“Get ready to take your medicine, Moorehigh. The doctor is in.”
The Scoop: 1992 R, directed by Manny Coto and starring Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs and Glenn Quinn
Tagline: If you’re from Moorehigh and you get sick, fall on your knees and pray you die quick.
Summary Capsule: Mad doctor treats patients with no malpractice insurance.
Justin’s Rating: Laughter is the best medicine… what, that’s in the movie too? What doctor-related pun did they NOT mine?
Justin’s Review: I have to confess, I’ve wanted to see this movie for a long, long time based on the name alone. Seriously, “Dr. Giggles”? It’s like a group of very drunk studio execs made a bet with each other that they couldn’t come up with the most ridiculous scary movie title and the last man standing blurted this out before vomiting. Not that I’m complaining, mind you — it sounds like cult gold.
And it actually is gold, from the silly premise to the bizarrely gory deaths. What we have here is a black comedy take on the slasher genre — a messed-up doctor’s kid grows up in an insane asylum and fancies himself a medical genius, just like his pa. He’s also got a weird tendency to giggle whenever pain is present, which actually is more effective as a character trait than you’d think. A “genius”, as one of the psychiatrists informs us, Rendell Evan Jr. (a fat-lipped Larry Drake) escapes and returns to his home town to pick up where his dad left off.
Fortunately for Even Jr., the town is full of morons who stumble through abandoned homes, a police department with severe denial issues, and a girl with a weak (ahem) heart. It’s almost like some sort of screenwriting god created a playground just for him to romp around in. And romp he does, from victim to victim, dispatching them with a wide array of medical instruments and an endless bag of medical-related quips (“I’ve never lost a patient… yet!” is just the tip of the iceberg in the pun department).
At no point is Dr. Giggles ever scary, even in a jump-scare kind of way. I don’t think they were trying to go for straight-up scares, anyway. Instead, there’s a lot more focus on the darkly humorous tone of the bad guy who takes a LOT of pleasure in his work, and a macabre fascination with the way he bumps his victims off (I mean, c’mon, we’ve all wondered what might happen if a stomach pump was set to “ultra-high”). As the movie progresses, it does a decent job of filling us in on the backstory of Evans Jr. and just how he ended up the way he was.
And let’s face it, most of us have an inherent fear and/or loathing for doctors, hospitals, needles and all that jazz. Consider watching this as a form of therapy — a highly exaggerated take on all of our phobias.
Ultimately, this is one of those horror movies that’s fun in the same way as if you went through one of those blood-splattered haunted houses that pop up every Halloween. It’s obviously fake, over-the-top and lacking any sense of subtlety, but that’s just part of Dr. Giggles’ charm. You just want to stumble from room to room to see what the filmmakers can come up with next, and for the most part, they manage to keep it surprising, exciting and fast-paced. Consider this a strong recommendation from a former patient — Dr. Giggles is a prescription for sinister delights.
- 17 on-screen deaths. It’s… enough.
- The best reason for abstinence? Your heart will kill you.
Jennifer: Take two and call me in the morning!
Doctor Evan Rendell: Laughter is the best medicine.
Doctor Evan Rendell: Check out time.
Doctor Evan Rendell: If you think that’s bad, wait until you get my bill.
Doctor Evan Rendell: I haven’t discharged you!
[Watching a boy play Dr. Mario]
Doctor Evan Rendell: Terminal.
If you liked this movie, try these:
- The Human Centipede
- The Island of Dr. Moreau