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Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Childs Play: A Visual Memoir Review Tom Holland Celebrates 35 Years of a Horror Classic in New Book

Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, Child’s Play is one of the precious few mainstream horror franchises to maintain its original continuity, even overcoming a remake and making the leap to television. A lot of credit is due to Don Mancini, who wrote the original script and has continued to shepherd the series ever since, but there would be no franchise if the first installment wasn’t successful. In that regard, master of horror Tom Holland deserves endless recognition for his direction as well as work on the script.

Child’s Play: A Visual Memoir by Tom Holland is, as its title suggests, a look back at the production through the filmmaker’s eyes. The 152-page hardcover book collects close to 150 behind-the-scenes photos — many of which are previously unreleased — accompanied by Holland’s running commentary plus his original treatment for the film. Presented in black and white, the images are sourced from original 35mm film negatives, print sheets, and Holland’s personal collection.

The inclusion of Holland’s treatment — long thought lost until its recent discovery among a collection of his unpublished works — gives an even more comprehensive look at the film’s journey to the screen. After cracking the story on the set of Fatal Beauty (where he also decided to cast Brad Dourif as serial killer-turned-killer doll Charles Lee Ray), Holland cranked out the treatment. Given how compelling it is, it’s no surprise the treatment got him hired to work on the full script.

Divided into five sections throughout the book, the treatment reads like a short-form novelization of the film. The narrative format of affords the writer with more nuance in character development. The basic plot structure and major story beats of Child’s Play are intact, but minor discrepancies can be found intermittently: mother-son protagonists are named Ellen and Marty instead of Karen and Andy, the doll brand is called Play Pal rather than Good Guys, the story is set in Manhattan in lieu of Chicago.

The making of Child’s Play has been dissected in various featurettes, documentaries, and articles, but reading Child’s Play: A Visual Memoir is like sitting beside Holland as he shares the story in his own words. He tells anecdotes about Joe Ruben (The Stepfather) nearly directing the film, drawing influence from Trilogy of Terror and Poltergeist, considering Chucky as a title for the movie, testing Jessica Walters for the voice of Chucky, deleted scenes, and ruminations of the complicated tricks required to convincingly bring a doll to life on screen.

Along with Holland’s insight, the book features reflections from several key crew members. Special effects artist Howard Berger offers an in-depth account of working on Chucky in both the design phase and as a puppeteer on set (which got him into the Screen Actors Guild and still earns him modest residuals to this day). Cinematographer Bill Butler highlights a particularly difficult shot of the babysitter falling out of the apartment building. Stunt coordinator Bud Davis details the scene in which Chucky gets burned in the fireplace.

Chris Sarandon, who re-teamed with Holland after a successful collaboration on Fright Night to play Detective Mike Norris in Child’s Play, kicks off the book with a brief foreword. The iconic actor recalls the difficulties of working with the special effects and notes that “I still shudder when I think of Chucky’s knife hunting for my manhood up through the car seat.” Alex Vincent, who starred as Andy (and continues to play the role on Chucky), provides an afterword in which he reflects on making a horror classic at the tender age of six.

Tom Holland’s filmmaking days may be behind him, but even as he approaches his 80th birthday this month, he’s as prolific as ever. Child’s Play: A Visual Memoir is just one of several recent forays into publishing. In addition to releasing his Child’s Play, Fright Night, and Psycho II scripts as hardcover books, Holland also co-authored Fright Night Origins, the first in a planned trilogy of books that expand the Fright Night universe, co-wrote a children’s book titled How to Scare a Monster, and is currently working on Crystal Tower, a novel based on an unproduced screenplay that earned him the Psycho II gig.

Even if it’s not on screen, horror fans can take solace in knowing we have more of Holland’s work to enjoy on the page. Child’s Play: A Visual Memoir is published by the author’s own Holland House. It could have benefited from another round of copy editing to polish a couple of minor errors, but the beautifully presented tome is worthy of a coffee table display. It’s available through Amazon for $34.95, but fans may want to opt to get it signed by Holland for $45 in his Terror Time online store.

The post ‘Child’s Play: A Visual Memoir’ Review – Tom Holland Celebrates 35 Years of a Horror Classic in New Book appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/books/3768049/childs-play-a-visual-memoir-review-tom-holland-celebrates-35-years-of-a-horror-classic-in-new-book/

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