Dr. Giggles is a 1992 American slasher film directed by Manny Coto, starring Larry Drake as Doctor Evan Rendell Jr. and Holly Marie Combs as Jennifer Campbell. The film co-stars Cliff DeYoung and Glenn Quinn. It was released on October 23, 1992.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Manny Coto|
|Produced by||Stuart M. Besser|
|Music by||Brian May|
|Edited by||Debra Neil-Fisher|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
In the town of Moorehigh in 1957, the patients of Dr. Evan Rendell kept disappearing. The townspeople found out the father and son duo had been ripping out the patients' hearts — in an attempt to bring back the doctor's dead wife. The townspeople stoned Dr. Rendell to death, but Evan Jr. disappeared.
Thirty-five years later, the adult Evan Jr. (now nicknamed "Dr. Giggles" for his hideous laugh and insatiable obsession to follow in his father's footsteps) escapes from a mental asylum, killing everyone in his path. In Moorehigh, 19-year-old Jennifer Campbell, her boyfriend Max Anderson, and their friends are planning their summer break. Jennifer, already upset by family trouble, is further distressed from having a heart condition and being forced to wear a heart monitor. Dr. Giggles returns to his childhood home, goes through Evan Sr.'s files, and gathers a list of names. He begins stalking and killing several residents, including Jennifer's friends.
After the party, Jennifer becomes fed up with her heart monitor and dumps it in a fish tank. Jennifer's father finds it and leaves to look for her. Dr. Giggles shows up and kills his girlfriend. Jennifer returns to the party and sees Max kissing another girl. Distraught, she runs into the house of mirrors. Dr. Giggles notices Jennifer has the same heart condition as his mother and goes after her. He kills the girl Max was kissing, but Jennifer sees him coming and escapes. Officers Magruder and Reitz find her and take her to the police station.
Officer Magruder explains to Reitz how Evan Jr. escaped. He was on guard duty at the morgue housing the bodies of Dr. Rendell and his wife. Investigating a giggle, he witnessed Evan Jr. cutting his way out of his mother's body with a scalpel. He realized that Rendell had cut open his wife's body, stuffed his son in and sewn it shut. Upon being threatened by Evan Jr., Macgruder passed out from shock. When he woke up, Rendell's wife's corpse had been re-sewn, and all traces of the event at the morgue had been wiped clean. The experience has left Magruder an alcoholic and an insomniac.
Dr. Giggles makes his way to Jennifer's house and attacks her father. Officer Magruder goes to investigate Jennifer's house and finds her father there, lying in a pool of blood. Dr. Giggles mortally wounds Magruder who, recognizing Evan Jr., shoots and wounds him before dying. Reitz arrives soon after, finding his partner dead and Jennifer's father wounded but alive.
Meanwhile, Dr. Giggles returns to his hideout, performing surgery on himself to remove the bullet. He kidnaps Jennifer and tells her his plan to replace her "broken" heart with one he took from her friends. Reitz and Max arrive. While Reitz distracts Dr. Giggles, Max and Jennifer escape. Dr. Giggles kills Reitz, but his father's house explodes and collapses on him.
At the hospital, Jennifer learns that the events of the evening have damaged her heart, requiring immediate surgery. While she is being prepped, Dr. Giggles reappears and cuts a bloody path through the hospital staff. He chases her to a janitor's closet. Jennifer ambushes and finally kills Dr. Giggles with his own instruments. Before dying, Dr. Giggles breaks the fourth wall, staring at the camera and asking, "Is there a doctor in the house?".
Recovering in the hospital, Jennifer is visited by Max and her father.
- Larry Drake as Doctor Evan Rendell Jr. / Dr. Giggles
- Holly Marie Combs as Jennifer Campbell
- Cliff DeYoung as Tom Campbell
- Glenn Quinn as Max Anderson
- Keith Diamond as Officer Joe Reitz
- Richard Bradford as Officer Hank Magruder
- Michelle Johnson as Tamara
- John Vickery as Dr. Chamberlain
- Nancy Fish as Elaine Henderson
- Doug E. Doug as Trotter
- William Dennis Hunt as Dr. Evan Rendell Sr.
On 11 August 1992, the Daily Variety reported that Largo Entertainment signed an exclusive first-look deal with Dark Horse Comics to develop and produce films based on the company's and comic and franchies. Dr. Giggles was the first film produced as part of the deal between Largo and Dark Horse.
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Dr Giggles was the first film distributed by Universal Pictures through its distribution deal with Largo. Universal would handle domestic distribution and release the film in all territories except for Japan and Italy. The film premiered in Los Angeles and New York on 23 October 1992.
The original release was on October 23, 1992 and the re-release on December 12, 2009 at New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. Following writing and directing Dr.Giggles, Coto created some more original stories about the character for a then upcoming comic-book series from Dark Horse.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Dr. Giggles holds an approval rating of 17%, based on 29 reviews, and an average rating of 3.46/10. It's consensus reads, "Larry Drake's deranged performance as the titular doctor is just about all that distinguishes Dr. Giggles from its slasher brethren."
Variety gave the film a negative review, calling it a "wildly uneven horror film," noting that "More care in scripting and fewer cheap yocks could have resulted in a viable new paranoid horror myth." Vincent Canby also criticized the script in his review for The New York Times, stating, "The screenplay is stitched together from variations on cliches used by or about the medical community." The Washington Post noted that "Manny Coto turns to co-writer Graeme Whifler time and again for punchlines in a desperate attempt to revive a script that begins in critical condition and ends up DOA."
- "Dr. Giggles". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
- The New York Times
- Foywonder (December 7, 2013). "B-Sides: We've Got a Bad Case of Dr. Giggles". dreadcentral.com. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- "BC Brings 'Dr. Giggles' Back To The Big Screen".
- "See Dr. Giggles at LA's New Beverly with the Good Doctor Himself!". December 12, 2009.
- Johnson, Kim Howard. "Profile: Manny Coto". GoreZone (1992 Special). No. 25. p. 64.
- "Dr. Giggles (1992) – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
- Cohn, Lawrence (October 25, 1992). "Dr. Giggles". Variety. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
- Canby, Vincent (October 24, 1992). "Dr. Giggles". The New York Times. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
- Harrington, Richard (October 26, 1992). "'Dr. Giggles'". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
- Kermode, Mark; Dean, Peter (November 1, 1993). "Video Reviews". Sight & Sound. London: British Film Institute. 3 (11): 59.
- "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.