Bureau 42 October Review – Child’s Play (1988)

The Child’s Play franchise all started here, with the first movie of a franchise as unkillable as the antagonist.  Did the origin warrant two an a half decades of follow ups the way Clive Barker’s offering did?


If the review of an old style web page doesn’t sounds like the opinion you are looking for, you should also check in with Kris and Dave at The Nerd Byword.  Each year they feature a handful of horror movie’s for their Nerd Nightmare and horror enthusiast Dave makes self-admitted ‘fraidy-cat’ Kris watch and review.  Child’s Play’s episode drops October 3rd.

Cast and Crew

Directed by Tom Holland1

Story by Don Mancini
Screenplay by Don Mancini and John Lafia and Tom Holland

Adam Scott as Mark
Zach Cherry as Dylan
Britt Lower as Helly
Tramell Tillman as Milchick
Jen Tullock as Devon
Dichen Lachman as Ms. Casey
Michael Chernus as Ricken
John Turturro as Irving
Christopher Walken as Burt
Patricia Arquette as Harmony Cobel
Marc Geller as Kier Eagan


A single mother gives her son a much sought-after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer. (From IMDB)

High Point

The supernatural elements hint at a larger mythology that could be interesting to explore. 2

Low Point

This is a typical horror movie, and if you were to edit it for television, could easily become an episode of a cop show (if the cop show likes the weird stuff.)

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 While the idea of using children’s toys to be scary wasn’t new, the toy being the antagonist seems novel. That said, everything beyond this is a collection of horror tropes.

Effects: 3/6 It wasn’t the era of CGI, but the practical effects and trick camera work are convincing enough for you to get the idea of what is being portrayed.

Acting: 3/6 The actors all seemed bored with the job.  The child actor seems especially detached, but I think that is how you can expect a younger child to behave (maybe a child half the age of the one in this film.)

Emotional Response: 2/6 This movie doesn’t reach make it to the point of being convincing enough to elicit an emotional response.  Had the plot gone in a direction where you could have thought it was the kid at the beginning , the horror for a parent might have come through.

Story: 2/6 The story’s concept is intriguing, and the sequels owe their existence to that concept more than this movie.

Production: 3/6 The effects and quality holds up, as there are no glaring errors, but that doesn’t mean the quality was really there at the beginning.  The runtime is less than ninety minutes, which indicates this was the sort of movie made more as filler than feature.

Overall: 2/6 The movie needed more horror or more fun.  For a ‘classic horror,’ it just felt lacking.

In total, Child’s Play (1988) receive 18/42

October Reviews:
Oct. 8: X (2022)
Oct: 15: Werewolf by Night (2022)
Oct. 22: Howard’s Mill (2021)
Oct. 29: The Velvet Vampire (1971)
Oct. 31: Nope (2022) and The Munsters (2022)

1Not that one.
2I haven’t seen the sequels, so I can’t say if it ever is explored.

2 replies on “Bureau 42 October Review – Child’s Play (1988)”

  1. You know, I like horror movies, but I have never really understood the love this franchise receives. It has a memorable monster, yes, and is probably worth seeing for that, but the rest feels rather stock and predictable.

    • Exactly! I am surprised this was picked up to make more, but I guess Hollywood was more of a fan of making sequels than new content even in the late eighties.

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