Child's Play: 20th Birthday Edition (DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Dinah Manoff
Directed by Tom Holland
Twenty years? Twenty friggin' years?!? Impossible! Well, I guess not. Man, it seems like just yesterday I was sitting in the Oceana Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, watching everyone's favorite potty-mouthed man-doll begin his rampage of cinematic terror. Who said it was okay for decades to pass? Did I miss that meeting? In any event here we are two decades later, and Chucky is celebrating twenty years of infamy in grand style thanks to the new DVD from MGM and Fox! Let's take a look at the haul, shall we?
Usually I'd be reiterating the story right about now, but does anyone not know it? Just in case anyone new to the genre is reading (you young-ass whippersnappers, you) I offer this brief synopsis ...
Serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Dourif) is on the brink of police apprehension when he decides to employ some voodoo tactics he's learned as a means to escape their clutches once and for all. With his back against the wall, this loony ends up transferring his soul -- and his killer instinct -- into the plastic body of the hottest children's toy on the market, a Good Guy doll. Not long after that the toy is purchased by struggling mom Karen (Hicks) from a hobo for her son Andy (Vincent). Andy and Chucky become fast friends, but as I'm sure you can guess, Chucky has other plans. What follows is one of the most absurdly entertaining bits of horror cinema ever put to film.
Even after twenty years, Child's Play shows no ring rust. The little flick plays just as well now as it did in its heyday. The reason for this is simple: A solid job was turned in by all of the participants. Mancini's writing and Holland's directing pedigree were a perfect match, and when you add them to solid performances from the entire cast, with special mention going to a very young Alex Vincent, you have the recipe for a classic.
I don't know about you, but I'm happy to get rid of the last pan and scan DVD release as it did the film no justice whatsoever. Feel free to double-dip into this release of plenty without a second thought.
Things kick off with not one, but three commentary tracks. Well, sort of. The first is a high energy and really enjoyable track featuring Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, and Chucky designer Kevin Yagher. The second is a bit less fun but still a good listen as it features producer David Kirschner and screenwriter Don Mancini. The third? Man, the third is the charm. The only problem? It's scene specific. For four sequences we get to hear Dourif as Chucky wax on about being trapped in his little body, the difficulties associated with working on the high-pitched Good Guy voice, and so on and so forth. This is comic gold, and it's a damned shame it wasn't feature length. Too funny!
Next we have a slew of featurettes with the first three lumped together in a group that's called Evil Comes in Small Packages. Clocking in at about twenty-five minutes combined, they trace Child's Play's history from its original title of Batteries Not Included (Universal would have LOVED that) to the reaction of fans all these years later. Solid, brisk, and informative, this is really good stuff! From there we get a bit more specific with our featurettes. First up is a ten-minute look at Chucky's various effects called Chucky: Building a Nightmare, which is exactly what you would expect it to be, and then we're treated to around five minutes of footage from the Child's Play reunion panel that was held in 2007 at Jersey's Monster-Mania convention. Let me just say this -- Catherine Hicks, you are hotter than ever, baby! She looks better now than she did then. Sorry, Andy, but your mom is now a milf! Where was I? Oh yeah ... Things wrap up with a vintage making-of featurette that comes in around the six-minute mark, a photo gallery, the trailer, and we're done.
Overall this is a great haul, but there's one glaring omission. One vital piece of the puzzle that is inexplicably missing. Tom Holland. Why is it that we don't get to hear from him? He's not only the director but one of the most respected folks in our genre. This is a big time dropped ball, and it's also the only thing that keeps the Special Features rating from being higher.
With the Child's Play remake looming in the distance, it's great to have a definitive DVD for the original film for fans new and old to revisit. Despite its shortcomings this is a must-own edition for any fan. Now where is that Blu-ray edition, hmmm? If it happens ... get Tom Holland. Thanks, we'll be waiting!
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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