DR. GIGGLES (1992)

Directed By: Manny Coto 
Written By: Manny Coto & Graeme Whifler 
Cinematography By: Robert Draper 
Editor: Debra Neil 

Cast: Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs, Glenn Quinn, Cliff De Young, Sara Melson, Zoe Trilling, Michelle Johnson, Keith Diamond, Richard Bradford, John Vickery, Doug E. Doug

The psychopathic son of a mass-murdering doctor escapes from his mental institution to seek revenge on the town where his father was caught. The giggling doctor kills his victims with a surgical theme. His goal is to give one of the townfolk a heart transplant.


This film always seemed like a series that could continue into a franchise. Even if it was just straight to DVD sequels. One could even accept one sequel strangely enough. As here you have an iconic rather ridiculous horror character and a rather goofy yet entertaining horror film.

Though lead actor Larry Drake has unfortunately passed. I am sure it is ripe for a reimagining. I mean if Corbin Bernsen had THE DENTIST series of films. Which were a rather guilty pleasure of mine. Why not DR. GIGGLES?

While this film is not the best it fulfills a certain uncentered feel during the film. Where you laugh one minute, groan the next, then finally are appalled the following.

This film has an old-school vibe that while not classic like the universal monsters. Feels like some kind of attempt to create a more studio-friendly one.

The problem is that the film isn’t really that scary. Nor as violent as one would expect. The only time it even really gets grimy is a gory birth or rebirth scene in flashback. As the film is campier than anything. That keeps trying to make you laugh at the macabre.

It’s an example of the rather soft horror films studios were putting out At the time. This film feels more suited for 13-year-olds rather than adults with its goofiness at times as it gets over the top with puns and one-liners and the doctor having overgrown murder tools and accessories that couldn’t have been bought. So they must have been created. Making him quite the artist as well. Though also makes him come off as a crazed clown with an identity crisis. Which makes an odd screen psychopathic killer.

Director, Manny Coto, revealed that the MPAA told him he had a lot of work to do on the film before they could give it an R rating. They had to cut out a lot of the gore because the MPAA was particularly harsh on them since horror films faced heavy censorship in the early 1990s. Which would explain why the film feels so clean when it comes to deaths and violence. Nothing really terror-inducing

Larry Drake is an all-star here. He does an impressive job and is memorable. As he usually did in other films. He is a favorite in the DARKMAN series of films. He never quite got his break as a more popular character actor. Hard to believe he was actually considered only after Ted Danson and Matt Frewer turned the part down

The problem here is that his film is meant to be an introduction, but feels more like a sequel of sorts. Where we are supposed to know about him already. We see the doctor in action more as a phantom in the background. So we never get to see exactly how dangerous he was originally. So the murders he commits here seem more secondhand. Not as shocking or powerful As they should feel.

The rest of the cast unfortunately is forgettable as they just seem your average type cliche one-note characters. There didn’t seem to be an effort to humanize them. So as they are slaughtered you feel nothing or rather cheer for their demise. Making for a macabre crowd pleaser. The film is as fun as the title suggests. One just wishes there was more to it. As it easily runs out of room with its initial premise. So it keeps adding to pad out the film. Though really the film feels like an attempt to make a big-screen slasher. Though ends up coming across more as the type you would see in a film that needs a horror film for the characters to watch that could be very generic but needs a hook.

I find myself being more kind to this film than maybe I should as it is a childhood favorite. When I stuck to mainly studio horror films out of fear of the more extreme ones.

Grade: C+

THE LIVING END (1992)

 Written, Directed, Edited & Cinematography by: Greg Araki

Cast: Craig Gilmore, Mike Dytri, Darcy Marta, Johanna Went, Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel 

Luke is a gay hustler. Jon is a movie critic. Both are HIV positive. They go on a hedonistic, dangerous journey, their motto “Fuck the world”.


Even though this is writer/director Greg Araki’s first film. This is one of the latest of his films I have actually watched. I have seen all of his work from the film THE DOOM GENERATION (His first self-proclaimed openly heterosexual film. His third actual film and the second in his teenage apocalypse trilogy) on.

I didn’t like that film. The film did fascinate me with its style, anger, and punk sensibility. This is why no matter what I always give Araki’s film a try.

This is his debut film. Where he pretty much made the film on his own. but also this was the start of the New Queer Cinema movement. 

Here the film doesn’t pull any punches. It is punk all the way. Angry, in your face, violent, no rules, and funny. The film has it’s messages and stylish selections throughout.

This wasn’t a film where its main characters were gay and sexless. Nor supporting characters in some straight love story. Or comic relief. They were the protagonists and very sexual which we see and good looking. Though also both are dying.

The film offers commentary on the world through side characters and their matter-of-fact dialogue. That works on a commentary of the social scene at the time.

It also offers a violent story with two lovers on the run. That actually seems like it is headed for tragedy and violence. It shockingly becomes something that is personal, emotional, and actually about the characters makeing a connection In all the chaos that is supposedly normal life. 

The characters and film both have a nihilistic outlook but end with finding connections and hope on the edge. Leaving a message of living life to the fullest While young. As the characters are the ultimate attractive outsiders who manage to find one another amongst the chaos.

The film wears its influences in it’s background with various new wave and Avant-garde film posters pampering the walls. Not to mention a cameo from cult actress Mary Woronov.

The film has a certain energy and excitement that it never keeps up with at first and that you think will keep up, but it slowly starts to pump its breaks and go slower and takes its turns with the characters. Losing its urgency but allowing for more depth. Still driven by music or the soundtrack. That comes off as inner monologues at times. 

Though there are straight supporting characters the film stays mainly with the main couple.

The film is less violent and more talkative than one would expect. 

As the film goes along they are lovers on the run whose relationship starts off more sexy and exciting. Though as the film goes along they get to know each other and form a bond and relationship. Driven by sex and end up finding love in their own nihilistic lives.

Random strangers in the background carrying messages that end up being the film’s sly commentary. As well as comic relief.

I can’t say I love this film, but it kept my interests mostly throughout and was refreshing to see a love story that was sexual and not fluffy necessarily that just happened to be a homosexual love story. It’s down and dirty and penetrating In many ways 

An interesting take on modern love at the time. 

Grade: B

BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE PLAYER (1992)

buffy_the_vampire_slayer_kristy_swanson_luke_perry

 

Directed By: Fran Rubel Kuzui
Written By: Joss Whedon
Cinematography: James Hayman
Editor: Jill Savitt & Camilla Toniolo 


Cast: Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry, Donald Sutherland, Rugter Hauer, Paul Ruebens, Andrew Lowery, David Arquette, Candy Clark, Hillary Swank, Stephen Root, Sasha Jenson, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Thomas Jane, Randall Batinkoff, Mark DeCarlo, Paris Vaughn, Michele Abrams 

Buffy Summers has the lifestyle any young woman could want. Cheerleading, dating the captain of the basketball team, and copious amounts of time spent shopping with friends. She had no idea of her true calling until a mysterious man named Merrick approached her and told her that she is the Slayer; one woman called to defend the world from vampires. Reluctant to concede to the fact, Buffy soon learns that Merrick speaks the truth and so begins to take her new life seriously while trying to maintain the sense of normality her life had once been. With her best friends slowly abandoning her, Buffy finds solace in the town outcast, Pike, who knows very well the terrors that have arisen. Together, they combat the forces of the old and powerful vampire, Lothos, who has his eyes set on Buffy.

Continue reading “BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE PLAYER (1992)”

POISON IVY (1992)

drew1

 

Directed By: Katt Shea
Story By: Melissa Goddard
Written By: Katt Shea &  Andy Ruben
Cinematography By: Phedon Papamichael
Editor: Gina Mittelman 


Cast: Drew Barrymore, Sara Gilbert, Tom Skeritt, Cynthia Gibb

Ivy a sexy teen who lives with her aunt, moves in with a reclusive teen and slowly works her way into the lives of her adopted family. The mother is sickly and can’t sexually satisfy her husband any more, and to the daughter’s horror, Ivy begins seducing her father.

Continue reading “POISON IVY (1992)”

BODY OF EVIDENCE (1992)

bodyofevid

Directed By: Uli Edel
Written By: Brad Mirman
Cinematography: Douglas Milsome
Editor: Thom Noble 


Cast: Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Joe Mantegna, Julianne Moore, Anne Archer, Frank Langella, Stan Shaw, Richard Riehle, Michael Forest, Charles Hallahan, Mark Rolston, Jurgen Prochnow, Jeff Perry 


A millionaire is found dead of heart failure handcuffed to the bed with a home video tape of him and his lover. When cocaine is found in his system, and his will leaves $8 million to his lover, they arrest her on suspicion of murder. Her lawyer succumbs to her charms, and he begins a torrid and kinky affair with her. As new evidence turns up during trial, he begins to wonder if he’s defending a murderer.

Continue reading “BODY OF EVIDENCE (1992)”

MO’ MONEY (1992)

momoney

Directed By: Peter MacDonald
Written By: Damon Wayans
Cinematography By: Don Burgess
Editor: Hubert C. de La Bouillerie 


Cast: Damon Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Stacey Dash, Joe Santos, John Diehl, Harry Lennix, Jackie Hoffman, Bernie Mac, Irma P. Hall, Salli Richardson-Whitfield. Mark Beltzman, Almayvonne 


Trying to get his act together, a con artist gets a job in a credit card company. He falls in , love with a fellow employee, he steals a couple of cards, everything is going great. But soon, the chief of security drags him into the big leagues of criminals.

Continue reading “MO’ MONEY (1992)”