Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel will go down in history as pioneering film critics who found a unique way to engage with and inspire TV audiences to get out of the house and see more movies. Ebert especially was such a gifted & poetic writer, possessing a rare ability to convey elusive aspects of cinema like visuals and subtexts, he was the first film journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize.
The analytical duo didn’t always see eye-to-eye when it came to the films they reviewed; Ebert had more of an ability to enjoy films for what they were, while Siskel held all of cinema to very high standards. When it came to 1988’s Child’s Play, for example, they were split; Siskel, predictably, found little about Tom Holland’s seminal horror movie redeemable, but Ebert thought it was a clever romp that gets the job done. Watch them debate in the clip below.
When it came to the sequel, 1990’s Child’s Play 2 (directed by John Lafia), however, they were united—united in their indignant disgust! While Ebert was able objectively state it was an effective horror experience, he was uncharacteristically brutal, unleashing a veritable tirade! He called the film “sick and unwholesome; a completely malignant exercise” ultimately lamenting, “Watching made me feel unclean and disturbed. As a human being I wish I hadn’t seen it. What good can come from having these fowl and disgusting images pumped into your mind?”
I think Chucky would take Ebert’s words as a compliment!
Related Article: BREAKING: Glen/Glenda Will Be Back in “Cult of Chucky”!
While no one will ever claim Child’s Play 2 is better than its successor, I think all horror fans will get a chuckle out of Ebert’s over-the-top, near hysterical response to what’s a relatively tame flick (compared with the immensity of horror). Sickel makes a point that much of the fear comes from the fact that Child’s Play 2 revolve around the “child in danger” trope, but misses the point completely: A good horror movie makes you feel like a scared kid again.
Have a watch!
Child’s Play fever is hot right now with Cult of Chucky, the 8th installment in the franchise, arriving on VOD platforms in October. I imagine Siskel and Ebert are turning in their graves, cursing the franchise’s success from the great beyond! Hopefully, you can tell all this comes from a place of love; Siskel and Ebert definitely helped to inspire my own love of films—even horror movies.
Check out the trailer and synopsis for Cult of Chucky, written and directed by original Child’s Play scribe Don Mancini, below, followed by the trailer and synopsis for Child’s Play 2 (just for kicks).
Official Synopsis: “Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) is erroneously convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new therapeutic “tool” to facilitate his patients’ group sessions — an all-too-familiar “Good Guy” doll with an innocently smiling face — a string of grisly deaths begins to plague the asylum, and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all. Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), Chucky’s now-grown-up nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Oscar-nominee Jennifer Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.”
Official Synopsis: Two years after serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) inserted his soul into a Chucky doll, a toy company attempts to re-create the doll, bringing Ray back in the process. The possessed doll, intent on claiming a human body, kills his way toward former owner Andy (Alex Vincent), who now lives in a foster home. Andy’s foster sister, Kyle (Christine Elise), tries to protect him, but his foster parents believe Andy is just a troubled kid — and Chucky’s murderous path continues.