Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Child’s Play (1988, Holland)


While I still have yet to view the rest of the series I doubt any of the entries measure up to the original Child’s Play, directed by famous horror filmmaker Tom Holland. Despite the ridiculous nature of the film’s premise Holland never lets the material get out of hand or stop being really creepy. Everyone knows who Chucky is by now so the surprise of him being the killer is long gone, however this film was well directed and executed to the point where that didn’t matter. I’m reminded of Friday the 13th (1980) where in the modern era you know who the killer is and yet the film is suspenseful enough that having prior knowledge is mostly irrelevant to the film’s success. Also Brad Dourif brings Chucky to villainous life in a manner that only a good actor can do-after all, playing a doll is tough work. The film also benefits from the Chicago setting, which is utilized properly and adds to the film’s eerie atmosphere.

Plus this film has a great cast: Chris Sarandon in a rare good guy role, Catherine Hicks as Andy’s troubled mom, and of course Dourif plus Alex Vincent, who is one of those child actors that isn’t annoying in a horror movie. Even though killer doll movies aren’t the most scariest in the world, Child’s Play manages to be a really spooky and entertaining horror film with a chilling finale. I look forward to viewing the rest of the series even if my expectations will be lower-I have heard that the second one is rather underrated. The 80s has some really quality horror films and I think that Child’s Play is certainly one of those, even if it falls short of being a truly great horror film.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Candyman (1992, Bernard Rose)


Filmed in the poorer parts of Chicago where the events of Candyman take place, Bernard Rose’s film is a unique and great 1990s horror movie that is creepy due to how quiet many of it’s scenes are. Virginia Madsen is a young grad student who decides to write about the infamous urban legend of Candyman, only to discover too late that the monster is very real. Thus begins a spiral into madness and despair as she loses most of what she cares about. Xander Berkeley does a nice turn as her scumbag husband who betrays her as she finds herself in a walking nightmare.

Unlike other slasher films this one is well shot and directed. Like many horror films Candyman benefits from a great eerie score that helps set the mood. Tony Todd is perfect in the title role, operating as a demonic spirit. Although this film doesn’t touch heavily enough on social and political elements that it could have further explored it is still a wonderful addition to the horror genre. I loved the Hitchcock references midway through and the asylum scenes were freaky. Of course this film has sequels and it can’t resist a darkly funny spot of revenge near the end. I’ve never said Candyman five times in front of a mirror and I’m in no rush to do so. In this world sometimes one doesn’t tempt fate.

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