Where evil twins and friends come together to lovingly snark Point Horror and other teen genre fiction
 

Recap #198: Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Title: Child’s Play 2

Tagline: Look out Jack! Chucky’s Back! (I’m certain it used to be “Sorry Jack! Chucky’s Back!” on my VHS copy, but that went the way of the dodo, so I can’t check.)

Director: John Lafia

Released: 9 November 1990 (US release – exactly two years after the first)

Summary: While Andy’s mother is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, the young boy is placed in foster care, and Chucky, determined to claim Andy’s soul, is not far behind. (from IMDb)

Note: If you missed the first in this series, you may wonder who I am, or who JC is. I’m Dove, of NostalgicBookshelf.com, PointHorror.com and SweetValley.Online, and the illustrious JC is the snark queen found at Oh God Why?! Nostalgia.

We have teamed up to recap this whole series. It took almost a whole year to arrange this, mostly because I kept thinking, “I really must speak to JC about it…” and then didn’t, whereas JC got tired of my faffing around and collared me. Right before NaNo, to teach me a lesson! [JC: Dove gives me way too much credit for my calculatedness. In reality, I just have shit timing and am terrible about getting back to people on stuff.] [Dove: That’s precisely what a scheming genius would say.]

So, let’s do this thing. Also, you can read JC’s recap of the first movie on Oh God Why?! Nostalgia or Point Horror.com.

Further Note: I refer to the 80s and 90s in this recap. I know it was released in 1990, but to my logic, that means it was written and possibly made in 1989, hence my bounce between the decades. And it’s not as if the clock ticked over from 11:59 to midnight, and everyone immediately discarded their scrunchies and luminous clothing in favour of chocolate brown bootcut trousers. There’s overlap in the styles.

Initial Thoughts

I actually like this movie a lot more than the first. As I mentioned in the previous recap, I first saw a promo image of this movie (Chucky with a nosebleed) in one of those promo mags movie rental places (of the non-Blockbuster kind) gave away free. I was massively disturbed by the image. I found it compelling but terrifying. And I kept going back to it and then being scared by it and hiding the magazine away. It was like the time I broke my fingers. I kept flexing them and then crying in pain, and then flexing them again to see if it still hurt.

I think, as a kid, I liked that this was faster paced, a bit more gory – I’m not a gore hound. Actually, blood and guts is a huge turnoff for me – but this worked for my young self on all levels. The pace was faster, the kills were more elaborate, there were plenty of moments I hid behind my hands, and I really felt the tension. Perhaps taking away the parent figure increased my tension? Either way, the division of labour on this series really works for me! [JC: There’s something to be said for sequels being able to get straight to it without having to mess around with 45 minutes of setup. Here’s Chucky; he’s trapped in the doll again; there’s Andy – go get ’em. Simple.]

Recap:

We open with simple white on black credits and the score, and I have to say that this is the thing that this series falls down on for me. It doesn’t have a score that instantly takes me into this world. I love scores. I get them stuck in my head. My brain uses them as shorthand for fandoms. Other horror series have their scores – Halloween being the most iconic, but Jason has his ki-ki-ki, ma-ma-ma [JC: I don’t care what the filmmakers say; I will always hear it as chi-chi-chi ah-ah-ah], Freddy has the score based on the jump rope song, Exorcist is bloody iconic, Candyman has one of the best scores of all time (in my humble opinion), Silent Hill may fail on a number of levels, but the music and score is not one of them. Child’s Play has generic 80s slasher. And it’s scored by Graeme Revell who did The Crow, which does feature heavily in my score playlist.

A whole paragraph for 12 seconds of cinema. Strap in, folks. I may get wordy.

But once we get to the visuals, we have a burnt Chucky from the first movie being restored to pristine condition (intercut with visuals of Chicago… or that’s where I assume it is. I’m British, these images are lost on me). [JC: We know it’s Chicago because literally everything has “Chicago” written on it somewhere.] [Dove: I’m British… we don’t pay attention.]

Also, Andy (Alex Vincent) gets first billing. Not bad for a kid who hadn’t acted before the first movie.

The restoration of Chucky is both gross and really interesting. The burned skin and hair is scraped away, his metal skull is buffed and his teeth are scraped before a brand new skin is laid over the skull. The teeth still look dirty. Appealing, right? [JC: You forgot the horrifically human-looking tongue. Why does a doll have a tongue like that?!] A brand new body is attached, and I have no idea why they’d do this. Incinerate the doll, make a new one, programme its voice box to call itself Chucky, and pretend everything’s fine and working perfectly, and that kid and his mother were cray-cray. That’s what I’d do if I was given this clearly stupid task… and I was corrupt, obv.

This time around, they put batteries in the doll before shipping. Is that a new company policy, or is it just for testing purposes? Either way, they’re still Good Guy branded, which I take to mean they’ll work for half of Christmas or your kid’s birthday, then conk out, and you’ve got one cranky little kid, and no opportunity to buy new batteries. #The80s

Child's Play 2 (1990)

This isn’t creepy. At all.

Clearly rich dude, aka Mr Sullivan appears in a black stretch limo, greeted by his lackey, Mattson (Greg Germann aka Richard Fish from Ally McBeal). [JC: I wonder if one of his famous back-of-the-knee massages would have chilled Chucky out at all?] Here we get the exposition. Sullivan is about to face a very testy board, who are rather put out that their billions of dollars of investment has taken a bit of a nosedive following the tabloids running amok with the story of Andy Barclay and his haunted Good Guy doll. Mattson confirms that the police were smart enough to “deny everything” – which I take to mean, refuse to back up Karen and Andy, as they didn’t do anything worth denying – but Karen is a different story. This put her under psychiatric care, and her boy is in a children’s home awaiting foster carers.

Mattson says that the rumours going around is that someone tampered with a random doll’s voice box for a joke. Something along these lines really happened. The Barbie Liberation Organization switched the voice boxes of Barbie and GI Joe, so Barbie would spit out “Vengeance is mine!” while GI Joe simpered “Math class is hard.” Not only hilarious, but they were challenging gender stereotypes. A+ you awesome people.

They enter a room (kind of like an operating theatre, with a viewing area) as Mattson announces they have the doll. Most of it was burned, so it’s been replaced, but they’ve checked everything and found nothing amiss, they have a report to soothe the stockholders confirming this. Not really sure if they could check the voice box, which we’ve seen is part of the body and Mattson said it was badly burned, but ok, you get down with your progressive tech from 1990.

The techs are nearly done, they just have to pop in the eyes, by way of a machine made of nightmare fuel even before things go awry. It kind of stabs the eyeballs into the doll. Just trust me, you watch this, you imagine pain. The machine stops before it inserts the eyeballs into Chucky’s face. The techs exchange confused looks, attempt to restart it, and finally thump the thing. Eyeballs are go!

Also they somehow generate a bolt of electricity that travels through the machine and kills the tech who was thumping it. Complete with some really terrific 80s-style lightning effects. The electricity cooks the tech for a minute or so, before propelling him across the room in a beautiful backflip that might have gotten him to the Olympics, right through the viewing pane of glass. [JC: Wheeeeee! . . . oh.]

He is extremely dead right now.

Then we cut over to Andy, who’s playing a card game with a generic counsellor type. And it’s immediately apparent the kid has levelled up in his acting. The counsellor asks how Andy’s doing, whether he still has nightmares, and Andy is quick to say that he doesn’t want to talk about it, and repeats by rote (complete with fed-up eyeroll) that “talking makes the scary stuff go away.” I’m not saying it’s an Oscar-worthy performance, but it’s much better than the last movie.

The script, on the other hand, is a bit crap with the exposition. Andy explains the sitch (saying it’s a dream): Chucky put his soul into the doll to avoid going to hell, he wants to swap into Andy’s body, it has to be Andy because he’s the first person Chucky told the secret to. It’s fine, I guess, but the scene reads as if this is the first time Andy’s spoken of it, but clearly he’s fed up with speaking about it. I can’t get behind a counsellor whose reaction is WOW, THIS IS BRAND NEW INFORMATION TO ME every time their client tried to explain their ongoing issues. [JC: This definitely seems awkward. I always assumed this was the first time Andy had spoken to this therapist, and he was just familiar with Andy’s file? I don’t know; it’s obviously just here for the audience who might not be familiar with the first movie or needed a refresher.] [Dove: Agreed, I saw the point of the scene, but it wasn’t steller writing.]

Over in Play Pals HQ, the EMTs rush in to save/collect dead guy, and we see that the table where Chucky should be is now empty. Sullivan storms through telling Mattson that this never happened, and the whole matter is over and done with. Chucky is at the door, and Mattson asks what he should do with the doll. “Stick it up your ass!” Sullivan suggests. He’s nice, isn’t he?

Child's Play 2 (1990)

I am overwhelmed by smugness and gigantic hair

Back with Andy, the smuggest couple in the world is speaking to a social worker with the largest and most 80s hair I’ve seen for a long time. (She doesn’t have a name, she’s credited as “social worker”.) [JC: Huh. Everything I’ve seen says her name is Grace Poole, and she says her name at least once in the movie. The actress is Grace Zabriskie, who’s been in a shit ton of stuff, but whom I always associate with Tales From the Crypt.] [Dove: Google fail. I apologise.] She explains that Andy was traumatised by the murders but has concocted a fantasy where the doll was responsible so he can cope. The social worker says that they’ve done such a splendid job on so many broken kids before, maybe they could fix Andy. Joanne immediately says “Always room for one more,” with a complete lack of warmth, and her husband, Phil, continues to glare thoughtfully at Andy through the one-way glass. Phil comments that Andy looks “normal enough” but expresses concerns that the kid might be a budding psychopath. Ok, he’s not that blunt, but he’s even less warm that his indifferent wife.

I swear, these two put me in constant terror of Social Services. You see, kid!Dove was often threatened with Social Services and foster carers if she didn’t fly right. In hindsight, kid!Dove may have done better in foster care than at home, but if these two are examples, kid!Dove would take her chances where she was. They are completely cold. I don’t know whether it’s a deliberate choice to make them so unlikeable right off the bat, or whether my issues are clouding what’s on screen. That’s why I’m glad JC is here to give a different viewpoint. [JC: Phil is terrible. Like, really, really awful. Hate him. I always thought Joanne seemed all right, though, at least until later on. I read her as kind of sad about not having bio kids, and sort of beat down from having to deal with Phil day in and day out.]

To be fair, removing the parental support from Andy (Karen) and then giving a less-than-half-assed substitute did up the tension because Andy’s still just a kid and now he’s on his own. On the other hand… well, we’ll get to that when we get there.

The social worker explains who Charles Lee Ray is, because apparently Phil and Joanne don’t watch the news. Then again, they’re white middle class people who probably don’t walk down by the lakeshore late at night, so getting murdered is for other people. *ahem* Poor people. Also, she says that he killed a bunch of people in voodoo rituals. Given how stabby the last movie was, I can’t imagine that this writer’s interpretation of “voodoo rituals” calls for much strangulation. [JC: “He was a strangler . . .” Right, right, uh-huh. “. . . who killed twelve people in voodoo rituals!” Uh, wait what?]

Phil clearly doesn’t want the kid. Joanne doesn’t seem enthusiastic. So… SOLD to the indifferent white folks with the nice house!

And it’s really that quick. They take him home that day. Joanne quizzes him about what he likes, and he says chocolate, and they all laugh, and Phil scares the life out of me with his sullen glares. Joanne comments they need to stop at the organic store, and Andy takes a moment to stare at a picture of his mom. Phil asks Andy if he likes sushi – these guys were hipsters before hipsters were a thing. Phil tries to make eye contact with Andy in the rearview mirror, and in doing so nearly totals the car on a Good Guys delivery truck. There’s a nice shot of it going past Andy with the logo reflected in his window.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Behold! The ugliest house I’ve ever seen in a horror movie.

Their house is fucking ugly. Even by the 80s standards. It looks like a little girl’s room from the 80s, but all throughout the house. The walls are pink and the woodwork is blue. It’s the kind of stuff I’d put in a Sims house because I’ve got no taste and I think it’s funny. (IRL, my walls are beige. I can’t be trusted with any other decision.) As for the actual décor? It looks like one of those shops that sells vintage shit that runs the gamut from grandfather clocks, to toy cars with the illegal lead paint, to Nazi war memorabilia to earthenware pots from ye olde days.

Because when you have a house full of damaged kids, what you really need is a bunch of expensive breakable shit at grasping hand level that you’re really fucking precious about. Andy lasts about four seconds before attempting to touch one of these garish priceless artefacts (this one is kept at the bottom of the stairs on a table about a foot off the ground), and is immediately smacked down by foster fuckstick Phil, who explains that it’s fragile and they collect it. He doesn’t explain why they keep so much breakable shit at such low levels or why the most precious piece is kept where it’s almost certain to get smashed. I guess because then we’d all know that it’s a deliberate trap.

OH HAI GUIZE, LOOKS LIKE MY ISSUES ARE RAISING THEIR UGLY HEADS!

Child's Play 2 (1990)

See this ugly statue, right at shin height in the highest traffic area of the house? DON’T FUCKING TOUCH IT.

Joanne explains this ugly blue statue has been in her family for three generations and it’s very precious to her. PUT IT ON A HIGH SHELF BEHIND A GLASS DOOR YOU ABSOLUTE FUCKNUZZLE. I have a copy of Mimic, who is worth a mere £150 and will bounce if she falls off the shelf, and she’s still kept on my “precious” high shelf in case one of my friends/family brings a child to my house and that child runs amok before I can stop it. And I know like two people with kids, maximum. The odds of this happening are very fucking slim. You two constantly foster kids who, let’s face it, will have issues (even if their families were perfect and they’re taken away for the wrong reasons, that kid will still be upset/angry), and you leave your breakables at shin level. Just fucking die in a fire.

I have issues. Bad parenting/actively gaslighting/tricking a child is a real trigger for my rage.

Joanne explains that the ugly statue was her grandmother’s, she gave it to Joanne’s mother, who gave it to Joanne. Andy asks who she’ll give it to, and Joanne and Phil wince and change the subject. And I don’t care. I wouldn’t trust these people with a tulip, much less a child.

There’s a bunch of deleted scenes that I’ve never seen, but are listed here that further expand on Phil and Joanne. They show that Joanne keeps getting her heart broken when they take in kids and then have to let them go. What they really want to do is adopt, but they keep getting turned down. HA! TURNED DOWN. MULTIPLE TIMES. Not wait-listed, turned down. Someone, somewhere, knows these asshats can’t be trusted with kids. In these deleted/extended scenes, Phil stills seems to hate kids, but wants to make Joanne happy by obtaining some. And he seems to be even keener to get rid of Andy than the theatrical release shows. I didn’t even know that was possible.

Back to the movie I’m watching though… Joanne tells Andy to go upstairs and explore, then turns to her husband and asks, once Andy is out of earshot, what he thinks. Phil sighs and says he’ll get used to it. Suck it, Phil.

Andy walks down an endless ugly pink hallway with more blue woodwork and long windows with nets a la the Total Eclipse of the Heart (or is it one of Meat Loaf’s?) music video, and I want to know how gigantic their house is. Seriously, I can see four doors from here. You know how many doors I have on my landing? Three. And that includes the airing cupboard. Also, my entire house could fit on this landing. And why is it so ugly? When I was seventeen, I took my very gay BFF as my plus-one to a party at another friend’s house. The other friend always intimidated me because her parents were so obviously rich and so obviously hated me. When we got home I asked him what he thought of her house. He said, “Typical middle class. Fabulous house. Shite décor.”

Since Joanne gave him no instructions about where to go, Andy heads towards the door where music is coming from. In it we find Kyle (Christine Elise) smoking a cigarette. Kyle is literally the coolest. She’s like the 90s on legs, but in 1989. Leather hat, clunky boots with thick socks, heavy almost goth jewellery, multiple piercings, red lipstick and a cigarette. My kid self idolised Kyle. When it was revealed in a teen magazine that she was dating Corey Haim, all my friends sighed. “What a lucky girl.” Not me, I was thinking, “That dude’s best friends with Feldman and dating Kyle? What a lucky guy.” (This is one of those thoughts that is much harsher in hindsight.) [JC: Kyle is the best. I love the shorts/fishnets/combat boots combo. Also, I’m a total sucker for girls having traditionally masculine names. I find it oddly charming.] [Dove: Me too. I realised I overdid it when I had a group of female friends in a single story called Frankie, George, Kyle and Corey. I had to calm myself down.]

Child's Play 2 (1990)

There is no cooler girl in a horror movie. I promise.

Joanne catches Kyle smoking, and the look on Kyle’s face says she gives zero fucks. Joanne confiscates the pack saying Phil will kill her if he catches her again. Kyle takes another lug before stubbing her cig. Then Joanne gives her a hard time because she’s still living out of a suitcase when she’s been with them for three weeks. Kyle retorts that she’s never stayed anywhere longer than a month so what’s the point. Joanne says with that attitude, she can see why. Yes. It’s obviously the teenager’s fault that no adult has ever made them feel safe. Get fucked, Joanne.

Joanne asks Kyle to help with dinner, but Kyle says she can’t, she has a job. And Joanne chastises her, saying it’s the third night in a row and she needs to spend time with “the family”. Kyle says she needs the money, because she’ll be on her own next year. Joanne blithely says, “Yes, well, until then you’re with us.” [JC: I don’t read this as blithe so much as uncomfortable and clueless as to how to address a kid about to age out of the system. The American foster care system is flawed as hell and so many kids just get thrown away the second they turn eighteen. It’s awful, and I think Joanne has no idea what to say, so she offers inane platitudes in place of real acknowledgement of the situation. But maybe I’m going too much the other way and giving her too much credit.] [Dove: See, this is the benefit of co-recapping. The readers aren’t just stuck with my biased view. And it makes me reconsider on my next watch.]

Get fucked, Joanne. You want this kid to skip work to help you with dinner and are offended that she needs to sock away cash – and this isn’t the UK, so she could easily lose her job for missing work – and when faced with the reality of why she needs money, your only response is “Eh, but you don’t need it right this second.” Also, there are very few situations in which someone could go from zero to “we’re family” in three weeks. I feel quite strongly this is not one of them.

I AM BEGGING CHUCKY TO KILL THESE FOSTER CARERS RIGHT NOW.

But I’m not sure this is what the writers were going for. I’m reacting badly because I have issues. And because I’m watching it 28 years after it was made. I think Phil and Joanne are meant to be the good guys. Clueless about the truth of Chucky, so make some wrong turns, obviously, but still good. [JC: I think Joanne is meant to be good. I’m having a hard time envisioning the universe in which Phil is the good guy.]

Joanne takes Andy down the hall and as she leaves, Kyle seeks out her backup cig packet. I don’t want to assign blame for my own personal choices, but Kyle looked so cool to my young self (as did Christian Slater in Pump Up the Volume), and I ended up with a 20 a day habit. I’m not saying it’s directly related, but there’s a smidge of overlap at work here at the very least.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

♫ I’m blue da ba dee da ba daa ♫

Joanne shows Andy his room, which is literally all blue. Everything’s blue. Walls, ceiling, woodwork, furniture, toys. EVERYTHING is blue. It’s like someone used the palette wheel in Sims 3 but had no imagination. Joanne claims she made the (blue) curtains just for Andy. I bet she says that to all the kids. Especially since Joanne had no idea Andy even existed before this morning. She bets blue is Andy’s favourite colour. He doesn’t answer. That always pleased me, even as a kid. Andy dives straight into the toybox and bypasses the life-size AK-47 and picks up a toy truck. This pleases me too. (Even back then, our toy guns had to be luminous colours to show they weren’t real. We Brits really don’t like guns. Not even toys.)

She tells him there are more toys in the closet, and Andy reaches for a skateboard on the top shelf (which dimwit thought putting a heavy thing where it could easily fall was a good idea?), and knocks a bunch of stuff down, including a Good Guy doll. Andy understandably yells and bolts for the door, where he is caught by Fuckwit Phil who is delighted to find Andy breaking rules he had no idea about. This rule? No running in the house. Phil grabs Andy and sternly tells him it’s just a doll, and are you listening to me, Andy? [JC: I KNOW YOU WERE TRAUMATIZED BY GOOD GUYS DOLLS A YEAR (?) AGO, BUT YOU WILL PLAY WITH THIS DOLL AND YOU WILL LOVE IT, YOU LITTLE ASSHOLE!] [What is the timeline on this? I know Alex Vincent is two years older, but it reads to me like the events of the last movie are quite recent in universe.]

Joanne apologises and grabs the doll to get shot of it. This triggers the voice, “Hi, I’m Tommy, and I’m your friend to the end. Hi-de-ho! Ha ha ha!”

They leave him to settle in and Andy leans against the door looking utterly fed up.

Then we cut to that night where Mattson’s leaving the office in the rain, carrying Chucky and his briefcase. He tries to toss Chucky in the trunk, but it’s too packed in there, so throws him in the back seat. Given how many times he smashes the trunk lid against Chucky’s face and how rough he is when handling him, I’m pretty sure he’ll regret that decision.

Mattson then calls his girlfriend on his car phone, and quickly lies to say he didn’t forget the vodka for their two-week anniversary. (What are you guys, twelve? I’ve never met a single adult that celebrates such a tiny milestone. [JC: Maybe it’s the two week anniversary of them finally trying anal?] Although a deleted scene explains this is his mistress, and his wife thinks he’s working late. [JC: I don’t think I’ve ever seen the deleted scenes from this movie, and I was still under the impression this is his mistress. Maybe because he’s wearing a wedding ring and seems like a scumbag?] [Dove: I never clocked the wedding ring, but I always saw his type as: high heels, D-cup, not bright enough to contradict him, so his scumbag side is apparent.]) He pulls over at a liquor store. It then cuts to Chucky, who is now sitting upright.

Cut to the children’s home where Andy was previously staying and a phone call coming in. Chucky seems to be doing a slight accent to hide his voice, but how the social worker would recognise the voice of a serial killer she’s never met, I’ve got no idea. He says he’s Andy’s Uncle Charles and needs to get in contact with him. Data Protection be damned!

Cut to Mattson inside the liquor store and tries to pay with an American Express gold card. It doesn’t work. He’s then distracted by his car alarm going off. He runs outside and everything’s normal, no-one around, Chucky back face down like he should be. Mattson admits defeat and gets in and drives off. (I always get this scene confused with the one in Child’s Play, where Chuck’s stabbing through the seat.)

Chucky pops up with a gun and tells Mattson not to move. Mattson takes the talking doll absolutely in stride, not thrown for a second, and asks what he wants. Isn’t there a gag later in the series where Chucky relies on or gets sick of the “OMG, you’re a doll” moment? If that’s true, clearly this kill did not contribute to it. [JC: I don’t think he can actually see Chucky initially. By the time he realizes it’s a fucking doll killing him, he’s already dying. Otherwise, he is definitely taking the whole “killer doll” thing way too calmly.]

He gets Mattson to drive – and for the first time ever, I saw the Simpsons’ house. I always just assumed Chucky was killing for revenge and somehow got there because the plot required him to, rather than he got him to drive nearly to the house, got him to park in a nearby lot, and then walked the rest of the short distance. Although this lot really looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Chucky instructs Mattson to put his arms behind the seat and then ties him up with a skipping rope, which we don’t see, because ain’t nobody got time for all the animatronics and post work that it would require. Then Chucky has a bit of fun fucking with Mattson, who keeps offering some kind of bribe to live.

Chucky pulls the trigger. And it’s a water gun. He finds this hysterical. Mattson does a relieved cry-laugh, then falls silent when Chucky vanishes from sight. Chucky then pops up with a plastic bag and suffocates Mattson.

And we’re still zero for *checks* four? Really? Only four kills in the first movie? Ok, we’re zero for four in the strangulation by the “Lakeshore Strangler”. And this has literally never bugged me until JC brought it up. Now it is a hill I will die on. JC might be with me. And we’ll have pineapple on our pizza on this hill. [JC: I suppose asphyxiation is strangulation-adjacent, at least. Also, yay, pineapple!]

Child's Play 2 (1990)

I got rid of the thing you’re terrified of. I put it next to the thing you’re not allowed to touch. In the middle of the hallway.

Back at the ugliest house in the world, we discover that Joanne did a bang-up job of “getting rid” of the Tommy Good Guy doll. She left it right next to that ugly blue statue that nobody’s allowed to touch. You know, opposite the front door. Next to the stairs. Basically, she put it in the most high traffic area in the entire house.

We discover the Simpsons do not lock their front door. Because I guess they live in “a nice area”. We see Chucky run across the road in the rain (his POV) and then his hand open the door.

Upstairs, Joanne is reading Hansel and Gretel to Andy. She cuts it short and says they’ll finish it tomorrow. Andy asks her to stay, he misses his mother, and Joanne – shockingly – actually manages to be decent about this. She reassures him he will see his mom again, and she’ll stay with him as long as he wants. She even sings to him. It’s moments like this that make me think that Phil and Joanne are supposed to be, without question, the good guys.

Downstairs, Chucky is now in the house. On hearing Joanne’s singing, he curses – I think it’s because from a few bars of Spirit of God, Chucky understands that Andy is with an adult, but since that’s a bonkers leap of logic, it comes off more that he hates Joanne’s singing. Or religious singing. Or that song in particular. Or all of the above.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

“Hi, I’m Tommy. I like to be stabbed.”

His swear causes Tommy to turn in his direction and introduce himself. “Shut up, you idiot!” Chucky responds and punches him. And it always makes me smirk. The blow causes Tommy to fall to the ground and glitch, with all face animations going at once and repeating “I like to be hugged” over and over. Chucky does what any person would do when faced with that situation. He grabs the ugly blue statue and beats Tommy to oblivion. And that’s pretty satisfying too. [JC: I find myself unabashedly #TeamChucky in this one.]

Upstairs, Andy hears the impact and bolts upright asking what it is. Joanne was apparently oblivious, and says nothing, nobody’s going to hurt him, go to sleep.

Chucky then buries Tommy under the swing, and it’s both funny and unsettling.

Cut to the next morning, where Fuckwit Phil drops all the pieces of the statue on the kitchen table and interrogates the kids about whodunit. Joanne is inexplicably wearing something so ugly it’s borderline Christmas sweater.

Clearly the adults did not use the stairs last night after the kids went to bed, because otherwise Joanne would have noticed it was intact when she took Andy up, and broken after she put him to bed. Or either of them would have noticed the pieces on the floor. This means that everyone in this house went to bed at the same time as eight- or nine-year-old Andy. [JC: Unless they think he got out of bed in the middle of the night for the sole purpose of ANDY SMASH!]

Kyle sassily asks for her lawyer, and Joanne shuts that down. It’s not funny. Phil says someone owes Joanne and apology, and they’re both grounded until someone fesses up. Kyle says she has a date, but nope that’s out. In an alternate universe, where Chucky’s plan didn’t come to fruition, Kyle and Andy, aged 47 and 38, are still grounded.

Cut to downstairs in the laundry room, and Kyle grousing this is not how she dreamed of spending her day off. Andy maintains that he didn’t break the statue, and then charms her a bit by asking if she wants to hear him say her name backwards. He turns his back and says “Kyle.” She then hands him her cigarette and tells him to hold it. Andy takes a puff and starts coughing. They have a back and forth about why she’d smoke if it’s horrible, and despite the fact he’s asking annoying questions, she seems to like him.

Kyle explains the scariest thing in the world: the Simpsons are actually quite good foster carers. There are many that are worse. Which is obviously true, but this is bleak. The look on Andy’s face shows he gets this.

Upstairs, Fuckwit Phil and Jerkass Joanne discuss the situation. Phil says he’s not happy, and Joanne asks if he’s having second thoughts. Second thoughts? This dude has been against Andy from the very second he clapped eyes on him. He’s still on his first thoughts, Joanne. I know this and I’m not even married to him. Phil says that Andy’s too troubled and he’s not come to terms with the whole doll thing. Dude, it’s been like four minutes since a doll murdered his unofficial aunt and tried to kill him. Get fucked.

Andy overhears this conversation. He goes to the foot of the stairs and approaches what he believes to be Tommy. He eyes him with distrust and says, “I hate you.” This provokes “Tommy’s” introduction spiel, but there’s a pause. “Hi, I’m… Tommy.” [JC: This shit cracks me up every time. My brain always fills it in as “Hi, I’m*oh fuck what was this doll’s name again oh yeah* Tommy!”] Andy, genre savvy now, checks for batteries. And they’re present.

In the last recap, JC asked if Chucky could manipulate the voice box/duplicate the voice. I think this is evidence of one of those two things, because he’s Chucky, he hasn’t got the name “Tommy” in his voice box. So he can either run his voice through it, or he can mimic the voice. Or, incredibly unlikely, the factory really did put a Tommy voice box in there at pure random. [JC: Yup, I’m just the soul of a serial killer, making a voicebox say whatever the fuck I want it to, no big deal. Got a new one for ya – does the doll have vocal cords? How is Chucky’s human voice coming out of the doll? Is this insinuating that our voices are tied to our souls?] [Dove: Well… *pauses* … *considers* … *has an existential breakdown*]

Andy heads through the kitchen again. He deliberately pauses in front of the adults, hugging Tommy, and says hi. The hi the adults give back is confused but pleased, and it’s probably the one time Fuckwit Phil doesn’t sound pissed off at Andy.

Kyle and Andy head outside. Kyle is now gardening. I don’t know if this is a thing in America, but a lot of American media does seem to portray foster carers as people who are looking for free home help, with the added bonus of cash from the government for housing a kid. This isn’t really a trope in Australian or UK media.

Andy asks about Kyle’s parents, and she says she doesn’t miss what she’s never had. Her dad took off before she was born, and her mother put her up for adoption when she was three. She made a point to forget them. Then Kyle says she needs a break, and takes over from Andy who was on the swing. Andy pushes her – to her protests – and Chucky looks over in their direction. Kyle’s kicking up the dirt under the swing, and that’s where he buried Tommy. Phil calls them in for dinner before anything happens.

That night, Andy sleeps, and Chucky, sitting on his chest of drawers, gets his killing face on.

Over with the parents, Joanne is making some kind of hideous spotted shawl for Kyle, and says to Phil that they should get a present for Andy to make him feel more settled. Phil suggests valium, because he’s an asshole.

Back in Andy’s room, he’s tied to the bed with a sock in his mouth, and Chucky’s ready to swap into his body. I could make some stupid joke here, especially since last movie we had that uncomfortable line about Chucky having “a date with a six year old boy”, but honestly, I think we’re all too good for that shit. [JC: . . . Uh, yep. Much too good. I absolutely did not type and then delete any sort of kinky bondage joke, no ma’am.]

Chucky’s attempt to kill Andy is put on hold by Kyle climbing through his window.

Kyle comes over and unties Andy, and the first thing he does when his hand is free is punch Chucky right off the bed. It’s fucking awesome.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

This is so satisfying

Andy’s yells alert the fuckwits, who storm in and assume that Kyle tied up and gagged Andy to prevent him from squealing on her when she snuck out. Andy yells a lot about Chucky, which causes Phil to lose his rag and throw Chucky in the basement. Rather than deal with Andy’s clear anxiety, Phil says, “There. See? Can’t bother you.” Job done. Hey, Phil, you suck at parenting. I’m glad you two can’t conceive.

We stay in the basement, and Chucky sits up and touches his bloody nose. Yep, we’re on the clock, he’s turning human again. Also, this must be the promo image I saw that scared me to death as a kid.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Kyle is the coolest girl who ever cooled.

The next day, Kyle and Andy head off to school. Kyle is wearing another cool outfit of a black sweater, plaid skirt, clodhopping boots and an oversized key on a chain around her neck. Also sunglasses and a neat leather satchel. Kyle is the coolest. If I was cool in the 90s, I would have dressed like Kyle.

Kyle is also cool because she tries to give Andy advice for his first day of school. Andy’s barely paying attention because he’s scanning the whole area for Chucky. Like I said, this kid is genre savvy now. Kyle asks him how did he tie himself up last night, and Andy tells her, in a tone loaded with disappointment, that she’s just like everybody else who doesn’t believe him.

Andy gets on the school bus and it’s like the scene in Forest Gump, except there’s no Jenny to offer the seat beside her. Andy sits alone at the very back of the bus. [JC: I call bullshit on those seats being available. The very back seats of every school bus I’ve ever been on were the most coveted and the first to fill up. Also, can we talk about how Joanne sent him to school with a bag lunch containing an egg salad sandwich? Like, I’m sure that’s going to be absolutely delicious after sitting in his cubby for the next 3-4 hours.] [Dove: There is no-one more hated than the person with a smelly lunch in a school or work setting. This is a universal truth.]

As the bus pulls away, we see Chucky’s feet underneath the bus.

We cut to recess, Andy still alone in the playground. And then Chucky in the classroom searching for something in a stack of kids’ work. Then the teacher, Miss Kettlewell, (Beth Grant – who my brain calls “that lady who was in Speed”, but she’s in so many things, and she never ages. In fact, to my mind, she seems to get younger and younger) is reading Pinocchio to the class.

As for stories, these aren’t even angling for subtlety, are they? We’ve had Hansel and Gretel, the tale of shit parents, read by shit parents; and now we’re having a story about a doll becoming real. Why doesn’t she just stand at the front of the class and scream “ANDY, YOU’RE GOING TO FUCKING DIE!”

The kid behind Andy flicks his ear. Andy turns around and shouts at him. Miss Kettlewell comes over and tells Andy that he needs to get on her good side, and won’t even listen to his explanation. I’m sorry, Andy. I’d say all but two of my teachers were the same as Kettlewell. It gets better. Eventually you leave school. And then you change jobs about a billion times until you find a job with less Kettlewells than nice people.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

What I wished I’d had the nerve to say to most teachers.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Probably the best bitch-face I’ve ever seen.

The bell rings, and everyone has to tidy their desk before they leave. Kettlewell picks up the stack of work they filled in, and Andy’s has “Fuck you bitch” scrawled in red crayon over it. (Uh, does anyone want to take a wild stab at the reason Andy has coloured all of his pictures only in yellow? Depression? Anxiety?) [JC: Maybe he’s going through his giallo period?] Kettlewell pulls one of the best “Oh, he’s gonna get it” faces I’ve ever seen. The glasses on the end of her nose, the single raised eyebrow (I can do that, it took me 29 years to learn how), the glare… A+.

Andy puts some toys away in a cupboard, but when he opens it, he sees a Good Guy doll in there. He gasps and leaps backwards straight into Kettlewell’s arms, where she grabs him, yells at him, and then plunks him at a desk and tells him he’s going to be there for a very long time. Since she tells the rest of the kids not to forget the spelling test tomorrow, it appears she’s keeping him after school. Can she do that, JC? In England you couldn’t keep a kid of any age after school without giving their parents/guardians 24 hours’ notice. The parents had to receive a letter, sign it and send it back with their kid for the kid to attend after school detention, otherwise it was against the rules. [JC: . . . Well, it’s certainly a popular trope. I’m not sure, as I never got detention myself. I think what would be most likely to happen in this situation is that the teacher would haul the kid to the principal’s (headmaster for you Brits; is that correct? [Dove: Yep]) office, where they would most likely call the parents in for a talk and then dole out whatever punishment was deemed appropriate. You probably wouldn’t just keep a 7-or-8-year-old after school without clearing it with all the adults involved first.]

Andy says he didn’t write obscenities on his work, and Kettlewell asks who did. He glances at Chucky, and she misinterprets, saying no toys. She grabs Chucky by the leg, slams Andy’s head into the desk (fucking brutal), and locks Chucky in her walk-in cupboard. Adding yet another illegal action on top of assaulting/manhandling a nine year old, keeping him behind without warning, she then locks him in the room alone. I seem to remember that even in the 80s, it was mentioned as being illegal in some of the (British) books I read, because of the fire hazard it posed.

Once Andy is sure Kettlewell has gone, he approaches the cupboard door and peers through the keyhole… to find Chucky’s eye staring back and him gleefully yelling, “Peek-a-boo!” Andy runs for the main door and throws himself against it. Chucky promises not to kill anyone ever again if Andy lets him out. He manages to keep to that lie for as long as it takes to get the sentence out, and then immediately follows it up with anger, swearing and aggressive door-rattling.

Andy bolts for the window and manages to escape.

Kettlewell returns and sees the rattling door. She assumes it’s Andy in there and strides over, ready to fuck his shit up. She opens the door and there’s no sign of him. She starts to explore the cupboard, which has toys, sports equipment, and, for no discernible reason, an entire wall of clothing. [JC: I’m pretty sure this is the closet where the kids hang their coats and store their lunches in their cubbies, but I have no idea why there are that many coats in there if it’s the end of the school day.]

After drawing out the tension as long as possible, Chucky leaps from between the second row of clothing and stabs Kettlewell with a sportsball pump. When he pushes the plunger, the influx of air into her body causes her to fly backwards, rather than, as I would assume, die super fast.

Chucky then approaches her with one of those wooden meter rules (I thought you guys didn’t do meters?) [JC: Finally, one I have a real answer for! That would be a yardstick. One yard = three feet. I’m not sure of the actual conversion, but it’s not too far off from a meter. Also, some rulers have a strip of metal down one edge (don’t ask me why), so it’s likely when Chucky is “spanking” Kettlewell, he’s actually slicing the shit out of her with that metal edge.] [Dove: *winces* I’m going to forget that as soon as I can, ok?] For some reason, the movie goes the arty route, and we not see her being struck by the ruler. Every strike causes a surge in the score, and the camera snaps backwards, showing the exterior of the school while we hear Kettlewell scream. Then again, I bet it would look really goofy if a doll spanked a teacher with a ruler.

Side note: I have an anthology of horror, where Robert England does a commentary over key scenes from the horror genre. For some reason, they picked this scene (rather than, say, Maggie’s death from the first movie, which is iconic enough to be on the front cover). All I can remember is that his nephew, who was sixteen at the time and ready to “drink black coffee and smoke cigarettes”, was terrified of dolls because of this movie series.

At home, Andy is trying to explain things to the fuckwit adults he’s been saddled with. He explains very clearly what happened (sans Kettlewell death, because he doesn’t know about it), and when he’s done, Fuckwit Phil rolls his eyes and says, “Do you know what’s he talking about?” Dude. He literally just explained it. And I mean old-school literally. Not teenage moron on social media literally.

Joanne says his teacher called to say she was keeping him after school. When? In the three seconds she was away from the classroom where she left Andy locked in? That’s still after she chose to do it. Bad form. Phil is fed up with having to deal with Andy’s madness, and drags him over to the basement door to prove Chucky – well, Tommy, I guess – is still down there. And of course, he doesn’t do this in a soft reassuring voice, he just yells and bullies Andy into checking. [JC: I’ve always wondered how Chucky got back to the house from the school so fast, and why he decided to go back down to the basement and take up pretending to be Tommy again.]

And then we cut to the Simpsons’ bedroom, where Phil is raging about what a crazy little nutball Andy is.

You know what I’d do – and I’m childfree. I’m actually one of the childfree that nobody likes to talk about, I’m a childfree who doesn’t even like kids – I’d tie the doll up. I’d talk to Andy in a soft voice and say, ok, I believe that the doll is just Tommy, but it’s clearly upsetting you, so why don’t we tie it up, or send it to a charity shop, or just get it away from you? What else would make you feel safe, Andy? Tell me what happened, and maybe we should call your counsellor, so they can help?

Or, even better, since I know I don’t like kids, I wouldn’t foster. I’d make a terrible parent because I don’t like kids. It’s really that simple, presh.

Joanne actually calls Phil on his shit and says that he needs to stop pretending this is about Andy’s welfare, he just doesn’t want him there. Ok, for one sentence I don’t hate Joanne.

Oh, you know what else I’d do if I fostered Andy? Not have a screaming fit at top volume with my bedroom door open, knowing full-well that his room is right next door. Phil rages that Andy is tearing the family apart. How, Phil? He doesn’t like a doll you own. A statue that you left in a perfect position to get smashed has now been smashed. He came home with another layer of a story you already know he believes – that his doll is a murderer. Ok, you can’t handle it, but let’s not blame the nine-year-old. Let’s blame the adult who said yes for all the wrong reasons and is taking his frustration out on the kid.

Andy’s in his room, utterly dejected after hearing Phil tear him down to Joanne. Kyle walks in and tries to reassure him. She gives him a depressing pep talk, saying every time she settles, she gets sent away too. The silver lining is that every time it happens, she’s stronger, and he’ll be the same. [JC: She’s not wrong, but damn that’s a heartbreaking lesson for a little kid to have to learn.] Andy says it doesn’t matter, Chucky will find him no matter where they send him.

At night, we have an interesting fakeout. We think it’s a Chucky POV shot because of the height, but a human hand comes into frame. It is Andy, and he is questing for a weapon. He chooses the battery-powered bread knife, because he’s a kid and he has no idea how rubbish those things actually are. My mum had one. It would gently massage the bread for a few seconds before keeling over from exhaustion. Although I doubt my mum shopped at the same places as the Simpsons.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Can anyone explain why this is in the basement?

He heads into the basement, and obviously Chucky is not where he left him. The Simpsons inexplicably have a 7’ wooden statue of a Native American, complete with tomahawk but missing a hand, in their basement. As a Brit, I don’t really know the precise intricacies of what this means, but I’m betting it makes them assholes.

As Andy battery-stabs a few items of clothing in the dryer, Chucky runs past him in the background.

After a bit more tension, Chucky drops from the ceiling on to Andy’s back. The kid hits the deck under the weight and drops his knife, which lands just out of reach. Chucky bites Andy’s ear – this doll likes to bite in the early installments [JC: Why is he vandalizing the property he’s looking to move into?] – and we cut to Fuckwit Phil, clad in black and white plaid pyjamas, and looking more like a douche than ever (Joanne is wearing blue/green plaid). Phil must have heard something, and boy is he going to fuck up that crazy little kid.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Are we allowed to show such a saucy image?

Chucky tells Andy not to fight it, they’re going to be close, “In fact, we’re going to be fucking inseparable.” I have literally never parsed this sentence before. I didn’t realise that Andy would still be inside the body when Chucky took over. I assumed that Chucky moved in, and Andy moved out, hopefully to heaven, but probably to hell in Chucky’s place. These aren’t my afterlife beliefs, but Andy has mentioned Chucky’s fear of hell previously – they’re in universe beliefs. And 30 years too late, this franchise just got creepier for me.

And now I really want fanfic of where Chucky succeeds, Andy is present in the body, but not in control, and he watches Chucky run amok as Andy. [JC: Hmm. NaNo project for next year?]

Andy manages to crawl to the knife, which he uses to gently fluff Chucky’s hair. Chucky cries in pain and falls away. For the sake of this movie, I will believe that heaven, hell, voodoo, etc., are all working concepts. But I draw the line at believing that knife can do any damage.

Chucky runs off, and Andy straightens up, brandishing the knife, just in time for Phil to arrive at the top of the basement stairs and turn on the light, and decide he was right. That child is a serial killer.

Phil makes his way down the stairs, which don’t have risers in the back. We see Chucky pick up some kind of metal hook thing – American houses in movies have these and I have no idea what purpose they serve, because I’ve only ever seen them used as murder weapons [JC: I initially thought it was a harpoon, so I am clearly the wrong person to ask.] – and he hooks Phil around the ankle. Phil falls over the bannister, with his foot trapped in a broken stair. He winds up hanging upside down. Chucky asks, “How’s it hanging, Phil?” before letting him drop and snapping his neck on the concrete below.

And I find it satisfying each time.

Joanne and Kyle appear at the top of the stairs – Kyle is wearing red and grey plaid. Maybe Joanne should have bought Andy plaid PJs to make him feel part of the family. Joanne runs to Phil, while Kyle calls 911. Joanne overacts to the hilt when she realises that Phil is dead, gasping and moaning and tugging at her hair. When Andy approaches, she yells, “Get away from me!” and goes back to chewing the scenery over Phil’s death. [JC: And this is where Joanne loses all support from me. Turning on Andy because of an accident (yeah, we know it’s Chucky, but she doesn’t) is unforgivable.]

We cut to an ambulance putting a body bag in the back, and then over to Joanne, who is hastily packing Andy’s stuff into a suitcase while Kyle watches. Joanne says she should’ve listened to Phil. Kyle reassures her it’s not her fault. I literally give zero fucks for anyone but Andy and Kyle here. My concern is not Joanne’s anguish, but whether she’s going to toss Kyle out too when she decides that fostering killed her beloved (dickhead) husband.

Downstairs the big-haired social worker from earlier is reassuring Andy that everything will be fine. They just need to find a new family for him. When Kyle approaches, she adds they’ve placed Kyle with a number of families and everything turned out fine. Both Kyle and Andy’s expressions read, “Brilliant. Look how that turned out.” Before Andy is taken away, he warns Kyle that Chucky’s still down in the basement.

We cut to Kyle in the basement giving final answers to the police. She spots Chucky when they’re done, and takes him outside to throw in the trash cans. She has a smoke on the swing, and her swinging kicks up dirt again, and this time it’s enough to unearth Tommy’s foot. (I maintain Chucky dug a deep enough hole for this not to happen, but never mind.) She drags him out of the dirt, and quickly figures that shit is going down. This is a rare occasion when smoking saves a life.

She heads back to the trash cans, but obviously Chucky’s gone. Also, the trash cans are simply filled with tied-up newspapers. Who orders enough newspapers in a week to fill a metal can? And who ties them up before slinging them? That just seems like a waste of time and string.

Kyle runs for Joanne, armed with a hunting knife kept in a metal box in a kitchen cupboard. Because, again, let’s keep the shit we don’t want kids touching right where they can get to it. Kyle finds Joanne at her sewing machine, but when she touches Joanne’s shoulder, the chair spins to reveal… SHE’S BEEN STRANGLED. We are now one for nine on strangulations from the “Lakeshore Strangler”. That’s right, he has used his signature death move 11% of the time in the whole franchise (so far).

Kyle sits down on the bed, and Chucky copies Freddy’s last move in the first Nightmare on Elm Street movie, by rising up from the bed covered by a sheet, which he rips through in order to pounce on her. She struggles to get him off her, smashing a lamp and a mirror in the process. She uses the broken lamp base to thump him and he lets go. Kyle springs away, but the room is suddenly calm and empty again. She sees the knife she dropped and reaches for it, but Chucky’s hand appears from under the bed and grabs it first.

Kyle carefully makes her way around the room, but Chucky trips her, and when she hits the floor, he puts the knife to her face.

We cut to Kyle and Chucky in a car with Kyle driving. He tells her to hurry, if he doesn’t get out of the body soon, he’ll be stuck in it. She speeds up and a police car immediately follows with sirens and flashing lights. Chucky tells her to floor it, and Kyle points out they’re in a station wagon. Chucky grudgingly tells her to pull over. The cop asks what the big rush is, and Kyle claims she has a date. The cop isn’t buying that excuse, but he gets all excited when he sees Chucky sitting in the seat. He asks the doll’s name, and he says “Chucky” in his real voice. The cop is delighted. Right up until Chucky gets a nose bleed. Kyle says it’s like the dolls that pee, this one bleeds. The cop is creeped out enough to let her go with a warning.

Over at the shelter, Andy is tucked into bed by the social worker with big hair, and the moment she leaves the room, Andy hops out of bed and gets dressed.

Back with Kyle, Chucky is harassing her to drive faster. Kyle says they’ll just get pulled over again. Then complies, after buckling her seatbelt. She slams on the brakes, and Chucky goes flying through the windshield. He pops up in front of the car, and Kyle drives into him, pinning him to the hood. Chucky makes a few comments about women drivers. She pins him against a fence and drives into him a couple of times. [JC: I feel this was one hundred percent an appropriate response to the “women drivers” comment.]

It’s a good effort, but with 20 minutes to go, it wasn’t going to work. She gets out of the car, and Chucky was on top of it. He grabs her around the neck and brandishes the knife.

Back at the shelter, Andy’s on his bed, fully dressed and waiting. The fire alarm goes off. He displays absolutely no surprise about this at all. He files out with all the other kids, and at the foot of the stairs is Kyle with Chucky in her arms. A shot from behind shows the knife at the back of her neck. Conceivably she could hoof him into the air before he did her any damage, but given that she’s tried several times to kick his ass and not gotten far, I don’t blame her for not trying anything right this second.

The social worker comes downstairs and assumes Kyle has pulled the fire alarm for a joke. Kyle says Chucky did it. The social worker drags them to her office and snatches the doll. Chucky stabs her in the chest. She flies across the room and lands on the copier, which starts making copies of her face as she dies. Nice.

Kyle tries to grab Andy and run out the door, but Chucky slams the door between them, leaving Kyle outside the room and Andy, Chucky, a dead body and a sharp knife inside. Andy can’t stop staring at the dead social worker. Chucky says, “Snap out of it! You act like you’ve never seen a dead body before!” Sad but true. This poor kid.

As a fleet of fire trucks arrive, Andy and Chucky sneak out. A newspaper truck arrives and Chucky insists they get inside. Kyle finally picks the lock, sees they went out through the window, and catches a glimpse of them on the truck before it leaves. Kyle, badass that she is, follows in the station wagon. This will be the lowest speed chase ever.

With a few shortcuts, Kyle manages to catch up. She flashes her lights and honks the horn, which causes Chucky to stick his finger up at her, because she’s interrupting his voodoo chanting.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

To quote the future: Rude fucking doll.

Kyle accelerates to get the driver’s attention, and when that doesn’t work, she forces him off the road so they stop. By the time she checks the back of the truck, Andy and Chucky are gone. She spots them across the road, but is accosted by the driver who is, rightly, a bit confused as to why some random kid forced him off the road. Calling her a crazy bitch is a tad unnecessary though. [JC: Chucky has somehow refrained from calling this seventeen-year-old child a bitch throughout the entire movie; I’m sooo glad that honor goes to literally the only person of color in the movie. /s]

She breaks free and takes off running after them.

And where are they? The Play Pals toy factory. That’s rather a big coincidence. But then again, I suppose Phil did nearly crash into one of their trucks, so logically that implies the major factory might be near the shelter.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

This goes on forever. Hundreds of miles of Good Guy dolls. It’s a hard nope from me.

They enter the factory, and let me just quote Patty from Ghostbusters: Room full of nightmares right there.

Chucky knocks Andy over and does his big old chanting thing. Ooh, and we have clouds and lightning on the exterior shot. We are a go for soul transfer. Repeat: we are a go for soul transfer.

And Chucky chants to completion. Except it’s a fail. He’s been in the doll too long. He’s stuck. And his new nosebleed proves it. This is somehow Andy’s fault as far as Chucky’s concerned. It also means Andy is no longer safe. [JC: So, has he actually been in the doll too long, or should we believe the Bride of Chucky retcon, that it didn’t work because he didn’t have the Heart of Damballa amulet with him? You know, the amulet that absolutely was not in the first movie at all, despite what Bride tries to tell us? Oh, hello hill, are you prepared for me to die on you?] [Dove: I’ll get the pizza in, you’ll need the fuel for when we get to Bride. And when faced with contradicting franchises, I try to judge on all the information we have up to that point. If they want to ret-con it, they can, and we’ll pick that apart when it happens, but for now, if X is the reason now, then X is the reason I’ll go with. Unless, of course, it’s a well-crafted story that is foreshadowing future installments. Which this is not.]

Kyle arrives and knocks a stack of Good Guy dolls on top of Chucky and tells Andy to run. Kyle and Andy meet at an intersection of the endless Good Guy maze, and I’ve gotta say, who the fuck designed this layout? Were they tweaking? Why turn it into a maze you need to navigate? Why not have neat rows? Can a forklift easily navigate this twisty-turny maze?

They reach an end of the warehouse, and find a chute that’s rolling new boxes of Good Guys down into the warehouse for storage. Kyle gets to the top of the chute, with Andy behind her. Near the top, Andy loses his grip and falls back down. And a pissed-off knife-wielding Chucky meets him at the bottom.

Andy climbs up again, this time with a furious Chucky behind him. At the top, Kyle pulls Andy through, and then pulls the pin out of the gate at the top, which comes down on Chucky’s wrist, pinning him in place.

While the kids make a run for it, Chucky yanks his arm free. Minus the hand. It’s like 127 Hours, only much angrier.

Kyle finds an exit. All they’ve got to do is get through the nightmare fuel machine from the opening act, the one that punches eyeballs into dolls. She gets through, nearly getting skewered, then reaches back for Andy. [JC: This whole sequence reminds me of the “chompy crushy things” bit in Galaxy Quest. I keep expecting to hear Sigourney Weaver yelling that there’s no reason for these things to be here and that this episode was badly written.] [Dove: I love that movie. So much.]

Over with Chucky, he’s embracing the whole Candyman/hook man legends. He’s got the knife in a vice, and he rips the handle off. Then he sticks it in his stump and secures it with parcel tape.

Andy gets through, but the exit is locked, so they need a new one.

The pileup of dolls caused by Kyle and Andy using the eyeball punch machine as a walkway alerts a guard. While these two explore the factory, Kyle bumps a lever that nearly pours boiling plastic on Andy’s head, but she yanks him out of the way in time. Health and Safety, people. Surely it shouldn’t be that easy to get burned in this factory.

Also, some of the dolls look like really cheap plastic. Chucky looks to be made of thick plastic or rubber in the opening scene. [JC: With a metal skull! These cheap fuckers don’t have metal skulls!] The dolls in this factory look like those cheap Barbies you can get from the £1 store – the ones that are really shiny and their skin looks really thin. If you stand on them, they cave in, rather than fight back. [Dove: Though, this could actually be an indication of their profits taking a nosedive after Andy’s stories hit the papers. If they use cheaper parts, but sell at the same price, maybe they can even out. I don’t think that’s what happened here, but it could excuse it.]

Oh, and we’re back to health and safety. Some dude appears to get the eyeball punch machine working again. He sees the pileup of dolls, and instead of doing what any normal person would do: clear the blockage and tentatively send one through to see if it works, he hoofs the dolls out of the way, and climbs into the eyeball punch position without turning the machine off. If you can’t guess what happens next, you probably deserve to take his job.

Admittedly, Chucky helps, because the guy sits up, pleased at a job well done, and Chucky punches him so he fall back into eyeball punch position. This was absolutely horrifying on VHS. On Blu-Ray? You can see bits of his eyelids they didn’t paint, and it kind of looks like he’s wearing those comedy googly-eye glasses. [Link to image here, because I didn’t want to display an image that might upset someone.]

Over with Andy and Kyle, Andy bumps a button, which makes an alarm go off, and a big machine where dolls on stands are fed into seems to go haywire.

I’ve got to say, I literally have no idea how this factory functions. Behind Kyle there’s a station where three bits of hair get stapled to a doll’s head. But I have no idea where they get the rest of the hair. After this, they’re fed into the machine currently going haywire, but the doll in there at the moment is bald. Also, and I believe I may have mentioned this before, if you put something at shin level, it will get bumped. So even if you did specifically need a button that randomly caused your machine to deliberately go wrong and attach a billion limbs and a tonne of nightmare fuel to whatever was in there at the time, why put it at a level where people will walk into it?

The doll comes back out the machine the same direction it came in (what the fuck, factory designer?) and it’s covered in excess limbs. I don’t even know why that’s a feature.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

The Dr Octopus option didn’t sell as well as the vanilla Good Guy doll.

Chucky appears behind them, and Kyle twats him with a box of… things, and then he gets sewn to a stand by the hair stapler, which is also going haywire as the plot requires, because historically it did three neat staples. This time it’s just going and going.

Oh. Wait. It’s not a hair stapler, it’s one of those plastic tagging things. I have even less idea how this factory works now. But there is hair being attached with it. What the actual fuck? I have never seen a toy with hair sewn on with plastic tags.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

🙂

Andy hits “make my doll into an octopus” button once more, and Chucky is taken into the machine and turned into an Eldritch abomination. As he gets taken up the ramp, he pleads with them to stop. Kyle returns that one finger gesture Chucky gave her earlier. She’s so cool.

What’s left of Chucky is a fucked up flail of limbs and blood stapled to a wooden stand.

(Oh, and a big pool of blood leading further into the factory.)

Kyle and Andy try to leave, and Kyle fusses over Andy, checking the blood on his face (it’s from Chucky’s nosebleed) and then Kyle is suddenly knocked over by something flying through the air.

It’s the eyeball punch guy – though now he’s got a white face and Christopher Lloyd hair – suspended from a rope and flying back and forth. Kyle is pretty much knocked out when she lands on a conveyer belt.

Chucky arrives, stapled to the stand and wheeling himself along. I know everyone finds this funny, but I get irrationally protective of Chucky when he’s like this. That’s how I got around for the first few years of my life. I had a wooden board on wheels that I lay down on. This is the closest I have ever gotten to representation of my disability. That’s not hyperbole, it’s the literal truth. Depressing, eh? [JC: I never thought Cart Chucky was funny; I always found this more terrifying – you can feel the desperation and fury rolling off of him. I’m not sure if that’s due to Brad Dourif’s voice work or the animatronics guys. Probably both. Also, Media clearly needs to do a better job representing all disabilities, not just the pretty, watered-down, safely-cinematic versions. And like, not in that horribly ableist “oh how sad, their life must not even be worth living” way, either.]

Chucky says he’s going to cut off Andy’s legs too. He makes a wild stab at Andy with his knife, and gets the blade caught in a vent. Right under that boiling plastic outlet. Andy douses him in the stuff, and Chucky melts in a screaming ooze. [JC: The look on Andy’s face both here and when Chucky was getting Lovecrafted in the extra limbs machine tells me we’re very possibly witnessing the birth of a new serial killer.] [Dove: Let’s put a pin in that comment for a few movies!]

Andy then runs up the conveyer belt and rescues Kyle seconds before she gets dragged into that one weird machine that adds limbs to dolls.

Kyle witnesses the melted slime that was Chucky and congratulates Andy on a job well done. Of course, Chucky comes back for one last scare, so Kyle sticks an electrical cable in his mouth and blows him to kingdom come.

The amount of splode that tiny doll made is gigantic.

He’s definitely dead now though. [JC: Yeah . . . his head went splody, but how about his heart? Did we destroy the heart? Because that chest looks suspiciously intact . . . ]

Andy and Kyle set out from the factory. On a very pulled back shot we have this final exchange:

Andy: Where are we going?

Kyle: Home.

Andy: Where’s home?

Kyle: Andy, I have no idea.

So you can imagine how ticked off I was that the next movie features neither of them. (Recast Andy doesn’t vibe as Andy to me. Even though it’s been years, I look at Justin Whalin and think: annoying kid from Superman.)

Final Thoughts:

I love this movie. It’s a lot more fun. I think I identified with the situation more – I think any reader can pick up on my issues – this one made more sense to me. Adults couldn’t be trusted, and the kids had to figure it out themselves.

The story moved much quicker, and the gore was increased, but not to Hostel or Saw levels.

As you can tell, I fucking love Kyle. We were robbed. We deserve more Andy and Kyle stories.

Also, since JC put the idea in my head, and I really love maths, I thought I’d share this study of the Lakeshore Strangler’s killings by strangulation.

Child’s Play – 0% strangulation

  • Maggie – hammer to face/fall from window
  • Eddie Caputo – explosion
  • John Bishop (not the Scouse comedian) – voodoo doll
  • Dr Ardmore – electrocution

Child’s Play 2 – 14% strangulation

  • Tech at Play Pals – electrocution and back flip of doom
  • Mattson – suffocation
  • Miss Kettlewell – stabbing and spanking (kinky)
  • Phil “Fuckwit” Simpson – broken neck (with creativity)
  • Joanne “Jerkass” Simpson – strangulation with an electric cable
  • Social worker – stabbing and photocopying
  • Factory tech – eyeball punch
  • [JC: Tommy – beat to death with Jerkass Joanne’s most prized ugly statue]

Overall strangulation: 9% (It was 11% earlier before more non-strangulation deaths happened.)

He’s used electrocution 20% of the time. That’s twice as often as strangulation. He should be the Lakeshore Electrocuter. [JC: Do attempted murders count? Because he does attempt to strangle Detective Mike with jumper cables, then commands his body to choke Partner Jack. Anyway, I’m glad Dove is keeping a strangulation tally. I’m expecting stabbings to take the lead by the end of the series, and the strangulation totals to bottom out right here.

So, for some reason I’ve always had it in my head that this movie is nowhere near as good as it is. Maybe it comes from watching it on network TV so often, with all the censored content and commercial breaks. Upon recent rewatches, I really like it a lot. The end in the toy factory is a wild, ridiculous ride; Chucky is funny and menacing; and like Dove said, Kyle is awesome. This one hits entirely different notes from the first movie, and it holds its own on its own merits rather than trying to repeat the same song.]

[Dove: Agreed, this film really upped the ante in the final battle. What a great place for it to take place. I wish I liked the next one more because that finale has the greatest location ever: a funfair.]

I am the evil twin. I'm in a feud with Richie Tankersley Cusick, and I'm waging a war on over-used en-dashes and ellipsis. All of these things are related. I worship at the altar of the ISUZU TROOPER, BITCHES.

Categories: Child's Play Movies
Tags:
Tropes:
Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
Post a comment

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>