Friday, August 22, 2014

Horror "Classics": Child's Play

Another foundational horror film I've never seen: 1988's Child's Play. Let's get this shit going.

Dude being chased down an alley. "I've got the strangler!" somebody yells (into a radio?). A police car, a shootout. The suspect has long, luscious locks and gets shot in the leg. His friend in a sketchy van drives away and the cops follow it. Ray, the strangler, breaks into a toy store. (You may recognize this actor's creepy eyes from playing Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings.) Creepy redheaded "Good Guys" dolls are for sale. SweaterCop follows him in and shoots around some corners. Ray is bleeding since he's been shot again. He knows he's dying and threatens the cop. He'll get him, "No matter what." Is this store really that big? "I've got to find somebody," he mutters before collapsing under a pile of Good Guys dolls. He looks the freckled plastic freak in the face and it is Love. Ray pulls the doll out of the box and recites some kind of Latin spell and lightning happens. It happens right through the skylight and throws SweaterCop across the room. He's okay, though, guys. But there's a fire now.

Wrapped up birthday presents. A little kid in Good Guys "overall" pajamas watches the Good Guys show and eats Good Guy cereal. He is apparently unsupervised. He spills everywhere and puts a ton of sugar on top of the already sugary fruity cereal. A creepy Good Guys-costumed dude on the TV talks about how they can have dolls now. A doll, "Oscar," creepily blinks and talks. This kid puts half a tub of margarine on some super-burnt toast and brings a tray into his sleeping mom. He tries to wake her up. It's the mom from Seventh Heaven. It's 6:30 and she doesn't want to get up. She's going to eat his breakfast "later." So much birthday excitement! Apparently he gets to open his presents first thing. The news talks about the dead strangler. The giant box isn't the Good Guy doll, it's some jeans. He's disappointed. He got a Good Guys tool set. He wants a doll, but she hasn't been able to save up for it yet.

All my best purchases have gone down in an alley.
Apparently the mom, Karen, works at an '80s jewelry counter. Her friend comes in and says some dude in the alley is selling a discount Good Guy doll from his shopping cart. Not sketchy at all. Karen's be-bowtied boss is annoyed she took an unscheduled break. He wants to make her work tonight, her son's birthday. She gets to go home for a bit. The kid opens his present and is so excited. He talks to the doll and his eyes move (the doll's) and he talks back. "Hi, I'm Chucky, and I'm your friend to the end." Karen's trashy friend is babysitting later as the kid "builds" things with Chucky. Chucky turns his head towards the news. "Hey, wanna play?" Chucky says. Chucky wants to watch the 9:00 news. Maggie is like, "Whatever" and puts them to bed. She drags Chucky by the arm. Uh-oh. As the kid brushes his teeth and Maggie puts dishes away, the TV turns itself on. Maggie finds Chucky watching the news about an escaped prisoner. She turns it off and drags Chucky away and blames the boy. She doesn't believe that he didn't put him there.

Under the covers, Chucky's head and eyes are giant and terrifying. The kid knew she'd be mad and kisses Chucky goodnight. Maggie's getting cold reading on the couch. She shuts a window. Someone (someTHING?) comes out of the bedroom and runs down the hall. "Andy?" IT'S NOT ANDY, LADY. Nice '80s perm, BTWs. She hears noises and gets up to investigate. She finds a chair in front of the front door. She checks the door and finds it unlocked, so she locks the deadbolt. The door moves suddenly and she screams. Walking slowly into the kitchen, she finds a container of flour spilled all over the floor. The rotary phone rings real loud. She's startled. It's Karen, checking in. Karen's hair looks a little greasy. Everybody's relieved. Maggie goes to sweep up the flour and hears something. She checks behind a planter. NOTHING. She turns around, relieved and gets hit in the face with a toy hammer. She subsequently falls out a closed window and down two floors on top of a car.

Karen gets off the bus to find police and ambulance and media in front of her building. She runs inside without being stopped somehow. Her apartment is full of detectives and cops. Nobody says anything as she yells for her son. This apartment is suspiciously large for a single mom who can't afford to buy a doll for her kid. Andy says Maggie's had an "accident." Detective Mike Norris from homicide tells her Maggie's dead. He's Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride. Tiny footprints in the flour by where she fell out the window. She's pissed Andy is being treated like a suspect since his pajama footie shoes match them. Andy realizes he and Chucky have the same shoes and Chucky's soles have flour on them. He runs to tell the detective, but she kind of forces him out. "A spirited lady," his sleazy partner says. The toy hammer is evidence, but I thought it was stuck in Maggie's face when she fell.

Karen hears Andy talking to Chucky. Her clothes are so awful and frumpy. She finds Andy sitting on the floor, talking to Chucky. She's got some serious boots. She asks what Chucky says. "Charles Lee Ray" is his real name and Dad has sent him down from heaven to play. Chucky says Maggie was a bitch who got what she deserved. Karen doesn't believe him and thinks Andy's saying it himself instead of just repeating what Chucky tells him. Karen insists Chucky's not alive. Andy says he'll stop "making up stories." He doesn't need to sleep in his mom's room because he's got Chucky to keep him company now. Andy tells Chucky he was right that she wouldn't believe him. "Hi, I like to be hugged." They snuggle up. Okay, I got real sleepy and uninspired and gave up and went to bed. Several days later, I'm ready to try to watch this movie again.

It's snowing and Andy carries gigantic Chucky into school with him. Maybe it's for Show and Tell. A few other kids are carrying Good Guys dolls. Andy and Chucky sneak out of school right after his mom leaves. They're on the El, obviously. Andy and Chucky get off in what I think is supposed to be a rough neighborhood. Lots of hobo barrel fires under a bridge. Andy's bringing Chucky to some dilapidated house. Andy goes to pee, but Chucky won't wait. He busts into the house, where a sketchy dude is sleeping with a gun. Lots of rats and garbage. "That's some Ratso shit, there," Isaac says.* Chucky comes in and turns on the gas in the oven. The gun dude hears something and goes to investigate with his gun drawn. The guy shoots towards the kitchen, but sees nothing. Andy goes towards the gunshots in the house because he's stupid, calling for Chucky in the yard. The dude shoots into the kitchen and the place explodes.

Karen shows up at the police station. Prince Humperdinck wants to talk to her. An investigator is talking to Andy, asking him why Aunt Maggie fell out the window. He says it was because she saw Chucky and got scared. Karen tells Andy to stop lying. She threatens that he'll be taken away. Andy starts beating up Chucky because he won't talk in front of the adults. Apparently Chucky said he'd kill Andy if he told anyone he was alive. A psychiatrist has apparently been observing and decides Andy has to be committed for a few days. Karen comes home alone with Chucky and she calls him a bastard. "I like to be hugged," he says. She laughs. Don't turn your back on him, lady. She examines the Good Guy box, picks it up, and a package of batteries fall out. OH NO, WHAT. She goes to check the doll, and sure enough, the battery thing is empty. He turns his head suddenly and looks at her. "Hi, I'm Chucky, wanna play?" She looks under the couch like that idiot in Trilogy of Terror. But less racist. There's the doll, just lying there. She pokes at him and nothing happens. He is the world's creepiest toy, for reals. She demands he talks. To make him, she starts a fire in the fireplace and threatens to throw him in. Suddenly: "You stupid bitch!" and he starts to fight her. His face is real evil and he bites the fuck out of her arm. She throws him across the living room, he runs out of the apartment and she watches him go down the weird cage elevator by himself. Her boots, OMG.

She races the elevator down the stairs and is LOSING. He's gone when she gets there and doesn't see where he's gone on the street. She impotently screams "No!" She takes a sweet old-timey looking taxi to the police station where she confronts Detective Humperdinck and tells him Chucky is really alive. He does not believe her. She shows him her bite, which is really nasty and bruised and is going to get infected. She says she's going to find the "peddler" she bought him from at work. He yells that that is not a good neighborhood to go to at night, but she goes anyway. She walks along past the hobos. None of them can help her find the dude she's looking for. So many good homeless beards. The people in the hobo camp stare at her. She finally finds the guy and asks where he got it. He wants something for the info. All she has is a dollar. "It's all I got." Then he's going to rape her. Detective Humperdinck shows up and punches him. The hobos scatter. The doll is from a toy store on Wabash. Humperdinck's upset and won't tell Karen why. But then he admits that Charles Lee Ray, the Lakeshore Strangler, died there. The blown up house guy was his partner. Humperdinck tells her not to go there because the store burnt down. Ray said he'd kill his partner and Humperdinck before he died. Karen knows it's Ray in the doll. She wants to know where he lived and also is afraid for Humperdinck because he's Next.

Humperdinck has gone back to the station for the Charles Lee Ray file. How much you wanna bet Chucky's in the backseat of his car? Knew it! He strangles the detective with jumper cables and says, "Goodnight, asshole." I don't understand how the car is still going. Just take your foot off the gas pedal! Humperdinck burns Chucky with  the car's cigarette lighter, melting part of his face. Chucky stabs at him from the back seat. Through the seat, from under the seat, at his junk. Stop the fucking car and get out! Chucky slams on the gas with doll hand. Blahblahblah, car accident. "Hi, Mikey!" Chucky yells, popping out with the knife again. Trapped in the overturned car, Humperdinck shoots as the doll as he circles the car. Chucky says he can't hurt him. He comes back for the knife and Humperdinck shoots him away.

NEXT MORNING! Karen, with her greasy-looking hair shows up at Ray's place. He's got weird murals and strange human limb-themed sculptures all over the place. Strange symbols and some kind of voodoo-looking priest guy. "Oh thank you might Damballa for life after death," says the painting, where Ray is kneeling before the priest. Humperdinck shows up and startles her. He doesn't tell her about his doll encounter, but has info on this witch doctor dude, who Chucky has gone to see. Their spell worked! The gunshot actually hurt him because he's becoming more human the more time he spends in that body. Chucky wants out. The priest, John, calls him an abomination. He goes to the phone on his altar. Chucky's made a John "mojo" and breaks its/his leg. Now he snaps the arm so he'll tell him how to transfer his soul. He has to transfer it into the body of the first person he revealed himself to: Andy. Chucky stabs the doll and John dies.

Karen and Humperdinck show up at the witch doctor's house. He's barely alive, "You  must save the boy." They have to kill Chucky before he does the chant and takes Andy's soul. They have to get him through the heart. This Andy kid is awfully cute. Through his barred window, he sees Chucky and calls for the doctor. He says Chucky's going to kill him. The doctor doesn't care. Andy is scared and cries and I feel really bad for him. Apparently these are just bars with no actual window panes in them in the Chicago winter. Chucky gets in, finds out Andy's room, and steals the keys. He's about to stab the figure curled up in the bed, but it's a pillow. Andy escapes, tries to lock Chucky in, but Chucky gets out the window. He ambushes Andy in an OR. Andy picks up a scalpel and backs away. The doctor finds him and takes away his weapon. He has great shaded glasses. He's trying to sedate Andy, but the kid fights him. Suddenly Chucky stabs the doctor in his leg, puts the EST helmet on his head and turns it on until his head gets singed and he starts bleeding from the mouth.

I'm getting some LDS priesthood blessing/baptism vibes here.
Humperdinck and Karen show up at the hospital/prison. Sketchy mustache partner thinks Andy attacked the doctor. Andy's run home and gotten the key from under the mat to let himself in. He moves a small bench and a sled in front of the door. Some old people see Chucky in the elevator and call him ugly. "Fuck you," he says. Andy's got the weirdest chair in his room. He hides in the closet. That's super-smart (It's not, it's not smart, but he's six.). Andy gets ready with a tiny baseball bat. Chucky breaks in through the chimney somehow and kicks down the fire grate like a terrifying fucked up Santa Claus. It's awesome.** Andy's out of the closet with the bat, ready to confront Chucky. I love that Chucky's knife has like pirate pictures on it but apparently is actually dangerous? Oh, it was a ritual knife he stole, Isaac explains. Chucky sneaks up on Andy and knocks him out with the bat. He starts chanting something about Santeria. Clouds gather above the building. Lightning, the whole bit. Karen and Humperdinck run up the stairs. The finally get in and Karen pulls off Chucky. He stabs Humperdinck in the leg. The detective leaves Karen one of his guns and goes after Chucky with the one from his sock holster.

Humperdinck looks under Karen's bed (for sex toys) and gets hit with the lil bat when  he's not looking. Karen shoots Chucky away, but the gun jams before she can shoot him again. He attacks her but she somehow manages to trap the doll in the fireplace with the grate. Andy is frozen until Karen yells at him to get the matches. Chucky: "Andy, no, we're friends to the end, remember?" Andy: "This IS the end." Chucky is on fire now. He runs around the living room, burning. YOU HAVE TO GET HIM THROUGH THE HEART, REMEMBER? He's burnt to a pretty good melty crisp and he's stopped moving or screaming. Humperdinck yells for them. He passes out once he knows they're okay. Karen sends Andy for the first aid kit. He sees that Chucky's gone. The remnants of the doll trip Andy in the hallway. His face is so disgustingly melty and he's about to stab Andy. He says Karen can live if she gives him the boy. Not really a practical deal. Chucky stabs through the bathroom door near her face several times. Very Shining-esque.

Chucky chases them out. She shoots him. Bullets have no effect, even when she blows his head off. He continues to approach. Through the heart, lady. Get close enough to aim at his heart and get him, you idiot. His mangled, burnt corpse writhes on the ground. She shoots his chest multiple times and he stops moving. Copstache shows up and doesn't know what's happening. He doesn't believe the doll was alive. Let me guess, Mustache is the next receptacle. He pokes at the skull and chuckles to himself. He carries it into the bedroom and smacks it a few times. The rest of Chucky's body busts out of a furnace grate and starts to strangle Mustache. They get him off and it's still moving. "Kill 'em!" yells Chucky's head. Karen directs Humperdinck to shoot Chucky in the heart. He seems to have finally actually done it. Blood splatters on the wall. Is his body flipping them off? "Hi, I'm Chucky, wanna plaaaayyyyy...." No one's going to believe them. Sirens. They help Humperdinck out and Andy stares at Chucky's body as Karen comes to get him and leads him away. THE END BUT NOT BECAUSE THEY MADE LIKE 90187 OF THESE MOVIES.

This was not a good movie. Just thought I'd make that clear. In case you were confused.

*We recently watched Midnight Cowboy. It was depressing as shit. But good.
**Internet, please make a gif of Chucky busting out of the fireplace like Murder Santa, PLZ.

1 comment:

  1. This took me back to the very early Macalester days where what seemed like all of Doty Hall was crammed into the common room at two in the morning watching this movie and giving out a huge cheer whenever what was left of Chucky would attack in the final scene. Nice review!