Child's Play 2 (1990)

One of my favorite shirts to wear - until it became a rag - was my Child's Play 2 t-shirt I got at a preview screening for this movie.  I am sure now it is not that hard to get ahold of an officially licensed Chucky shirt with many different designs and such, but this came out in 1990.  Target wasn't exactly stocking Chucky merchandise on their shelves and, while Child's Play was a popular movie, Chucky had yet to become the icon that Jason or Freddy was.

Still, Child's Play 2 debuted in the top spot of the box office for its week of release.  This was two years after the original film, which had time to gain even more popularity from cable and video rentals.  Although John Lafia replaced Tom Holland in the director's chair, Lafia had the presence of mind to have Don Mancini, who wrote the original, return to do this one as well.  Lucky for everyone Alex Vincent hadn't drastically aged or had a growth spurt at this point, so he was also able to return as Andy.

Shortly after the events of the first movie Andy has been placed in child services and his mother institutionalized for backing up her son's account that the Good Guy doll was possessed by the spirit of Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), also known as the Lakeshore Strangler.  The company that made the doll has reassembled Chucky to find out if there is any liability and, after a disastrous lab incident, an executive named Mattson (Greg Germann) is told to dispose of it.  This allows Chucky to once again escape into the wild looking for Andy, who has been placed in a foster home with Phil (Gerrit Graham) and Joanne Simpson (Jenny Agutter).  

Andy is rightfully afraid that Chucky will come looking for him since Charles is still trying to get out of the doll's body before he is trapped, and Andy is his only passage out.  This eventually leads to a string of killings as Chucky is constantly thwarted in his efforts by various circumstances.  Eventually Andy's foster sister Kyle (Christine Elise) realizes the truth and joins with him to get rid of the evil toy.

The first thing I noticed while rewatching Child's Play 2 - outside of the usual realization that after 30-some years that I remembered practically none of it - was Lafia's direction.  The Simpsons have one of the most garish houses I have ever seen, with a pink and blue color scheme, and the audience experiences seeing the interior the first time from a camera placed and Andy's height.  Much of the film is made that way so that it appears to be filmed from Andy and Chucky's perspective, making the dismissiveness of the adults sting even harder. 

Jenny Agutter is great as usual.  Unfortunately, she isn't given a whole lot to do, at least not in what made it to the screen.  Beth Grant shows up briefly in the role of Andy's disciplinarian teacher Miss Kettlewell, providing one of the more humorous deaths in the movie.  Christine Elise is decent as Kyle.  Her line delivery seems a bit off but the bond she forms with Andy feels realistic, and she's great where it counts, which is the final battle in the Good Guys factory. 

Brad Dourif's Chucky laugh is more prominent this time around and Mancini does add more comic elements to the character, although he still is more of a psychopath trapped in a doll than the murderous little scamp he later becomes.  My big complaint this time around is, unlike the first film, the deaths go largely ignored.  A major plot of Child's Play was Andy getting blamed for Chucky's crimes, while in this there are several high-profile deaths that pass without comment.  

Despite that this and the original work together to provide an origin for Chucky in his less jokey version.  I kind of like him like this before the series became too self-aware and the jokes became the highlight rather than just one-offs.  

Child's Play 2 (1990)
Time: 84 minutes
Starring: Alex Vincent, Christine Elise, Jenny Agutter, Gerrit Graham, Brad Dourif
Director: John Lafia



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