Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


DR. GIGGLES (1992). Director: Manny Coto.

"Good thing I make house calls!"

When a maniac nicknamed "Dr. Giggles" (Larry Drake) escapes from an asylum, he returns to his home town to embark upon a killing spree. Years before, Giggles' father -- himself a doctor -- lost his wife on the operating table, so he went about cutting out patients' hearts. Now his son wants revenge for his father's death. The heroine is a likable young woman named Jennifer (Holly Marie Combs) who has a minor heart condition and faces surgery. Dr. Giggles murders off her friends and others via various medical instruments, then takes Jennifer to the basement of his crumbling mansion where daddy (inexplicably) kept his own operating room ... One might argue that Dr. Giggles is chock-full of highly familiar elements [such as the maniac-on-the-loose scenario] but somehow it doesn't matter. The fast-paced picture has characters that are better developed than usual, a suspenseful climax, a fine lead performance by Drake, and laughs and chills in equal measure in this very black comedy. (Admittedly, some of the doctor-related puns become tiresome after awhile). Combs is also notable, as are Cliff De Young as Jennifer's father; Keith Diamond as Officer Joe; and Richard Bradford as Joe's older partner, Hank. Fairly slick and well directed by Coto, this is, unsurprisingly, quite gruesome at times.

Verdict: Fun if grisly movie. ***.

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