When you’re looking for validation that your horror film was a success, you can’t get much better than praise from the Master of Horror himself, Stephen King. The writer has experienced a long-lasting new renaissance in theaters this decade, with adaptations of his work scoring big at the box office (and there are many more to come), but now he’s revealed his top Halloween pick: the Child’s Play remake.
The recommendation came during an interview with Entertainment Weekly when he was asked to name a movie, TV series and book for readers to check out for scary thrills. The TV series was Netflix’s Marianne (“very, very scary”), the book Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (“It’s scary, it’s smart, it’s imaginative and you hope there’ll be more”) and as for Child’s Play, he said the following:
“I didn’t go see it in the theaters, because I thought, ‘Well, this is just another warmed-over sequel. Mark Hamill does the voice of Chucky and I just fucking loved that movie. I laughed and I cried at the things in there. Everybody who’s in the movie does a terrific job. It’s a smart script and it’s just a load of fun. It really is. It’s gruesome as hell.
There’s this scene where this guy is [laughs] hanging some Christmas lights on his house, and Chucky does something to the ladder, and he falls off and he lands on his feet, and his bones come right out the side [now convulsing with laughter] of his legs. And you know, it’s not funny, but at the same time it is funny.”
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He’s right, it was funny. I have to hold my hands up here: I was deeply suspicious of the remake. When they announced it, I felt very sorry for series creator Don Mancini, who was essentially having his most beloved creation taken out of his hands. Rubbing salt into the wound was that he is actively developing a new Child’s Play TV series and this seemed like it’d steal its thunder. And let’s face it, that first look at the new Chucky didn’t inspire much confidence.
But I can’t deny that the finished movie was a cut above most horror remakes. It took a slightly different view on the franchise and, assisted by a typically fantastic vocal performance by Mark Hamill, just had a sense of sadistic fun about it that tickled me. Maybe there is indeed room for two simultaneous takes on Child’s Play in the world. Here’s hoping for a sequel.