Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Svengoolie Revue: Child's Play

This week, Svengoolie hosted the iconic 1980's killer-doll movie, "Child's Play"! It follows the escapades of a psychopath, Charles Lee Ray, who is shot by a police officer and uses black magic to put his soul into a talking "Good Guy" doll. The doll is then given by an unsuspecting mother to her son for his birthday, and the evil that is Chucky is unleashed on the world...or, more specifically, Chicago. Yes, the movie was shot right here in Chicago. I recognized a lot of the local landmarks.

The kid, Andy, is the first one to find out that Chucky is really alive, but for some strange reason nobody believes him. Then his mother discovers that Chucky has been talking for several days without any batteries. That scene was CREEPY--I am SO glad that all of my old talking toys found their way out of the house some time ago. Johnny and I had this Furby (remember Furbies?) that would not shut up, so we had to take the batteries out. Anyway, now the mom believes her son, so it's up to her to convince the handsome cop that Charles Lee Ray is still "alive," though not in the same form. The cop is played by Chris Sarandon, in a non-villain role for once; he was also Prince Humperdinck in "The Princess Bride" and the incompetent vampire in "Fright Night" (I wanted to like that movie, I really did).

"Child's Play" is, without a doubt, the creepiest movie I've ever seen on Svengoolie's show. In fact, it's one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen, period, second only to "The Ring." Interesting how someone who loved playing with dolls and still loves watching movies would be terrified by movies about evil dolls and killer video tapes. Actually, I probably found Child's Play so creepy BECAUSE I remember spending so much time playing with dolls as a kid. It's scary because I can relate to it, and I can imagine how freaked out I would've been (and still would be) if one of my talking toys kept talking after I took the batteries out.

"We toys can see EVERYTHING...so play nice." <---Random Toy Story moment

The first half hour or so is not that creepy; Chucky's first kill had me laughing at how unlikely it was. He knocks a woman on the head with a doll-sized hammer; she staggers backwards across an entire room and falls out of a (closed) window to the ground three stories below. And then the kid is implicated because of some footprints in some flour that was spilled on the counter. One of the sub-plots is that Andy wants anything and everything related to the "Good Guys," including the slippers that the dolls wear. They have the same tread. Aside from the fact that a two-foot doll has sneaker tread, didn't anyone check to see if the "small" footprints were too small to be Andy's? I've never seen a doll that wore a size 7 shoe; even the "life-size" dolls have proportionally small feet. If Chucky were an evil clown doll, maybe I could see it then.

But once Andy's mother discovers that he was right about Chucky all along, things start moving. And they don't stop. Charles Lee Ray must've had some powerful voodoo magic, because the doll was dismembered, shot, burned, decapitated, and shot again (it even bled, because it had developed a human heart) and STILL wasn't frickin' dead.

Odd fact: Chucky's full name is based on the names of famous serial killers: Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.

Svengoolie song: the song was based around "Luck Be A Lady" and was called "Chuck seize a lady." Quite clever. And the puns continued in Sven's bit where he advertised several fake spin-offs of the Chucky doll, including the Groundhog Day Chucky (Ground Chuck), Catholic Chucky (Nun-Chuck), cross-dressing Chucky (Chicky), and Packers Fan Chucky (Chucky Cheese, complete with the cheesehead hat). Oh, and of course we can't forget The Exorcist Chucky, Up-Chuck. *flings rubber chickens* (Whenever Svengoolie makes a particularly bad joke, he is pelted with rubber chickens. Don't ask me how, don't ask me why.)

"Child's Play" inspired 4 sequels, none of which I plan to watch. I think one movie is all the Chucky I can handle (but honestly, by the time you get to something like "Seed of Chucky," you've got to figure that they're running out of ideas just a bit). Next week's serving of Svengoolie is "The Deadly Mantis." It's one he's done several times before, so I don't know if I'll tune in or not.

Should have another Star Trek review today or tomorrow. Also, look for our next episode of Video Revue soon: Video Revue in 3-D!

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