So once again we have survived.

Child’s Play 3

tn_childsplay3“So here’s my advice: Grow up. You’re not a kid anymore. It’s time to forget these fantasies of killer dolls.”
Well, I think it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing that asshole doll Chucky ever again. He got his plastic head burnt to a crisp and yes, the Play Pals corporation did refurbish him in part 2, intending to prove the doll wasn’t sabotaged by an employee but instead resurrecting a serial killer to commit a murder spree mostly consisting of their own employees. Plus their factory got totally trashed. I don’t think they’ll make that mistake again! I’m sure when they cleaned out the factory they destroyed that grotesque pile of latex and Chucky flesh that was left of him and we can put that whole catastrophe behind us now.

Oh shit – they didn’t! Eight years after CHILD’S PLAY the same foolish CEO (Peter Haskell, ROBOT WARS) is convinced by the board to bring back the Good Guys dolls. They consider children to be “consumer trainees” and they can’t lose their biggest brand just because of “the fantasies of one disturbed boy.” (I wonder what he thinks happened to his murdered executives, or at his factory? One of his employees got his eyeballs poked out! Do not work for this company!) So they rev up the (noticeably smaller) assembly line again, some hooks pierce the Chucky blob (which I guess has been laying there alive for eight years) and it bleeds into a vat of molten plastic that will be molded into the new Good Guys dolls. And voila! Chucky is mint in package again.

Unsurprisingly the first new doll off the line – possessed by Chucky, of course – is presented to the CEO to honor the occasion and to administer the pretty-much-earned death by killer doll. I like this POV shot from inside the Good Guys packaging, through the plastic window. It’s a weird version of the “POV of killer spying on the house from the woods” typ shot, but also it helps you feel what it would be like to be a toy. In case you don’t have access to TOY STORY.

Charles Lee Ray could've ended up in this saxophone playing doll if it had been more popular
Charles Lee Ray could’ve ended up in this saxophone playing doll if it had been more popular

The other toys he has around his office are marbles and some generic cars and robots, so no wonder he wanted to dip back into their old i.p. Everything else they make is sold at the 99 Cents Store or Radio Shack. Well, with the exception of whatever this Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem type dude on the window sill is. You don’t get a good look at it but I feel like they should’ve pushed this toy harder.

Now Andy (Justin Whalin, THE DEAD POOL) is 16 years old and has just been sent to a cruel military academy. A good place to not run into a doll, you would think, but Chucky mails himself there and a young kid named Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers) takes him, sort of becoming the new Andy, calling him his best friend. This was harder for me to swallow than in the first one because it’s not just mysterious off-camera talking, he actually sees Chucky tear out of the box yelling “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?,” and then accepts that he’s just a very advanced doll who seems alive and needs to have his mouth washed out with soap. Tyler seems much too old to be that stupid. Also I was confused why this kid lives at the academy but is always off playing with his doll while everyone else is doing military exercises. It seems like maybe he’s just their ward and not a student, but then all the sudden he does do one of the exercises. I never figured out what was going on there.

mp_childsplay3Andrew Robinson (DIRTY HARRY, HELLRAISER) is a crazy barber who takes perverse pleasure in shaving off students’ precious hair, but for some reason he doesn’t give Andy the standard crew cut, he lets him have Wil Wheaton hair. Less lenient is Shelton (Travis Fine, THE THIN RED LINE, THE PRESIDENT’S MAN), the dickhead bully/jock/drill sergeant guy who singles him out for humiliation. The poor kid is in a bad situation, because getting sent to a military school is gonna suck anyway, and he has the additional stress of seeing Good Guys commercials on TV, seeing the head of the school carrying Chucky while he’s doing drills, and also being known at least to the higher-ups that he’s the kid who said his doll was alive.

There’s a little bit of a theme about machismo. Shelton tries to belittle him by calling him a “majorette” and all of them “ladies.” He has a harangue about female cadets not getting special treatment. Colonel Cochrane (Dakin Matthews, TRUE GRIT, LINCOLN) says “We don’t play with dolls do we now, Tyler? Dolls are for girls.” And the only non-doll character I found compelling is De Silva (Perrey Reeves, SMOKE SIGNALS), a female cadet who stands up to Shelton, kisses Andy, and puts lipstick on Chucky. She’s much better with guns than Andy, and becomes his protector. Even as a teen on his own Andy still has a strong woman looking after him.

The isolated school setting is, to me, dull compared to the urban Chicago setting of the original. The main relationship, Andy and his nerdy friend Whitehurst (Dean Jacobson, JUNIOR), is not as strong as the ones between Andy and his mom or Andy and his foster sister Kyle (who sadly we don’t see again in the series). I suppose there is a little more of that DREAM WARRIORS style outsider status in that Andy never found a steady foster family, is labelled a “troublemaker” and tormented by those in power at the academy, where Whitehurst warns him “They don’t tolerate any form of individuality,” but I don’t know, he’s not like a cool James Dean kid or particularly likable. He seems more like a boy that tween girls would think was dreamy, so if that did expand the demographics of who would watch a CHILD’S PLAY sequel then I can get behind that.

The puppetry is very sophisticated at this point, so Chucky is on screen talking and moving alot. And at the end they wisely decide “ah, screw it” with the military academy/war games business and set the climax in a carnival spookhouse ride. A huge and elaborate one with a giant grim reaper swinging a scythe sharp enough to slice off Chucky’s face.

still_childsplay3-2

One thing about this series, they never forget the importance of the battle damaged Chucky. Like a Terminator, he’s always gonna be torn up and scary looking by the end. Also in this one a big spinning fan (for wiggling the mylar flames) chops him up like a food processor.

still_childsplay3-3

Nobody’s gonna feel bad for Chucky, but thank god it was a killer doll and not some innocent kid, or the soul of a nice, non-serial killer possessing the body of a non-killer doll. This is clearly not a safe carnival ride. This kind of stuff is why regulations are important, people.

It’s was weird to learn that this is a notorious movie in the UK due to it being blamed in an infamous murder case. That’s too bad if any young Brits couldn’t see it for years and built it up in their minds, because in my opinion part 3 is the only bad CHILD’S PLAY movie. It feels less cinematic, more made-for-cable than the other two. It does change the story quite a bit with the new setting, older protagonist and new Chucky victim, but these ideas are built out of such cliches that it still fails to feel fresh. There’s a little bit of humor in the way people at this school react to Chucky, and the way he reacts to them, but mostly it feels very labored, coming up with excuses why the characters who need to get killed will carry a doll around. Robinson actually puts him in the barber chair and almost shaves him! Even Chucky seems like he’s getting too self conscious, saying lines like “DON’T FUCK WITH THE CHUCK!” that should be followed by him turning to the camera and asking if we like his new catch phrase.

Although this came out in 1991, the “8 years ago” slide show at the beginning means it takes place in 1996, only two years before BRIDE OF CHUCKY. Director Jack Bender is (not surprisingly) a TV guy who did Eight Is Enough and Falcon Crest and HIGH SCHOOL U.S.A. This is his first theatrical release and the only other one he did is LONE JUSTICE 2. But he did do two episodes of Game of Thrones.

This concludes my revisit of the CHILD’S PLAY trilogy. Here are links to my old reviews of the OF CHUCKY trilogy:

BRIDE OF CHUCKY

SEED OF CHUCKY

CURSE OF CHUCKY

 

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 at 10:36 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

47 Responses to “Child’s Play 3”

  1. I don’t think this one’s bad, per se. I find its lead-up a lot more watchable than the foster parent stuff in the second one, which always made me wonder why two such transparent shitheads would bother to foster kids in the first place. The hostility toward Andy feels more earned in the third one, where you’ve got peer pressure and systemic oppression to account for it, not just a bunch of adults deciding to be dicks to a little traumatized orphan boy for no reason. That said, CHILD’S PLAY 2 has that awesome ending that provides a tidy bookend to the corporate stuff at the beginning of the movie, while CHILD’S PLAY 3’s ending has last-minute reshoot written all over it. It’s a perfectly fine horror climax (the pureeing of Chucky is well done), but thematically and aesthetically it has nothing to do with the movie that preceded it. As such, the film doesn’t fully exploit its setting or its premise. But maybe that’s because it’s not a setting or premise that really lends itself to a Chucky story.

    Anyway, I think it’s alright in a HELLRAISER III kinda way. It was also one of the first horror movies I saw in the theater so I’ve got a soft spot for it.

  2. Can you believe this one was almost Frank Darabont’s directorial debut? I assume it is this one and not the second one due to the dates and when THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION came out.

    I re-watched this one during my October viewings, first time since it came out on VHS, and I don’t think it is all that bad. There are way worse slasher/horror sequels but it is definitely the least of the CHILD’S PLAY/CHUCKY sequels.

  3. Even here in Germany we’ve heard how this movie was “responsible” for some kids murdering another kid. If I remember right, the only connection was that murder victim got sprayed with blue paint, which apparently also happens to Chucky in that movie or some shit like that. And when the movie premiered on pay TV, they put a special warning in front of it. (Unfortunaly I didn’t have pay TV at that time, so I don’t know what that looked like.)

  4. Just Caspered it. It’s really nto as good as the first two, but I loved the running gag how Chucky constantly gets mistreated and interrupted, as soon as he enters the academy.

  5. Also I just realized that Jack Bender was THE Jack Bender, who was pretty much the MVP director of LOST and was supposed to direct a Bad Robot movie named ONE MINUTE IN HEAVEN a few years ago, which most likely disappeared into development hell because it involves dead kids. But I can imagine it will resurface as CLOVERFIELD movie.

  6. Grimgrinningchris

    November 23rd, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    The Chucky series really may be the most consistent horror franchise out there.

    This one is the only one that I don’t consider good to great, and it still has its moments.

    The climax is definitely out of sync with everything leading up to it- as has been pointed out- but on its own, it works and it is (for the series, at least) a novel setting.

    Also, it got extra points for me for taking place in a military school and coming out while I, myself, was in military school.

    Vern,
    That reminds me. Have you ever reviewed TOY SOLDIERS? That’s another one that came out while I was in military school- so of course half the cadet student body HAD to go see it (even though it’s more of a prep school with a heavy JROTC program than an all out military school.)
    I just revisited it a year or two ago and really enjoyed it. A very solid, fast paced, fairly clever actioner with no pretension.
    Also, I think it was the last wide release feature with Wheaton in a starring role (Samwise Gamgee is technically the lead, but it’s really more of an ensemble).
    Plus you’ve got Louis Gossett Jr, R Lee Ermey, Denholm Elliot, Mason Adams, Michael Champion (Total Recall, Beverly Hills Cop, every action tv show from the 80s) and best of all… Andrew Divoff.

    So if I have to “choooose (my) weeeeeshes”… one of them will be for you to review TOY SOLDIERS.

  7. Grimgrinningchris

    November 23rd, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Yeah, I’m not seeing a review, though I’m certain you’ve mentioned it or referenced it in other reviews here.

    Maybe a whole series of reviews of horror and action movies that take place at military schools is in order?

  8. I still have not seen TOY SOLDIERS, but it does sound like something I should check out.

  9. Other than the climax, this one’s pretty lame, though the scene where Chucky changes their paint bullets to real bullets was pretty creepy and the scene where for some reason the barber wants to give the doll a haircut is hilarious.

  10. Simply for Die Hard in a boarding school, Toy Soldiers is essential!

  11. Being from one of the colonies, I remember when this film got held up as a bit of a ‘video nasty’ in the wake of the Jamie Bulger murder. I believe that a copy was found in the home of one of the killers and as CJ mentioned, there are similarities in some act of paint splattering. It gave the film way more attention than it deserved and shifted the blame from two individuals that committed a grotesque and evil crime.

  12. I’ve never understood this idea that media can be responsible for violence, as if murders and mayhem never happened until movies, TV, video games etc came along.

  13. I’d like to add my name to the list of people recommending Toy Soldiers for Vern. I watched the Blu Ray recently and it holds up remarkably well.

  14. I think the weirdest “blame media for violence” was during the 80s when crazy people were trying to say the game Dungeons and Dragons was a gateway drug to devil worship and human sacrifice. I know I even saw a made for TV movie that had some murderous teens who were big into D&D.

  15. That would be MAZES & MONSTERS, starring a very young Tom Hanks as a pleasant, upright, all-American boy driven so insane by the nonsensical rules and lame off-brand vernacular of a half-assed D&D knockoff that he wanders the NYC sewer system stabbing homeless dudes or something. It’s both boring and a riot.

  16. I also recommend reviewing Toy Soldiers, after reviewing Intruder of course. lol

  17. It says so much about the 80’s that Dungeons and Dragons was something people got worked up over, no wonder people shit a brick when Grand Theft Auto came along.

  18. Swedish censorship in the 80´s was no joke. It was a blatant witchhunt on violence in movies, especially horror movies . My first viewing of EVIL DEAD on VHS clocked in on just over an hour. It wa a time of savagery and butchery. They had no care if anything made sense after the scissors had their way with them.

    Of course, after the censorship years came the EVIL ED making fun of the censorship practices that had taken place.

  19. German censorship was harsh too. I don’t think there was one single horror and only very few action movies shown uncut in our theatres or video stores. Even DIE HARD wasn’t fully uncut until its DVD release in the early 00s. (Although those were pretty mild cuts.) Don’t wanna imagine how frustrating it might have been to go to the movies for the new horror sensation, only to see most of the violence removed.

  20. Sometimes entire scenes were removed so you had no idea what the fuck was going on.

  21. When I first moved to Hong Kong the cable provider I unwittingly signed up with was also the provider for some pretty conservative areas like Indonesia and Malaysia. I remember sitting down to Goodfellas one night and not knowing what the heck was going on when it finished 90 minutes later. There is also a great story about how Die Hard was censored when it first screened on the BBC and the famous line was changed to “Yippee Ki-Yay, Melon Farmers”. I’ve been calling people Melon Farmers ever since I heard the story.

  22. Speaking of melon farmers; Does anyone remember ” mother hugger” and “you cheeky funkster”? That still cracks me up

  23. At one point Norwegian TV – and I’m sad to say we had just one channel up until the early 90’s – got hold of a package with some pretty insanely watered down movies. I remember watching the first half of BEVERLY HILLS COP and parts of BLAZING SADDLES before thinking who the fuck (or more precisely Hvem faen? in Norwegian) has such a problem with burping that their local TV station has to remove it from Mel Brook’s masterpiece? America, I’m looking at you!

  24. Until fairly recently, I never even reflected on the fact that the version of BEVERLY HILLS COP that i grew up on had “edited for television” slapped on the credits

  25. I talked about it on here several times, but our afternoon-till-evening TV shit is often heavily cut too. Especially when your movie has a higher rating than “6”. Meaning: If your movie has a “12” rating or above and is supposed to be shown in the afternoon, it might miss huge chuncks!

    For example I remember seeing an afternoon rerun of the RETURN TO WITCH MOUNTAIN remake and thought that the action scenes were awfully edited and the whole movie don’t make any sense. The next day I learned that the version I saw was 7 minutes, to make it “family friendly”!

    Or the afternoon rerun of TRANSFORMERS, that started with the helicopter landing in the military base and then turning into a robot who just walks away and does nothing, although the soldiers around him are screaming and running in every direction?

    One channel is SUPER reckless when it comes to which movie they show. For example, they showed CONAN THE BARBARIAN (rated “16”) at noon! You can imagine how much was missing. (I saw the ending of it and have to admit that I liked how they edited the death of Tulsa Doom. Closely before the sword hits the neck, it turns into a slowly dissolving freeze frame! Whoever did that, obviously tried to make it at least a little bit watchable.)

    Sex, nudity and swearing are no problem, though.

  26. You guys are acting like in America they didn’t edit movies for television.

    Shoot, for some reason the video box for Evil Ed freaked me out enough where I have been too afraid to see the movie.

  27. Sternshein, the shit we got here in Norway were the American TV versions. They normally don’t edit stuff for television over here.

  28. Sadly, this one is by far the worst of the series. It’s way too quick to lean on forced beats that don’t really play (like the bizarrely deadly funhouse) and stereotypical characters. We don’t have the work put into the supporting cast that we saw with the first two, and for the first time I really had little sympathy for Andy… It’s one thing to be a whiny kid who nobody believes when you’re, say, eight or ten… But now that he’s older I was hoping military school would toughen him up and give him an arc, without success.

  29. Talking about whiny kids: Seeing the nerdy friend going out as a real hero, was pretty cool.

    BTW, why was 80s and 90s popculture so obsessed with the threat of getting sent to the military academy?

  30. This one always gets a bad rap but at least it tried to buck the formula with the fast forward and a very different setting. Still contained that bold Mancini element even if it’s when he kinda started to phone it in.

  31. I will always remember Child’s Play 3, not because I saw the movie (I didn’t) but because the trailer was the first Red Band trailer I ever saw. It was before the movie Mobsters, and it was going along fine until the end when Chucky turns to the camera and says “DON’T FUCK WITH THE CHUCK!!”

    My Dad and I laughed so hard, we couldn’t even tell you anything about the movie that followed. But to this day, we can still say “Don’t fuck with the Chuck” and grin. (Seriously. We did it at Thanksgiving)

  32. Sweet we now know who the two people are that saw Mobsters.

  33. Out of nowhere, a slam against MOBSTERS.

  34. I’m laughing so hard right now.

  35. “I’ve been waiting for this moment a long time, MOBSTERS!”

  36. I, too, saw MOBSTERS in the theater.

    I own the HD-DVD.

    Yes, I double down on my mistakes

  37. I saw Mobsters in a movie theater when I was in high school with a buddy, so I just doubled the audience.

    What I remember the most about Child’s Play 3 is watching a censored version on USA back in the mid-90’s and the one kid demanding of Andy, “Where’a the fancy doll?” My roommate and I burst out into laughter. It’s not even that funny of an edit, but we still quote it to this day.

  38. That sounds like tripling down with the dead format and all, but good on you!

  39. This is the part where Vern dusts off his half finished review of MOBSTERS, and posts it before INTRUDER.

  40. (A buddy of mine was with us in the theater, bringing the MOBSTERS count to 5).

  41. Poeface, I’m ok with that. Mobsters has always been an movie that fascinated me because of the weird cast list but never bothered. I also recently watched the trailer for Frank and Jesse starring Rob Lowe and Bill Paxton and that’s another one that fascinates me based on the cast. The 90s was a weird time for genre cinema wasn’t it.

  42. Things I just learned about the movie Mobsters according to wikipedia

    1) It’s generally pretty accurate. This surprises me considering it has Richard Greico.
    2) Christian Slater says there are different cuts of the movie through the world.
    3) The movie debuted at number two behind Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Does this mean emtee and clubside all choose Mobsters before Terminator 2?
    4) The cast, on paper, is fucking rediculous. It has Richard Greico and Costas Mandylor plus Anthony Quinn, Michael Gambon, F. Murray Abraham, Chris Penn, ROBERT Z’DAR, and Titus Welliver. Quinn and Slater were both nominated for Razzie’s but lost to Dan Ackroyd for Nothing but Trouble.

    I want to watch it and read Verns’ review now.

  43. That’s the Razzies for you: fanatically dedicated to their decades-long mission to lazily mock anyone famous who tries to step outside his or her comfort zone. Are you a young heartthrob trying to branch out from teen roles? RAZZIED! A veteran comedian trying to segue into writing/directing? RAZZIED! A charismatic pop star struggling to learn the craft of acting? RAZZIED! An action star trying to show the public that you’re more than just muscles? RAZZIED! A brilliant director trying your hand at a new genre? RAZZIED! A veteran composer trying to adapt your style to a new era? RAZZIED!

    Why, if it wasn’t for these selfless heroes, creative types might get the erroneous impression that they’re allowed to leave the boxes they’ve been placed in by a bunch of catty, unimaginative industry fuckboys! Is that really the kind of world we want to live in?

  44. Who knew we all had such pent-up need to discuss MOBSTERS?

  45. This is why I love this place.

  46. This is why you guys own a piece of my heart I swear.

    Didn’t see CHILD’S PLAY 3 in theaters because even though I wanted to. It was like “SURPRISE! A NEW CHUCKY MOVIE!” cause I had never seen any trailer for it and I was a Chucky kid at the time cause my mom and I really bonded early in my life over the original CHILD’S PLAY. So I was like “man that’s pretty damn cool that this even exists” but wanted to see SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO even more so my cousin and I ended up watching that at the cinema instead. This is irrelevant to my next point but I’m just trying to stay on topic with it ha ha.

    My real point is I didn’t watch MOBSTERS in theaters either (I wanted to though). I did rent it and dubbed it on my second VCR as soon as it hit home video though. People think I’m crazy when I tell them the prospect of a old roaring 20’s style mob caper with the likes of Greico, Dempsey and Slater at the time really did sound like an awesome idea. I mean I was a JUMP STREET/BOOKER kid and loved HEATHERS and PUMP UP THE VOLUME (KUFFS too) and Dempsey was in everything back then so you know?

    Maybe now that Slater has comeback with MR. ROBOT and Dempsey is now known as dreamy night time soap opera doc to all of the world it would get some type of notoriety. Plus it had Costas Mandylor. Also it was the movie that introduced me to Michael Gambon who I have enjoyed in everything since so that is another reason it’s pretty endearing to me on top of further cementing my respect for Anthony Quinn.

  47. …and yes it had Robert Z’Dar I mean come the fuck on a gangster movie with THE JAW? it’s too outrageous to miss.

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