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|
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.
In the town of Moorehigh in 1957, the patients of Dr. Evan Rendell kept disappearing. After some investigation, the citizens of Moorehigh found that he and his son Evan Jr. (nicknamed "Dr. Giggles" for his hideous laugh), were ripping out 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, Dr. Giggles 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, upset that her father is dating again shortly after her mother's death, is further angered when she is diagnosed with a heart condition and is forced to wear a heart monitor to determine if she needs surgery. Meanwhile, Dr. Giggles breaks into his father's abandoned office and starts going through the doctor's old files, gathering a list of names. He begins to stalk and kill several of the town's residents, including Jennifer's friends.
Jennifer comes home from a party, and deciding that she's had enough of her heart monitor, dumps it in a fish tank. Jennifer's father finds her heart monitor and goes to look for her, leaving his girlfriend Tamara behind to also be killed by Dr. Giggles. Jennifer returns to the party and sees Max kissing another girl. Distraught, she runs into a house of mirrors. Dr. Giggles sees Jennifer and notices that she has the same heart condition as his mother and goes after her. He follows and kills the other girl Max was kissing, but Jennifer sees him coming and manages to escape. Officers Magruder and Reitz find her and take her to the police station.
Through a flashback, Officer Magruder explains to Reitz that he knows how Evan Jr. escaped the night that Dr. Rendell was killed. He was on guard duty at the morgue where the bodies of Dr. Rendell and his dead wife were. After midnight, upon hearing giggling coming from the morgue, he went to investigate. He noticed the dead wife's body moving and then witnessed Evan Jr. cutting his way out of her with a scalpel. He realized that Evan Jr. escaped by his father cutting open the back of his mother's corpse and sewing it shut with him in it. Upon being spotted by Officer Macgruder, a blood-covered Evan Jr. hissing at him and threatened him with the scalpel. Officer Macgruder passed out from the shock of the trauma, only to wake up and find Evan Jr's mother's corpse sewn shut, and all traces of the event at the morgue wiped clean. That experience has left Officer 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 him as Evan Jr., angrily shoots him in the side 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 then kidnaps Jennifer and tells her that he plans to replace her "broken" heart with one of those he took from the bodies of her friends. Reitz and Max arrive to save her. Reitz puts up enough of a fight with Dr. Giggles that Max and Jennifer manage to escape. Dr. Giggles manages to kill Reitz, but is unable to escape before his father's house explodes apparently killing him.
Jennifer is taken to the hospital, where she is told that the traumatic events of the evening have damaged one of her heart valves, and she is going to need surgery to replace it. While she is being prepped, Dr. Giggles reappears, having survived the explosion, and is cutting a bloody path through the hospital staff to get to Jennifer. He chases her to a janitor's closet where she spills a bottle of cleaning fluid onto the floor and hits him with a pair of defibrillator paddles, electrocuting him. She finally kills him by stabbing him through the chest with two of his own instruments. Dr. Giggles then breaks the fourth wall, staring at the camera and asking, "Is there a doctor in the house?" before dying.
Recovering in the hospital, Jennifer is visited by Max and her also-recovering father.
- Larry Drake as Doctor Evan Rendell Jr.
- 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 Evan's Father
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.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2015)
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 17 September 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.