FRIDAY NIGHT FRIGHT: Child’s Play (1988)

Back in January, we saw a teaser for the newest film in the Child’s Play series (which was enough to ignite the excitement in this Chucky fanboy), but it wasn’t until the end of June that we finally saw footage from the upcoming Cult Of Chucky.

Up until that point, all we had to go on was an initial release date and some tantalising news that Don Mancini would be scripting and directing, and Alex Vincent and Brad Dourif would both be returning as Andy and Chucky respectively. Before it’s release in October comes around though, we should all take a moment and go back almost 30 years to the 1988 original.It’s a tale as old as time; all Andy wants is a friend, so what’s a single mother to do on her lonely kid’s birthday? Get him the most sought after toy… not just any doll, a Good Guys doll. Except, of course, the doll is possessed by a serial killer… Toy Story 4 got really dark!

We live in a time where we use words like post-Horror to sub-categorize a genre film critics aren’t allowed to enjoy – the “lesser” of art forms. But there once was a mad time when creature features and monster flicks ran rampant, ah the 70’s and 80’s. There’s clearly something scary about possessed dolls, with the Conjuring spin-off Annabelle being so popular a sequel is slated for release this year as well.

But how does Tom Holland’s 3rd feature film (no, not that Tom Holland) Child’s Play hold up today? What’s not to love about a homicidal doll who just wants to love you for ever! They threw around a few different ideas before Mancini settled on the idea of having Charles Lee Ray a mix of famous killers Charles Manson Lee Harvey and James Earl Ray, possessing the doll.Originally it started of as a statement on the toy consumption of America and slowly turned into an all-out horror. They’d obviously hit upon a context they could run with, as in 80’s horror tradition Child’s Play sparked 5 sequels with a 6th looming. The movie is tongue-in-cheek and humourous, while still providing the scares and gore that genre fans crave. There was a lot of complaint around the time that it would incite violence in children. Whether that’s a valid point or not, I’ll leave you to decide, but that’s a point that’s argued in movies and games even to this day.

All in all, Child’s Play is a great horror movie, and a perfect way to kick of your weekend with a Friday Fright Night. And if you feel like you have time, turn it into a marathon and watch all 6 before the release of Cult of Chucky on Bluray/DVD and VOD in October.