Monday, 11 March 2013

Child's Play (1988)

“I have to go tinkle.”

It took me ages to remember where I remembered Catherine Hicks from: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. That distraction aside, I rather enjoyed this movie, much as it tended to follow the formulaic course that ‘80s movies often did. The central concept is delicious, though. The 1980s, after all, are the perfect decade for what I assume must be the ultimate satire against the aggressive marketing of crass commercialised toys to kids. And yes, my love of Transformers in no way makes me a hypocrite on that point.

I had to raise an eyebrow, too, at the very ‘80s portrayal of Karen’s blatantly gay boss, with his pink bow tie, but no matter. The only real horror in this film is the 1980s interior décor, but I loved it nonetheless. I suppose the horrors that happen to Karen and her brat in this film all boil down to one single moral: don’t buy knock-off shite.

The design of Chucky is brilliant, of course, and probably the biggest single factor behind the film’s success. There are some great set pieces, too: I love the moment when Karen realises that there are no batteries in Chucky, and the deliciously dramatic irony in the death of the psychiatrist Dr Ardmore, played by the journalist bloke from the 1970s series of The Incredible Hulk. The camerawork from Chucky’s POV is good, too.

You have to wonder about the things that go unmentioned, of course. If I was Charles Earl Ray, reincarnated as a doll, then I’d be rather less sanguine about the sexless existence that would lie before me. No wonder he tries to knife the cop in the balls.

I had to laugh, of course, at the scene where an old dying man reveals Chucky’s weakness with his last words, a trope which is far too well-worn to take seriously and which illustrates the formulaic nature of the film. It’s a good laugh, though, and the ending is pleasingly inconclusive.

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