They have burnt him, they have decapitated him, they have shot his heart…
… but now he is back!
… and it won’t be the last time.
In Child’s Play 2 (1990) the doll possessed by the murderous Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) returns to complete what he started in part 1: transport his soul into Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) before he is trapped in the body of the puppet.
For the complete retrospective click here. For Child’s Play 2 (1990) hit the jump.
The inevitable return
Like Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and so many other slasher icons Chucky is not dead for long. Even though it was established in part 1 that Chucky can be killed by shooting him through his heart – a side effect of him gradually turning human inside the doll body – the meaning of the word death might have changed from “never coming back” to “sleeping until the next part”.
Child’s Play 2 starts with a very Frankenstein-esque montage of someone putting the mutilated doll back together, polishing it up and voila: Chucky 2.0!
The reason for this falls into the pits of contrived franchise storytelling. The Play Pals company who produces the Good Guys wants to refute the rumors about the killer doll. So they reassure the public by putting the doll back together to show everyone that the doll is harmless.
New family, same rules
Andy Barclay has been separated by his mother (who has been deemed crazy for telling the Chucky story to the public) and is now given to a foster family who specializes on tough cases. Next to the two parents there is also Kyle (Christine Elise) who is a rebellious teenager visualized by her smoking, listening to loud music and wearing a leather hat.
The family even has a Good Guys doll (named Tommy after Child’s Play‘s director Tom Holland) and Andy tries to overcome his fears by keeping the doll around. But a Good Guys doll can easily replaced by another doll with much more sinister intentions…
A new perspective
Child’s Play 2 is extremely an extreme predictable affair with one narrative decision that signalled a change in tone:
A lot of the movie is spent with Chucky and the audience watches as the doll does nasty things to get closer to Andy. This sadly means that the entire scary premise is now gone as we watch two competing players.
It also doesn’t help that Chucky’s quips are very comedic and take away more tension. Since we know Chucky’s every move it is not even suspenseful what the puppet is up to and adds to the predictablility.
To the playstore of terror!
The first two acts of Child’s Play 2 completely fall victim of a screenplay that is trying to mimick the first part with all the possible suspense sucked out by the Chucky intermissions. But the finale of the movie is not a simple rehash of the house-fight. Instead the movie goes for full on crazy action.
In true tradition of sequels the drama gets turned up to the maximum and also in good sequel tradition the movie expands the scope and gives us something that ties into the mythos: the finale happens in the Play Pals factory where thousands of Chucky dolls serve as a menacing backdrop for the final confrontation.
I really hope that factories have better safety precautions (or maybe the 90s had laxer security) because in this movie the assembly line is a death trap guarded by only one security guard.
Friends ’til the end
What makes this finale different to the first part is how gruesome it is. Chucky goes completely mental at the end and it is scary. Not scary in terms of jump scare or the spooky image of a doll, scary in an unsettling way. Chucky is turning more human and therefore taking him apart gets very disturbing. Dourif’s voice acting and the animatronics are top notch and the more Chucky gets hurt the wilder and threatening he becomes.
Child’s Play 2 is a movie is a sequel to a movie that doesn’t capture, let alone improve upon, the tone of the first movie. It has a very intense final act but more importantly the moments focusing on Chucky are the seed (no pun intended) that will grow into the franchise’s best entry.