Day #126: Child’s Play (1988)

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Child’s Play (1988) IMDB

Synopsis:

[From IMDB:] A single mother gives her son a much sought after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.

My take:

I know I’ve been shown myself to be wary of relying too heavily on child actors in movies, but how freakin’ adorable is Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent)? And, in stark contrast, how freakin’ creepy is Chucky? I’m not even talking post-transformation of his face. The Good Guy dolls in general creep me out. They’re not quite as bad as clowns (yes, most of my fears can probably be traced back to horror movie tropes!), but all the same…*shudders*

Say what you will about how silly the idea of a killer doll might sound, but I do think that the first movie in the franchise plays things pretty straight, by playing on the idea that Andy could be using his doll as a way to act out his own psychosis, rather than honing in on the foul-mouthed little serial killer right from the beginning. This also does the job of giving the adults something less corny to focus on for a while, as the audience is left to join Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) in her eventual attempt to fight what – let’s face it – is their rational response to a seemingly irrational mother and child.

Of course, what makes it easier to play this storyline ‘straight’ is the amazing amount of work put into the animatronic version of Chucky, which scarred me so much as a child that I honest-to-God almost had a panic attack in the cinema before seeing Seed of Chucky, many years later. I don’t even care that the doll can’t move with quite enough grace to effectively emote, it’s still horrifying, OKAY?! Okay.

Even with its slightly silly storyline, I have no problems seeing why Child’s Play was able to spawn a successful horror franchise. It touches on (and creates) so many common fears, in such a creative and high quality way, it would’ve been hard for it not to be a success.

P.S. Are there any horror movies that continue to scare you years later, even though you know that, rationally, they shouldn’t?

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