I like my horror movies to have an interesting plot, unique slashers, and victims dying in the most hilarious ways possible. Going by those guidelines, I probably don’t have to explain why Child’s Play 2 is one of my favorites. Obviously I’m going to though.
Chucky was always the movie character I feared most as a youth. Living dolls/toys/ventriloquist dummies were just unsettling. When I got into Goosebumps, I skipped right the hell over #7: Night of the Living Dummy. I was ten. I almost immediately regret admitting that, and hope we can still be friends.
Being a big, brave near-30 year old today, I recognize Chucky as the horror icon he is. He combines the brutality of Jason Voorhees with the wisecracks of Freddy Krueger. In doll form, he has the unsettling silence of Michael Myers. He also is the only one of them to appear on a wrestling show and taunt a guy known as “the dog-faced gremlin.”
Basically the total package. Today, we celebrate Chucky and all of his accomplishments, like that weird one up there. We’re going to do it in style with a full-on review of Child’s Play 2. And to make things even better, I’ll be joined by my pal and brother-in-law Cliff Huizenga (http://cliffpro.com). Just like the MST3K review that I did with Adriana, this will be a fun-filled adventure through differing views and writing styles.Cliff enjoys a good horror movie much the same as I do, so this is going to be good.
Settle in with a seltzer. It’s going to be a long and bloody one.
Dan: The sequel picks up where Child’s Play leaves off. We waste no time in getting to our first casualty, as the remnants of the doll from the first movie are cleaned up during the opening credits. Don’t ask me why. I’m glad they decided to do it, though, because otherwise we wouldn’t have the scene where a toy technician tries to give Chucky new eyeballs.
There is no better way to start a horror movie than to electrify and throw a grown man through a window four minutes in. Actually, it doesn’t even need to be horror. Every movie should begin in this fashion, is what I’m saying.
Anyway, we soon learn that Andy’s mother has been committed to an insane asylum because she backs up her son’s stories about murderous toys, and no one really wants to see her responsible for a child. Thus, Andy is in the care of a foster home. He’s very quickly brought into the home of foster parents Phil and Joanne. And I do mean quickly. The movie makes it seem as though they’re picking out a ham at the grocery store, rather than having to sign 8,000 adoption forms.
Regardless, they’re out the door in about 15 minutes and on their way home, luckily for Andy. Unluckily for him, Chucky executes the devious serial killer plan of calling the foster home and asking for Andy, and is evidently given his new address. That seems like the sort of thing you maybe shouldn’t give out if a kid’s just been at the center of a series of grisly murders..
Cliff: Ah, the Child’s Play series. I remember being a kid and watching Child’s Play 2 for the first time. As a fan of stop-motion, robots and Muppets, the concept of a toy doll yelling obscenities and murdering people was of equal interest to me as watching Johnny Five in Short Circuit. As a child who should have been afraid of Chucky, I thought he was awesome!
Dan: [Thanks for making me look like a weenie, Cliff.]
Cliff: With the second movie being my first foray into the series, the plot should have confused me. However, the filmmakers did an excellent job of explaining the backstory for those, like me, who did not see the first film. And remember, this was a period of time where you couldn’t just load up Netflix to watch the series or download every single film for portable watching. HBO didn’t have “On Demand”. So, being able to guide the viewer right into the story was important.
This brings up an interesting point about sequels in general. The first movie was a great stand-alone film. So, the opportunity to milk the series for what it’s worth would have been appealing—and that’s exactly what happened with Bride of Chucky and the abomination known as Seed of Chucky. (WARNING: Do not watch Seed of Chucky. May cause eye and brain cancer.) But somehow, the filmmakers avoided the trap of the 2nd and 3rd movies.
Personally, I love the Back to the Future and The Matrix trilogies. However, both first films were obviously made as one-offs with no intention for sequels. Then, because the films generated enough revenue to get the green light for sequels in haste, Parts 2 and 3 were written at the same time. Realistically, both series go Part 1, Part 2: Episode 1, and Part 2: Episode 2. Still classics, but feels too much like they were tacked on to an already great set of movies.
Not Child’s Play 2 though.
Even knowing nothing about the series, the beginning of Child’s Play 2 gives you enough to know of Andy’s troubled past with his fear of the talking, killing Good Guy doll. A great portion of the movie sets the tone for how isolated Andy is from, well, pretty much everyone. But, Andy knows better. He knows Chucky will return and kill again.
And the film delivers on its Chucky kills.
Dan: Chucky has a pretty broad range of murderin’ methods in this film. Electricity! Suffocation! Neck-breaking! Ruler beatings! Knitting needles I guess! He’s classically shown as using a knife, but I like him stepping out of his comfort zone here. If I had to choose, I might say Phil’s death is my favorite. Chucky wisely avoids any suspicions by straight-up tripping the guy on the basement steps. He lands right on top of his big head in what is one of the more gruesome deaths in the franchise. Atypical, but it works. Plus everyone of course blames Andy.
No messy cleanup!
If we’re going purely based on style and not “killer doll reasoning that I’ve put way too much thought into,” Andy’s teacher has to take the prize. It’s not even really for the kill itself, but the flair Chucky adds when isolating Andy by getting him detention.
I guess Chucky gives up caring about keeping a low profile once Phil’s gone because he pretty blatantly murders Joanne. He must have realized that the movie’s rapidly approaching the third act.
Cliff: At first, it would seem to me that I don’t have a favorite kill. I could never previously understand why, besides just being excited while anxiously waiting for Chucky to take out his next victim. But, after watching the movie (a couple of times) this Halloween season, I understand why now:
The film does an excellent job at making you want Chucky to kill his victims.
– Mattson was the corporate lap dog who’s biggest strength was his credit card (“That’s a gold card. That’s as good as cash.” Might as well have placed a screen overlay of the AMEX logo for product placement).
– Andy’s teacher, Miss Kettlewell, embodied the teacher we all hated as school kids.
– His foster parents were a mixed couple, with Phil being a complete jerk the entire movie and Joanne’s sudden departure from a loving, understanding parent to completely rejecting Andy the moment Phil died (honestly, she should have been thankful).
– Grace was right to be mad about the fire alarm being pulled, but had no right to rip Chucky away from Kyle’s hands. She had it coming.
– You had no emotional attachment to the security/technician in the toy factory, so he made for a great, cheap throwaway kill.
Cliff: For a horror film, there are characters you sympathize with and those you don’t. As for these people, you as the audience are definitely not worried about their impending doom; you’re expecting it. You didn’t want Chucky to kill Andy or Kyle because the film made you care about them. They weren’t bad people or jerks or nobodies; they were good kids. They were the good guys. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE!?)
Although, Chucky did make the greatest psychopathic face as he approached Miss Kettlewell with the ruler.
Cliff: I did have some issues with the plot and certain scenes. For example, when Chucky first reveals himself to Andy, he somehow managed to tie up Andy’s arms and legs to all four bed posts, shove a rolled up sock in his mouth and climb on top of Andy’s body before waking up. How does a troubled child, fearing the return of a killer doll be able to sleep so soundly?
And speaking of revealing himself, Chucky’s main goal of using Andy to play “Hide The Soul” to transfer out of the doll body technically is flawed. Not really covered in the second movie, but explained in both the first and third films, Chucky can only transfer his soul to the first person he reveals himself to. This limitation is reset in the third movie by him receiving a new body, created by the melted remains of his old body.
But, in the beginning of Child’s Play 2, Chucky does get a new body with parts from his old body. If we are to believe that melted parts of his old body in a new “shell” count as a new body, then placing his eyes and skull in a new body should count too. And if that’s the case, Andy wouldn’t have been the first person Chucky revealed himself to; It would have been Mattson.
…Actually, now that I’ve thought about it, I’m glad they didn’t go in that direction.
Dan: I have absolutely no issues with this movie, nor any of the above. Furthermore, I’m going to admit right here that I like Seed of Chucky. And yes, it is horrible.
Dan: I could have made this entire review just about the ending, alienating you all as readers. It’s a big part of why I love this movie so much in the first place. At their heart, 80s slasher movies are over the top and ludicrous. I can think of no better way to describe what happens to Chucky once he corners Andy and Kyle in the Good Guys factory.
It starts with Chucky trying to steal Andy’s soul once again. He would have pulled it off, too, but alas! He’s been in the doll’s body too long. He catches on to this once he notices he’s bleeding from the nose, prompting the absolute greatest “NOOOOOOOO” ever committed to film by a toy possessed with the soul of a serial killer.
What follows really does defy any words I could come up with. I’ve put together a handy collage that sums it up pretty well, though.
Chucky is crushed by a bunch of boxes, gets his hand caught in a gate and is forced to tear it right the hell off,
is stuck inside of the doll-assembling mechanics, gets covered in molten plastic, then explodes. This movie has 18 false finishes and I love every one of them more than the last.
After typing all of that I feel bad for Chucky. He’s basically a toddler. Look at him kicking his tiny little baby feet while Kyle refuses to let him stab her:
Cliff: What an absolute perfect scene to end the movie. First movie starts with a toy store selling Good Guys; the second ends where they’re being made. Being surrounded by thousands of dolls that Andy fears definitely sets an unsettling atmosphere. Also, incomplete, lifelike dolls are just plain creepy.
Come to think of it, I do have a favorite kill for the movie: The death of Chucky himself. With Andy being blamed for killings in both the first and second movie, the child who wouldn’t hurt a fly makes the conscious decision to actually kill his first victim in self-defense. Or, at least try to, until Kyle has to save the day with an air hose. Love that gooey explosion.
Cliff: And then, almost immediately after the climax, the movie ends. No cops, no aftermath, no follow-up. And certainly no lead-in to an Episode 2 with a “To Be Continued” title card. The story is simply over. Brilliantly done.
Until they do Child’s Play 3 and complete a great trilogy. Then kill it with Bride of Chucky. And do unspeakable things with its corpse in Seed of Chucky. Curse of Chucky, however… that one deserves a post on its own for its quality work and bringing both a modern reboot and an amazing ending to this classic series. Thoughts on that, Dan?
I would be delighted, Cliff. And I sure hope you guys would be interested in reading more horror movie reviews. Please say yes because I’m going to do it anyway.
I love doing posts like this. It’s a lot of fun to put together with someone else and get their views on a movie or topic. It also makes for a less stale read if you’re bored by my blabbering. So a huge thank you to Cliff for giving me a hand with this. I hope writing about exploding dolls was half as fun for you as it was for me.
Onwards and upwards to further horror movie deconstructions! If we do Curse of Chucky, maybe I can convince Cliff to join in on Seed of Chucky too.
A man can dream.