Child’s Play (1988 United Artist Film)
Child’s Play is one of those psychological supernatural slasher horror film with a odd take on golemry. Written and Directed by Tom Holland (also Don Mancini and John Lafia) in 1988, Child’s Play would become one of the most remembered horror films of all time that would forever make you suspicious of dolls. Especially battery operated talking dolls with gangsta like knife skills.
The premise of the movie was a rarely touched horror idea. The idea that a doll could become possessed by a serial murderer and wreak havoc and slaying a bunch of clueless unsuspecting victims. The psychotic humor of the killer doll move the film’s success onto the franchise train of history. Building a cult following that keeps fans screaming more for the lil’ Good Guy doll.
Released in early November, 1988 to a wanting crowd of horror maniacs, the film is the first in the Chucky franchise. The first film however is the only one that was produced by United Artist, after which they sold the rights to Chucky to Universal Studios.
You can’t watch the film and wonder if the Good Guy Doll was based on the real life My Buddy dolls from Hasbro. It turns out that the creator of the doll actually used the Cabbage Patch Kids as the template for his sadistic doll. This was confirmed by Don Mancini on the See of Chucky DVD. However, the other movie’s other director Tom Holland confirms that it was indeed based on the My Buddy line of dolls.
Mancini goes on to reveal that the original script was supposed to be a classic whodunit story which would touch on the subject of the effects of advertising and too much television on little children. Also it was supposed to get you to wonder if the murderer was the story’s little boy Andy, instead of the Good Guy Doll. This is evident when you look at the promotional poster for the film for they only show enough of the killer’s face to make you wonder if it’s a kid and never the doll.
The writers came up with the name for Chucky by taking bits from other infamous murderers like James Earl Ray and Charles Manson. Chucky’s real name is Charles Lee Ray.
The death of the character Maggie was originally intended to by an electrocution scene while she was taking a bath. This would later be used for the character Tiffany in Bride of Chucky.
When the film was first released MGM was set upon by a large group of protesters calling for a ban of the film. The protesters claimed that the film would incite violence in children. The protest was televised but short lived as one of the MGM producers arrived, spoke with the group’s leader and soon dispersed. Needless to say, the newscasters were bitter sweet about the ordeal and lost an opportunity to spin it. Damn them!
The film however could not escape the bad rap. After Child’s Play 3 was released, it was cited as a possible “inspiration” for the murder of Suzanne Capper (1992) and James Bulger (1993). Tom Holland would defend the film stating that the viewers of horror movies can only influence them if they are “unbalanced to begin with.”
So brew a coffee, lock up your kid’s action figures because Chucky wants to play!
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