|Date of Release:||November 9, 1988|
|Followed by:||Child's Play 2|
Child's Play is a 1988 American horror 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 Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent and Dinah Manoff. Hicks plays a widowed mother who gives a doll to her son played by Vincent, unaware that the doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer played by Dourif.
Child's Play was released in the United States on November 9, 1988, by MGM/UA Communications Co. It 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 media franchise that includes a series of six sequels, merchandise, comic books, and a reboot film of the same name released in the summer of 2019. Child's Play was distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, although the rights to the series were sold to Universal Pictures in 1990, right before production on Child's Play 2 started. MGM retained the rights to the first film and, as such, distributed the 2019 reboot.
In 1988, homicide Detective Mike Norris chases fugitive and serial killer Charles Lee Ray through the streets of South Side, Chicago, repeatedly shooting and hitting him. Charles's accomplice, Eddie Caputo, escapes alone in a getaway vehicle. Charles breaks into a toy store where Mike fatally shoots him again. A dying Charles performs a Haitian voodoo spell to transfer his soul to one of the Good Guy dolls, causing the store to be struck by lightning and explode. Mike survives the explosion and re-enters the store, only to find Charles's corpse and the doll.
The next day, widow Karen Barclay unknowingly buys the doll, now calling himself "Chucky", from a homeless street vendor as a birthday present for her six-year-old son Andy. That night, Karen's best friend Maggie Peterson watches over Andy while Karen works late. After Andy's bedtime, Maggie finds Chucky sitting in front of a television tuned to a late-night newscast about Charles Lee Ray. She returns the doll to the bed, but is then hit in the face with a hammer and falls through a window to her death. Police search the apartment and Detective Norris considers Andy a suspect. Before returning to bed, Andy claims that Chucky killed Maggie. Karen tells the police to leave.
The next morning, Chucky orders Andy to skip school and take the Chicago "L" train downtown. While Andy is distracted, Chucky sneaks into Eddie's house and kills him by causing a gas explosion. Andy is again considered a suspect and is admitted to a psychiatric hospital after naming Chucky as the culprit. When Karen picks up the Good Guys box and drops a battery pack, Karen realizes that Chucky has been running without them. Enervated, Karen lights a fire and threatens to burn Chucky, who violently comes alive in her arms and attacks her before running out of the apartment. Karen chases after him, but after he escapes, she goes to the police station and explains what happened, but Mike doesn't believe her. Karen finds the peddler and asks for more information about where he found the doll. As the peddler tries to sexually assault her, Mike rescues her and the couple force the peddler to admit that he took the doll from the demolished toy store. Karen again tries to convince Mike that the doll is alive, but he refuses to believe her, insisting that he killed Charles Lee Ray. After bringing Karen home, Mike is attacked by Chucky, and in the ensuing fight, he shoots the doll, whose wound inexplicably bleeds and causes pain. Chucky escapes to his former voodoo instructor John, who informs him that the longer Chucky remains in the doll, the more human he will become.
Chucky demands that John help him reverse the spell, but John refuses. Chucky grabs a voodoo doll from John and uses it to break his leg and arm. John reveals that in order to escape the doll, Chucky must transfer his soul to Andy, the first human he was revealed to. Chucky stabs the voodoo doll in the chest and escapes. Karen and Mike arrive shortly after. Before dying, John tells them that though Chucky is a doll, his heart is fully human at this point and vulnerable to fatal injuries. Chucky arrives at the hospital where Andy is being held, and kills a doctor while there. In the process, Andy escapes and flees home, but Chucky ambushes and incapacitates him. As Chucky prepares to possess him, Karen and Mike arrive to stop him. Chucky cuts Mike's leg, but then Karen throws him into the fireplace. Andy drops a lit match into it, burning Chucky. Karen and Andy leave the room to help Mike, but a charred Chucky escapes from the fireplace and chases Andy. Karen shoots Chucky repeatedly, blowing him to pieces. Mike's partner Jack arrives at the apartment, initially refusing to believe the trio's story. Chucky's body suddenly bursts through a vent to strangle Jack. During the fight, Mike shoots Chucky in the heart and eventually defeats him. Jack tells him that no one would believe him before leaving the room with Mike, Karen, and Andy.