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Film / Child's Play (1988)

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"Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna play?"

"You'll wish it was only make-believe."

The first film of the franchise that started it all.

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.

A remake directed by Lars Klevberg was released on June 21st, 2019—featuring Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky, Aubrey Plaza as Karen and Gabriel Bateman as Andy.

Give me the tropes, I BEG OF YOU!!:

  • Ambiguously Evil: Dr. Ardmore is a Dr. Jerk and considered an Asshole Victim when he's killed by Chucky, but his actions shown on screen are not as malicious as one expects from any doctor character in media bordering on this trope, just neglectful, hypocritical and slightly inconsiderate of Andy, while claiming he only wants to help him, making his character ambiguous and sometimes viewed as a downplayed Villainy-Free Villain by some.
  • Asshole Victim: Eddie Caputo, who abandoned Charles to escape from a cop car Mike sent after him.
  • Attack on the Heart: John reveals that Chucky 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 that John 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch: At the beginning, it's Andy's birthday and he sees a box wrapped in Good Guys wrapping that he believes will be a Good Guys doll. To his disappointment, his mother wrapped jeans in that box.
  • Batter Up!: Chucky says it out loud before knocking Andy out with one and attempting a transfer on him near the end. He later uses the bat again to deliver Mike a Groin Attack.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Mike saves Karen from being raped by the peddler and later pulls Chucky off of Andy just before he can complete the soul transfer chant.
  • 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, and it's implied that Andy will never be the same. The sequels make this a straight up Downer Ending; neither of the cops chooses to tell the truth about what happened, Karen's insistence that it was the doll gets her committed, and Andy is put into foster care. And to top it all off, Chucky was resurrected several more times and eventually gained a new human body anyways.
  • Break the Cutie: Andy, while sitting in juvie, panics when he sees Chucky coming for him and breaks down into Tears of Fear upon Dr. Ardmore fending off his pleas to let him out. Luckily, Andy isn't Too Dumb to Live and uses a ploy out of his pillow and blankets to fool Chucky and then steal the keys from him to make his escape.
  • Breakfast in Bed: Six-year-old Andy makes breakfast in bed for his mother on his own birthday. He adds extra sugar to the children's cereal, burns the toast, heaps a giant pat of butter on top, and spills milk and orange juice all the way to his mother's bed, but mom shows nothing but appreciation, even though it's clear she won't be eating any of the food.
  • Cassandra Truth: Sure, the protagonists defeat Chucky in the end, but who's going to believe them about a killer doll? This reality sets up the events in subsequent movies.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: After Karen threatens to throw Chucky in the fire if he didn't talk, he yells "YOU STUPID BITCH, YOU FILTHY SLUT! I'LL TEACH YOU TO FUCK WITH ME!"
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Andy, as he is only 6 years old. He tries to make his mother breakfast, but his idea of that is 2 slices of incredibly burnt black toast with half a whole stick of butter smeared on them plus an overflowing bowl of cereal in which he has no sense of measurement of when is there enough milk or cereal. Then he starts smothering the whole cereal with sugar.
  • Deceptive Disciple: Chucky learned voodoo from John Bishop, who 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...
  • 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 winds up biting him back (and costing him his life) when Chucky was created and took his revenge for this act of traitorous cowardice on his former partner-in-crime.
  • Disney Villain Death: Maggie falls through the window of Andy's apartment after Chucky knocked her with a hammer, and comes crashing down onto a car.
  • Disappeared Dad: Andy's father is absent with very few 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 in the final film (the apartment's contents offer a few clues, though). A deleted scene involving Andy showing Chucky a picture of his father reveals he was killed in a car crash.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Ardmore, despite appearing to be caring, is a Hypocrite. He possibly viewed Andy as a murder suspect than just a frightened child patient, given that the ramshackle mental hospital he runs looks like more of the kind that houses the criminally insane than mentally ill kids.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The first film is considerably more serious than the sequels, and there's even an Attempted Rape partway in. 2 and 3 would add more humor into the mix, whereas Bride and Seed (the latter especially) were straight-up Horror Comedies. Curse and Cult of Chucky later became darker and more in line with the first film.
    • The violence and kills (at least until towards the end) have less of an emphasis on gore, while the sequels would progressively embrace them with open arms.
    • Perhaps most glaringly, the fact that the doll is possessed is concealed and used as a twist later in the film, first playing with the idea that Andy is the one possessed and killing people, but it turns out Chucky is framing him. Obviously the other films can't do that... but Curse manages to do it again in-story.
    • A major plot point is that Chucky is turning more human/biological the more he is in the doll, which will result in him eventually being unable to transfer his soul out. His appearance changes over the movie to look more organic. This was scrapped in all the sequels, mainly because making multiple versions of the Chucky doll proved too costly. The later films still have the time limit before he's unable to possess someone and is stuck in the doll, but his appearance doesn't change. Also, in the first movie the Voodoo Priest says Chucky's heart is almost human, and is his weak spot. The characters eventually shoot him there and he dies instantly. For some reason no one even attempts to do this in any of the other movies.
  • 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
  • In the Style of: With the gothic snowy setting and ominous electronic-dominated music score that reminisces Carl Zittrer's and Paul Zaza's horror film music scoring, this film gives off a Canadian horror vibe as if Bob Clark of Black Christmas (1974) produced this film with Tom Holland directing.
  • 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 get out of him.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • This is how Chucky kills Eddie Caputo with a touch of Batman Gambit. Sneaking into the kitchen of Eddie's hideout, Chucky blew out the stove's pilot light and cranked its gas to high. He then made noise to deliberately lure the Trigger-Happy Eddie to the kitchen. Sure enough, Eddie impulsively kicked the kitchen door open and fired without looking, triggering the gas and blowing himself up along with his hideout/
    • Attempted on Chucky. While the fireplace's flames don't kill him, they do 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!"
  • Mama Bear: Karen is extremely dedicated to her son Andy and very protective of him as well. Not only does she venture into a sketchy and dangerous part of the city just so she can find out more about Chucky and help Andy, she also confronts the killer doll himself at the movie's climax, taking a few wounds in her son's place during the fight and literally shooting this threat's head off after it ends.
  • Man Bites Man: Chucky has no problems with sinking his tiny doll pearly whites into Karen Barclay's arm. She shows her 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.
  • Man on Fire: Chucky is set on fire and screams and runs around in agony until he slowly dies. Except it doesn't kill him.
  • Medium Blending: During the opening scene, Charles gets struck by lightning strikes, which are clearly cartoonish. It helps that they were animated by Ruby-Spears.
  • 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.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The VHS trailer which Chucky narrates and features the original peppy Villain Song that was cut from the actual film suggests this film would be a fun Evil is Coolinvoked Horror Comedy that the sequels to this film and the overall franchise that follows, especially Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, be later well-known for, rather than the straight serious horror film that it really is and intended to be from the start.
  • 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.
    • Also relating to the above, we never see where Chucky got his red-bladed knife until we see him wielding it in the aforementioned flashbacks of Curse of Chucky.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: The end credits theme combines this with an Ethereal Choir in order to evoke the loss of childhood innocence.
  • Off with His Head!: Chucky gets decapitated during the finale, but it doesn't kill him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Eddie Caputo, twice. First when Chucky got shot, and when a police car is after them, forcing Eddie to flee.
    • Karen, when she found batteries for the doll that's been talking and laughing without them for days (see Wham Shot below).
    • Chucky, when Dr. Death told him the doll he's possessing is turning human, which means he'll be stuck in the body when it completely turns human.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Andy innocently repeating something Chucky told him, not understanding why it's so awful:
      Karen: Chucky's been talking to you, too, hasn't he? What's he been saying?
      Andy: All kinds of things. His real name is Charles Lee Ray, and he's been sent down from Heaven by Daddy to play with me.
      Karen: He has, has he? Anything else?
      Andy: Yes. He said Aunt Maggie was a real bitch and got what she deserved.
    • When Karen is starting to believe Andy about Chucky (followed by an even stronger one; see Wham Line below):
      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.
  • Room Full of Crazy: At one point Karen goes to Chucky's apartment (from when he was human) and finds it to be like this. There are a bunch of disturbing murals painted on all the walls, depicting Human Sacrifice and the like, as well as big red letters reading "OH THANK YOU MIGHTY DAMBALLA FOR LIFE AFTER DEATH." Karen is rather freaked out by this, and when Mike (who followed her there) suddenly calls out her name, she loudly gasps.
  • Spoiler Cover:
    • The US VHS cover shows Chucky brandishing his knife.
    • The UK VHS cover has an image on the back of Chucky trapped in the fireplace screaming.
  • Stealth Pun: Chucky practices voodoo, and he's a doll. He's a voodoo doll.
  • Stuff Blowing Up:
    • The toy store at the beginning of the movie explodes violently, courtesy of a lightning bolt generated by Charles' soul transfer chant.
  • Tempting Fate: At the climax, when Mike's partner not only touched Chucky's burnt head, against Mike's orders, but insists that Chucky is dead but his lower half is Not Quite Dead.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • John Bishop aka Dr. Death, the voodoo priest who taught Chucky everything he knows about the dark arts, keeps a Voodoo Doll of himself around. And he told Chucky where to find it. Chucky also points out it was unwise of him to tell him where it is.
    • Chucky kills Dr. Ardmore by putting an ECT helmet on him and shocking him until he dies. Why Ardmore doesn't just take the helmet off is a mystery, as it's not strapped on or anything.
  • 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!"
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Even after John tells him how to get out of the Good Guy doll's body before it's too late, Chucky is all too happy to kill him afterwards.
  • Villain Ball: Had Chucky just waited for Dr. Adrmore to inject Andy with a sedative before killing him, he could have easily possessed Andy's unconscious body with no trouble.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
  • 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 reduce 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.
  • He also completely looses it again in the climax after Andy sets him on fire and Karen shoots both his head and leg off. He's literally reduced to a headless and burned body, yet all he can still think off is to kill everyone in the apartment while yelling and roaring like a wounded and deranged animal.
  • Voodoo Doll: Chucky uses one to torture John Bishop, first by breaking its limbs, and then once he has the information he wants, killing Bishop by shoving a knife in its chest.
  • Wham Line: This shocked many audience members the first time, but it still counts as one in-universe:
    Karen: I said talk to me, dammit, or else I'm gonna throw you in the fire!
    • In a similar vein, after Karen discovers that Chucky 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.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: While searching his house for an intruder, Eddie Caputo hears a voice outside, turns, readies his gun... and sees a six-year-old boy running around. It takes him about five seconds to release his sigh of relief.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Chucky more or less says this to his former voodoo teacher Bishop after torturing him into revealing how to escape the doll's body. Though Chucky knew his teacher would turn on him.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: The heroes play this on Chucky really being alive. Andy pulls this on his mother Karen, who then pulls this on Mike.
  • You Won't Feel a Thing!: Dr. Adrmore says this to Andy as he's about to inject Andy with some sort of sedative through a sharp-looking syringe.


Video Example(s):


"I Made You Breakfast in Bed"

Six-year-old Andy brings his mother breakfast in bed.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / BreakfastInBed

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