27 Sep

Because you can never get enough killer dolls, Child’s Play: Chucky’s 20th Birthday Edition

Posted by Bryan White | Saturday September 27, 2008 | Reviews

Jesus Christ! Has it really been 20 years? I spend great stretches of time in denial of the very fact that I am actually entering into age territories that can only qualify as “old” and the fact that it has been 20 years since the time when I really started to fall into the category of a horror fan isn’t helping matters.

Thing is, I was never really a Chucky fan. The concept never really gelled in my mind. I recognize the merits of the character and the franchise and I understand that Brad Dourif practically built a personal cult around this character but I couldn’t really get into it.  As a matter of fact, at a time in my life when I ate up anything bloody and gory, Child’s Play completely failed to interest me and we’re talking about a guy who fervently defends Chucky’s contemporary, Horace Pinker and that dark spot in Wes Craven’s career, Shocker.  Truth is, I didn’t catch up with Chucky until the 90’s… and I still wasn’t crazy about him.

What can you say about Chucky that hasn’t aleady been said a million times by people far more qualified to talk about the topic than I? How do you review a deliberate double dip DVD of a bona fide horror classic? Sure, I said that I wasn’t too particular on he franchise or the character, but who am I to besmirch a fan favorite? Bear with me and I’ll go through it for the readers who aren’t particularly familiar. I’ll keep it quick leave a few idle comments about the movie and then address the supplements because that’s really what this disc is all about. This is a DVD, made with loving care, for fans of Chucky.

Charles Lee Ray is a serial killer on the run. The cops nearly have him, cornered in a toy store, mortally wounded and he uses a voodoo ritual to transfer his spirit into a Good Guy doll.  The dolls are in demand like a lot of kids toys tend to be, and is something like a Cabbage Patch Kid for boys.  The store burns down, by the way and the only remaining doll finds its way into the hands of some hobo from whom it is bought by overworked single mother Karen Barclay for her son Andy.

Chucky then goes about killing people in doll form spiralling toward the inevitable conclusion.  In the meantime, everyone thinks Andy is the killer of all these people because who would honestly believe that a possessed Good Guy doll could do this?  Who, that is, aside from Karen and Detective Mike Norris?

This picture hit late in1988 when slashers were still limping along but by this time you couldn’t just be some kind of unstoppable killing machine, nor could you be some kind of victim of an old crime back for revenge because those motifs were bled dry in the earlier part of the decade.  By this point, everyone was shooting for their own Freddy Krueger.  Among them, Chucky was one of the more original ideas but most of the movie is peppered with the same sort of quips and cutesy one-liners that soften the fact that the star of the movie is brutal murderer. Brad Dourif is great, though.  He’s one of the positives of the movie and makes the character almost as iconic as the aforementioned Freddy.  This perdiod of the 80’s wasn’t particularly kind to slashers and most of them fell into the bargain bin.  Anyone remember The Horror Show?  Unfortunately, I do. It’s a good example.

Enough about the movie, though.  You know all about Chucky.  Let’s talk about the disc. You get two commentary tracks, from cast and crew, obviously.  Mysteriously absent is Chucky’s creator, writer/director Tom Holland, but you can download that over here.  There’s also a series of four select scenes with Chucky commentary which I thought might be cool when I had first read about it, but now having seen them, I have second thoughts.  In character commentary is something I can get into, it worked for Spinal Tap, but here it just seems unnecessary.  Also on board is documentary about the making of the movie and the effect on the fan base, which is something I always welcome and it’s a well made, compelling document similar to those found on the Day of the Dead Divimax and Howling Superbit editions and an old hype reel from back when the movie was first hitting theaters.

In all, a decent package for fans who have been living with the virtually bare bones editions of this movie from the past with souped up presentation, good looking video and crisp audio. Chucky and slasher fans everywhere will love it.

1 Comment 

  1. October 4, 2008 10:36 am

    Retroman Steve

    Did you just disrespect Wes Craven’s Shocker? I love that film!
    Just be hopeful Horrace Pinker isn’t one of your co-workers. *evil laugh*

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