During the winter of 1985, a most horrific thing appeared under Christmas trees. Elementary school boys were given an almost as big as them. It was called My Buddy and it was a full-fledged doll. After decades of action figures, boys were embracing a doll and dragging them all over town as if they were their new best friend. It was quite creepy to see this since I’d wonder which one was the plastic doll and who was the child. It was spooky when one of the heads moved. I must not have been the only person given a scare by My Buddy. In the Fall of 1988, moviegoers were given the true nightmare of My Buddy when Good Guys were introduced in Child’s Play and one of them went bad.
A Chicago toy store has a massive display of the cute Good Guys. They’re knock off My Buddy dolls except without the ballcap. Kids across the country are eager to get their hands on them as the hot gift for Christmas. Before any parents can bust the doors open to get the ultimate present, serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Blue Velvet‘s Stephen Dourif) sneaks inside as he attempts to escape Detective Mike Norris (The Princess Bride‘s Chris Sarandon). During their gun battle, Charles takes a fatal hit. As he bleeds out, Charles performs a powerful voodoo ritual that transfers his soul into a Good Guys doll. The ritual causes a massive explosion that destroys the store. Karen Barclay (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home‘s Catherine Hicks) is a single mom barely scrapping by. Her son Andy (Child’s Play 2‘s Alex Vincent) wants a Good Guy doll as a birthday present. She can’t afford it until fate as a homeless man looking to unload a Good Guy doll that was found near the destroyed toy store. It’s the most wonderful birthday ever until she discovers why the doll was so cheap. The talking doll insists his name is Chucky. One night while Karen is working late, Andy’s babysitter discovers the doll is watching TV. She learns the nightmarish truth that this doll is more than life-like. It’s possessed by the soul of Charles Lee Ray. This knowledge doesn’t last long when something bad happens to her. Detective Norris shows up and suspects Andy might be the culprit. Before the kid can be locked up, Chucky has more scores to settle and use Andy as the patsy. The doll has a lot of plans for Andy. He wants to be more than the child’s new best friend.
Child’s Play came out at the end of the ’80s wave of franchise horror. While it could have been another knock off of Friday the 13th, Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play digs deep into a monster powered by voodoo and Madison Avenue. It feels fresh at a time when there were so many horror sequels jamming up the multiplex screens. The film doesn’t get too serious or dark since how can you get too scared of a giant rubber doll that won’t stop? He’s not an action figure. But yet, Chucky has a sinister edge with Dourif’s voice coming from what should be a cute preschooler toy. He’s not that cute holding a bloody hammer. The movie tapped into that fear that there was something wrong with the My Buddy dolls. After you see Child’s Play, you’ll never want to buy a kid a doll that’s big enough to grab a kitchen knife.
This is a masterpiece of consumer horror. After the release of Child’s Play, sales of My Buddy dolls plummeted. No parent wanted to see My Buddy lurking in the shadows of their child’s playroom.
Scream Factory has also released Child’s Play 2 and Child’s Play 3 on 4K UHD so you can see even more when Chucky goes on a rampage.
The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 4K scan is taken from the original camera negative and presented in Dolby Vision. Things look sharp on a 4K TV screen. The audio is a Dolby Atmos Track. The Blu-ray verson of the movie has the DTS-HD MA stereo mix from the original release. The movie is subtitled in English.
DISC ONE (FEATURE FILM – 4K UHD):
Audio Commentary with Director Tom Holland gets into how he worked with Chucky and expectations after making Fright Night.
Audio Commentary with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, And “Chucky” Designer Kevin Yagher is fun since the two actors talk about playing mother and son. Kevin discusses elements of getting Chucky to work on the set.
Audio Commentary with Producer David Kirschner and Screenwriter Don Mancini goes into how they met and changes that were made to make it the film that ended up on screen.
Select Scene Commentary By Chucky is rather sparse. Guess the doll was busy knifing people in the other studio.
DISC TWO (FEATURE FILM – BLU-RAY):
Audio Commentary With Director Tom Holland is the same as the one on the 4K UHD.
Audio Commentary with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, And “Chucky” Designer Kevin Yagher is the same as the 4K UHD version.
Audio Commentary with Producer David Kirschner and Screenwriter Don Mancini is the same as the 4K UDH version.
Select Scene Commentary By Chucky is the same as the 4K UHD version.
Birth Of The Good Guy (12:07) is a new interview with Writer Don Mancini. He had only taking one screenwriting class in UCLA’s film school when he typed up his killer dollar story. He discusses growing up with a Madison Avenue dad. Children were referred to as “consumer trainees.” He wanted to do a dark look at how marketing affects children.
Friends Till The End(15:12) is a fresh talk with actor Alex Vincent. He wanted to act because his friend was doing TV commercials. He auditioned for her manager and quickly found himself working on TV and print. Then he got the gig for Child’s Play. He froze up on the set when he was supposed to cuss on camera.
Believe Me Now?(10:41) is a recent Interview with Actor Chris Sarandon. He had just worked with Tom Holland on Fright Night. Sarandon had a way to keep Holland calm under a difficult shoot. So he was an actor/therapist on the set.
Chucky: The Great And Terrible(26:01) gets producer David Kirschner to talk about how he used his gig at Tower Records to make industry connections. He’d show them his artwork. His big break involved Neil Diamond.
Windy City Chills (5:33) catches up with Production Manager Robert Latham Brown. He had to replace the Unit Production Manager. He talks about the one-time Tom Holland lost his cool and tried to choke him during lunch.
DISC THREE (SPECIAL FEATURES – BLU-RAY):
Behind The Scenes Special Effects Footage (60:08) is video shot at the workshop as they work on the Chucky doll. There are motion studies with actor Ed Gale before he was the mobile Chucky. You get to see the robotics at work.
Howard Berger: Your Special Effects Friend ‘Til The End(40:53) sits down with The Special Makeup Effects Artist. He worked on The Hidden. He said the crew had plenty of time to work out the special effects. He was excited to work the Chucky puppet since it qualified him for the actor’s union and received health insurance. He goes deep into what it took to build Chucky and make him appear real.
Life Behind The Mask: Being Chucky (40:02) is an Interview with Actor Ed Gale. He was cast because Tom Holland heard good things about him from working in other projects including Space Balls. He got the job before receiving the script. He really enjoyed working with Tom Holland. Gale was also Howard the Duck.
Evil Comes In Small Packages(24:49) is a vintage documentary from a previous DVD release. The piece includes interviews with Don Mancini, David Kirschner, John Lafia, Chris Sarandon, Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Alex Vincent, And Kevin Yagher. Mancini wrote the script during his junior year of film school. It was originally called Blood Buddy. Producer David Kirschner had just done the sweet An American Tail. This would not be a cute family film. They talk about how the script was changed to bring in the Lakeshore Stangler.
Chucky: Building A Nightmare(10:05) gets Kevin Yagher talking about how he built the puppet. He was recommended for the job by Rick Baker. Tom Savini gives his approval to Kevin’s work.
A Monster Convention(5:26) takes us to the 2007 Monster Mania Panel that united actors Catherine Hicks, Alex Vincent and Chris Sarandon. Sarandon and Hicks weren’t able to get lost in thinking Chucky was real. Hicks met her husband on the set. Hicks admits she was on the set bringing her husband lunch. They didn’t ask her back.
Introducing Chucky: The Making Of Child’s Play (6:15) seems like the original Electronic Press Kit. Tom Holland talks about the dolls aspect in horror.
Vintage Child’s Play Featurette (4:54) might be the teaser trailer to show exhibitors. They give away the set up, but there’s a little bit of behind-the-scenes footage.
Theatrical Trailer (2:02) reminds us that not all birthday presents are fun.
TV Spot (0:17) goes straight terror doll.
Rare Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery (3:09) is a montage of pictutes. There’s plenty of shots showing what it tool to make Chucky move. There’s a lot of people on the floor with remote controls.
Posters And Lobby Cards Gallery (1:45) gives a great sense of how the killer doll was sold to viewers around the world. The title in Germany looks like “Die Murder Puppet.”
Scream Factory presents Child’s Play: Collector’s Edition. Directed by Tom Holland. Screenplay by Don Mancini, John Lafia & Tom Holland. Starring: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Ed Gale & Brad Dourif. Boxset Contents: 3 discs. Rating: Rated R. Running Time: 87 minutes. Release Date: August 16, 2022.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.