Child's Play 3 (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Sep 27, 2022
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Child's Play 3 (4K UHD Review)

Director

Jack Bender

Release Date(s)

1991 (August 16, 2022)

Studio(s)

Universal Pictures (Shout!/Scream Factory)
  • Film/Program Grade: C-
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: B+
  • Extras Grade: B+

Child's Play 3 (4K UHD)

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Review

Partly due to its rushed production, Child’s Play 3 wasn’t as successful or as well received as its predecessors. Although it’s more accepted now, pushing the story forward in time and seeing Andy Barclay as a teenager—meaning that Alex Vincent was left out altogether—wasn’t exactly what fans wanted in a sequel. It also didn’t perform as well as the previous film at the box office. Released only nine months later, it’s clear that Chucky had quickly become oversaturated.

Eight years have passed since the events of Child’s Play 2. A now teen-aged but still orphaned Andy Barclay (Justin Whalin) has been sent to military school, still haunted by the traumatic events of his childhood. Meanwhile, the company behind the “Good Guys” line of dolls is looking to relaunch, and hoping to sweep the murderous controversies surrounding Chucky and Andy under the rug. As a result, Chucky is accidentally revived when some of his blood is spilled into a vat of hot plastic, which is eventually molded into a new doll. Chucky then sets out to find Andy, but before he can, he inadvertently exposes his identity to Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers), a younger and more impressionable boy at the school. Killing everyone in his way, Chucky proceeds with his original plan, to perform a ritual that will allow him to inhabit a new human body, this time Tyler’s.

Unfortunately, Child’s Play 3 is the lesser of the three original films—perhaps one of the least entries in the series. One can certainly argue that more of a young Andy Barclay being terrorized and potentially taken over by Chucky would have been stale, but why include Andy at all if he’s to be not much more than a side character? It doesn’t help that the new potential human host for Chucky’s soul seems a little too old and, therefore, not as sympathetic. Don Mancini has admitted that he felt pressured to deliver another sequel too quickly, and the final product feels forced because of it. The story is also akin to Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, which involves someone who has gone through something traumatic and has to endure it again later in life, and everybody around him questions his sanity. Andy’s obsession with Chucky makes him seem crazy, but not enough is really done with it to make it interesting. It comes off more as pathetic than anything.

Regardless, the general public just wasn’t that concerned with Child’s Play 3 at the time. Perhaps it was too much Chucky too fast, and the gap of time between this film and 1998’s Bride of Chucky gave the character and the ongoing story the breathing room that they needed. Fans of the series continue to defend Child’s Play 3’s better qualities, including its effects and cinematography, but it remains one of the least-appealing films of the entire franchise.

Child’s Play 3 was shot by cinematographer John R. Leonetti on 35 mm film using Leonetti Ultracam 35 cameras and spherical lenses, finished photochemically, and presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Scream Factory’s 4K Ultra HD presentation of the film uses a 4K scan of the original camera negative, which was finished as a 4K Digital Intermediate, and graded for high dynamic range (HDR10 and Dolby Vision options are available). Child’s Play 3 is definitely enhanced by the uptick in fine detail. A steady but medium amount of film grain is visible, and thanks to the new HDR grades, particularly the Dolby Vision pass, the gamut has been blown wide open with deep, inky blacks and a rich variety of hues. The look of the factory in the opening, Sullivan’s office, many of the areas inside and outside of the military school, and the amusement park are fully nuanced. The image is also stable and clean, with no obvious visual flaws. It’s a crisp presentation that sails past any and all previous home video releases.

Audio is included in English Dolby Atmos and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles are included in English SDH. The new Atmos track provides the film’s very active soundtrack a vehicle to perform even better, especially when it comes to staging and ambient activity. Dialogue exchanges are clear and discernible while the score by Cory Lerios and John D'Andrea is given ample heft. It’s unclear whether the additional stereo track is the original theatrical audio or a fold-down of some kind, but even though there’s less spatial activity to be had, it’s a fine alternative for those without access to multiple channels of audio.

Child’s Play 3 on 4K Ultra HD sits in a black amaray case alongside a Blu-ray copy of the film in 1080p utilizing the same 4K master and containing the majority of the bonus materials. The insert and slipcover feature the original theatrical artwork. The following extras included on both discs:

DISC ONE: FILM (UHD):

  • Audio Commentary with Jack Bender and Justin Beahm
  • Audio Commentary with Robert Latham Brown

DISC TWO: FILM & SPECIAL FEATURES (BD):

  • Audio Commentary with Jack Bender and Justin Beahm
  • Audio Commentary with Robert Latham Brown
  • Ride the Frightening: Don Mancini on Child’s Play 3 (HD – 13:18)
  • War Games: Perrey Reeves on Child’s Play 3 (HD – 5:48)
  • Chucky Goes East: Executive Producer David Kirschner on Child’s Play 3 (HD – 6:34)
  • Carnivals and Campouts: Producer Robert Latham Brown on Child’s Play 3 (HD – 4:21)
  • Midway Centurions: Actor Michael Chieffo on Child’s Play 3 (HD – 4:15)
  • Shear Terror: Key Makeup Artist Craig Reardon on Child’s Play 3 (HD – 7:36)
  • Unholy Mountain: Production Designer Richard Sawyer on Child’s Play 3 (HD – 6:58)
  • Extra Scenes from the Broadcast TV Version (SD – 7 in all – 5:38)
  • Theatrical Trailer (Upscaled SD – 1:40)
  • TV Spot (SD – :31)

The first audio commentary with Jack Bender, moderated by Justin Beahm, was recorded exclusively for this release. Beahm basically interviews Bender about his involvement with the film as they watch it together, and he’s more than game to answer questions. He offers his thoughts on the series as he seems to have a pretty good working knowledge of it. They discuss the film’s various aspects, including the cinematography, generating suspense, working with the cast and crew, Bruce Vilanch providing Chucky lines, his other film work, and the film dipping its toes into black humor. It’s a very nice track. The second audio commentary with Robert Latham Brown was recorded in 2019 for a German Blu-ray release of the film. It’s a much more passive track than its predecessor as Brown falls into the trap of watching the film instead of commenting on it, but he still manages to provide additional details as the track goes along.

Next is a series of new interviews by Reverend Entertainment, some of them conducted via Skype/Zoom. Don Mancini discusses being exhausted during the writing of Child’s Play 3, freshening up the story, casting issues, having conflicts on the set, and predicting the film’s failure. Perrey Reeves talks about auditioning for the film, being a strong female character, working with Jack Bender, shooting on location, working with Chucky, the fans, and the appeal of Chucky. Don Kirschner speaks on the thought of doing a third film and beyond, his thoughts on Jack Bender, the pressures of shooting, the importance of Chucky dying in a fan, doing a cameo, and pitching the next sequel. Robert Latham Brown discusses moving on to the third film, shooting the title sequence, various location and set shoots, and cameos by his children. Michael Chieffo talks about his wife Beth Grant doing the second film, shooting for a day on the film, pretending to be dead, and the success of the idea of Chucky. Craig Reardon speaks about being interviewed for the first film, reading the script, the various effects and how they were done, his crew shirt, and his final thoughts on the series. Richard Sawyer discusses meeting with Jack Bender, coming up with the idea of the amusement park, going a little overboard with the ending, thinking as an editor, and being happy with his work. Also included is a series of seven scenes from the TV version of the film, which include additional scenes, coverage for language and gore, and scene extensions. Last is the film’s trailer and a TV spot. Not included from the German Blu-ray is a video commentary with Robert Latham Brown, a 2019 interview with Robert Latham Brown, a stills gallery, and additional TV spots.

In the US, Child’s Play 3, as well as Child’s Play 2, have had multiple DVD and Blu-ray releases with little more than a trailer as their only extra to accompany them. Scream Factory have rectified that with not only top notch video quality, but a nice selection of extras. Far and away, it’s the best presentation of Child’s Play 3 on home video.

- Tim Salmons

(You can follow Tim on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel here.)

 

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