I just finished watching Child’s Play, as the new Chucky’s 20th Birthday Edition arrives on DVD September 9th. While the franchise has digressed into more humorous, satirical stories over the years, it’s amazing to see just how creepy and gritty the original was.
As everyone knows by now, Child’s Play is about a serial killer who, on his dying breath, transfers his soul into the body of a cheerful doll. The doll soon ends up in the hands of young Andy (Alex Vincent), and not soon after the murders begin. At first, Andy is blamed and taken into custody, but it soon becomes evident that Chucky – not Andy – is indeed a live and willing to kill. As his mother (Catherine Hicks) and an investigating detective (Chris Sarandon) frantically try to track him down, Chucky goes after Andy, his last hope at humanity.
So often, these horror movies fail to stand up to the test of time, but there’s something about the 1980′s that brought out the best in the genre. So many good franchises were launched in the decade, and while the sequels have perhaps made them rather routine, it’s always fun and rather surprising to look back at the originals. Child’s Play, about a killer doll, is a movie that should have never worked from the outset. The flick should have been cheesy and tacky, and given that it’s 20 years old, the visual effects should have been ridiculously bad. Instead, Child’s Play is an authentically creepy and violent film that takes itself seriously and pulls it off.
Unlike later iterations of the franchise, Child’s Play isn’t funny and never intends to be. The movie is dark and twisted, and would still give even the wisest of children nightmares. Twenty years later, the flick still works surprisingly well.
The DVD includes a variety of special features, including two audio commentaries – one with the cast and another with the crew. More interesting is the inclusion of several screen-specific Chucky commentaries, voiced by the doll himself. Additionally, there are several featurettes that examine the makings of the film, from the animatronics to casting and so on and so forth. These featurettes are quite good, as they aren’t promotional at all and really dive into the production of the films. All in all, it’s a pretty good DVD, though if you already own the film, it’s probably not worth purchasing this newer version.