Dr. Giggles

05/01/2020 06:41

Film: Dr. Giggles

Year: 1992

Director: Manny Coto

Writer: Manny Coto and Graeme Whifler

Starring: Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs and Cliff De Young



Now I thought I had seen this film growing up, but actually I had only seen a few of the scenes from it. This is technically my first time seeing this film all the way through. I did remember this film was cheesy and was expecting that again. I will say, it definitely is that, but it has some good aspects to it. The synopsis is a madman who believes he’s a doctor comes to the town where his crazy father was killed. He starts to murder people in revenge before becoming infatuated with a teenage girl with a heart condition.

This starts with some bad CGI taking using through the blood stream of someone. It turns out they’re on the operating table with Evan Rendell (Larry Drake). We learn from a doctor and an orderly that they really don’t know his name as it’s never been said. They just refer to him as Dr. Giggles. He kills this man, who turns out to be his doctor, and then a nurse. He also releases all of the other patients as well. Evan then flees to the hospital back to his hometown.

There is a nursery rhyme that tells the back-story of Evan and his father. His father was actually the town doctor who went crazy when his wife died of a heart condition. Evan returns home and breaks a wall in the basement to his father’s things. He then dresses up like how his father used to.

This is also the last day of school. Jennifer Campbell (Holly Marie Combs) seems a bit down. Her boyfriend, Max Anderson (Glenn Quinn) asks about it and she just tells him she’s tired. We meet her group of friends with includes Coreen (Sara Melson) and her friend Normi (Zoe Trilling). Coreen has eyes for Max.

We then see Jennifer at a doctor’s appointment. It is there we learn that she has a heart condition, the same one her mother had. She is down though as her mother went in for routine surgery and passed away. Jennifer has weekly appointments and is told to come back the following week. She is given a monitor to wear. We then see her as she walks home, which takes her past the Rendell house. She hears noises coming from it and is spooked by Elaine Henderson (Nancy Fish), a nosey neighbor. Jennifer goes home to her father, Tom (Cliff De Young), and new stepmother Tamara (Michelle Johnson).

Some of Jennifer’s friends go into the Rendell house and two of them are trapped in a room. Dr. Giggles attacks them and starts to pick off people in the town with his father’s medical bag and instruments. That is until he finds out that Jennifer has a heart condition, he is out to save her since he couldn’t with his mother.

Now I do have to say, this film is as cheesy as I remember it. I do like that it took the slasher genre and gave it an interesting twist. There are a lot of people who are scared of going to the doctor, so making that the killer is something that is pretty solid. I don’t even mind the back-story either. Having the doctor go crazy over the death of his wife and he warps the mind of his son with it. I do think it is a bit odd that Officer Hank Magruder (Richard Bradford) is let on to be harboring a terrible secret. I thought that reveal was weak and I don’t know he didn’t tell anyone earlier to be honest.

I’ve touched on the back-story a bit, but I do want to point out that I really like the idea of the heart condition being a catalyst to the story. This is something that broke Evan as a child and even though he didn’t understand what happened, it warped him through his father. The duality that Jennifer’s mother also had a heart condition and that is part of why she passed away was interesting. Then having our main character with it as well works here. This Dr. Giggles is unstable, I like that he fixated on it.

Something that does plague this film is that it came out after the A Nightmare on Elm Street films when Freddy Kruger became a killer that would crack jokes. There are some really bad puns and using medical lingo as Dr. Giggles is killing people. I will admit, I didn’t mind some of them, but there were some really cringe-worthy ones that were not so much. I also love the idea of using medical instruments to kill his victims, but some of them were too over the top. An oversized Band-Aid is one of them. I would have preferred him to have used more of the nightmare instruments that we see near the end instead.

This brings me to the pacing of the film, which I think is really good as well. We have a run time of 95 minutes, which I think works well for a slasher film. I never found myself bored and I think the kills are spread throughout so you don’t find yourself being impatient for the next one. It does build tension, especially when it comes to Jennifer’s heart acting up from the stress of what is happening. I do think that the ending is a bit clichéd and could have done without, but it doesn’t ruin the film.

Acting for this film is actually pretty solid as well. Drake is actually really good in this film. He has enough of a creepy vibe in his role that worked so well. The one-liners are hit or miss, but I think that’s more of the writing, not his delivery. Combs was also pretty solid. I think she conveys her emotions very well without actually saying anything. I also thought the lethargic performance works. It was fun to see De Young and Trilling who I’ve seen in other horror films. The rest of the cast definitely round out the film for what is needed.

The effects of the film were kind of hit or miss. I do think that most of the practical effects were really well. There were some that were a bit hokey, but the film does well at making it look somewhat realistic. There is some CGI here that was bad. I definitely can start to see where in this era it started to go down hill. The film is shot pretty well though and I think the make up effects also work.

Now with that said, this is definitely a fun slasher. It really did come out in a time where they decided that they were going to mix more comedy with horror. I do think that does hurt the film a bit for me as the one-lines are a bit much at times. The concept of the film though is really good and I think the pacing is as well. Acting for the film is pretty solid for a slasher film. They do give some depth to Dr. Giggles as well as Jennifer. The practical effects are pretty solid, the CGI though not so much. Soundtrack of the film really didn’t stand out, but it also doesn’t hurt the film either. Overall I did enjoy this film, but it’s not great. I would definitely say that this is slightly above average for me.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10