Remember Larry Drake's Emmy Award-winning portrayal of "Benny," the mentally challenged office worker on L.A. Law? Well, a couple of years before he started winning the hearts of L.A. Law viewers, Larry Drake was busy removing the hearts of the residents of Moorehigh - while they were still alive, no less - as the infamous Dr. Giggles. Now let's just stop for a minute here and talk about this giggling thing. I think all of the maniacal giggling did this movie more harm than good, and I for one would never have released a film with this campy a title. How can you take this movie seriously with a title like Dr. Giggles? It might be different if this were a horror comedy, but it isn't - sure, there are elements of comedy strewn loosely about every so often, but I defy anyone to watch this movie without getting sick and tired of the one-liner overkill that plagues it. I don't have any complaints in the horror department, though, as Dr. Giggles turned out to be a pretty successful slasher film.
Young Evan Rendell always wanted to be a doctor, just like his father. That didn't change just because his father went mad and ended up killing several patients in a futile attempt to save his wife's life. Mrs. Rendell died, Dr. Rendell was killed by a mob, and young Evan disappeared, eventually ending up as a John Doe in a mental institution. As the movie opens, "Dr. Giggles" escapes, not before killing several staff members, and heads toward home to continue his father's work. The old Rendell house, abandoned all these years, gives him access to all the tools of the trade - not to mention a few that he comes up with on his own. His first patients, in the form of dumb teenagers exploring the spooky old house, actually come to him, but his attention focuses on young Jennifer Campbell (a pre-Charmed Holly Marie Combs) when he learns that she has a "broken heart" just like his mother - in Jennifer's case, it's a mitrovalve prolapse. Dr. Giggles is determined to save her, and he certainly has plenty of brand new hearts to choose from by the time he finally gets her under his control.
It's just a bad day all around for poor Jennifer. Her doctor gives her a heart monitor to wear in order to see if she'll need heart surgery to repair her valve; her step-mother is just as annoying as ever; her boyfriend proves to be less than loyal (making for just the kind of excitement she's supposed to avoid) - and now the dangerously schizophrenic son of the man who killed her mother is coming after her, determined to cure her "broken heart" with the most radical of unwanted surgeries.
There's nothing all that scary about this movie, although some might experience a few creeps during a certain morgue scene, and I don't think true gorehounds will find the film excessively gory, either. Still, the body count is most satisfying, all of the victims are killed in the most interesting and unusual of ways, and it's always nice to see a mad killer who cares so much about his work. The writers just go way overboard with the one-liners, really taking something away from an otherwise good ending for this viewer. In the end, the film is just a little bit too gimmicky for its own good - but it's still a pretty darn entertaining slasher film.