Child’s Play opens in the middle of a police pursuit with Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) hot on the trail of Charles Lee Ray (Brad Douriff), a notorious serial killer known as the Lakeshore Strangler who has just been abandoned mid-robbery by his accomplice Eddie Caputo (Neil Giuntoli).
The chase ends in a local toy store where, after a brief gunfight, Ray is mortally wounded. But before he dies, he performs a voodoo ceremony to transfer his soul into that of a Good Guy talking doll.
Karen Barkley (Catherine Hicks) is a single mother who wants nothing more than to provide for her 6-year-old son Andy (Alex Vincent), and Andy wants nothing more than to get a Good Guy doll for his birthday.
When a peddler behind the store where Karen works offers to sell her a Good Guy doll for $30 over the normally excessive $100 retail charge, she takes advantage so she can give her son the gift she knows he so desperately wants.
All seems fine at first, and in “Chucky”, Andy now has a “best friend to the end”. But then bad things start happening around Andy.
First, his babysitter – and Karen’s best friend – Maggie (Dinah Manoff) takes a horrific plunge out of the kitchen window. Then Andy ends up in one of the worst areas of downtown Chicago where an explosion in an old abandoned building takes out Ray’s former partner-in-crime Eddie Caputo.
The police and Karen are baffled, and much like them, we’re left wondering, could a sweet, soft-spoken 6-year-old boy be responsible for two murders?
Unfortunately, the longer Ray spends inside the body of the doll, the more human he becomes, and he risks being trapped as a doll for eternity unless he can transfer his soul into the first person he told his secret to, which in this case is Andy.
Although sometimes a mechanical device, Chucky is mostly played by Ed Gale.
The film was way too similar to the old Twilight Zone episode ‘Talking Tina’, but Child’s Play caught on, thanks mainly to a very good TV advertising campaign showing how much kids were scared by it.
MGM/United Artists passed on making a sequel, so Universal got the rights, and little Alex Winter returned in Child’s Play 2 (1990), trying in vain to warn people in Chicago about Chucky, the killer doll.
Gerrit Graham and Jenny Agutter as his foster parents, and Grace Zabriske all showed up, just to be killed off. Brad Dourif’s voice was used for Chucky’s wisecracks again. The best part of the sequel was a suspenseful end sequence set in an automated factory turning out more Chuckies.
Child’s Play 3 (1991) featured a 16-year-old Andy (Justin Whalin) at a military school, still haunted by what happened previously. For some reason, a new Chucky doll tries to possess a tiny, childish black cadet (Jeremy Silvers). The advertisement line for this useless sequel was “Don’t fuck with the Chuck”.
Charles Lee Ray/voice of Chucky
John Bishop, “Dr Death”