Child's Play is an American supernatural action horror film. It was released in the United States on November 9, 1988.
The film met with moderate success upon its release and has since developed a cult following among fans of the horror genre. The film is the first in the Child's Play film series, which was originally a whodunnit film in contrast to the later sequels. This was the only film in the series released by MGM/UA as the rights to the series were sold to Universal beginning with the sequel.
While being pursued by Detective Mike Norris, 38-year-old Charles Lee Ray, a serial killer known as the "Lakeshore Strangler," is shot and mortally wounded. Before dying, Charles quickly takes cover inside a toy store, finding boxes of Good Guy dolls. He proceeds to use a voodoo ritual to transfer his soul into one of the dolls. The store is then struck by lightning and it burns to the ground, killing Charles.
Later that morning, 6-year-old Andy Barclay tells his widowed mother Karen that he wants a Good Guy doll for his birthday after watching a TV commercial for it. Unable to afford the full price, Karen buys a stolen doll from a street peddler, which is the same doll that Charles had earlier transferred his soul into.
That night, as Andy is playing with the doll (who has introduced himself as "Chucky" through the talking feature of the doll), Karen's friend and Andy's "aunt" Maggie Peterson, who is babysitting Andy, scolds him for turning on the evening news and placing Chucky in front of the TV. When Andy tries to tell Maggie that he didn't put Chucky in front of the TV, she doesn't believe him and sends him and the doll to bed. Later on, Maggie is viciously struck with a toy hammer by an unknown figure and falls out of the apartment window, falling several stories to her ultimate death. The killer's identity is left ambiguous. When questioned, Andy insists that Chucky has revealed himself to be alive and that he killed Maggie, though he defends Chucky's decision by stating that Chucky told him that "Aunt Maggie was a real bitch" and that she "got what she deserved". Unfortunately, no one believes Andy's side of the story.
The next day, Andy, apparently upon Chucky's request, visits the house of Eddie Caputo, Charles Lee Ray's accomplice, who had betrayed him and led him to his death. Chucky is revealed as being alive. He sneaks into Eddie's house and blows out the pilot light on the stove and turns up the gas. In panicked self-defense, Eddie fires his gun and the house explodes, killing him.
Later, authorities place Andy in a psychiatric ward after he is found near the crime scene. Karen believes the doll to be the culprit after she realizes that his batteries had never been put in. She demands he talk, but when he doesn't, she goes to make him talk by lighting a match into the fireplace. Finally, Karen threatens to throw Chucky into the fire unless he reveals himself to her. Chucky finally comes to life in her hands and bites her in the neck, wrist, and arm (causing bloody teeth marks). Karen finally manages to throw Chucky off of her and he gets up and runs out of the apartment. Quickly, Karen contacts Detective Norris, who is now investigating Maggie's death. Although he initially doubts her story, the homeless man who sold Karen the doll confirms that he retrieved it from the burnt down toy store where Charles Lee Ray was killed. Later on, Norris becomes a firm believer after he is attacked by Chucky in his car and survives only by shooting the doll.
Later on, Chucky meets with John Bishop, his voodoo instructor from years past, and asks him why his gunshot wound bled. Under torture via voodoo doll, John informs him that his body is slowly conforming to that of a human's and that he will soon be trapped in the body if he doesn't transfer his soul into the body of the first person he revealed himself to, which is Andy. Offhandedly remarking that he is going to "get to be 6 years old again", Chucky finally stabs the voodoo doll in the chest and leaves John to die. Karen and Detective Norris, following leads from Charles Lee Ray's case file, find John as he lay dying and receive instructions on how to kill Chucky; although Chucky is a doll, his heart is almost fully human and vulnerable to fatal injury.
Andy escapes from the psychiatric unit and Chucky brutally kills the head doctor in the process. The authorities believe Andy killed the doctor while escaping. Mike and Karen rush back to the apartment hoping that Andy is there. Chucky reaches the apartment where Andy is and knocks him unconscious with a baseball bat to steal his soul. After a prolonged struggle, Chucky pleads for Andy to spare him saying, "We're friends till the end", Chucky is then thrown into the fireplace by Karen and is lit on fire by Andy after he throws the match in the fireplace stating, "this is the end friend".
Thinking Chucky is dead, Andy and Karen go to help the injured Mike Norris. After Andy gets the first aid kit from under the sink, he discovers Chucky is gone. Very burnt but alive, Chucky chases after Andy and Karen, who barricade themselves in the bedroom; Karen shoots him several times, missing his heart, but scattering his head, an arm and a leg in the hallway. Chucky starts stabbing the doors with a knife so that Karen will open it. After Norris's partner, Jack Santos, arrives, the scattered doll parts attempt to attack at the instructions of Chucky's screaming, severed head. Karen, remembering John's last words, tells Mike to shoot Chucky in the heart. Norris does so and makes a direct hit, killing Chucky (Charles Lee Ray), again.
An ambulance arrives to take Mike to the hospital. Karen and Jack help Mike walk out the door, but Andy stays and looks over the remains of Chucky. Karen returns and leads Andy out of the room and turns off the lights. Andy turns to look at Chucky one last time before leaving. Chucky then says, "Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna play?" as his last dying words.
- Charles Lee Ray - Shot to death by Detective Mike Norris.
- Maggie Peterson - Hit in the eye socket by a hammer while backing up into a window, and then fell to her death.
- Eddie Caputo - Killed when he shoots the stove, causing an explosion.
- John Bishop - Leg broken, arm snapped, and then stabbed to death (All through a voodoo doll).
- Dr. Ardmore - Shocked to death.
- Chucky - Burned, his left leg, right arm, and head shot off, and shot in the heart.
- Karen Barclay - Sent to a mental facility.
- Andy Barclay - Sent to live with a foster family, until his mother is able to have custody of him again.
- Mike Norris - Stabbed in the leg by Chucky, recovers and is sent to a mental facility.
- Jack Santos - Sent to a mental facility.
- Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay
- Catherine Hicks as Karen Barclay
- Chris Sarandon as Detective Mike Norris
- Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray and Chucky (voice)
- Dinah Manoff as Maggie Peterson
- Tommy Swerdlow as Jack Santos
- Jack Colvin as Dr. Ardmore
- Raymond Oliver as John "Dr. Death" Bishop
- Neil Giuntoli as Eddie Caputo
- Alan Wilder as Mr. Criswell
- Juan Ramírez as the Peddler
- Edan Gross as the Good Guy Dolls (voice)
- Opening Chase (Main Titles)
- Maggie Gets It
- Chucky's Shoes / Just a Doll
- Chucky Blows Up a House
- Batteries Not Included / Mama Walk
- Chucky Drives a Car / Mama Visits
- Chucky Goes to the Hospital
- Chucky Kills the Doctor
- Batter Up! / Chucky's Chant / This is the End, Friend / Chuck Roast
- Chucky Goes to Pieces / Chuck in a Box
- Goodbye Chucky / Child's Play - End Credits
- The official soundtrack was released by MGM in 2009, remastered and expanded with music not used in the movie, as well as alternate song versions.
- News Cast
- Street Music
- Child's Play - End Credits (Without Vocal)
- The Chucky Song
- Chucky's eyes were re-used by special effects technician Kevin Yagher for building the Crypt Keeper puppet in Tales from the Crypt.
- Catherine Hicks and Kevin Yagher met on set and were married a year later.
- Casting for Chucky's voice involved many actors, in an attempt to decide if he should sound child-like or like an adult. Jessica Walter even recorded her voice for an entire version of the movie before they finally settled on Brad Dourif.
- John Lithgow was also considered to play Chucky.
- Don Mancini stated in an interview that Chucky going to Andy´s school was going to be in this film but it was used in Child's Play 2 instead.
- The film was accused of inspiring violence in children. One case involved a gang in Manchester kidnapping and murdering a 16-year-old girl. While they tortured her, they forced her to listen to recordings of the gang leader repeating the catchphrase "I'm Chucky, wanna play?" Director Tom Holland defended the film from these accusations, stating that viewers of horror movies could only be influenced by their content if they were unbalanced to begin with.