Friday, February 1, 2013
Dr. Giggles (1992)
The Doctor Is In...sane!
I first saw Dr. Giggles on TV, one of those early channels in
who only showed feature
films (and probably sport, who the hell cares about sport?, something like
Filmnet or TV 1000. I recorded it and it's still somewhere down in the
basement. I remember watching it a lot during those teenage years, over and
over again until I got bored with it, the tapes got buried in cardboard boxes
and I went on to find more interesting films. But deep down there in my mind
it's always been waving friendly, looking at me, maybe offering me candy -
everything to make me follow the good doctor into the forest one more time. I
ignored him until a couple of weeks ago when I saw that the blu-ray was
extremely cheap, almost free - and I thought "what the heck", and
ordered it. Sweden
One thing that strikes me when I watched it again was how much money must have been poured into the production. This is one handsome fucker of a movie. Remember, this was a four years before Wes Craven's Scream and horror was still very unpopular, and launching a new franchise, a tongue-in-cheek one, must have been an odd idea at the time. A movie relying heavy on humour but still had a lot of quite creepy sequences and seriously violent scene - just like Scream later on. Together with the movie a two issue long comic book adaption was released, two different CD's (one with the soundtrack and one with the Brian May score) and a big marketing campaign all over the US - but the film failed at the box office (according to Box Office Mojo it took in eight million dollars totally, which I guess was less than the budget) and fast forgotten.
Which is a damn pity.
Mostly because Dr. Giggles is a very well-made and ambitious slasher.
It was before its time, that's part of the problem. The script, or maybe more the story, isn't anything special, but the over-the-top witty dialogue, the acting (especially from Larry Drake as the good doctor) and the gorgeous production values, from the sets and special effects to the wonderful cinematography (by Rob Draper, who also shot the boring but nice-looking Halloween 5) is really a sight to behold. It's not overly gory, but has a couple of excellent scenes and it's a violent film, make no mistake about that. The morgue-sequence is still one of the creepiest scenes I've seen in a slasher, and you who have seen the film will not forget that shocker! It's stuff like that, the pitch-black comedy, the wonderful performance of Larry Drake and the glossy, almost advertising-style, look makes it almost a surreal experience.
Dr. Giggles could have be a very fun franchise and the doctor could have elevated to one of the best "slashers" out there. It's well worth revisiting, both for the outrageous early nineties fashion, the interesting characters and the comedy - but it's Larry Drakes show in the end.
He's absolutely perfect in the part. And that what makes Dr. Giggles such a delicious treat to devour.