Andy Barclay hates you.
Okay, maybe “hates” is a strong word. But you can bet he darned sure envies you.
That’s because just like him, your toys come to life, too. But at least yours have the decency to wait until you’re asleep or not around. And you get cool ones: a stuffed talking cowboy named Woody and his Space Ranger sidekick, Buzz Lightyear. And both of those toys (and the rest of the gang tucked away in your toy chest) watch out for you and protect you and love playing with you more than anything. They’re all good guys; really good guys.
Andy Barclay’s favorite toy was a good guy, too. It said so right on the package. He was a Good Guy doll and he promised to be a friend to the end. But Andy Barclay was never really sure when the end was going to come. That’s because his doll was named Chucky. And Chucky never had time to play, since he spent the majority of every day trying to send his Andy to the Great Daycare in the Sky.
So next time you waffle over whether to box up those toys and give them away when you’re headed off to college, Andy Davis, take Andy Barclay’s advice and send ‘em packin’. And for heaven’s sake, keep them away from sharp objects.
Name a fear and horror has taken a crack at it.
Claustrophobia: The Thing.
Oneirophobia: A Nightmare on Elm Street.
And in 1988, they were at it again, this time making every red-blooded American who suffers from pediophobia (the fear of dolls) afraid to go to the theater (what the professionals refer to as theatrophobia) with Child’s Play.
It wasn’t entirely new territory, but Child’s Play was the first film to feature a killer cutie who felt like a legitimate threat and who packed a wicked charisma so fun that audiences actually rooted for him.
Director Tom Holland (Fright Night) toyed with Don Mancini’s script, but it still retained the original spirit, spinning a sour commentary on the sinister side of Saturday-morning marketing. And it fires its opening salvo in the very first scene.
On the run from Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray (Brad Douriff) gets gunned down in a toy store. But before he dies, voodoo-loving Chucky utters a spell that detonates the store and transfers his spirit into a nearby Good Guy doll (which bears a striking resemblance to the very real “My Buddy” dolls of the 80’s.).
Meanwhile, GG superfan Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) has seen every episode of the TV show, has the official tool set and PJ’s, but is sure that his six-year-old life will only be complete when he has a Good Guy of his very own. His mom can’t scrape up enough to buy him one in time for his birthday, but manages to score one from a bum who found it soon after the toy store explosion.
Thrilled, Andy becomes fast friends with his new little buddy, Chucky. But when a series of dangerous accidents begin, Andy begins to suspect that Chucky is hardly a good guy. Chucky soon confides in Andy, whispering his nefarious plans.
He convinces Andy to carry him to his former sidekick’s house, who he quickly dispatches by pilot light explosion as he settles an old score. Andy is found at the scene of the crime and becomes the world’s cutest suspect.
He’s sent to a psych ward for observation, despite his unsuccessful attempt to convince all the grown-ups around him that Chucky is the real culprit. No one believes him—until his mom discovers that Chucky can not only function without batteries, but can nearly chew your face off, too.
He bolts from their apartment, and Andy’s mom gives chase, running into Detective Norris along the way. She begs him for his help, but he figures her as crazy as Andy. He changes his tune after he barely survives an ambush from Chucky, who can hide in the backseat of a cop cruiser like nobody’s business.
But when Chucky realizes he’s starting to suffer some very real-world wounds, he pays a visit to his former voodoo guru and learns that what is left of his human side is slowly conforming to the doll’s body. The only way he’ll ever walk around in flesh and bone again is to transfer his spirit into the body of the first person he revealed himself to. Now, if he can just find Andy…
There’s a little bit of Andy’s personality in all of us. We think there’s that one thing and if we just have it, everything will be perfect. And we may work and work, striving to acquire it and all the while the anticipation builds. But does it ever live up to the expectation? Or worse, does it look shiny on the outside—maybe even innocent at first—but once gained, is revealed to be dark at its heart?
That’s how sin works.
It’s the thing or the idea or the action we feel like we can’t live without; but once it’s ours, it starts to endanger our life. And, like Chucky, it may seem harmless at first. But once we know its true nature, it can be too late. Like Andy, we have to speak up, to seek help, even if at first no one wants to listen. The good news is, there’s one grown-up who always has time to lend an ear. He’s our Heavenly Daddy, and he can overcome any sin that stalks us, as long as we are willing to part with it. There’s no darkness too great for him to overcome; no sin too sinful. He’s the ultimate good guy and he’ll truly be your friend to the end. But to receive that friendship—that grace—we have to accept his invitation and we have to turn from the sin that sometimes looks so much more appealing.
The good news? All we have to say is yes. It’s not so hard.
You could even say it’s child’s play.