An escaped mental patient who believes that he is a doctor terrorizes a small town, taking out people left and right in a number of fun and cool ways (that usually involve some sort of medical instrument).
Right off the bat I’m just going to say it. I love Dr. Giggles and think that it is one of the most underappreciated horror films of all time. I was really into it the first time I saw it back in 1992 and dig it just as much now as I did back then as I think it holds up pretty damn well. Yes, it’s silly and a bit hokey at times but that is part of its appeal if you ask me. In my opinion it was probably the last great slasher flick and it’s very unfortunate that it never quite got the respect that it deserves because it is just an all around kick ass movie that is always a load of fun to watch no matter how many times that I see it.
One of the biggest strengths of the film is its premise. I’ll admit that it isn’t the most original idea in the world but who cares? It works. I loved the idea of a dangerous maniac who thinks he is a doctor running around butchering people while he makes Freddy Krueger-like one-liners and giggles incessantly. Some people may say that it is a stupid idea but I have to disagree as I think it is nothing short of brilliant for a number of reasons. I thought that Dr. Giggles was a very cool character and that his back story was genuinely creepy and actually a little sad at the same time (plus the scene where he emerges from his dead mother’s body as a child is nothing short of awesome and more than a little scary if you ask me). I have heard a lot of people rag on this movie in general and say that it is stupid but it is anything but in my mind (I think that it is a lot better than over half of the so-called slasher flicks that I’ve seen in the last fifteen years or so to be honest). I’m thinking that these people that hate it just really don’t get it and that they might actually enjoy it if they watched it again and didn’t take it so seriously because it really isn’t meant to be. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great movie, mind you, but it has a much less serious tone as opposed to other slashers such as Friday the 13th, Halloween, and countless others.
Without a doubt the cast is phenomenal as well. Holly Marie Combs (of Charmed fame) kicks all sorts of butt as Jennifer, the final girl who has a heart condition that Dr. Giggles wants to cure (as his mother died with a heart problem when he was a child and his father-who was also a doctor-couldn’t help her). I thought that she was awesome in this movie and all of her interactions with Giggles were top-notch. Sara Melson is also good as Coreen, Jennifer’s romantic rival and just all around bitchy character that you love to hate and can’t wait to see die horribly (and she does).
The star of the movie however, is the always awesome Larry Drake who does a wonderful job of bringing Dr. Giggles (or Dr. Rendell if you will as that is the character’s actual name) to life. He owns every scene that he is in and does a great job of just playing a weird, creepy guy that is totally and completely out of his freaking mind. I loved some of his silly one-liners (that are always connected to some aspect of the medical profession or health in general) and thought that he knocked it out of the park with his performance. I actually met him a couple of years ago at a horror convention and he was a real class act that seemed to be genuinely touched when I told him what a great job he did in this movie.
Did I mention that there are a lot of really fun death scenes in the movie? We get some pretty wild and creative deaths and I think that they all rock. We get a lot of fun stabbings with a scalpel, death via giant Band-Aid over the mouth and nose, a doctor’s nasal flashlight thingie shoved up someone’s nose, a stabbing under the tongue with a giant, pointed thermometer, and my personal favorite, a strangulation by blood pressure cuff. Dr. Giggles doesn’t screw around when it comes to taking out his victims and I had a blast watching him go to work.
I have always been a huge fan of Dr. Giggles as you can tell, and always wished that they had made a couple of sequels to it. I honestly think that much like Sammi Curr from 1986’s equally forgotten slasher classic Trick or Treat the character of Dr. Giggles had potential to be a horror icon but it unfortunately just didn’t happen. I hate to say it but I think that this movie came a little late to the party as it didn’t hit theaters until the slasher craze from the 80’s was (sadly) starting to die out. I can’t help but wonder if it would have been a lot more successful and would have found a bigger audience had it been released in 1985 or so (I honestly think that slasher fans back then would have eaten it up). Regardless, I think that this movie is great and urge you to check it out if you haven’t seen it yet. Go out right now and find a copy of it as you are in for a real treat. Trust me.