Coroner’s Report: Child’s Play 20th Birthday Edition

The Coroners Report

If you’re talking height wise, Chucky is probably the smallest of the horror big guns, but that hasn’t stopped him from slaying his way across the screen five times in 16 years. The pint sized terror is back again on DVD, celebrating his 20th birthday on a special edition DVD that features some all-new special features.

For those of you unfamiliar with this horror classic, Charles Lee Ray is a bad mother serial killer who, through the power of voodoo, transfers his evil spirit into Chucky, the Good Guy doll. Single working mom Karen Barclay is trying her hardest to get her son Andy everything he wants, so when she gets a chance to pick up the hottest toy of the year, she does so – with murderous results. As the psychotic killer doll seeks revenge on his ex-partner and the cop who “killed him,” Karen and Andy find themselves in a battle to save Andy’s very soul from the rampaging ragdoll who will stop at nothing to live forever.


First hitting screens in 1988 as one the latter “classic” slasher villains, Chucky’s first appearance is relatively tame in terms of the body count. There are only about five kills in the film.


With only five kills to work with, we get to see some gunshots, a fall from a window, an explosion or two, and a bunch of stab wounds. There is an awesome electrocution scene that gets a bit bloody and crispy. Throw in some voodoo based broken arms and legs, a burning doll and some plastic dismemberment, and despite a lack of blood, you get an alright time.


Catherine Hicks, who plays Karen, is a hottie.


Its always been my policy to stay the hell away from voodoo, man, because that shit is never any good. Always check your Good Guy Doll to make sure he’s running on batteries, and not Satan’s juice.


Child’s Play is proof that an utterly ridiculous concept, if taken seriously, can be a good movie. Can you imagine the pitch of this thing? “A voodoo serial killer inhabits a child’s doll and goes on a murder spree while calling single working mothers sluts and bitches.” Actually, that sounds pretty solid. This film cheats its way into the scares by utilizing one of the universally accepted creepy ass objects – dolls. The tension builds somewhat slowly, moving towards a crescendo that is both fun, exciting, and ridiculous. If you haven’t seen this movie, the final battle alone is worth a watch. It can be a little creepy, though it’s rarely scary, but it deserves its place within the 80’s horror pantheon. Chucky, played by Brad Dourif, is a little asshole with a potty mouth, a relatively rare trait amongst horror killers, something not fully embraced by Freddy Krueger until about the same time as Child’s Play.

Chucky’s 20th Birthday Edition has a classic featurette about the film, audio commentary with tons of people, including a scene specific set of commentary from Chuck himself (Brad Dourif in character). There are also a four new special features and a recording of the actors at a horror convention fielding questions. The Evil Comes in Small Packages featurettes include The Birth of Chucky, Creating the Horror, and Unleashed, each of which provides insight into either the crafting of the story, the making of the movie, or the design of the doll. As a horror fan, it is always interesting to hear more about the production and screenwriter Don Mancini’s insight into the original script (titled Blood Buddy) was very interesting – I wouldn’t mind seeing a more faithful movie to that original idea come out.

While not a blood soaked feature, this film definitely packs in fun, tension, and absurdity, all while revolving around an interesting villain that you wouldn’t want to see in the dark. The film made extensive use of animatronics which look approximately 10,000 times better than CGI and hold up to this day. The doll’s movement across the screen is creepy. You can also play “Spot the Little Person” and try to pick out the three or four scenes with an actor on a scaled up stage portrayed the killer doll.

This special edition is the definitive disc of Child’s Play at this time, so if you’re a fan of the movie or just looking to watch it for the first time, it’s definitely worth a pick up.

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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