I recently watched and enjoyed the original Child’s Play and it made me want to address an elephant in the room: I don’t dislike that film franchise. Why must I say this? Well, there’s a weird misconception about me regarding those films. This requires a little backstory: Back in August 9, 2018, something strange happened. I was “called out” via Twitter by the Editor in Chief of a prominent horror site for supposedly calling the Child’s Play franchise stale. Certain anonymous goofballs chimed in saying, in so many words, “Yeah, to hell with that loser! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” Long story short, there was an impromptu competition over who could be the biggest crybaby (which has become America’s biggest pastime now, it appears).
A Dumb Semi-Scandal
Now, for starters, who cares even if I did say that the franchise was stale? People outright dislike plenty of movies I love all the time! Look at Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, for shit’s sake! I love that movie yet it’s constantly dragged through the mud. However, the problem isn’t that I said the franchise is stale. In fact, here was my initial response to that rape accusation:
If you bother to look at my original article, you’ll find that it’s actually not a harsh critique of the Child’s Play movies. It was exactly as the title says: Suggestions for keeping Child’s Play fresh. In fact, I suggest I like the series more over time because I can better appreciate the psychological horror aspects of the original now as an adult. While the article didn’t create a national scandal, I did get an idea of what it feels like to face a manufactured semi-scandal over social media.
There was Vaguely Something to Their Complaint
To be fair, I can partly understand the confusion. The article actually was promoted wrong. The website I used to write for implied I suggested it was going stale, when in fact I didn’t ( and sorry to this website, but this is the simple truth). However, it didn’t end there. Another site had to get into it, issuing an article called YOU JUST CAN’T KEEP A GOOD GUY DOWN: WHY THE CHILD’S PLAY FRANCHISE IS ANYTHING BUT STALE. This whine was because, in my article, I dared to point out how oversaturation can lead to franchise decline. Is that really such a weird point to make? It’s exactly what happened to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and others, so we know it’s a real thing. In fact, Wes Craven famously critiqued that franchise throughout its run and he started the damn thing!
I stated my case in a perfectly reasonable (and factual) manner in the original article: “It’s sort of like Freddy Krueger toward the end of the 1980s. The pop culture aspects of the character almost outweighed the horror elements, and he was rendered ‘safer’ and less effective as a story device. In a way, this is part of a general risk with sequel and reboot fatigue. Even if things are pretty well done, some will get tired of seeing the same character. Of course, if things aren’t well done at all, it can be way more groan-inducing than bone-chilling.”
See, I can say that even as a fan of all the Nightmare on Elm Street films — which, in all honesty, is my favorite horror franchise overall. Like a grownup, I can admit that some installments were better than others.
My Praise — That’s Right, Praise — for Child’s Play
So let’s finally dispense this myth that I laid down some harsh critique of Child’s Play. In reality, I have written plenty of positive articles about Child’s Play, Chucky and Brad Dourif. Here’s an article called The Actor Factor: The Great Performances of ‘Child’s Play’ (1988). It was written on June 30th, 2018 — well before that other, oh so offensive article. If anything, that article might be so positive as to make one feel nauseous! Here’s one from even earlier where I praise Dourif’s acting in general . I write, “Chucky has become the dominant killer doll in horror, and it’s hard to imagine anyone truly taking his place. As Chucky himself famously said, ‘Don’t fuck with the Chuck!’”
I can imagine someone saying: “Hey, wait a minute! I thought this loser wasn’t a fan of the Child’s Play movies and he was some dumb-ass with a gimmicky ‘hot take’ on Chucky to generate clicks.” No, hypothetical sir and/or madam crybaby. That’s a solid NOPE. However, now that I think of it, I am half-tempted to manufacture a scathing critique of this OR ANY OTHER film franchise just to hear more babies cry out in the night as I laugh my way to the imaginary bank. Bwahahahaha!
So, what are your thoughts on Chucky and the horrible, incredibly stale and loathsome Child’s Play franchise? Do you think I should have been tarred and feathered, if not flayed alive, for making the vaguest critique imaginable and having my article promoted badly via Twitter? Will such people eventually succeed in giving me a permanent persecution complex? Let me know in the comments (or don’t…see if I care!)!