Child's Play

Director: Tom Holland (1988)
Starring: Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Alex Vincent
Find it: IMDB

Well, if you will insist upon buying your children birthday presents from a tramp in an alleyway. A hard-up single mother (Hicks) buys her awful son (Vincent) the next big thing - a $100 doll, cutting corners by buying it from a bearded tramp who probably stole it or found it in a pool of blood. Any money Karen might have saved by buying Chucky cheap will ultimately end up going towards the cleaning bill, since the creepy little bastard wastes little time in trashing her house, trying to kill her son and making everyone bleed everywhere. Buying from tramps - it's a false economy. That's why I never buy The Big Issue.*

We all know the plot. After all, Child's Play is a minor classic by now. Still, even today, it's surprisingly effective, and the moment Brad Dourif starts doing his angry Chucky voice is still chilling. There's no hiding the ridiculousness of the premise, but by constantly having Chucky on the move, or stabbing something, the film always manages to stay just on the right side of camp. Chucky still has the power to scare. Well, he doesn't scare me, but I won't exactly laugh in your face if you confess a fear of the little one to me*.

The real villain of the piece is Andy Barclay, a selfish little shit who gets his mother's best friend (and eventually his mother... and everyone else) murdered thanks to his own greed. Child's Play is a great argument for not buying your children what they think they want when they ask for it. You'll get what you're given and like it. Terrible taste in toys, too. What, Batman or Star Wars action figures not good enough for you, asshole? Really, it's like Jingle All the Way, gone terribly wrong. Forget what I just said; you know who the real villain of the piece is? Consumerism. Child's Play is a damning indictment of our consumerist culture.

Child's Play has aged impressively. The numerous sequels and his popularity have dented Chucky's power somewhat, but this remains an admirably shocking, nasty old slasher film. Wanna play? Oh go on then, Chucky, you twisted my arm.

*Not true.

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