|Directed by||Brian Yuzna|
|Produced by||Pierre David|
|Music by||Alan Howarth|
|Distributed by||Trimark Pictures|
|Running time||92 minutes|
The Dentist is an 1996 American horror film directed by Brian Yuzna and written by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon, and Charles Finch. It stars Corbin Bernsen, Linda Hoffman and Ken Foree. It was followed by the sequel The Dentist 2, in 1998.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2011)|
Dr. Alan Feinstone (Corbin Bernsen) has everything he wants in his life: a beautiful wife, a nice house, a job as a dentist, and a popular reputation. However, everything changes on the day of his wedding anniversary, he spies on his wife Brooke, and spots her cheating on him and having sex with their filthy poolman, Matt. Alan waits for them to finish, and retrieves his handgun (a .380 Walther PPK) and then follows Matt in his car, tailing him.
He is led to Paula Roberts's house, a friend of Brooke's. Hiding the gun behind his back, he quickly makes up a story about inviting Paula to a surprise party for Brooke. He then sneaks into her backyard in time to see Paula invite Matt inside. Paula's dog, a rottweiler, emerges from the yard and attacks Alan. He shoots the dog through the head in self-defense. He then returns through his car and proceeds to drive to work.
At his dental practice, Alan's first patient of the day is young Jody Sanders, there for his very first dental appointment. Alan begins to clean Jody's teeth. Everything goes smoothly until he imagines that Jody's teeth are brown and rotten. His dental pick slips, stabbing Jody in the gums. Jody's mother picks up her crying, bleeding son and leaves angrily.
Alan sees his second patient, beauty queen April Reign, and invites her inside his office. Meanwhile, Detective Gibbs (Ken Foree) investigates the death of Paula's dog. He suspects the perpetrator was a burglar who has been recently robbing houses in the neighborhood; however the burglar has never used a gun before, causing him to be unsure if he has the right suspect.
Alone with April, Alan sedates her with nitrous oxide so that he can fill a cavity in one of her molars. As she drifts off into unconsciousness, Alan imagines that she has transformed into his wife. He begins kissing and fondling his "wife" on the dental chair, then begins to choke her. April starts to cough and half-wakes up from the gas. Alan snaps out of his trance and quickly re-buttons April's blouse and finishes removing her pantyhose. Hiding the pantyhose behind a counter, Alan helps the still-coughing April into the arms of her manager, Steve Landers (Mark Ruffalo). He leads them out, claiming April is dizzy from the nitrous oxide. Steve returns a few minutes later and furiously punches Alan in the mouth after learning what happened to April. They leave angrily, threatening a lawsuit for sexual and physical assault on their way out. Alan decides to end the day early and sends his staff and patients home. Sarah, a teenager who desperately wants to get her braces removed, is disappointed to hear this. Candy, Alan's office manager, tells her that she will have to wait until the next morning.
Later that night, Brooke meets Alan at his practice. He reveals his new Italian opera-themed patient room. He encourages Brooke to try out the room's dental chair and clean her teeth. When she does, Alan binds her to the chair with a scarf and sedates her with nitrous oxide. With operatic blaring in the background, he begins to pull out Brooke's teeth and cuts out her tongue.
Investigating the burglaries, Detective Gibbs and his partner Detective Sunshine arrive at Alan's house the next morning to ask him some questions. As they speak, Brooke, who is still alive but sedated, lies on a pool chair with a bikini on in the backyard while Matt cleans the pool with a scoop. Just as the policemen leave, Matt finds what seems to be a severed tongue in his net. He lifts Brooke's hat from her face to alert her of this discovery. She moans, reaches for him and displays her mutilated mouth; all her teeth are missing and her tongue is completely cut. Alan emerges from the house with a kitchen knife and stabs Matt to death.
Waiting for Alan when he arrives at his practice are Sarah and Paula. Alan sees Paula first, much to Sarah's disappointment. When Paula's conversation turns to how good a job Matt does for her, Alan asks for a dental drill and begins overly-aggressively drilling her tooth. As her tooth is destroyed, his assistant, Jessica, questions what he is doing. Alan snaps out of his trance and asks Jessica to finish up. Instead, Jessica tells Paula to leave. When Alan discovers that Paula has left, he fires Jessica. She pulls out April's pantyhose from the previous day and threatens to expose Alan. Grabbing the hose from her hands, Alan wraps them around Jessica's neck and strangles her to death.
At the police station, Detective Sunshine discovers that the bullet pulled from Paula's dog's murder scene only matches one gun in the area: the Walther PPK owned by Alan. He and Detective Gibbs drive to the Feinstone house to question him further. Near the pool, they discover Matt's body. They quickly break into the house and find the mutilated Brooke, tied to the bed but still alive.
Meanwhile, IRS agent Marvin Goldblum, using Alan's tax problems as leverage, extorts a free dental exam and tries to extort a payoff from the doctor. Alan inserts a retractor into Marvin's mouth and cracks his jaw wide open. He then uses a dental drill to slice into Marvin's tongue. Later, Alan's other dental assistant, Karen, finds Marvin still in the dental chair. The doctor grabs her and inserts a needle full of air into her jugular. The air bubble travels into her brain and kills her.
As Candy leaves for lunch with dental equipment salesman Matthew Zeigler, Sarah finally gets called back to have her braces removed. Alan removes them and shows Sarah her smile in the mirror. As with Jody, he imagines her teeth brown and rotting. He pulls out his gun and aims it at her forehead. Sarah slams the exam light into Alan's head and escapes. She hides in one of the dental rooms, where she finds the blood-soaked Marvin, who attacks Alan, but he recaptures her. Hysterical, Sarah promises to brush her teeth three times a day and to never eat candy. This satisfies Alan and he leaves. The two detectives arrive, but they are too late.
They follow him to a university where the doctor teaches dentistry classes. There, Alan at gunpoint maniacally instructs all of his students to pull all of the teeth out of all their patients. His vision warps again and he sees all of the people he has either killed or mutilated over the past few days. He shoots Matt, who turns out to be a dental student. The detectives burst into the room, but Alan uses a hostage to escape. Eventually, he wanders into an auditorium where an opera singer is practicing. Enchanted, he watches her from behind. When he reaches out to touch her, she transforms into Brooke, who laughs at him. Defeated, he falls to his knees and is arrested by the detectives.
Alan, who is now in a psychiatric hospital, is carted off to his regular dental appointment. The dentist working on him is revealed to be his toothless wife Brooke, as she begins to work violently on his mouth.
- Corbin Bernsen as Dr. Alan Feinstone
- Linda Hoffman as Brooke Feinstone
- Michael Stadvec as Matt
- Ken Foree as Detective Gibbs
- Tony Noakes as Detective Sunshine
- Molly Hagan as Jessica
- Patty Toy as Karen
- Jan Hoag as Candy
- Virginya Keehne as Sarah
- Earl Boen as Marvin Goldblum
- Christa Sauls as April Reign
- Mark Ruffalo as Steve Landers
- Lise Simms as Paula Roberts
- Joanne Baron as Mrs. Saunders
- Brian McLaughlin as Jody
- Christopher Kriesa as Mr. Schaeffer
- Sal Viscuso as Matthew Zeigler
Allmovie wrote, "this parody is pretty subpar even by the standards of Saturday the 14th and Swamp Thing. Plenty of earlier films have played with the peculiarities and anxieties of the dental world, from the lighthearted Little Shop of Horrors to the disturbing Marathon Man. The Dentist adds nothing new to the mix besides over-the-top images of mouths being desecrated and queasy allusions to the alleged filthiness of oral sex."
Anthony C. Ferrante won "Best Special Effects" at the 1996 Fantafestival for his work on The Dentist. The film also won the "Jury Grand Prize" at the 1996 Sweden Fantastic Film Festival. It was nominated but did not win "Best Film" at the 1996 Fantasporto.