Most of the major horror franchises just barely passed me by during my adolescence, but the Child’s Play series got started after I was born and I was able to see a good deal of the sequels in their initial theatrical run – even if I was far too young to be doing so. Though I have a soft spot for Child’s Play 3, the first Chucky outing will always be the one that sticks with me as I saw it when I was at my most impressionable and, well, it’s the best of ’em. Child’s Play has already been out on Blu-ray before – and with good results – via a stand alone MGM disc and then as part of the Chucky Collection a few years after that. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t room for improvement.
It had been quite a few years since I had seen Child’s Play and I’m happy to say that it really holds up. Brad Dourif totally owns the movie – even as a voice – and the animatronics work is exemplary. I’m not sure that it could have the ability to scare like it once did, and Chucky’s profane banter seems even more front and center as a 30 year old, but Child’s Play still manages to be unabashedly entertaining. Director Tom Holland keeps things from getting too excessive early on, leaving much of the more effects intense set pieces for the final act allowing for a more restrained film that one my expect going in for the first time. It’s a hell of a lot more subtle than any of its sequels, that’s for sure. Then again, two of those involve dolls fucking, so it doesn’t take much. Child’s Play in 2016 feels inherently old school and that’s just how I want it.
So, since Child’s Play had already been on Blu-ray before, it’s good to know going into this that the transfer is a new 2K scan from the interpositive. And it looks great. The MGM transfer was already good, so this isn’t as big of an upgrade as something like Scream Factory’s recent release of Carrie, but the grain structure looks more full and colors appear to be more bold. Anyone on the fence wondering whether or not this is a quality new presentation can rest assured that it is. Audio comes as DTS-HD 2.0 and 5.1. I’ll stand by the 2.0 track for purity, but the 5.1 does nice things with the music and effects, especially in the creepier scenes. Both tracks have no issues to note and will offer a good experience whichever way you choose to go.
Now onto what fans will really want to know about in regards to picking this one up again: the supplements. On the first disc we get a new commentary with Tom Holland which is talkative and full of information and anecdote and is very welcome considering he didn’t record one previously. After that, we get three previously recorded commentary tracks: one with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and Chucky designer Kevin Yagher; one with producer David Kirschner and writer Don Mancini; and, lastly, one with Chucky himself. If that’s not enough (and we know it isn’t), you get an entire second disc devoted to special features, with a bunch of new content. The first thing up is an hour of special effects footage from Howard Berger. If you’re at all interested in practical effects, especially animatronics, this is indispensable. If that’s not enough Berger, we next get a 40 minute interview with him which manages to be just as informative and offers a lot to the special effects conversation. Next up is an interview with actor Ed Gale who stood in for Chucky between effects shots. It’s a great talk with a lot of info that should be rewarding for series fans. That’s it for new content, but fans should note that all of the content from the previous Blu-ray is carried over here too which is a good amount of stuff. It’s safe to say that no stone is left unturned here. I can’t really imagine Chucky fans wanting much more.
Child’s Play is a fairly serious horror film that spawned a series of increasingly silly sequels. It manages to hold up rather well nearly thirty years later, feeling even more restrained that I had remembered it being. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray boasts a new transfer and a strong package of new bonus content as well as ported over supplements from previous releases. This should be an instant buy for fans. Highly Recommended.