Today's Pick: Child's Play 2 (1990)
I can understand there being some kind of subconscious fear of dolls that has to do with deep-seated childhood memories, or in the way a particular doll is creepily crafted (that Annabelle doll always bugs me. Not because it's creepy, but because it's so ridiculously creepy that I can't believe anyone would ever find it cute), but when it comes to making dolls scary on film, it's a tough nut to crack. The first Child's Play was somewhat successful in this feat, but the most remembered aspect from the film ended up being the vulgarly comedic attitude of the villain, Chucky. Luckily, the filmmakers behind the sequel decided to amp up the fun, and in doing do, actually created some disturbing moments themselves.
The sillier bits in Child's Play 2 definitely tend to stick out more than the unsettling stuff, but that's okay with me. Just the idea of the character Chucky is kind of kooky, so playing up that element makes perfect sense for a sequel. The opening scene in the Good Guys factory sets up the mood of the picture (opening with a spooky and extremely well-done montage showing how Chucky is revived), with a factory worker getting killed on the assembly line by having doll eyes jammed into his skull. It's gruesome and nutty and I inwardly cheer every time I see it.
I also think the design and movement of the Chucky animatronic is far superior in this film, and the overall focus on great effects is certainly one of the movie's most endearing qualities. The entire end sequence in the factory and how Chucky is ultimately defeated is applause worthy stuff, just from a viewpoint of appreciating practical effects. Kevin Yagher and his production team really stepped up the presentation of Chucky, and I think it's the best the character has ever looked.
But, the film has plenty of other praises to heap upon it. The acting, much like the original, is genuinely good across the board. Brad Dourif once again excels at over-the-top villainy, proving that he is 90% of the reason the character is so beloved. You even get turns from veteran personas like Gerrit Graham and Jenny Agutter, and Alex Vincent is much more tolerable in this film than in the original. And while the film leans much more on comedy than scares, the several times it does go for screams are damn effective.
I'm something of a Child's Play apologist, but I honestly believe that the sequel is not just the best of the franchise, but a really entertaining and impressive horror-comedy on its own. You shouldn't skip the original, but if you only want one helping of killer doll goodness this season, Child's Play 2 is the way to go.
What is up with all these sequels? And there's another one tomorrow? And it has Brad Dourif in it as well?
31 Days of Drew 2 (2014)
31 Days of Drew (2013)