Murderer Charles Lee Ray is on the run from the police and is shot and fatally wounded by Detective Mike Norris. Before he dies, he uses a voodoo ritual to transfer his soul into a doll. The doll is bought for a young boy named Andy by his mother and Chucky begins preparations to transfer his soul into the child so he can live again.
Child’s Play was born in the eighties, an era where slasher flicks were being transformed into more off the wall supernatural iterations. There was a rash of demonic toy films but the one that stands above them all is the story of a doll named Chucky.
Chucky is a murderer who is on the run from the police as the movie opens. He is fatally shot but before he dies is able to use a voodoo ritual to transfer his soul into that of a popular doll. Eventually, a mother purchases the doll in a back alley transaction from a vagrant since it is out of her price range brand new. Soon the doll begins to ask the child to help him accomplish certain tasks, which involves carrying him around so he can kill certain people and tie up loose ends. When Chucky realizes the only way to get out of the body of the doll is to transfer his soul into a living human, his new little friend is the obvious choice.
The Ed Gein’s and Ted Bundy’s of the world had given way to the Freddy Krueger’s and Jason Voorhees’, and Chucky was the latest inhuman monster to be unleashed upon society. It didn’t seem to be anything more than cash in on the horror craze of the era but somehow Chucky found his legs. Four sequels later and Chucky is as much a mainstream horror icon as Michael Myers.
If I were to venture a guess, I would say the movie is a staple of horror because all children have toys which are supposed to be safe, an item of security. Taking the memory of a childhood toy and making it evil and dangerous is as scary as anything, except maybe clowns. Show me one person who saw this as a kid and didn’t look at their toy box a little differently that night.
The reason that Chucky is still popular in mainstream society today as opposed to a movie that remains solely a cult favorite like Puppetmaster is the personality of the doll itself. Killer toys are scary but a killer toy with the attitude of Freddy Krueger is legendary. A lot of this has to do with the wonderful voice talents of Brad Dourif, an actor who made an animatronic demon seem almost human. It also helps that the child who played Andy delivers a completely innocent performance. His stiff line delivery is easy to overlook because in his face you see a helpless, trusting child being preyed upon by a devious, evil man.
The series changed into a parody of itself by the end of its run and while both Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky are brilliant in their own comedic ways, the first movie remains a true horror classic. Child’s Play is funny at times, but it is a horrific film that works on just about every level. And it does it all on the back of an ugly little doll.
All special features are carried over from the anniversary DVD, with nothing new for the Blu-Ray. The special features are all presented in the original standard edition as well. The best of the featurettes is called Evil Comes in Small Packages. It is a making of documentary split into three sections, The Birth of Chucky, Creating the Horror and Unleashed. Checking in at 25 minutes, we hear from all the actors involved as well as the writer, producer and director. It’s nice to see a retrospective that brings back everyone important to the film. One of the most interesting pieces of trivia from the feature is that the writer was only a junior in film school when he wrote the script. This can be compared to a vintage featurette, also included. While it comes across as a simple promo video, it includes a lot of interesting information about the production design.
Chucky: Building a Nightmare is a short feature about how they designed the Chucky animatronics. A Monster Convention is footage from a reunion panel at Monster Mania 2007 with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and Chris Sarandon. It is only around 5 minutes long and seems kind of slight. There is also a photo gallery and the trailer.
Rounding out the special features are three commentary tracks. The first is with Alex Vincent (Andy), Catherine Hicks (Karen) and “Chucky” designer Kevin Yagher. Hicks and Yagher met on the set of Child’s Play and married shortly thereafter. The track is conversational as the three share their memories of the shoot. The second track is with producer David Kirschner and screenwriter Don Mancini. It is more informational than the other but less entertaining to listen to. The final track is a “Chucky” commentary track, which sounds entertaining at first, but gets old fast. It is only during select scenes and is meant to be funny.
The only other item of mention is that this comes with both the Blu-Ray and DVD versions, so you can watch it no matter where you are.
With the special features all the exact same as the 20th Anniversary Edition, the only reason to replace your copy comes down to the high definition aspects. The first thing I noticed is the video looks really good. The colors are vibrant and it looks much cleaner than my old DVD copy. The contrast and depth of color is impressive. The audio is even better. The opening scene in the toy store sounds incredible. This is a great upgrade of a relatively old film.