During the dark ages of horror (the era from the end of the 80s until the release of Scream) there were a few attempts to create slasher icons after Freddy had his final nightmare and Jason went to hell. Candyman was most successful and became an icon, while antiheroes like The Dentist, Ice Cream Man and Dr. Giggles are less remembered. These three had a lot in common. Rather bright films with a strong 90s “Tales from the Crypt” TV vibe and a familiar face as the killer. In the cases of the two Drs., the familiar faces came from the TV show L.A. Law, which both Corbin Bernsen and Larry Drake starred in.
Larry Drake had already shown off his evil chops in Darkman by the time Dr. Giggles came out which juxtaposed his most famous role as a soft spoken mentally challenged man in L.A. Law, a role for which he won two Emmy Awards. Drake was a great actor and anyone who saw Darkman as a kid can testify to how insanely scary he was as the cold and calculated sociopath Durant. In Dr. Giggles, he gets to perform a more comedic psychotic role as an escaped mental patient who believes himself to be a doctor (and a surgeon).
Like the title implies the bad doctor giggles throughout which isn’t as annoying as it sounds. Drake plays him quite straight while killing victims with medical equipment, most of which he stabs people with, but some kills are a bit more inventive. Giggles also has one of the most insane backstories of all time. It involves his father sowing him into the corpse of his dead mother and him being birthed again when he cuts his way out. A bit wacky.
Dr. Giggles is good fun. Drake has a good supporting cast to help things move along at a good pace and there are a few neat practical effects scattered around. I think this film would have been more successful if they had gone more balls to the walls with the deaths, and perhaps Drake is playing the role a bit too straight, but the end result is quite enjoyable.