart, rendering Chucky dead. As Norris, his partner, and Mrs. Barclay walk out (with Andy in hand) of the room, Andy turns to look at Chucky one last time before leaving.

Cast

  • Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay: A young boy being framed for Chucky's murders and the only person that Chucky can transfer his soul to.
  • Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray / Voice of Chucky: The main antagonist; a Chicago's Most Wanted murderer who places his soul in a Good Guy doll
  • Catherine Hicks as Karen Barcley: The female protagonist, the mother of a young boy tormented by murderous killer doll, Chucky.
  • Chris Sarandon as Detective Mike Norris: The male protagonist; a police detective and Chucky's killer
  • Dinah Manoff as Maggie Peterson: Karen's friend and Chucky's first victim
  • Neil Giuntoli as Eddie Caputo: Charles Lee Ray's former crime partner and Chucky's second victim
  • Raymond Oliver as John Simonsen ("Dr. Death"): Chucky's former voodoo instructor and third victim
  • Jack Colvin as Dr. Ardmore: A psychiatrist from a criminally insane ward and Chucky's fourth victim
  • Tommy Swerdlow as Jack Santos: Mike Norris's partner and one of Chucky's enemies
  • Juan Ramirez as Peddler: A homeless man who discovers Chucky and sold it to Karen.


Production

Child's Play was filmed at the following locations:

  • Chicago, Illinoismarker (on location) The Chicago landmark the Brewster Apartmentsmarker 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 film star Charlie Chaplin occupied the penthouse of this building when he lived in Chicago.
  • Culver City, Californiamarker (in studio)


Writing

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. 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, which was a whodunit story, 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, and though abandoned, the idea was later used in Bride of Chucky.

Box office/Reception

Child's Play had a budget worth $9,000,000 and was released in 1,377 theaters, having an opening weekend of $6,583,963. The domestic gross was $33,244,684 with it making $10,952,000 overseas. Worldwide, the film made $44,196,684 and was #1 at the box office.

Critical reviews were very positive, with Roger Ebert calling it "an effective horror film." The film earned a 70% 'Fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Areas of the film that were commonly praised were the original concept, the special effects (which were at the time effective) and the acting. The young Alex Vincent, who played Andy Barclay, was said to have played a generally convincing role as a terrified boy. Brad Dourif, however, was singled out for his creepy and realistic voice-acting of Chucky.

Promotion

Soundtrack

The soundtrack for Child's Play was released in the USmarker for the first time on October 28, 2009 but it is a limited edition of 1200 copies made. The soundtrack is now discontinued.

  • "Opening Chase (Main Titles - Child's Play)"
  • "Maggie Gets It / Maggie Out the Window"
  • "Chucky's Shoes / Just a Doll"
  • "El Ride"
  • "Batteries Included / Mamma Walk / Street Music" (Not Used in the Film)
  • "Good Night A.H. / Mamma Visits"
  • "Chucky Kills the Doctor"
  • "Chucky Goes to the Hospital"
  • "Batter Up / Chucky's Chant / This Is the End / Chuck Roast"
  • "Chucky Goes to Pieces / Chuck In a Box"
  • "Goodbye Chucky / Child's Play - End Credits"
  • "News Cast"
  • "Child's Play - End Credits" (Without Vocal)
  • "The Chucky Song" (Not Used in the Film)


The soundtrack for the film was only released in Francemarker in 1989 with different tracks.

  • "A Chucky Is Born"
  • "Chucky Blows Up A House"
  • "Speak Up, You Little Bastard"
  • "Momma: Lookin' For A Bum"
  • "Chucky Takes A Drive"
  • "Chucky's Chant"
  • "This Is The End, My Friend"
  • "Chucky Goes To Pieces"
  • "At The Hospital"
  • "The Doctor Is A Shocker"
  • "It's Only A Doll"
  • "Batter's Up"
  • "Chucky: His Last Days"
  • "End Titles: When The Composer Sings"


Comics

It has been adapted in comics a couple of times:

DVD releases

The film was first released on DVD by MGM in 1999. The film was presented in an open-matte full screen presentation and included a theatrical trailer and a "Making Of" booklet. However the Australian DVD release by MGM featured the film in non-anamorphic widescreen transfer. The DVD was re-released in 2007 with a lenticular cover.

A 20th Anniversary DVD was released by MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on September 9, 2008. The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 Widescreen format (for the first time in the U.S. in 20 years) enhanced for 16x9 monitors and includes an English 5.1 surround track and English, French, and Spanish 2.0 surround tracks. 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 titled "Introducing Chucky: The Making of Child's Play," and "Chucky: Building A Nightmare" featurette, Theatrical Trailer and a Photo Gallery. The film received a Blu-Ray Disc release on September 15, 2009.

References

  1. [1]
  2. http://www.devilsdue.net/chucky


External links

  • Child's Play at Box Office Mojo
  • Child's Play MGM site
  • iTunes Store Page
  • http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=1666
  • http://thevaultofhorror.blogspot.com/2008/04/voice-of-chucky-returns.html
  • http://www.horrordvds.com/vb3forum/showthread.php?threadid=36581
  • http://www.horrordvds.com/vb3forum/showthread.php?threadid=36581&page=2



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