Child’s Play (1998)

The Slasher Genre has one distinct sub-genre. The killer doll genre. This began in a 1963 Twilight Zone episode entitled Living Doll starring Telly Savalas as an abusive father who believes his daughter’s doll is calling him up and tormenting him. The show ends with him being killed. It was a smart, psychological thriller. The next example was the 1978 film Magic about a ventriloquist and his living dummy. It starred Anthony Hopkins and Burgess Meredith, of Twilight Zone fame. It was an intelligent film with a dark psychological overtone. Then, in 1998, the sub-genre was reawakened for Child’s Play.

The film centres around the serial killer Charles Lee Ray (A combination of names of famous assassins), played by Brad Dourif, who is shot by police officer Mike Norris, played by Chris Sarandon, and falls into a toy factory where he uses voodoo to transfer his soul into a doll. The doll is then bought by mother Karen Barclay, played by Catherine Hicks, for her son Andy Barclay, played by Alex Vincent. The doll’s killing spree then begins leading us into the deep dark world of voodoo.

I love this film. Its scary, creepy and funny (more so with the sequels). The character of Chucky is just pure evil, a psychopath who loves to kill. He is an enjoyable character. The acting is good. I think the Andy character was convincing and the actor does a good job of playing an innocent and frightened child. The relationships between the boy and his mother and the cop. I like the premise and it is true that there are some good psychologically tense scenes. Perhaps the scariest scene comes when the mother realises the doll is alive and then when Chucky finally reveals himself. I do however have one big criticism. The movie immediately destroys most of the tension by showing us that the doll is real. After this, all tension is based around when Chucky will reveal himself rather than if. It should’ve taken the psychological approach that Magic and The Twilight Zone did so well. Only criticism, otherwise I wholeheartedly recommend this movie.

I enjoyed this movie, it gave me a lot of good scares and is well worth watching even if it is let down by revealing Chucky at the beginning.




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