Film / Child's Play
Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna play?

You'll wish it was only make-believe.

The first film of the Child's Play franchise.

For his birthday, 6-year-old Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) gets the "Good Guy" doll he saw advertised on TV. Little did Andy know that the doll, later to be known as Chucky, is actually a Soul Jar for the Serial Killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif). His babysitter Maggie Peterson (Dinah Manoff) is only the first of several people to die. His mother Karen (Catherine Hicks) has to find what is going on in time to save her son from becoming Charles' next host.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: While it's not very likely that there was a time that Chucky wasn't evil, his voodoo mentor clearly at one point believed he wasn't evil, or at least not as evil as he actually is. Said mentor becomes furious when he sees what Chucky has done, calling him "an abomination that has to be stopped". Pity the mentor turns out to be Too Dumb to Live...
  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": The Good Guy Doll being alive was supposed to be a twist... wouldn't you know? The original poster of the first film just showed a woman crashing through a window out of a building (the first murder victim of Chucky in the film) and giant evil eyes in the stormy sky.note 
  • Asshole Victim: Eddie Caputo and Dr. Ardmore.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Chucky's mentor reveals that he can only be killed by attacking his heart, as that part of him is "almost human". While it does put him down at the end of this film, later sequels prove the voodoo priest was perhaps a bit too optimistic in saying that would be enough to kill Chucky permanently.
  • Attempted Rape: The homeless guy who sold Chucky to Karen attempts it on her when she encounters him again, but Mike saves her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end Chucky is dead and Andy is saved, but nobody besides Mike, Jack, and the Barclays are going to believe a doll committed the murders.
  • Car Cushion: In Maggie's case.
  • Dirty Coward: Eddie Caputo leaves Charles Lee Ray behind for dead to save his own skin when he himself was being chased by the cops. This bites him back when Chucky was created and took his revenge for this act of traitorous cowardice on his backstabbing partner-in-crime.
  • Disappeared Dad: Andy's father is absent with very little clues to his fate, though it is mentioned at one point that his wife Karen is a widow. As Karen works a crappy retail job, the giant apartment she and Andy live in was almost certainly his, though we never learn the whys or hows (the apartment's contents offer a few clues, though).
  • Doll Bites Woman: Chucky has no problems with sinking his tiny doll pearly whites into Karen Barclay's arm. She shows the wound to Detective Norris as proof that Chucky is real, but it still takes an attempt on his life by Chucky himself to convince him.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Ardmore, despite appearing to be caring, is a Hypocrite and in reality possibly viewed Andy as a murder suspect then just a mentally ill child patient given that the ramshackle mental hospital he runs looks like more of the kind that houses the criminally insane then mentally ill kids.
  • Electrified Bathtub: This was originally going to be the babysitter's death, but the special effects to make it happen would have been too expensive. The idea stuck around, though, and was eventually used in Bride Of Chucky.
  • Enigmatic Minion: For all the fleshing out the sequels have done, we still know very little about Eddie Caputo. He is established as Chucky's accomplice, but serial killers rarely have accomplices, and Eddie seemed much more interested in wanton robbery than the murder that was Charles Lee Ray's forte. He could have just been a petty criminal that partnered with Charles out of convenience, but Chucky seemed to have a high level of trust in him, judging by how shocked and horrified he was when Eddie abandoned him.
  • Exorcist Head: Chucky does this as he's being held Andy's mother after she realizes he's been working without batteries.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look closely at the shelves of the toy store at the movie's beginning, you'll see a number of toys from The '80s such as Ecto-1, She-Ra: Princess of Power and Barbie & the Rockers.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Karen is a single mom with a crappy job at a department store, and explicitly strapped for cash. Her apartment is in the Brewster Apartments, a historic Chicago residence that would have cost six figures for a unit even in 1988.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: A constant of all the films as this is the foundation for the story's mythology of how Chucky gets his soul in a doll in the first place, but this first film emphasizes it harder than any of the sequels. We are shown the apartments of both Chucky's mentor and Chucky himself as Charles Lee Ray (both are stocked to the gills with Hollywood Voodoo iconography), Chucky's chant is notably longer and more pronounced than in the later films, and there was even going to be an artifact originally that enabled Chucky to conduct his soul transfer. This "Heart of Damballa" was cut from all known releases, but a few stills exist.
  • Hope Spot: Maggie believes that there's nothing in the kitchen. Then she's startled by Chucky.
  • Incompletely Trained: Chucky was trained enough in the voodoo arts to conduct a soul transfer, but not so well trained that he understood the fine print. In novelizations of the sequel films this is further highlighted, with Chucky lamenting at points that maybe he was a bit hasty in killing his old mentor before getting all the information he could out of him.
  • Kill It with Fire: Attempted on Chucky. It doesn't kill him, but it does leave him a horrifically burned mess.
  • Living MacGuffin: Andy becomes one to Chucky after the latter learns he can only transfer his soul into the former's body.
  • Madness Mantra: By the end, Chucky has been decapitated, burned and shot repeatedly, yet his one-armed body still attempts to choke a man to death, with Chucky screaming at it the whole time to "Kill them! KILL THEM ALL!"
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Played with in the character of Chucky's mentor, who has the nickname "Dr. Death" but as it turns out is as moral a practitioner of Hollywood Voodoo as you could ever hope to find.
  • Noodle Incident: We never learn what led to Charles Lee Ray running from the cops and taking refuge in that toy store in the first movie. Until Curse of Chucky, that is. Also doubles as a very long example of How We Got Here.
  • Off with His Head!: Chucky gets decapitated during the finale, but it doesn't kill him.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Karen is starting to believe Andy about Chucky.
    Karen: "Say something, you little... bastard!"
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Chucky: Andy, no! We're friends to the end, remember?
    Andy: This is the end, friend!
  • Rasputinian Death: In what would become a series trend, Chucky takes a truly insane level of damage before he finally goes down.
  • Too Dumb to Live: John Bishop aka Dr. Death, the voodoo priest who taught Chucky everything he knows about the dark arts. To make it even worse, he keeps a Voodoo Doll of himself around. And he told Chucky where to find it.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The theatrical trailer for the film spoils the fact that the doll is alive, most notably by cutting from Karen opening Chucky's battery compartment to her saying: "He came alive in my hand!"
  • Villainous Breakdown: "Give me the boy and I'll let you live, do you hear me?! GIVE ME THE BOY!"
    • As Charles Lee Ray, Chucky has a breakdown in the first few minutes of the film after being shot by Detective Norris and abandoned by Eddie Caputo. The shock and fear reduces the feared Lakeshore Strangler to Inelegant Blubbering and hysterical threats. It's such a pathetic display that one is almost surprised when Ray goes on to carve out a fearsome presence for himself as Chucky.
  • Wham Line: This shocked many audience members the first time, but it still counts as one in-universe:
    Mrs. Barclay: I said talk to me, dammit, or else I'm gonna throw you in the fire!
    • In a similar vein, after Mrs. Barclay discovers Chuck has no batteries:
      Chucky: (head spins around) Hi, I'm Chucky, wanna play?
  • Wham Shot: Andy's mom turning over Chucky to stop him from talking, only to find out that the batteries enabling that are not in Chucky's Good Guy doll socket.
    • Preceding that, the moment Karen looks at the Good Guy doll box and the batteries which should have been in Chucky fall out.
  • Who Needs Their Whole Body?: Chucky keeps going as a one-armed, one-legged torso after he is burned.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Chucky more or less says this to his former voodoo teacher after torturing him into revealing how to escape the doll's body.