Film Review: Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Also known as: Chucky 2: El Muñeco Diabólico (Mexico), Chucky 2 – Die Mörderpuppe ist zurück (Germany), Brinquedo Assassino 2 (Brazil)
Release Date: November 9th, 1990
Directed by: John Lafia
Written by: Don Mancini
Based on: characters by Don Mancini
Music by: Graeme Revell
Cast: Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Christine Elise, Jenny Agutter, Gerrit Graham, Grace Zabriskie, Beth Grant, Catherine Hicks (archive footage)

Universal Pictures, 84 Minutes

Review:

“Surprise! Did you miss me, Andy? I sure missed you. I told you. We were gonna be friends to the end. And now, it’s time to play… I’ve got a new game, sport: It’s called “Hide the Soul”. And guess what? You’re it!” – Chucky

Child’s Play 2 is my favorite film in the Chucky franchise. While the first is probably considered the superior film in quality, this is the one that I think is the perfect Chucky movie and back in the day, this chapter resonated with me the most. So let me get into why.

To start, we know who and what Chucky is. In this film, he comes back to life and just goes for it. No waiting, no building of suspense for 45 minutes, just pure unadulterated Chucky, ready to kill anyone standing between him and his “best friend” Andy (Alex Vincent). And why? Because he needs young Andy’s body before his soul is permanently trapped in his doll form.

The true highlight of this film though, is the big grand finale in the Good Guy Doll toy factory. We get to see our surviving heroes run through mazes of dolls that look like Chucky. We get to see the heroes crawl through industrial machinery and try to outwit the pint-sized plastic killer. We also get to see Chucky get run through the ringer like never before and really, he’s never got his ass kicked quite like this again. Andy and his older foster sister Kyle (Christine Elise) make a formidable duo. I’m actually really glad that they are now both back in the franchise, two and a half decades later.

As a guy that has seen a shit ton of horror movies, the finale in Child’s Play 2 is one of the best final battles I’ve ever seen in the horror genre. Although, the county fair showdown in Child’s Play 3 is also pretty damn good.

I also like the casting in this film. The foster parents were Jenny Agutter, who I adored in An American Werewolf In London and Logan’s Run, and Gerrit Graham, who always makes me smile, even when he’s sort of just a snarky douche. I loved him in TerrorVision and C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud, as well as his multiple appearances in the Star Trek franchise. Then you have Beth Grant, who is always perfect, in a small role as an elementary school teacher that gets in Chucky’s way.

Child’s Play 2 is the peak of the original trilogy of films for me, back before the franchise got a lot more comedic with 1998’s Bride of Chucky. It’s a perfect Child’s Play film and has Chucky at his brutal best where he still gets in some funny one-liners without the film being overtly funny and still having a good amount of actual terror in it. And there is just something about that Chucky-Andy relationship that almost makes the Andy films feel like the only ones that actually matter.

Rating: 8/10

Film Review: Child’s Play (1988)

Also known as: Blood Brother, Blood Buddy (both working titles)
Release Date: November 9th, 1988
Directed by: Tom Holland
Written by: Don Mancini, John Lafia, Tom Holland
Music by: Joe Renzetti
Cast: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Dinah Manoff

United Artists, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 87 Minutes

Review:

“Hi, I’m Chucky. Wanna play?” – Chucky

I remember the first time that I saw the Child’s Play trailer in the theater. I was nine years-old and it looked pretty terrifying. Now I wouldn’t see the movie in the theater but I did get to check it out as soon as it hit video store shelves in 1989. I was immediately hooked by the film and was always pumped whenever a sequel was coming out. Well, at least the first two sequels, both of which I also really enjoyed.

This is the original though and I didn’t really know what to expect when I first saw it. in modern times, people know Chucky as a killer doll that has great one liners and a sick sense of humor. In this original film, he’s pretty much just sick and blood thirsty, focused on two things: revenge and possessing young Andy’s body. What’s scarier to a kid than your toy coming alive and wanting to possess your body with voodoo? Okay, maybe if that toy was a clown.

The film was directed by Tom Holland fresh off of his success with Fright Night. It also re-teams Holland with his Fright Night star, Chris Sarandon. While this isn’t quite as fun and exciting as their previous movie, it did create a larger franchise, as Chucky has had seven movies to date while Fright Night had two and then a another two with a reboot series. But Chucky, as a character, deservedly had more longevity than Jerry Dandrige, the villain from Fright Night.

The first Child’s Play is scary and dark in a way that the others aren’t. Okay, the first three are really dark compared to the titles with “Chucky” in the name but this first film has a much more serious tone. Maybe after coming off of Fright Night, Holland wanted to put the comedy to the side. Also, the filmmakers probably weren’t aware at just how hilarious the character could be with Brad Dourif’s genius behind the voice.

The film is pretty well acted between Chris Sarandon and Catherine Hicks. Alex Vincent was really damn young but he was less annoying than most child actors and he did well with the dark material. I liked that he would go on to be in the first sequel and that he would return for the two most recent installments, where he is now an adult.

Child’s Play wasn’t the first killer doll movie but it popularized that tale, as many knockoffs would come out shortly after. None of them really have the same quality and sense of dread that this film has though.

This was a solid foundation for the franchise. Granted, I think I like the second film a little bit more but that’s because of that incredible final battle in the toy factory.

Rating: 7.75/10

Film Review: Cult of Chucky (2017)

Release Date: October 3rd, 2017
Directed by: Don Mancini
Written by: Don Mancini
Based on: characters by Don Mancini
Music by: Joseph LoDuca
Cast: Fiona Dourif, Alex Vincent, Michael Therriault, Adam Hurtig, Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Christine Elise (cameo)

Universal 1440 Entertainment, Universal Pictures, 91 Minutes

Review:

“A true classic never goes out of style.” – Tiffany

I really thought that the Child’s Play franchise was going to die with Child’s Play 3 but then they started the more comedic turn and started putting Chucky’s name in the titles with the fun Bride of Chucky and the weird but entertaining Seed of Chucky. Then the series felt dead but nearly a decade later, we got the more serious Curse of Chucky, which was surprisingly good and felt like a return to the roots of the series.

Now we have this sequel, which seems to be walking a tightrope between the original Child’s Play trilogy and the more comedic Chucky movies. While this is a series with multiple personality disorder, Cult of Chucky does a decent job tapping both wells and presenting a happy medium.

This film is far from perfect and it doesn’t live up to the great precedent of the film before it but I did find it entertaining and amusing. It’s certainly worth a view if you are a fan of Chucky and this film series. It also brings back Jennifer Tilly and Alex Vincent, who gets a bigger role in this one and not just a cameo like the end credits scene of the previous film.

Fiona Dourif, daughter of Brad (the voice of Chucky), returns as Nica. She is still paralyzed from the waist down and bound to a wheelchair. However, she is now in a mental hospital due to the events of the previous film and for her being blamed for the murders committed by Chucky.

Alex Vincent steps back into the role of Andy Barclay, his first time playing the part, other than a brief cameo, since he was a child. For those who might not know, Andy was the original child protagonist that Chucky haunted in the first two Child’s Play movies. For a guy that doesn’t act a lot, especially since childhood, Vincent really held his own and did a good job in this. I hope to see even more of him in a future film.

This chapter sees Nica struggle in a mental institution. Early on she is moved from a higher security facility to a minimal security one where she can finally receive visitors. It doesn’t take long before Chucky shows up to torture her mind and the people around her. The big twist in this film, which is alluded to in the title, is that there is more than just Chucky to worry about. Now there are several Chucky’s and Tiffany is back in human form as Jennifer Tilly.

This entry into the Child’s Play series, sees the ante upped. At one point, we get three Chucky dolls working together and with his voodoo spells, you’re never quite sure who may have been infected with a piece of Chucky’s soul. Honestly, I was hesitant at this new plot twist but it paid off really well and added a good shot of adrenaline into the proceedings.

Cult of Chucky works but it just doesn’t hit the high quality mark of Curse of Chucky. Still, it is a good addition to the series and even seven pictures deep, I’m game for another one, especially with how this chapter ended.

Oh, and like the previous movie, there is a cool surprise after the credits.

Rating: 6/10