BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
There are few moments in the 1980’s output of horror titles as effective as the opening minutes of Tom Holland’s Child’s Play. Serial-killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), wearing a righteous brown trench coat, is being chased through the dingy streets of south Chicago by homicide detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) when shots are fired. Ray is fatally wounded. A police car roars past him as he hides behind a lamppost. It’s a classic cops and robbers set-up as he watches his getaway vehicle ditch him in favor of safe escape. He’s desperate and now pissed off; it’s a deadly combination that has ramifications echoing throughout the rest of the film.
We are already thrust into the action, though. Editors Edward Warschilka and Roy E. Peterson have made sure of that with their rapid-fire execution in assembling Bill Butler’s steely-eyed cinematography. With no other choices present, Ray makes his last stand inside a toy store. Its window display is all about selling the popular Good Guys toy doll. With few minutes left in his body, Ray starts chanting a voodoo curse while touching one of the dolls’ head. Storm clouds swirl above the store. Lightning strikes. There’s an explosion that knocks out the windows and destroys all of the dolls – except for one.
Chucky is ALIVE. Wanna play?
Shout Factory’s epic handling of Child’s Play, one of 1988’s classic releases, is a homerun in all stadiums – no matter the size. They simply knock it out of the park with their NEW 2K scan of the original interpositive. From the new cover art to the extra disc of bonus material with NEW interviews from actor Ed Gale (the actor who portrayed Chucky) and special effects maestro Howard Berger, fans of Holland’s film will certainly be pleased to be “friends 'til the end” with this release.
Written by Don Mancini, Child’s Play remains a rollicking 87-minute thrill ride through one child’s nightmare as he discovers that his favorite toy just wants to kill, kill, kill. At the beginning of the movie, Andy (Alex Vincent) has turned six years old. All he wants is a Good Guys doll. When his overworked and underpaid mother, Karen (Catherine Hicks, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), discovers a homeless man selling one behind the department store where she works, she jumps at the chance to make her boy happy. What parent wouldn’t?
Turns out, little boys shouldn’t always get what they want.
The name of the Good Guys doll Andy receives is Chucky and Chucky would like to play a game with you. His games are deadly ones, though. Possessed by the soul of Ray, Chucky goes on a rampage through Andy’s life, pushing close ones out of windows and threatening the rest with bodily harm. He bites Andy's mom and convinces Andy to help him get revenge on the poor schmuck who left his former self to die in the south side streets of Chicago. Boom goes another building. Andy is once again at the scene of a crime.
Poor Andy. No one believes him about Chucky being alive until it is too late.
Child’s Play wasn’t something entirely new in the horror genre. While few had seriously attempted to animate a boy’s larger-than-life doll, the idea of killer toys was certainly not a new one. Yet, the filmmakers here took that knife-carrying concept of a toy that kills to the nth degree. Chucky is a maniac doll like no other. He talks, smirks, and swears. He even flips you off. His thirst for blood is endless. Due to the magic of movies, we know that Chucky is part doll and part little person, but blink and you’ll miss the edits between the two effects. It still works. The film is wild and, full of practical effects, continues to dazzle in its balancing act of puppet and person.
Chucky is a living nightmare. Almost immediately upon Child’s Play release, a franchise was born. All the damn doll needed was a couple of good line deliveries from Dourif and, BOOM, a pop cultural phenom of terror was unleashed upon audiences. This icon of horror STILL sells t-shirts and toys and STILL frightens audiences with its genuine creepiness. It’s a spooky idea and, as handled here with a good amount of scares and chuckles along the way, is quite effective in stirring the supernatural elements surrounding it into a gooey substance of sick and stick.
Warning: Child’s Play requires constant adult supervision. Chucky wouldn't have it any other way either. Hidey-ho, friend 'til the end!
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 87 mins
Director: Tom Holland
Writer: Don Mancini
Cast: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent
Tagline: You'll wish it was only make believe.
Memorable Movie Quote: "His real name is Charles Lee Ray and he's been sent down from Heaven by daddy to play with me."
Theatrical Distributor: United Artists
Release Date: November 9, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 11, 2016
Synopsis: A single mother gives her son a much sought after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.
Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray - October 11, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
Released from Scream Factory, a division of Shout! Factory, the new 2K scan is genius beyond description. The night shots of Chicago’s south side during the opening definitely show off the benefits of the 1080p upgrade. Shadows are more defined than ever. Neon splashes have depth and warmth and the city itself feels alive and vibrant. There are textures in the clothes of both Adam and Chucky and, while still a low budget affair; there is a new depth to the interior locations of the shoot. The kills are gooey affairs and there’s a nice layer of realism to some of the doll’s slices. The sound is presented in a thunderous DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 which adds a bit more thump to some of the action scenes and sporadic gunfire used through the movie.
The NEW commentary with director Tom Holland is a supplemental item most fans will not want to miss. It is fun, fresh, and informative. Ported over from previous releases are commentaries from actors Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and "Chucky" designer Kevin Yagher and another which features Producer David Kirschner and Screenwriter Don Mancini.
Housed in a sharp slipcover with FANTASTIC new cover art, the movie and the commentaries for Child’s Play are found on the first disc of this 2-disc release. That leaves more room for supplemental material to be included on its own. Pop in the second disc and you will find new Special Effects footage from Howard Berger, new interviews with those responsible for bringing the damned doll to life, and TONS of information about the making of the movie, featuring interviews with Don Mancini, David Kirschner, John Lafia, Chris Sarandon, Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Alex Vincent, Kevin Yagher
- Behind-the-Scenes Special Effects footage (60 min)
- Howard Berger: Your Special Effects Friend ‘Til The End (40 min)
- Life Behind the Mask: Being Chucky (40 min)
- Evil Comes in Small Packages (24 min)
- Chucky: Building a Nightmare (10 min)
- A Monster Convention (5 min)
- Introducing Chucky: The Making of Child's Play Vintage Featurette (6 min)
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Still Photo Gallery