By Kristen Baldwin
Updated September 04, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Sure, cheeky horror movies chockful of wryly amusing slashers and slashees are all the rage today, but let’s not forget the cinematic psycho who was smarmy when smarmy wasn’t cool: Chucky, the apple-cheeked, freckle-faced, possessed-by-the-spirit-of-a-serial-killer doll from 1988’s Child’s Play and its two sequels.

Maybe it’s my maladjusted inner child, but I cheer when the foul-mouthed mini-maniac sasses his victims (”Don’t f— with the Chuck!”) before strangling one with a yo-yo string or smothering a pre-Ally McBeal Greg Germann with a plastic bag. At the same time, all the long-repressed fears from sleepless childhood nights in my stuffed-animal-packed bedroom (is there something sinister behind Raggedy Ann’s smile?) surge to the surface as Chucky morphs from cherubic toy to scowling sociopath and back again. Disturbing as Chucky’s bloody havoc is to watch, I still guffaw at the absurd image of the overall-wearing knee-level redhead pitter-pattering down darkened hallways. Even more hilarious is the fact that unlike Michael Myers, Freddy, or Jason, Chucky needs a chaperon to drive him places (at knifepoint, of course) because he can’t reach the pedals in a car.

While Child’s Play spawned plenty of imitators (Puppet Master, Leprechaun), Chucky endures in the face of all the garish and gimmicky knockoffs: He’ll be back yet again this October with Bride of Chucky. And you can bet I’ll be in line when Kevin Williamson stoops to bring us Chucky: C20 in 2008.

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Child's Play

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