Child’s Play

A few months back, I heard the announcement that there was a new Chucky movie and it was going to be released on the same day as a new Toy Story. Genius! I was anticipating how many parents would accidentally buy tickets for the wrong sentient plaything movie. Then the crossover posters started being released, with Chucky tormenting beloved toys, and I got excited. (I also need a set of those posters for my room, but I haven’t found them yet). The stars aligned that the Friday release date was one of our early release days at the office, so I would be able to get in the double feature I was dreaming of for months. What I hadn’t calculated was how big of a psychological and emotional attack this double would be on a millennial like me.

And this really is something that is specific to millennials. We grew up alongside Toy Story Andy (coincidentally the kid in Child’s Play is also an Andy), and loved those toys as our own. When that Andy went to college, we were on similar journeys. Toy Story 4 is even more about growing up and I was crying through the whole thing. I had about two hours to recover before I encountered Chucky–one of the few scary movie dudes that actually scares me. Because again, as a millennial, that means I was a certain age when Chucky debuted. I was just old enough to be aware he was a thing, but not quite old enough to process it, and definitely already had a good start on the stuffed animal and toy stash that I still add to today. As much as I know better, he still freaks me out. Right now, top of my Halloween costume list for this year is his Bride, Tiffany Valentine, and I know I should prolly buy a Chucky doll to carry around with me to make the outfit more recognizable, and I’m seriously considering buying him only a few days before the holiday and giving him away right afterwards because I don’t know that I can have him in my apartment longer than usual. Aaaaand I’m digressing and freaking myself out a little bit now. Moving on.

After seven movies (which I was only able to bring myself to see for the first time last year), we get a reboot in every sense of the word. Previously, Chucky was a doll possessed by a serial killer that voodoo-ed himself into the toy. This time, he’s artificial intelligence gone wrong.

I had some concerns about the change. I thought it would be too simple and it’s a concept that’s kinda overdone. However, I totally got behind it. They gave a plausible enough reason why he was on the fritz AND it gave an opportunity for a hint of social commentary. No, not the “beware of technology” message that’s played out. Instead, you see Chucky learn these behaviors. You could argue that it’s about being careful what you do and say when children are around because you don’t know what they’re gonna pick up from it. Sooooo if you’re watching a slasher movie and laughing your whole way thru it, your kid (or your psycho doll) might think that slashing up somebody is a way to make you smile. For an example.

Let’s be real here, from the getgo this has been a ridiculous premise. Throughout its history, some of the movies tried to ignore it and be as scary as possible, others played into it and didn’t so much care about terror. This movie struck a great balance. It was scary, it was gory, but it was also funny. I wouldn’t call it a dark comedy tho. It was a sinister and dark humor, laced in between the bloodiest sequences. It worked.

A big part of why it worked was Mark Hamill. Yes, that Mark Hamill. He was the new voice of Chucky. And he truly GETS what the movie was trying to do. He gave that depth to the toy’s voice. He wasn’t just some deranged piece of plastic. Also, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard him sing the buddy song. Although, I suppose if you do hear him sing, odds are you won’t be living for much longer…

Child’s Play – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

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