Dr. Giggles is one of those pre-Scream slashers from the 90’s that no one cares about. One-off genre films that failed in propelling next-generation horror icons into the limelight are poised to dangle in an amphibolic limbo for all of eternity. Dr. Giggles, Brainscan, Shocker and Popcorn are b-flicks that strained ever noticeably to kickstart a franchise. Nowadays, said reels are virtually non-existent in the pop culture vernacular. And I love all of them! Something is seriously wrong with me. I am obsessed with Dr. Giggles. I first viewed it as an impressionable youth, and since then, I have seen it at least twenty times. It just clicks with me. I’m not entirely sure why, but it clicks with me like chemotherapy clicks with a cancer patient.
How sick am I? I own a Dr. Giggles comic book. Yes, it’s gotten that bad. I’m not blind to the film’s obvious flaws, but I really don’t care about them. The plot is nothing special. A loon escapes from a mental institution and sets up camp in the small town that made a martyr out of his father. He fancies himself as a doctor, which gives way to dozens of glorious gimmick-induced one-liners. This flick is all about creative death sequences, hammy acting, and juvenile scares. The pace is restless. I never get restless watching the film, despite the fact that I could probably sketch out the storyboards from memory at this point.
Larry Drake. That’s all I need to say, but I’m bound by the gregarious nature of journalism to patter further. Drake’s bequest is distinguished enough without Dr. Giggles on his resume (to horror freaks anyway), but he knocked this fucker out of the ballpark. In my sugar-coated opinion, his performance as Evan Rendell is up there with Robert Englund’s many turns as Freddy and Tony Todd’s portentous play dates with Candyman as one of the most formidable interpretations of a villain in modern day splatter cinema. A bold statement, I know, but I can back it up. If not for Drake, this would be a devastatingly ordinary slasher. He prescribes a concentrated dose of colorful character to a role that could have easily been a throwaway baddie. Can you spot the medical reference???
Unfortunately, Larry Drake is the only opalescent asterismal in the cast. The rest of the players are about as opalescent as MY COCK! Future the-other-girl Holly Marie Combs is profoundly boring. Future corpse Glenn Quinn is bland as the “cool” boyfriend. Every slasher stereotype is accounted for. Surprisingly, the token black guy isn’t relegated to being a stock cartoon. In fact, I don’t remember him spitting out any urban parlance. I am tempted to change the subject. Let’s see...acting, Larry Drake, death sequences, one-liners...I’ve got it! Manny Coto! Coto directed this brainless bouillabaisse (that’s fish soup, asshole) as though he actually cared what the final product was going to look like. You’ve got to love the opening credits. You’ve got to.
Coto also helmed 1997’s Star Kid. Wait, that’s not interesting at all. I better wrap this up while I’m still behind. Dr. Giggles is too much fun. It does suffer from the same pratfalls that every “hack ‘em up” picture suffers from. The teenagers are idiots, the script is shot full of holes, and the slut doesn’t drop her top. What’s that about? Still, this jocular junket is a sentimental favorite of mine. I must be out...of my mind!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 6:20 PM