Chucky is one of the most famous and notorious horror films around today. While it hasn’t ever been much of a success in the box office, it has always managed to turn a profit over the course of the four films that were made. Still, it was this first film that started the series and is one of the few entries in the series that was generally well received. With a genuine mystery plot wrapped up in the horror style that only a doll come to life could bring, Child’s Play arrives on Blu-ray full of all of the original jumps and scares that made it such a hit before.
The “chills come thick and fast” (Los Angeles Times) as voodoo and terror meet within an innocent-looking doll inhabited by the soul of a serial killer who isn’t ready to die. From the Director of Fright Night comes a “clever, playful” (The New York Times) and stylish thriller with “excellent special effects” (Leonard Maltin) and heart-pounding suspense guaranteed to scare! After 6-year-old Andy Barclay’s (Alex Vincent) babysitter is violently pushed out of a window to her death, nobody believes him when he says that “Chucky,” his new birthday doll, did it! Until things start going terribly wrong dead wrong. And when an ensuing rampage of gruesome murders lead a detective (Chris Sarandon) back to the same toy, he discovers that the real terror has just begun: the deranged doll has plans to transfer his evil spirit into a living human being young Andy!
It’s really hard to watch “classic” horror films now because so many modern ones have borrowed from them. In the case of Child’s Play that’s not necessarily the case since few films have taken on the murderous children’s toy angle. So while the film still had that bit of originality going for it, having never seen this film I was a bit disheartened to see that it hinged around a mystery plot that questioned whether the boy in the film, Andy, was really the murderer and was just blaming it on the doll. But…hell no! This is Chucky. Of course the doll did it.
So there’s that to contend with when watching this film for the first time. Its reputation precedes itself and trying to get any ounce of enjoyment out of the movie after that fact is kind of hard. Certainly a novel concept back in the day I’m sure, but by now it just feels dated, old and wholly predictable. But that’s not why this film was so popular in the first place. Ok so popular may be the wrong turn…it’s more of a cult status among horror fans, as there really wasn’t a huge audience for these films. But regardless, the reason these films were popular among that core group is that they were fun.
Fun is an odd word to describe toys coming to life to kill people, but really it’s just the absurdity of the concept that makes it work. At the same time it can scare the bejesus out of you at any age level—you don’t have to be young to be freaked out by a murderous doll and suddenly finding an old doll in someone’s attic or looking at one at an estate sale can be genuinely creepy just because of the connotations this film has given dolls. Never mind the voodoo angle that gets the murderous man’s spirit/soul inside the plastic prison to begin with, the films just fun for certain people because of the goofiness that is somehow made scary as hell.
Of course I didn’t really enjoy the film anyway; it doesn’t have to do with a fear of the dolls, it was more just the kills and gore felt old and dated. Which they are, of course, but there was just nothing exciting at all about this film for me. A shame as I hoped I’d get something out of it…but, alas, no. Still it’s a fair enough film for those who haven’t seen it…but just know going in that the mystery that envelopes the film is already known by you at the start. Rent It.
The film arrives in a standard Elite Blu-ray case with two discs (second disc is…actually a DVD copy of the film. Strange…) and the usual advertisement inserts. Menus are nicely done and easy to navigate, while the AVC encoded 1080p 1.85:1 transfer is a fair transfer. I say fair because the age of this film can’t really yield the best results and there doesn’t appear to be any great attempt to restore the picture. Having said that it doesn’t look terrible either; there’s solid detail, some leftover film grain and overall a very clear picture from start to finish. There’s just that old film haze that is cast over the print…but it honestly does look pretty good.
The audio, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, however, is really quite bland. The old time sound effects still sound tinny and the subwoofer’s output is minimal. Surrounds are scarce and rarely do we get anything of value out of them. The films dialogue, again a bit tinny at times, comes through the front channels mainly so don’t expect to find scurrying possessed dolls running through your speakers much.
Extras are all ported over from last year’s 20th Anniversary edition and include:
• Audio Commentary with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and “Chucky” designer Kevin Yagher
• Audio Commentary with Producer David Kirschner and Screenwriter Don Mancini
• Select Scene Chucky Commentaries
• Chucky’s Thoughts
• The Advantages of Being Chucky
• Chucky on Filmmaking
• Up Close and Personal with Chucky
• Evil Comes in Small Packages (The Birth of Chucky, Creating the Horror, Unleashed – Chucky: Building a Nightmare, A Monster Convention)
• Vintage Featurette “Introducing Chucky: The Making of Child’s Play”
• Chucky’s Back Bitches
• Designer Toy
• Evil Comes in Little Packages
This is a seriously packed disc and I have to commend them for porting everything over. While it’s all in standard definition for the most part, the fact that there is so much to wade through is a boon for Chucky fans, no doubt. Dual commentaries, tons of featurettes including retrospectives and an older vintage featurette round out the disc and make it a worthy purchase for fans of the film. On top of that there’s a DVD edition with largely the same set of extras included in this package as well—something Fox has been doing with MGM titles for some reason. Guess they have a surplus of discs laying around and need to get rid of em’.
Overall a very solid package and one that comes Recommended for fans who don’t already own the previous releases. Even if you do this one’s relatively cheap, so you won’t lose out on much.
Child’s Play is now available on Blu-ray.