Chucky: The Complete Collection - Child's Play Blu-ray Review
Written by James Ferguson
Blu-ray released by Universal Studios
Directed by Tom Holland
Written by Don Mancini, John Lafia, and Tom Holland
1988, Region A, 87 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on October 8th, 2013
Catherine Hicks as Karen Barclay
Chris Sarandon as Mike Norris
Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay
Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray / Chucky
Dina Manoff as Maggie Peterson
It's hard to believe that Child's Play came out 25 years ago. It's been over two decades since the Good Guy doll from Play Pals Inc. came into our lives and made an entire generation of kids afraid of their toys. Despite being around for this long, Chucky is still at it with a new movie released and a recent Blu-ray set collecting all six films.
In many ways, Child's Play created an entirely new thing to be afraid of. By the time Chucky hit the scene in 1988, we had already seen slashers (Friday the 13th, Halloween), supernatural horrors (Hellraiser, The Exorcist), but it was rare for a film to put the two together inside a child-sized toy. Charles Lee Ray (aka the Lakeshore Strangler) was on the run from the cops and made a desperate move by working some voodoo to put his soul into a Good Guy doll. Unfortunately for him, this meant he would stay in this plastic form forever unless he could find a new host. Enter young Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) and thus begins a chase that would go through the first three films. Chucky and Andy were linked. Chucky could only transfer his soul to Andy's body because the boy was the first person that the murderer revealed his identity to.
The beauty of Child's Play is that it's much more than just a slasher flick. Yes, it has a novelty to it in that the stalking predator is a few feet tall and wears a pair of colorful overalls, but what sets it apart is the psychological play. This is delved into a bit more in the special features, but the original idea behind the film was to make Andy a troubled young man. Maybe Charles Lee Ray isn't really in the doll. What if Andy is making it all up? The audience knows the truth of the matter, but to the outside observer, it's very hard to believe that a doll would push a babysitter out a window. This presents all kinds of ramifications for Andy as he grows up and it is something that will plague him for the rest of his life, creating deep emotional scars.
Of course, the star of the film is Chucky. Without a doubt, he steals every scene he's in. When the film first starts, the Good Guy doll is completely inanimate. This doesn't make it any less creepy as you know that lurking just behind those cold, lifeless eyes is the soul of a murderer. Think about all the places you took your favorite toy growing up. You might have taken it with you to bed or the bath. Maybe it accompanied you on a vacation or a visit to Grandma's house. Now think of how you'd react if you found out that toy had the mind of a serial killer inside it and it was just waiting for the right moment to kill everyone around you. It's the kind of thing that will send a shiver down your spine.
Brad Dourif brings a certain flare to the role of Charles Lee Ray. When he gets to appear in front of the camera for the first (and only) time within Child's Play, he shows the signs of a man at the end of his rope. He has no place to turn except for this toy store. After jumping into the Good Guy doll, Dourif not only provides the voice of Chucky, but would stand in for the doll when rehearsing with the other actors. Despite the fact that there's only a puppet on screen, Dourif makes Chucky his own. He gives him a unique personality that became a signature of the series. His line delivery is spot on and often funny, as these heinous things are coming out of the mouth of a child's toy. When comparing him to other big horror movie icons, he's more Freddy Krueger than Jason. He enjoys his work and makes a show of it.
Child's Play began a franchise that is still going on to this day as a sixth film in the series was released in 2013 entitled Curse of Chucky. This is where it all started. This first movie had an origin entrenched in dark magic and psychological terror. It traumatized an entire generation of kids, causing them to use caution around their toys. Twenty-five years later, it's still just as scary.
Video and Audio:
Child's Play has an HD transfer that I was very happy with. The colors looked great and I didn't notice any haziness or discoloration. I'm not expecting to see every single hair on Chucky's head and I really don't care of I get it.
The audio is clean and crisp with no issues. There's a choice between DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Surround for the English tracks.
This disc includes a number of features that should please hardcore and casual fans alike, although they are all repackaged from the 20th anniversary DVD release. As it's been five years since the last release, I would have liked to have seen at least one new feature pop up that would be exclusive to this collection.
There are two feature length commentaries. The first is with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, and Chucky Designer Kevin Yagher. The second is with Producer David Kirschner and Screenwriter Don Mancini. Chucky provides some scene specific commentaries of his own. Also included are three featurettes entitled “Introducing Chucky: The Making of Child's Play,” “Evil Comes in Small Packages: The Birth of Chucky, Creating the Horror, Unleashed” and “Chucky: Building a Nightmare.” The featurettes were pretty interesting because they got into how the puppet actually worked and the decision process of using a dwarf for certain scenes instead of the Chucky puppet.
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