Child's Play

Child's Play Information

Child's Play is a 1988 American slasher film directed and co-written by Tom Holland, and produced by David Kirschner from a story by Don Mancini. It is the first film in the Child's Play series and the first installment to feature the character Chucky. It stars Catherine Hicks, Dinah Manoff, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, and Brad Dourif. Hicks plays a widowed mother who gives her son a doll for his birthday, unaware that the doll is possessed by the soul of an infamous serial killer.

The film was released on November 9, 1988, and grossed more than $44 million against a production budget of $9 million. Along with the film gaining a cult following, the box office success spawned a series of six sequels, along with merchandise and comic books. Child's Play was the only film in the series to be distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as the rights to the series were sold to Universal Pictures in 1990, right before production on Child's Play 2 started.


On the night of November 9, 1988, serial killer and fugitive Charles Lee Ray is chased by homicide detective Mike Norris through the streets of South Side, Chicago after a failed robbery attempt. Mike shoots Charles several times, but still manages to make it to his getaway vehicle. However, he is left behind after his accomplice, Eddie Caputo, gets scared and drives away without him. Charles enters a toy shop, where he is fatally shot by Mike. Realizing that he is dying, he transfers his soul into a "Good Guys" doll, using a Haitian Vodou spell. A bolt of lightning causes the shop to explode. Mike survives the explosion and enters the shop, only to find Charles' dead body and all the "Good Guys" dolls on the floor.

The next day, widow Karen Barclay unknowingly purchases the doll Charles transferred his soul into (now known as Chucky) from a peddler, as a birthday gift for her six-year-old son Andy Barclay. Later that evening, Karen's friend Maggie Peterson babysits Andy. After putting Andy to bed, Maggie is hit in the face with a hammer and falls out the window to her death. The police search the apartment. Detective Norris deems Andy a suspect. Annoyed Karen orders Mike and the police to leave once they complete their investigation.

The next morning, Chucky orders Andy to skip school and take the Chicago "L" downtown. While Andy is urinating, Chucky sneaks into Eddie's lair, turning off a stove's pilot light but turning up the gas. As Eddie shoots the stove and the house blows up, killing him. Andy, once again a suspect, is placed in a psychiatric hospital. That night, Karen goes home with the Chucky doll. Karen takes the box Chucky came in to look at it, a pack of batteries fall out, and she reads the bottom of the logo saying "Batteries included"?, revealing that Chucky"?s batteries were never inserted and that he has been functioning without batteries. She then looks at its back and opens the battery lid which appears to be no batteries at all. Chucky"?s head then spins at Karen saying one of its phrases and Karen fearfully drops him. Karen picks Chucky back up where she tries to get him to talk which he doesn"?t. She then turns on the fire set and threatens to throw him in. Angered, Chucky springs to life, and starts attacking Karen including biting her arm. Chucky then escapes. She tries to chase Chucky as he flees but is too late. Karen finds Mike at the station and alerts Mike about the fact that Andy really was telling the truth but shows him the bite mark that Chucky made. He does not believe her and leaves. As Mike drives home, Chucky appears in the backside and tries to strangle Mike using a cord but Mike burns Chucky"?s cheek with a cigarette lighter plug. After that, Chucky attempts to stab Mike by stabbing holes through the back and cushion of his seat which Mike avoids each one. Mike, struggling to drive with Chucky trying to kill him, accidentally hits a dumpster, flipping the car upside down which Chucky and Mike both survive. Mike shoots Chucky in the side of the chest and Chucky runs away. After that, Mike finally believes Karen and decides to help her.

Chucky is shocked that the bullet him so he goes to John Bishop who taught him the chant which Chucky used the chant for evil. John tells him that the longer he stays in the doll, the more human he will become. Ignoring Chucky's pleas for help, John attempts to make a call but Chucky tortures John, breaking John's leg and arm with a voodoo doll of him and John finally tells him that he has to transfer his soul to the first person he revealed his true identity to which is Andy. Chucky stabs the doll in the chest, affecting John and goes off to find Andy. Karen and Mike enter John"?s apartment and discover the scene. Before John succumbs to his injuries from Chucky, John tells them that although Chucky is a doll, he has a heart as well and his heart is fully human and vulnerable to fatal injury and the only way to kill him would be to strike him in the heart.

At the mental hospital, Chucky steals the key to Andy's cell, but Andy is able to trick Chucky with pillows under the bed sheets as Andy and escape his cell. Dr. Ardmore finds Andy in the surgery room and attempts to subdue him. Chucky stabs Dr. Ardmore in the leg with a scalpel and shocks him to death with an Electroconvulsive therapy head set. He chases Andy home and knocks him unconscious with a baseball bat. Chucky prepares to possess Andy by beginning the chant but Karen and Mike arrive and stop him before Chucky's soul is successfully transferred. Chucky tries to bite Karen again but Mike throws Chucky against the wall. Chucky slashes Mike"?s leg with a knife and is again no where to be seen. Mike goes to Karen"?s room to search for Chucky. Chucky reappears and hits Mike with the same bat he hit Andy with. Karen shoots Chucky in the knee, away from Mike. Karen attempts to fire again, only to discover that the gun is jammed, allowing Chucky to attack her in the living room. Karen throws and traps Chucky in the fireplace and Andy drops a lot match in it, burning Chucky alive. Karen and Andy leave the room to help Mike, but a heavily burned Chucky follows them and attempts to kill them, since burning him alive didn't work. Karen shoots off his head, arm, and leg and tries shooting him to death. Chucky is again presumed to be killed when he stops moving. Mike's partner Jack Santos arrives at the apartment. However, Jack disbelieves the trio's story until Chucky's body bursts through the vent duct next to Jack and tries to strangle him with his remaining hand. During the struggle, Karen tells Mike to aim and shoot at Chucky's heart like John said at his last words which he does, finally killing him. While Karen and Jack walk the wounded Mike to the ambulance, Andy plainly stares at Chucky's burnt corpse before leaving with Karen and others with Karen turning the lights off closing the door.


  • Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray/Chucky, a well known voodoo serial killer who transfers his soul into a "Good Guys" doll in order to cheat death after being killed by Mike Norris.
    • Brock Winkless performed the puppetry for Chucky
  • Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay, a 6-year-old boy who is framed for Chucky's crimes.
  • Catherine Hicks as Karen Barclay, Andy's mother.
  • Chris Sarandon as Detective Mike Norris, a senior homicide police detective and Chucky's arch-enemy.
  • Dinah Manoff as Maggie Peterson, Karen's friend and Andy's babysitter.
  • Tommy Swerdlow as Jack Santos, Norris's partner.
  • Jack Colvin as Dr. Ardmore, the head doctor of a mental hospital.
  • Raymond Oliver as John "Dr. Death" Bishop, Chucky's former voodoo mentor.
  • Neil Giuntoli as Eddie Caputo, Chucky's old accomplice.
  • Alan Wilder as Mr. Walter Criswell, Karen and Maggie's boss.
  • Aaron Osborne as the Orderly
  • Juan Ramirez as the Peddler


Child's Play was filmed in Chicago, Illinois for on-location scenes. The Chicago landmark the Brewster Apartments, located at Diversey and Pine Grove, served as the location of the apartment where Andy and Karen lived and is pictured on the film's poster. In-studio filming took place at Culver Studios in Culver City, California. David Kirschner produced all six films in the Chucky series.

During an airing of the movie on the morning of January 7, 2007, AMC claimed the creator modeled the doll after the Cabbage Patch Kids. This was confirmed by an interview with the creator, Don Mancini, which was featured on the Seed of Chucky DVD. Holland, on the other hand, affirms that My Buddy dolls played a role in Chucky's design. Don Mancini stated his original script was a whodunit story which dealt with the effect of advertising/television on children. Mancini's original script was written to toy with the audience a bit longer, making them wonder whether young Andy was the killer rather than Chucky.

Chucky's full name, Charles Lee Ray, is derived from the names of notorious killers Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.

Maggie's death was originally going to be by electrocution while taking a bath. The idea was abandoned, and was later used for Tiffany's death in Bride of Chucky.

The film used various ways to portray Chucky, including RC animatronics and little people or child actors. Various animatronics and cosmetics were used for every scene. Throughout the movie, Chucky's cosmetics transition from looking toy-like to a more human look. The film created multiple Chucky animatronics such as a flailing tantrum Chucky, a walking Chucky, and a stationary Chucky. The animatronic's face was controlled via remote control through a rig that goes on one's face and captures facial movement.


Child's Play was produced on a budget of $9,000,000. The film was released on November 9, 1988, in 1,377 theaters, opening at #1, out of the other 12 films that were showing that week, with $6,583,963. The film went on to gross $33,244,684 at the US box office and an additional $10,952,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $44,196,684.

Home media

Child's Play was originally released on VHS in North America by MGM/UA Home Video on April 25, 1989.

The film was first released on DVD by MGM in 1999. The film was presented in an open-matte full screen presentation and included a theatrical trailer and a "Making Of" booklet. The Australian DVD release by MGM featured the film in non-anamorphic widescreen transfer. The DVD was re-released in 2007 with a lenticular cover.

A 20th Anniversary DVD was released by MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on September 9, 2008. The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 Widescreen format (for the first time in the U.S. in 20 years) enhanced for 16x9 monitors and includes an English 5.1 surround track and English, French, and Spanish 2.0 stereo tracks. Special features include two audio commentaries with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, Kevin Yagher, producer David Kirschner and screenwriter Don Mancini, a "Selected Scene Chucky Commentary", "Evil Comes in Small Packages" featurettes, a vintage featurette from 1988 titled "Introducing Chucky: The Making of Child's Play", and "Chucky: Building a Nightmare" featurette, theatrical trailer and a photo gallery. The film received a Blu-ray Disc release on September 15, 2009. The DVD does not feature any contributions from director Tom Holland, who claims he was not asked to contribute to it. In response, the website Icons of Fright contacted Holland and asked if he would be willing to record a commentary track that would be free for download on their website. He agreed, and the track is downloadable from here.

On October 8, 2013, the film was re-released again on DVD and Blu-ray in a boxset for the respective formats, containing all 6 Child's Play films.

On October 18, 2016, Scream Factory and MGM re-released the film in a brand new Collector's Edition Blu-ray.

On October 3, 2017, the film was re-released once again on DVD and Blu-ray in a boxset for the respective formats, containing all 7 Child's Play films.


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of 36 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.4/10. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale. Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, calling it a "cheerfully energetic horror film". Author and film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film three out of a possible four stars, calling it "[a] scary and clever horror thriller", also praising the film's special effects.


Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
Saturn Awards Best Actress Catherine Hicks
Best Horror Film Child's Play
Best Performance by a Younger Actor Alex Vincent
Best Writing Tom Holland, John Lafia, Don Mancini


During the initial release, a large crowd of protesters formed at the main entrance of MGM calling for a ban on the film because, they claimed, it would incite violence in children. Local news reporters from two TV stations were broadcasting live from the scene. The producer, David Kirschner, was watching the demonstration on TV and was disturbed. Jeffrey Hilton, who had been working in Kirschner's office at MGM, indicated that he could quell the disturbance in 10 minutes. While Kirschner was watching from the safety of his office, Hilton spoke to the group's leader and shook his hand. The group instantly dispersed, much to the chagrin of the newscasters. Hilton did not reveal to Kirschner whether it had been a threat or simple diplomacy that saved the day.

Hilton's diplomacy notwithstanding, the film series was plagued with accusations of inciting violence in children. Child's Play 3 was cited as the "inspiration" for two murders, which took place in the United Kingdom in December 1992 and February 1993 respectively: the murder of Suzanne Capper and murder of James Bulger. In the Suzanne Capper case, the 16-year-old was forced to listen to recordings of the gangleader repeating the catchphrase "I'm Chucky, wanna play?" Tom Holland, in response to both murders, defended the film, stating that viewers of horror movies could only be influenced by their content if they were "unbalanced to begin with."


The film was followed by Child's Play 2 in 1990, Child's Play 3 in 1991, Bride of Chucky in 1998, Seed of Chucky in 2004, Curse of Chucky in 2013 and Cult of Chucky in 2017 and while creator Don Mancini is developing a TV series titled Child"?s Play: The TV Series as well as several sequels to the original series a reboot of the film is in production for a release in 2019.

See also

  • List of American films of 1988
  • "Living Doll", a 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone about a murderous talking doll
  • "Dolls", a 1987 Italian-American horror movie about killer dolls.
  • "Trilogy of Terror", a 1975 anthology film featuring a story about a living Zuni fetish doll

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Child%27s_Play_%281988_film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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