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— W.C.U.N — Pittsburgh!!

DR. GIGGLES (1992) Dir. Manny Coto. Written by Manny Coto and Graeme Whifler. Starring: Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs, Cliff De Young, Glenn Quinn, Keith Diamond, Richard Bradford, and Doug E. Doug.

The Doctor is out . . . of his mind. 

Oh, what I wouldn't give to have a whole series of Dr. Giggles films. Of all the attempts at new franchise slashers made in the 90's, Dr. Giggles is the only one that ever really had a chance with me, beating out Brainscan's Trickster (who never really killed anyone) and Wishmaster for sheer cringe induced laughter. Sure Candyman is the only real classic slasher of the 90's despite two severely brain damaged sequels and yes, of course, we got Ghostface at the end of the decade but like Candyman, they really should have stopped after the first one. No such problem with Dr. Giggles, his very nature is perfect for mindless, gory sequels; no meta bullshit, no gothic romances, just dumb teen slaughter and that maniacal giggle. Christ, even Corbin Bernsen's The Dentist got a sequel and that starred Corbin Bernsen! But enough about the Dentist lest we descend into the realm of Leprechaun, Uncle Sam, Ice Cream Man, and Jack Frost. Dr. Giggles is where it's at and Larry Drake, whether he was proud of it or not, gives probably his most recognizable performance, yes even beating Darkman. The film opens with the classic inmates running the asylum trope done up real gory here for maximum effect and the scene of Evan Rendell performing unnecessary surgery sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Slasher established bloodily and efficiently? Check. Final Girl with shitty boyfriend and heart problems? Double check. Unnecessary, but kinda awesome nursery rhyme about the killer? But, of course:

Our town has a doctor and his name is Rendell / Stay away from his house, 'cause he's the doctor from hell / He chopped up his patients, every last one / and cut out their hearts purely for fun / So, if you're from Moorehigh and you should get sick / Fall on your knees and pray you die quick. 

Horny teens lining up for the slab introduced with a suitably fun scene serving as an efficient sketch of killer's backstory? You betcha! Funny and gruesome deaths of said horny teenagers? Oh yeah. Doug E. Doug? Hell yeah! Totally freaky reveal of why Dr. Giggles is Dr. Giggles? Holy shit, yes! If you don't remember this sick bit of matriarchal jack-in-the-box or haven't seen the film, well, what can I say? Depending on the delicacy of your stomach lining you may or may not want to watch this one. Finally, viscerally satisfying final act with a Final Girl slept on by the general horror audience? Bingo, baby. Dr. Giggles has got it all, plus the best, corn-fed one-liners this side of Nightmare on Elm Street. Hyperbole aside,  the 2nd act where said horny teenagers die is rather boilerplate and occasionally even dull, the first and last act are, however, wholly above average for this decade and deserve to be remembered alongside the greats of the 80's. Say aaaaahhhhhh!

 

 

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