Directed by Tom Holland
Starring Catherine Hicks, Brad Dourif
There are certain films, music, and TV from the 80’s that are iconic of the era and Child’s Play is one such bit of nostalgia. The challenge is whether the film, TV series, or piece of music should be relegated to that era as a fun memory or if it rises above the era and becomes a true classic or even a cult classic….
Child’s Play is the epitome of a cult classic the look and feel of the movie is perfectly of the era and the film still offers a good time. Child’s Play at its best when it first hit theaters was only mildly scary but it was cheesy and hilarious in all the right ways. Seeing a doll try to commit and sometimes successfully commit murders, curse, and talk trash about women was just hilarious and seeing it again is just as funny. The special effects, at least in regards to Chucky himself were quite innovative for the era. The robotics, the facial expressions of the various Chucky dolls, and the skin that changes on the doll; as the movie progresses all still holds up fairly well in this modern era of CGI. These effects are definitely 80’s but they look really great for their age. Now, the lightening effects at the beginning of the film look pretty silly.
The story is a simple one; a killer is chased into a toy store where he throws down some voodoo incantations with his dying breath and he transfers his soul into a doll. A series of circumstances puts the doll “Chucky” in the hands of a young boy as a birthday present. Chucky – as it turns out – has a very limited window of opportunity to get his soul back into a human body so he kills his way toward that goal. It ends up being purposefully funny and often accidentally funny too usually due to some poor acting.
Child’s Play isn’t a great movie, but similar to the doll installment of Trilogy of Terror, it’s just plain funny and it still offers a great time for viewers all these years later. The script is threadbare and that’s actually a good thing considering how weak the acting is, other than Brad Dourif as Chucky who is awesome. So the story comes off as an excuse to assemble a bunch of one liners and mildly gory kills. Again, there’s not much to it but it’s still really funny and entertaining in a guilty pleasure sort of way.
The anamorphic widescreen presentation here is the best this film has ever looked on home video. Colors are well balanced and contrast and sharpness could be stronger but the overall appearance is good. There’s a good bit of grain in some scenes but it’s not so bad that the image is unwatchable. The video could be better still, but it looks better than it ever has before.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is crisp and clean with a good balance of dialogue, score, and sound effects. Surround speakers do get some use with a good bit of audio coming from rear speakers. The presentation doesn’t compare with modern films that are recorded for 5.1 but the enhanced audio here does sound great with no distortion or sync issues.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The single disc release comes in a standard amaray case with a glossy slipcover. The artwork on the cover is another play on that creepy little doll face and works great. The art isn’t as innovative as it could have been but it gets the job done. Since it’s his birthday edition why not do something really great like wrap the box in replica wrapping paper from the film? That would have been cool.
There’s a surprising amount of bonus material on this disc! There are two feature length audio commentaries on this disc. The first commentary comes from Catherine Hicks, her husband Kevin Yagher who did the special effects for the film, and Alex Vincent who played Andy in the film. This commentary feels a little disjointed because the audio tracks were all recorded separately and then stitched together across the length of the film. There are some interesting anecdotes shared in this commentary but nothing is truly ever discussed because these people aren’t in a room together watching the film. The second commentary is much better featuring the screenwriter and producer. They share some really great behind the scenes stories throughout the track. Some of the information does overlap in the featurettes however. There is also a third track, done for just a few key scenes, by Chucky himself! It’s a little cheesy but worth listening to at least once.
Evil Comes in a Small Package is a brief featurette running just over 25 minutes with interviews from the main cast and crew discussing the production of the film and its eventual release. The featurette Chucky: Building a Nightmare runs just under 10 minutes and focuses on the special effects, the robotics and skin of Chucky in particular. This featurette feels way to brief but it’s literally crammed with information including some early test footage. A Monster Convention runs just over 5 minutes and feels like a missed opportunity. The featurette is made up of some random autograph signing footage from a Monster Mania convention and a few minutes of a panel discussion with the cast of the film. Interviews with the cast about dealing with fans would have been great here and interviews with some of the more rabid Chucky fans would have been fun too. Finally there’s a 6 minute featurette recorded in 1988 that features the cast discussing the then upcoming film.
There’s not much depth here but seeing interviews from the actual era in which the film was made is something great for hardcore fans. There’s a bevy of bonus features here. While they aren’t all perfect and could have used more depth they’re still more than you’d expect for a film like Child’s Play.
Child’s Play is no classic, but it is a “cult” classic. It’s not a good film, but it’s a really fun film.
Overall (Not an Average) 7.5/10
The Movie 7/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 8/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7.5/10