Child's Play is a 1988 American supernatural slasher horror film directed by Tom Holland and starring Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Dinah Manoff, Alex Vincent and Brad Dourif. The film was theatrically released on November 9, 1988, spawned six sequels, comic books, and merchandise.
The film was the only film in the series released by United Artists, as the rights to the series were sold to Universal Pictures in 1990.
In Chicago, Illinois, serial killer and wanted fugitive Charles Lee Ray, also known as The Lakeshore Strangler, is being chased by a detective named Mike Norris. Ray tries to shoot Mike, but misses, and is shot in the back by him. Mike sees Ray's partner, Eddie Caputo in their getaway van, and orders his partner, Jack Santos to go after the van. Ray begs for Eddie not to leave him, and is forced to hide behind a wall. Ray is about to enter a toy store, but Mike tells him to give up and surrender. Ray enters, tries to shoot Mike, but misses, and is fatally shot by him in the chest. Ray removes his trench coat, collaps into a pile of "Good Guy" dolls, and uses a voodoo ritual to transfer his soul into one of the dolls. This causes lightning to strike inside the store to explode. Mike finds Ray's body and the doll.
Later that morning, a 6-year old boy named Andy Barclay makes breakfeast for his widowed mother, Karen, and tells her that he wants a Good Guy doll for his brithday. However, his mother cannot afford the doll, because it is very expensive, and instead buys a different toy. Realising her son's deep disappointement, Karen buys a stolen Good Guy doll from a street peddler, which is the same doll Charles Lee Ray had earlier transferred his soul into. That night, Karen's friend Maggie Peterson, babysits Andy for Karen. Maggie tells Andy that is time to go to bed. Andy says that his doll (named Chucky through the talking feature of the doll), wants to stay up and watch the news. Thinking he is playing, she sends him to go brush his teeth, but confronts him again when she finds Chucky on the couch with the TV on. Although Andy denies Chucky moving, she thinks he is joking. She tucks him to bed, then goes to read a book while listening to a movie. Maggie is then hit with a toy hammer, and falls out of the apartment window, plummeting to her death. As a result the police search the apartment. Andy is deemed a suspect by Mike much to the annoyance of Karen, who orders Mike and the police to leave once they complete their investigation.
The next morning, Andy, upon Chucky's request, skips school and visists the house of his partner Eddie. Chucky sneaks into Eddie's lair and blows out the pilot light on the stove and turns up the gas. Eddie fires his gun in defense, causing the house to explode, killing him inside. Andy, once again a suspect, is placed in a psychiatric ward by Dr. Ardomre until further notice. That night, Karen takes Chucky back to the apartment. She discovers that his batteries were never put in and cautiously checks his back. Chucky's head sharply turns backwards as the she looks, making her drop him. Scared, she pulls Chucky out from under the couch, and threatens to throw him into the fireplace unless he reveals himself to her. Chucky comes alive in her hands, bites her and escapes. Karen then contacts Mike, who still thinks that she is lying about Chucky. Annoyed, Karen swears that she will find the homeless man who sold Chucky to her. Mike warns her that the area is not a safe place to walk around in at night, but Karen vows to free her son off. When she eventually finds the peddler, he tries to rape her, but Mike punches his in the face and threatens the peddler into telling them about Chucky. The peddler confirms he retrieved Chucky from the burnt down toy store where Charles Lee Ray was killed.
Mike drives Karen home, but as they reach her apartment, Karen tries to warn Mike that Chucky is not safe. Still refusing to believe, he makes her get out of the car. Before leaving for home however, he heads back to his office and picks up a file on Charles Lee Ray. Unknown to him, Chucky manages to sneak into his car, and as Mike drives home, Chucky tries to strangle him. Mike burns Chucky's cheek with a cigarret lighter plug, but Chucky tries to stab him from behind the seat. Unable to drive while being attacked, the car goes out of control and flips over. Chucky continues to try and stab Mike, but Mike is able to shoot him in the chest. Karen goes to Charles Lee Ray's hideout to find clues and meets with Mike. He reveals to her that Ray learned voodoo from a witchdoctor named John Bishop, formerly known as Dr. Death.
Chucky then locates John and asks why his gunshot wound bled. John tells him that he is turning human, the longer he spents as a doll, the more human he becomes and that if he stays in the body too long, he'll be stuck permanently. Chucky becomes angry and orders John to help him. However, John refuses and tries to call the police on Chucky. Before he can, Chucky reveals a voodoo doll of John and snaps his leg. When John refuses again, Chucky breaks his arm. He threatens to stab John unless he tells him how to get out of the doll's body. John, tells him that he must transfer his soul out of the doll, into the first person he reaveled himself to, Andy. Remarking he will get to be six years old again, Chucky stabs the voodoo doll in the chest and leaves John to die. Karen and Mike, following leads from Charles Lee Ray's case file, finds John. Before dying, John tells them that Andy is in danger and Chucky can only be killed with a puncture to the heart, as he is not fully human yet.
At the psychiatric ward, Chucky steals the key to Andy's cell, but discovers Andy is not there. Ardmore tries to sedate him, but Chucky kills him with an electroconvulsive therapy machine. "More coming soon".
- Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray/voice of Chucky
- Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay
- Catherine Hicks as Karen Barclay
- Chris Sarandon as Detective Mike Norris
- Dinah Manoff as Maggie Peterson
- Tommy Swerdlow as Jack Santos
- Jack Colvin as Dr. Phillip Ardmore
- Raymond Oliver as John Bishop
- Neil Giuntoli as Eddie Caputo
- Alan Wilder as Mr. Walter Criswell
- Aaron Osborne as the Orderly
- Juan Ramirez as the Peddler
Child's Play was produced on a budget of $9,000,000. The film was theatrically 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 $33,224,684 at the US box office and an additional $10,952,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $44,196,684.
Child's Play received positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 69% based on 35 reviews, with an average score of 6.4/10. Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, calling it a "cheerfully energetic horror film."