Sorry Jack, Chucky’s Back!

CHILDSPLAY


I love Tom Holland’s “Child’s Play” – and I’ll never forget the first time I saw it. It was on it’s first day of release, on whatever that day was in 1988, but I hadn’t set out to watch it that day, in fact, I’d gone to see another flick. Let me explain, we were off to the Drive-In to see “Twins” and “Scrooged” – a madcap comedy double feature if ever there were one – but about fifteen minutes into the former, a mildly amusing but mostly cutesy Schwarzenegger/De Vito vehicle, I turned my head to see that “Child’s Play” – the film whose print ad I’d spotted earlier that day in the newspaper – playing on the other field (the other screen at the Drive-In). With a battery-operated cassette/radio walkman (like Yahoo Serious, they were all the rage back then!) I tuned into the film on the other field… so as the rest of the folks in the car continued to watch “Twins” (which I would end up seeing many, many more times) I had my head turned watching Holland’s killer doll movie. And I loved it. It was beaut.

Even today, “Child’s Play” remains an unnerving suspense thriller – with a wonderful villain. Written by Don Mancini and starring Chris Sarandon (from Holland’s “Fright Night”) and Catherine Hicks (Best known as Kirk’s love interest in “Star Trek IV : The Voyage Home” at that point), the goosebump-evoking chiller centered on a young boy, Andy (Alex Vincent) who inherits a possessed doll, Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif). The doll, formerly a scumbag murderer named Charles Lee Ray, goes slicing n’ dicing his way through babysitters, cops, doctors… whoever gets in his way. Lots of fun but more so, scary. And that’s the thing that works best about that first “Child’s Play” that didn’t work so well for the sequels – Chucky had become a joke by the time the sequel came about, and by the time the fourth sequel was released, the “Child’s Play” series were considered black comedies. That’s not unusual, I mean, it happened with the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies too, but it was disappointing we didn’t get to see another ‘scary’ ‘Chucky’ before he transformed into a plastic carrier of punch-lines.

Feeling the same way (and obviously knowing there’s money to be made here) Don Mancini, the creator of the character and the director of “Seed of Chucky”, has been trying to get a reboot off the ground for years. It, unlike his directorial effort in the series, would return the film to it’s horror roots.

Now, Mancini’s been trying to get this off the ground for a few years now; the hold-up has been a rights-issue between MGM and Universal. MGM, it seems, owned the rights to the first film but Universal owned the rights to the sequel. Thankfully, the two studios have worked out a deal and it now looks like “Child’s Play” 2.0 can move forward.

MovieWeb, who broke the news, say the new film should be in theaters by 2012 – - this time not competing for my attention with a Schwarzenegger/De Vito vehicle (I assume). Oh, and the good news? Unlike the “Elm Street” reboot, which nixed the actor who had brought to life it’s central horror villain all these years, “Child’s Play” will be retaining the vocals of Brad Dourif, who has supplied the voice of the character since the original. Bless.

”Hi, I’m Chucky, and I’m your friend till the end. Hidey-ho!”