Child’s Play

Date Released: November 9, 1988
Directed By: Tom Holland
Written By: Don Mancini
Certificate: US: R, UK: 15
Tagline: Andy Barclay has a new playmate who’s in no mood to play.
Length: 88 Minutes
Budget: $9M
Box Office: $44,196,684

 Child's PlayCast

Catherine Hicks … Karen Barclay
Chris Sarandon … Mike Norris
Alex Vincent … Andy Barclay
Brad Dourif … Charles Lee Ray / Chucky
Dinah Manoff … Maggie Peterson
Tommy Swerdlow … Jack Santos


When Charles Lee Ray needs to get quick escape from cop Mike Norris, he takes his soul and buries it into playful, seemingly good guy doll Chucky. Little does he know a little boy by the name of Andy Barclay will be the new owner of him soon-to-come. Charles confides in Andy while he commits numerous murders. Once the adults accept Andy’s story as truth, it’s too late.


  • Chucky’s full name, Charles Lee Ray, is derived from the names of notorious killers Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.
  • The babysitter’s death scene originally had her being electrocuted while taking a bath. The scene was used later in Bride of Chucky.
  • Original writer Don Mancini stated in an interview that his original script toyed with the audience a bit longer, making them wonder if young Andy was the killer rather than Chucky. This idea was used by Kevin Tenney in Pinocchio’s Revenge.
  • The name of the TV channel announcing the death of Charles Lee Ray at the beginning of the movie is W-DOL.
  • All of Brad Dourif’s voice over work for Chucky was recorded in advance so they could match up Chucky’s mouth with the words. Because of this, Brad Dourif rarely ever appeared on set during the “doll” scenes. Instead, recordings of his voice would be played back for Alex Vincent to go by.
  • The working title for the film was “Blood Buddy.”
  • In the scene where Chucky runs behind Maggie in the hallway, Chucky was actually played by Alex Vincent’s younger sister.
  • Composer Joe Renzetti and singer/songwriter Simon Stokes recorded an ending credits theme song about Chucky the Doll that wasn’t used in the final finished film because studio executives thought it made Chucky seem less scary. The song can be heard in one of the trailers for the film.
  • One abandoned concept was that one sign of Chucky turning more human the longer he spent in the doll was that the doll would grow stubble like Charles Lee Ray had when he was human.
  • To help get into the right mood for Chucky, Brad Dourif would run around the recording studio, work himself up into a real frenzy and then deliver his lines. This would often leave Brad feeling drained after each take. In fact he nearly fainted after recording Chucky’s scream when he gets burned alive.
  • The original plot idea was to have life-like Good Guy dolls that had blood and latex skin. If the kids tore the latex skin, they could go out and buy Official Good Guy bandages. In a blood-brother pact, Andy cut his own hand and mixed his blood with Chucky’s, thus causing him to come alive and become human.
  • Catherine Hicks (Karen) and Kevin Yagher (Chucky’s creator) met on set and were married a year later.
  • Joseph Ruben was on the shortlist to direct the film at one point.
  • Howard Franklin contributed to the screenplay. He remains uncredited in the final film.
  • John Lithgow was rumored to be considered to play and voice Chucky.
  • The only film in the series when we get to see Chucky in human form.
  • Child’s Play was disowned by the studio, MGM/United Artists, because of qualms with the film’s subject matter. Universal bought the rights for the sequels.
  • In an interview, Don Mancini said in the original script, Child’s Play was at first a satire on toy marketing and merchandising for children, before the idea morphed into a horror film instead.
  • The film was released on the same date (November 9, 1988) as the opening scene, when Charles Lee Ray transfers his soul into the doll.
  • During the initial release, a crowd of protesters formed around the entrance to MGM, calling for a ban on the film. They claimed it would incite violence in children. Local news reporters were broadcasting live from the scene, and the producer David Kirschner was watching, disturbed by what he saw. Jeffrey Hilton, who worked with Kirschner at MGM, said he could defuse the situation in ten minutes. Hilton went down there and spoke to the ringleader and then the group disbanded, to the chagrin of the newscasters. Hilton never specified whether it was threats or diplomacy that saved the day.
  • The Chucky films have always been accused of inspiring violence in children. One case linked to the series was a gang in Manchester kidnapped and murdered 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 has always defended the first film from these accusations, stating that viewers of horror movies could only be influenced by their content if they were unbalanced to begin with.
  • In a September 2008 interview, Don Mancini and David Kirschner spoke of a reboot of the franchise. They wanted to do a remake over a sequel, because the fans were eager to see a scary Chucky movie again, and not a funny one like the last two in the series. If the remake is made, Brad Dourif will return as the voice of Chucky, because Mancini believed no-one else would fit the part. In a later interview, Mancini described the script as darker and scarier than the original film, with twists and turns that didn’t stray too far from the original concept.
  • Child’s Play continues a theme in Tom Holland’s films of people seeing something supernatural, but they can’t get anyone else to believe them. E.g. Scream for Help,Cloak & Dagger and Fright Night.
  • The toy shop used in the opening scene was actually a Chinese restaurant that closed down in Chicago, on the corner of Wabash and Van Buren. Chris Sarandon even says the name of the street corner when calling for backup.

Production Stills

Chucky & Andy Chucky & Andy
Chucky & Andy Chucky & Andy
Chucky Chucky
Karen Barclay Karen Barclay
Chucky & Andy Chucky & Andy
Chucky Chucky
Chucky Chucky
Chucky & Andy Chucky & Andy
Karen Barclay Karen Barclay
Chucky Chucky
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