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Overall Rating

Awesome: 27.14%
Worth A Look: 28.57%
Pretty Bad: 4.29%
Total Crap: 4.29%

2 reviews, 58 user ratings

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Child's Play (1988)
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by EricDSnider

"Dolls who kill people have an uphill battle when it comes to scaring me."
3 stars

Like many horror films that spawned innumerable sequels (well, four of them), "Child's Play" -- the one about the evil doll named Chucky -- is not especially good, and certainly not worthy of producing sequels, innumerable or otherwise. It is not funny enough to be a comedy, but not scary or gory enough to be a worthwhile entries in those genres, either. It does, however, star a malevolent talking doll, which scores a lot of points in my book.

The perambulatory, sentient plaything who murders people is an idea almost guaranteed to be laughable, though a memorable "Twilight Zone" episode managed to do it quite creepily. The trick there was that we never actually saw Talky Tina move about as if possessed. She only spoke -- something the doll did anyway -- and said eerie things, and then we'd see the aftermath of her movement, which occurred off-camera.

"Child's Play" begins that way, teasing us only with hints of Chucky's abilities, but even then we catch glimpses of him scampering about, darting in and out of doorways and such. By the mid-point, when he's standing on a counter, gesticulating wildly and threatening an acquaintance, he has ceased to be frightening, but has not yet gone far enough to be legitimately funny. (The innumerable sequels, of which there are four, explored the inherent humor of the situation far better.)

Chucky is a Good Guy, a line of dolls based on a popular children's cartoon, or perhaps the other way around. This particular Good Guy came to be alive when notorious killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) was pursued by an incompetent police officer named Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) into a toy store, whereupon Charles Lee Ray was mortally wounded and, before his death, transferred his soul into the nearest item -- the aforesaid Good Guy doll. Charles had been dabbling in voodoo, hence his soul-transferring prowess.

The doll -- which looks evil even when it is not inhabited by serial killers -- for some reason falls into the hands of a thief who sells merchandise in an alley, which is where one Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) buys it for her 6-year-old son, the slow-talking, dim-witted Andy (Alex Vincent). Chucky converses with Andy and moves under his own power, and Andy -- being dim-witted, as I mentioned -- sees no cause for alarm in this. He is even slow to realize after the babysitter is killed that it must have been Chucky who did it. Andy is indeed the perfect patsy. Every killer-turned-toy should have him for a companion.

Chucky's deal is he has to do some more voodoo stuff to transfer his soul back into the body of a human being before the temporary doll housing becomes permanent. But first, he has to get revenge on his old partner, and kill the cop who killed him, and stuff like that. Your standard psycho-becomes-doll-then-seeks-vengeance plot.

I have issues with 3-foot Chucky's ability to tackle and fight with grown men. I doubt he would have the leverage or weight necessary to do any serious damage. Clearly this film was not based on a true story.

It was directed with occasional grim humor by Tom Holland, and written by him, Don Mancini and John Lafia; they all had previous horror experience, and had more afterward. As I said, the sequels found Chucky's niche more readily, and this first film is worthwhile primarily because it allows you to see Dinah Manoff -- one of the frigid daughters on "Empty Nest" -- fall from a sixth-story window.

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originally posted: 07/07/04 05:45:30
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User Comments

1/01/10 Dane Youssef Clearly the best ever about a killer doll. Everyone & thing is perfect. Hauting & horrific. 5 stars
8/10/09 the dork knight Starts out prettys eerie, with the doll never talking. ...Then he never STOPS. 3 stars
3/28/08 Renzo classic 80's horror/comedy 5 stars
8/13/07 Steven Can't take chucky seriously because he always makes you laugh HAHA 4 stars
6/26/07 little cody a little flim about a mean doll that transfer his soul into a boy, a cult classic. 3.5/5 3 stars
5/04/07 action movie fan good suspenseful eerie shocker-dolls are always sinister 4 stars
3/16/07 David Cohen Lot's of blood, zero characterization, endless sequals, the "doll" angle doesn't save it 2 stars
3/09/07 dude it was okay 3 stars
12/29/06 David Pollastrini great action, great gore 5 stars
10/08/06 Bitchflaps Not bad, not great. 3 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Unique concept, decent film, but another medieocre popcorn flick. 3 stars
4/02/06 JRE what the hell? 2 stars
3/04/06 omar pretty scary but not horrifying. best part of the movie is the theme at the end 4 stars
12/21/05 sophia it was really good + it was creepy it gave me da heeby jeebys. 5 stars
12/21/05 miss patience 5 the best dang chucky movie ever besides bride of chucky 5 stars
11/29/05 Rebecca I love it well at first it freaked me out i stayed up for nights hey i was only 9 years ol. 5 stars
11/26/05 cr a scary little flim about a mean ass doll, a good story and movie! 4 stars
4/24/05 psychokiller this movie is a legend!, chucky should be given an academy award! violence is the greatest! 5 stars
4/19/05 Jennifer I love Chucky! He is so cute; I love how he kills everybody! 5 stars
11/23/04 Daveman Spawened four awful sequals, but the original is a surprisingly competent slasher film. 3 stars
7/24/04 Sandy Turynowicz If you like horror, this is a must see. 5 stars
7/13/04 Alfred Guy The best of the Chucky movies. Killer dolls are always creepy. 4 stars
3/20/04 Jack-pyschO-Lantern Now this was fuckin' SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/15/04 Sugarfoot It's not scary but it is somewhat entertaining... 3 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess Creepy and taut. One of the more original horror movies that came out in the late 80's. 5 stars
10/31/03 The Bride Of Chucky I LOVE CHUCKY AND I RELATE TO HIM 5 stars
10/27/03 Samuel Origional, and very scary! 3 stars
10/07/03 anthony one hell of a sick horror movie 4 stars
7/03/03 Lush Surprisingly disturbing and menacing for a film about a talking doll. 3 stars
4/12/03 Jack Sommersby It does its job well enough, though it's not as fun as it should be. 3 stars
8/16/02 Scott Nice, stylish, makes ya juump and I burned all my sis's dolls afterwards. =D 4 stars
8/16/02 Shaun its creepy, its eerie, its entertaining 4 stars
4/18/02 kevin brayer fuck you this movie is good, u just have to undertsand it cock 3 stars
1/16/02 David A. "Piss off, Chuckie!" (Anyone who knows where that quote is from gets a gold star) 4 stars
9/16/01 travis chuck rocks 5 stars
8/06/01 badfish Dont fuck with the Chuck! 5 stars
6/29/01 King Jackass Pretty good, but could have been better. 4 stars
6/28/01 Geebo If anything, pretty funny. 4 stars
4/18/01 Megan its an awesome movie! haha 5 stars
4/01/01 Andrew Carden It was imaginative, but not used the right way. 3 stars
12/12/00 damion gray this the best childs play ever maded 5 stars
11/05/00 Jon sooper dooper crapola 1 stars
9/11/00 Bender The only one in the series that has any real suspense. But the others are still enjoyable. 4 stars
8/12/00 Justin Still scares the hell out of me, scary intense and fun a great ride 5 stars
7/23/00 Tyler Peterson Better than the sequals but still pretty shity. 2 stars
5/01/00 Gus Van Sant pure shite!Almost as good as my psycho movie! 1 stars
4/30/00 Negative Norm wonderful shite!See it if you love shitty movies! 1 stars
3/17/00 David Rogers Pretty dull until the first kill, then suspense, then dull, then suspense. 4 stars
3/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Considering the oft-sucky spectrum of 80's horror, this is a cool enough diversion. 4 stars
10/22/99 bullit17 Don't take it too seriously and you'll enjoy it. 4 stars
10/19/99 The Bomb 69 i thought it was funnier than scary 4 stars
7/24/99 Elvis (The King) Presley Goes good with cheeseburgers. Pass the onion rings. Thank you, thank you very much. 5 stars
1/02/99 Spazmatazz it shoulda been a comedy, I swear 4 stars
11/28/98 Mr.Pink COOL when I saw it the first time, slightly less now, but still... 4 stars
10/21/98 Brunetta Lots of fun. Good Guys make good movies 4 stars
10/20/98 {{{OZ}}} Posessed dolls are always scary. See Twilight Zone for evidence. 4 stars
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  02-Feb-1988 (R)


  02-Jul-1988 (M)

Directed by
  Tom Holland

Written by
  Don Mancini

  Catherine Hicks
  Chris Sarandon
  Alex Vincent
  Brad Dourif
  Dinah Manoff
  Tommy Swerdlow

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