It’s Merely Child’s Play

I was reminded recently about one of my favorite horror films while channel surfing. I stumbled across one of Jon Gruden’s QB Camp shows on ESPN. I watched for a few moments. I’ve always been a big fan of Gruden’s, especially during his days as the Oakland Raiders coach (his relationship with Bill Callahan not withstanding). Why did I gravitate toward Gruden so much?  Well, besides being a good football coach (IMO) I LOVED that some of his players referred to him as “Chucky.”

Chucky. As in the Good Guy Doll. The KILLER Good Guy Doll from the 1988 movie Child’s Play.




Chucky (the doll) was SO GOOD and so beloved by all that a franchise quickly came into being. I am not usually a fan of sequels as over time they tend to lean more toward the campy (see the Nightmare on Elm Street series). But, they are a quick way for studios to make money, so I can’t begrudge them that. They just won’t be getting any of MY money.

But I digress.  Next year it will be 30 years since the original Child’s Play hit the silver screen. I totally love Brad Dourif and anything he is in. The first thing I saw him in was Child’s Play, and I’ve been following his career ever since. Mr. Dourif just finished post production on the 7th Chucky movie – Cult of Chucky.  I may have to break out the popcorn for this one.

The original Child’s Play, for those living under a rock or under the age of 30, is about a mom (Catherine Hicks) who is trying her best to raise her 6 year old son after his father has passed away. The boy is celebrating his birthday and all he wants in the way of presents is for his mom to bring him a Good Guy Doll, a doll that is based on his favorite TV character. Each doll made has it’s own name (Cabbage Patch anyone?) and three cutesy little sayings.

Mom, who clearly lives paycheck to paycheck as a department store salesman, didn’t learn about the doll early enough before the boy’s birthday to save up for it. Enter the ditzy friend who just happens to see a peddler on the street hawking one.  While the Good Guy doll costs over $100.00 (again, Cabbage Patch…) the peddler sells it to our single mom for $30.00.

What the mom and her friend (Dinah Manoff from Soap fame) don’t know is that the Good Guy doll ain’t so good. In fact, he’s inhabiting the soul of a criminal. The criminal’s name is Charles Lee Ray – “Chucky” – and he’s a bad ass MF out to get revenge on his partner who left him high and dry when the police pursued them to the detective who mortally wounded him with a shot to the chest. It is while Chucky is dying that he decides to deliver an incantation meant to transport his soul from his dying body to a new one.  Too bad for him (but hooray for us) the only thing around to act as a new host was a display of Good Guy dolls…



For a horror film I think the performances are pretty darn good. Brad Dourif, of course, is outstanding as Chucky. Catherine Hicks, who had a decent following after Peggy Sue Got Married and Star Trek IV, does well as the freaked out mom.  Chris Sarandon (Susan’s 1st husband) does a serviceable job as the detective who has to be convinced there is a killer doll running loose in the city, and of course Dinah Manoff has been a favorite of mine since Grease and Soap.

One of the best lines in the movie is when the mom comes home from work only to find out that her best friend Maggie (Manoff) has fallen to her death from the kitchen window. When the mom asks her son what happened to her friend little Andy replies “Chucky said Aunt Maggie’s a bitch and got what she deserved.”  ROFLMAO!

If you haven’t seen it you must. It is classic 80s horror.  If you have seen it, rent it again. As I said, it’s a classic!!

And if money is tight, just turn on the tv…




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