Growing up, I was a simple kid. I was innocent. I liked professional wrestling, Looney Tunes cartoons and the Ninja Turtles. I was your ordinary everyday kid of the early 90’s. I’d spend my days playing with my action figures and watching whatever VHS tape I could find. You might want to call what I did “child’s play?” I don’t know why Child’s Play hooked me like it did! Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who grew a fascination with that particular two foot doll.
These days, stores can’t keep the new iPhone in stock. Think back to 1983, before my time, when the Cabbage Patch Kid craze was sweeping the nation. Consumers were causing mini riots in order to get their hands on a doll that was “so ugly it was cute”. That Christmas, every kid in North America (if they were lucky enough) was waking up to see a fat faced, possibly freckled, doll with a funny haircut under their tree.
I do believe it was the simple childlike innocence that makes Child’s Play such a great horror film. From Chucky’s red hair that resembles the beloved Ronald McDonald, to the overalls many mothers dressed their little ones in when they shipped them off to school, Chucky was someone we could all relate too.
But the whole idea of a child’s doll coming to life to hunt and kill a six year old boy was a little farfetched wasn’t it? Like who could believe that? Just kick him and run, right? Well you’re right, but you know what they say, “you can’t keep a good guy down.” Almost every kid in the Western Hemisphere owned a doll so closely resembling the one Charles Lee Ray possessed himself into that it was beginning to become easy to feel…uneasy.
“Just kick him and run, right?”
In the decade of the slasher flick, we were becoming accustomed to machete wielding freaks that haunted us in our dreams all on Halloween night. But Chucky threw a wrench into that formula. While in many ways still falling under the “slasher movie” category, Child’s Play decided to act upon the incoherent fear that every kid has ever thought: “What if my toys actually come to life when I’m not playing with them?” Now not only were we scared of our He-Man figures coming to life, we now had that distinct fear in the form of Brad Dourif’s voice yelling at us, or cackling that psychopathic laugh, all the while we were being chased. It all became the perfect mixture of things to fear which we had no idea we were even scared off.
“Child’s Play was the first horror movie I ever watched”
And I hated it. I hated it so much I had to watch it daily; watching it daily while covering my eyes!!! I watched this movie so often and yet every time I did, I regretted it. Until the day my Mom had enough of my obsession with this movie that terrified me and just threw it right into the trash. That trash bin that now sat on the curb waiting for the pick-up. Only a few hours later my Dad pulled in from work, saw that my favorite VHS somehow got thrown in that trash bin and returned it to its rightful place in the VCR. I was addicted to the scare from that point forward. It was as if I was Andy, who loved my doll even though knowing something wasn’t quite right, and my Mom attempting to protect me….but he found a way back into my home.
This movie does have a bit of everything in it. It’s a real people pleaser. Think of it like this: if you like ghost stories, it has got a possession…if you like comedy, it has plenty of wit…and if you like romance then it has that beautiful love story between a Mother and her son. Lastly, and most importantly, if you like an adrenaline rush…it has plenty of scares and gore to keep you breathing heavy.
Child’s Play to get the Scream Factory Treatment
With Scream Factory releasing a brand new edition full of special features all heightening the awesomeness of this film, and a recent cast reunion during Horrorhound Weekend (so jealous I wasn’t there), then that just shows how this film has endured time and it’s sequels.
So if you want to remember how to get into the Halloween spirit this season, then simply pop in 1988’s own: Child’s Play.
You know what…if you really want to relive your childhood innocence before experiencing this film again, have one last bonfire in the backyard and try this old favorite campfire song on for size: “Ade Due Damballa….give me the power I beg of you!”