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Shaun vs. Dr. Giggles (1992)

giggles1Directed by Manny Coto

Starring Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs and Cliff De Young

A psychopath (Drake) escapes from a mental institution to dispense his brand of justice — via loony puns and giant-sized medical instruments — on the town that killed his father who was a general practitioner who went insane.  


The doctor is out. . . of his mind!

A mental patient, nicknamed “Dr. Giggles” because he likes to play doctor and giggles when he’s nervous, escapes from his prison after performing a brief open heart surgical operation and makes his way back home to the small town of Moorehigh.  Years ago, his father used to be the town’s family doctor until he was killed by a mob after he killed several patients, including his wife, after going nuts.  Believing his father to be innocent, Dr. Giggles breaks into his old house to retrieve his father’s tools and get revenge on the town that killed his daddy.

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Meanwhile, a group of high school teens who are fully aware of the legend of the crazy doctor and his until recently missing son, wander into the same house to…party?  Kids always party in the strangest places.  After making a couple of the kids his newest patients, he follows the group and develops a fondness for a girl named Jennifer who is suffering from a rare heart condition which the bad doctor thinks he can cure.

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At the time of its release, Dr. Giggles was a shot at trying to reignite the slasher genre which had cooled off drastically by the late 80s and wouldn’t get hot again until 1996’s Scream.  Dr. Giggles isn’t necessarily bad but it is a good example of what was so wrong with the genre.  There’s only so many combinations of teenagers you can put together in a slasher flick and the gang featured here is no different from any other movie except for Jennifer who has the “rare heart condition” which only figures into the plot because the killer is a maniacal doctor.  Aside from that fact, these “kids” are interchangeable.

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It’s not all bad though.  There’s a fair amount of time given to the film’s villain and how his descent into madness started at a young age and how that reflects his state of mind in thinking he’s a doctor.  Instead of being played for scares though, Larry Drake spouts an incredible amount of doctor-inspired puns in the most evil way possible as he murders people with oversized instruments.  Yes, he has a bone saw that he can whip out of his bag but it also contains ridiculous items like a gigantic reflex hammer and a giant band-aid which he uses more often.  It’s practically Looney Tunes only with blood and easily the best parts of the movie.

TL;DR

Story: 3 – A crazy, let’s say a doctor, escapes from a loony bin and goes on to kill teenagers in hilariously awful ways.

Blood: 6 – I don’t want to list all the oddball kills because it’s the best part of the movie.  Some kills are overly bloody, some are less bloody but more visceral in nature.

Nudity: 1 – There’s a naked corpse for those that like that sort of thing.

Overall: 5 – It’s a good thing there’s so much of Drake’s Dr. Giggles because beyond his performance and the silly kills, it’s otherwise dull and formulaic.

Trivia

-The house featured as the home of Dr. Giggles was built in a parking lot so they could blow it up later.

-The director, Manny Coto, was told by the MPAA to cut out a lot of the gore before it would receive an R-rating.

Judging a Book by it’s Cover

giggles1

-This dude is so evil they came out with a nursery rhyme for him!  They never do that these days.

-The eyes are so scary and so is the image of a shadowy figure with a knife behind his back.  Everything about the poster is so serious…except for the name.  Is this serious?  Is it funny?  I wouldn’t be sure what I would be getting into based on the art.

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