I need to record this somewhere just in case I’m psychic.
The remake of Child’s Play comes out this summer. In fact, it comes out the same day as Toy Story 4, an irony that I respect so much that of course I’m going to see it. The little boy in Child’s Play is even called Andy like the main character from Toy Story 1 – 3, but you can’t call that a crib because the original Child’s Play came out in 1988, several years before the first Toy Story came out. Maybe Toy Story was doing the cribbing all along!
I digress. I had a story of my own to tell. But first, backstory.
When I was little, Chucky terrified me. As in, I couldn’t walk near the posters in the video store. I couldn’t even go near the aisle if I thought Child’s Play 1 – 3 were on the shelves. Spencer Gifts, that awful novelty/sex shop had Chucky dolls for sale and even in my early teens I had to steer clear of it when I went to the mall. I even wound up barricading my Cricket doll – a harmless, pig-tailed doll with a tape-deck in her back who “talked” with special cassette tapes (but was really just a way for me to listen to Billy Joel’s Innocent Man a few hundred times) – in the attic with Teddy Ruxpin and anything else that might look like it could come alive and murder me.
It also does not help to grow up with red hair. The Chucky comparisons were relentless.
But when I saw the first Bride of Chucky trailer in 1998, I realized the franchise had veered from its schlocky 80’s horror roots and decided to lean into the comedy-horror aspects. After all, this was a movie about a doll, possessed by the soul of a serial killer. Its very genesis is absurd. So little by little, my fear melted away enough to ask my mom to take me and my girlfriend to go see Bride of Chucky in theaters (despite my mom wanting to see Practical Magic instead). And it was a riot less scary and just dumb fun. After we left the theater, we went to the video store and rented out Child’s Play 1-3 and had more dumb fun.
If you haven’t seen the original Child’s Play or haven’t seen it in a while, here’s a general refresher: Brad Dourif plays a serial killer named Charles Lee Ray and is gunned down in a toy store by a cop. Before dying, Charles – Chucky – transfers his soul into a toy Good Guy doll via Narrative Voodoo, because this was the 80’s and demons possessing our children was a bigger fear than unregulated advertising to them. Anyway, somehow single mom Karen Barclay winds up buying this Good Guy doll (which is basically a My Buddy doll) off of a black-market seller for her son, Andy. Don’t ask me how the doll got from the toy store to the seller because I don’t know; I’m going by memory and I don’t think the plot explained that much. But after that, Andy starts carrying Chucky around and people wind up dead around Andy like his babysitter. For a brief moment it starts to look like the movie is going to stay mysterious and keep the audience guessing whether it’s Andy doing all the killing or Chucky doing all the killing. But then, nope, it’s Chucky. I think it would have been a real ballsy move for the film to drop the whole Narrative Voodoo as a red herring and make Andy the real killer and Chucky just a regular doll, but that would have been far to dark for 1988. But the plot gets resolved, Chucky gets stopped, but not stopped enough to where he can’t come back for sequels.
One thing I need to point out is that Brad Dourif, throughout all the films (I’ve only seen through Bride of Chucky), is in a completely different franchise. He’s a Good Actor and is treating the role of a Voodoo Serial Killer as seriously as he would treat King Lear. The man’s voice still sends a chill down my spine, whether he’s Chucky or Doc Cochran in Deadwood.
Knowing all that, you need to see the teaser trailer for the remake:
From what I gather, they’re going with Narrative AI over Narrative Voodoo this time. And that’s disappointing, because 31 years from now, it’s going to be just as dated as Narrative Voodoo.
Unless I’m wrong. Then I have a prediction.
See, the other night I had I dream that I saw an early preview of the remake. All the actors were in it – complete with Mark Hamill as the new voice of Chucky (good choice) and it still had that artificial intelligence angle. However, here’s where the narrative diverged.
In my dream, Aubrey Plaza’s Karen Barclay, was a divorced single mom to Andy. Her ex, Chuck, was abusive to her but always played the super dad to Andy, so for Andy’s birthday she wants to buy him a nice expensive gift to impress him. She knows he wants a Buddi doll (which is what they’re renaming it in the remake), which is this technologically advanced Alexa + Aibo + social media toy, but she can’t afford it. Instead, she buys a counterfeit knockoff from an Alibaba-type store called a Goodi Doll. Luckily, her son is of the age where he’s old enough not to be an asshole about his mom’s attempts at impressing him, so he accepts the gift but his father (again “Chuck”) notes the toy’s design and realizes it’s totally hackable and manages to use the doll to spy on and torment Karen – going so far to knock things off her dresser to watch her when she brings dates home, and eventually becoming murderous.
With me so far? Good. Well, that’s all I have. It was a dream so I woke up before I could plan the second and third act. But I think that would be a great set up to a remake and furthermore be a step up from the whole “killer AI” bullshit. After all, I saw Upgrade a couple of weeks ago. You’re not going to get better than that.
That’s all. Just wanted this recorded down because I have not seen the remake yet and if by some chance this is the plot of the remake I want proof that I am psychic.