Child’s Play has enjoyed the home video treatment befitting an influential hit: there were a couple of DVD’s, including a special edition, a blu-ray box set collecting it with the series of films it has inspired. That said, the film was due for an overhaul in both the transfer and extras department – and Scream Factory has obliged by adding Child’s Play to their line of “Collector’s Edition” double blu-ray sets. The result is the best presentation of this film yet.
This transfer is derived from a new 2K scan of the interpositive elements for the film and it offers a nice bump up from the earlier DVD: colors are richer and more natural in tone and the details have a new vividness. Both 5.1 and 2.0 lossless stereo mixes are included. The 5.1 mix was used for this review and it offers a subtle but effective surround mix that adds punch to the scares without going overboard.
In terms of extras, this set collects the extras from the past special edition and adds some substantial new bonus features. Here’s the rundown…
Commentary 1: this new track pairs director/co-writer Tom Holland with moderator Nathaniel Thompson of Mondo Digital. It’s a strong commentary, with Thompson providing well-researched questions and Holland providing enthusiastic and detailed responses. It covers the key changes Holland made to the original script, the techniques used to make Chucky convincing and an explanation of the suspense mechanics behind different scenes. Holland is also quite frank about the ups and downs of his career and how preview screenings shaped the film.
Commentary 2: this group track features actors Alex Vincent and Catherine Hicks plus FX designer Kevin Yagher. Yagher goes into great detail on the development of the effects and the cost-effective ways they were implemented while Hicks talks about her character’s backstory that was left out of the film and Vincent provides a kid actor’s point of view on key scenes. Yagher and Hicks also discuss their romance, which began on this film and led to marriage.
Commentary 3: this track pairs producer David Kirschner with original writer Don Mancini. It’s a relaxed but informative session where Mancini acts as an interviewer to Kirschner as they get into lots of scene-specific production details and a scene-by-scene story analysis. Mancini also gets into what his original, very different script was like.
Behind The Scenes Special Effects Footage (1:00:08): an extensive reel of camcorder video footage provided by FX assistant Howard Berger. You observe the development of the Chucky effects, including sculpting and the development of animatronics, plus on-set footage of the effects being brought to life. You get a new appreciation for the complexity involved in these effects – and as a bonus, there’s plenty of ’80s hairstyles and joking around.
Howard Berger Interview (40:53): a sitdown chat with the FX veteran as he goes deep on one of his early gigs as an assistant. He talks about the different phases of Chucky effects, working with little person stuntman Ed Gale, memories of the cast and crew and having the luxury of a long schedule.
Ed Gale Interview (40:02): the little person stuntman who interpreted Chucky in certain shots reveals how he got the gig, how he studied mime to do the work and the challenges of acting physically instead of facially. He expresses high admiration for Holland, gives an intense account of his big fire stunt and also touches on the film’s sequels.
Evil Comes In Small Packages (24:49): a retrospective featurette on the film from the old special edition DVD. Kirschner, Mancini, John Lafia and Brad Dourif all appear here. The segment covers the evolution of the concept and the motivations behind various story changes as well as casting tales. There’s also some great footage of Dourif rehearsing with the other actors prior to the shoot.
Building A Nightmare (10:05): a featurette on the FX where Yagher provides an explanation of how the animatronics for Chucky worked, with snippets of behind-the-scenes footage illustrating his talk. There are also some testimonials from Yagher’s colleagues, including Tom Savini.
A Monster Convention (5:26): a quick segment depicting a Q&A panel with Vincent, Hicks and Chris Sarandon from the Monster Mania convention in 2007. There’s some interesting thoughts on their roles and the Chucky puppet from the cast.
Introducing Chucky (6:25): a vintage EPK with plenty of cast and crew soundbites. It’s oriented around the themes of having a fear of dolls and the film’s special effects.
Vintage Featurette (4:54): another EPK that utilizes more narration and less soundbites.
Other Extras: a trailer, a t.v. spot and two photo galleries, one for behind-the-scenes images and another for posters and lobby cards.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Child’s Play, click here.