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Dr. Giggles – Steve Newton’s Retro Reviews

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Twenty-five years ago yesterday—on October 23, 1992 — Dr. Giggles was released in theatres.

I gave it the mutilated thumbs-up because of Larry Drake’s deranged performance at the titular psycho.

Here’s my original review from a quarter-century ago:


Out of Africa and Driving Miss Daisy are fine films, I’m sure, but every once in a while that old dark side of the mind requires a dose of the truly sick and twisted to make one appreciate the finer things in life. And the new horror/comedy Dr. Giggles is about as sick and twisted as commercial Hollywood movies get.

Directed with considerable flair by newcomer Manny Coto (TV’s “Tales from the Crypt” and “Monsters”) and produced by the same guy behind last year’s surprisingly clever chuckle-fest The People Under the Stairs, Dr. Giggles stars Larry Drake (“L.A. Law’s” Benny Stulwicz) as Dr. Evan Rendell, a psychiatric patient known as “Dr. Giggles” who escapes from a mental institution and returns to his home town to practise his own brand of bad medicine.

It seems that as a child, Rendell helped his insane MD father transplant hearts from various townsfolk in a last-ditch attempt to save his ailing mother. But the vital organs came from people who weren’t donors, who weren’t dead, and who weren’t even anæsthetized. Yikes!

When the grown-up Dr. Giggles gets back to the picturesque small town of Moorehigh to pick up where his murderous dad left off years back—and mete out revenge for his pop’s death at the hands of the enraged townspeople—he comes across pretty teenager Jennifer Campbell (Holly Marie Combs of the tube’s Picket Fences), whose enjoyment of summer vacation is being hampered by the diagnosis of a defective heart valve that may require surgery.

Naturally, Dr. G. wants to give her the heart she needs his own way, and the bulk of the film sees him giddily stalking the young lass, making short work of those who stand in his way—and even those who don’t.

While not inherently different from most teen-oriented stalker flicks, Dr. Giggles gets the mutilated thumbs-up because of Drake’s deranged, over-the-top performance, which should win him a place in the Sick and Twisted Hall of Fame. The actor with the largest head in Hollywood strikes quite the frightening figure with his white lab coat and black doctor’s bag. And he keeps the laughs rolling with deadpan medical one-liners like “Are you feeling any discomfort?” (after his prize victim takes a nasty roll down a hill) and “At least your reflexes are good” (after maiming a real doctor with one of those hammer-type, knee-tapping dealies).

Taking a cue from Dead Ringers, Dr. Giggles makes the most of human aversion to oversized and unrecognizable medical instruments, as well as our general dislike of the doc’s poking and probing. Whether employing a blood-pressure tester around one victim’s neck or checking another unfortunate’s temperature with a sharpened thermostat, Rendell’s bloody non-remedies are meticulously portrayed by Los Angeles’ K.N.B. Effects Group, the same folks who created the painfully vivid sledgehammer-meets-foot sequence in Misery.

If you favor that kind of demented movie-making, Dr. Giggles is for you; if not, Terms of Endearment is as close as your nearest video store.


For more from Steve Newton, visit his website about rock ‘n’ roll and horror movies, Ear of Newt!

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Synapse’s Suspiria 4K Restoration Gets a Release Date

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Earlier this year, we wrote about Synapse Films’ Suspiria 4K restoration and how it was available for pre-order. The weird catch was that there was no release date confirmed and that pre-orders would go out sometime in December 2017. Today that changes as we can confirm that the 3-disc special edition Blu-ray collection will come out December 19th, just in time for Christmas but a little late for Hanukkah. Any chance we can have one extra night this year?

Restored over three years, Synapse has been working tirelessly to create the ultimate version of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic supernatural horror film, which has since gone on to become one of the most recognized and lauded titles in the genre. This cut has been overseen and approved by Luciano Tovoli, the Director of Photography on the film.

Pre-orders are still available via Synapse Films’ website.

Special features:
*Limited edition of only 6000 units produced
*Exclusive Steelbook packaging and collector’s o-card sleeve, featuring artwork from Malleus, Van Orton Design, Juan José Saldarriaga & Chris MacGibbon
*Three disc [Two Blu-rays + One CD] limited collector’s edition (only 6000 units) containing a new 4K restoration of the original uncut, uncensored Italian 35mm camera negative exclusively done by Synapse Films, with color correction supervised and approved by SUSPIRIA Director of Photography, Luciano Tovoli
*Original 4.0 1977 English language LCRS sound mix not heard since the theatrical release in 1977, presented in high-resolution DTS-HD MA 96 Khz/24-bit audio
*Italian 5.1 surround sound mix
*Two audio commentaries by authors and Argento scholars, Derek Botelho, David Del Valle & Troy Howarth
*Do You Know Anything About Witches? – 30 minute SUSPIRIA visual essay written, edited and narrated by Michael Mackenzie
*Suzy in Nazi Germany – Featurette on the German locations from SUSPIRIA
*A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of SUSPIRIA – All-new anniversary retrospective on the making of the film and its influence on cinema
*Olga’s Story – Interview with star Barbara Magnolfi
*Original theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
*Special Collector Edition Booklet containing an American Cinematographer interview with Luciano Tovoli, liner notes by Derek Botelho and restoration notes by Vincent Pereira & Don May, Jr. Cover artwork by Matthew Therrien Illustration
*“International Classics” English “Breathing Letters” opening credit sequence from U.S. release version
*Alternate All-English opening and closing credits sequences, playable via seamless branching
*Newly translated, removable English SDH subtitles for the English language version
*Newly translated, removable English subtitles for the Italian language version
*Exclusive CD remaster of Goblin’s SUSPIRIA motion picture soundtrack, containing additional tracks not included on the original 1977 soundtrack release

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Creep 2 Starring Mark Duplass Hits Netflix This December

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Just the other day we shared with you guys an exclusive interview with Partick Brice, the director of the Mark Duplass-starring found footage flicks Creep and Creep 2.

Today we have the awesome news that the killer sequel Creep 2 (review) will be hitting Netflix streaming on December 23rd.

The original creeptastic motion picture is already streaming on Netflix so if you need to catch up – or just watch the original again – you can do so tonight and get ready for the sequel which, personally, I found to be superior (if even just slightly) to the original.

What did you think of the original film? Are you excited to check out the sequel? Or have you already seen it? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Creep 2 starring Mark Duplass and Desiree Akhavan hits Netflix December 23rd!

Synopsis:

Desiree Akhavan (“Girls”, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) stars as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass, reprising his role from the previous film). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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Waxwork Records Unveils Phenomenal 2018 Subscription Package

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Our pals over at Waxwork Records have unveiled their 2018 subscription bundle and it’s packed to the brim with some absolutely fantastic titles! Horror fans who enjoy spinning their music on turntables can look forward to two Romero titles, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, and lastly they’ll have Jordan Peele’s smash success title Get Out. On top of getting those five records, those who join the subscription program will also receive a t-shirt, coffee mug, poster, notebook, magnet, enamel pin, calendar, and more.

For Night of the Living Dead, Waxwork Records worked closely with the film’s original creators, including Romero himself prior to his passing, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Criterion Collection so that they could source audio from the 4K restoration. It will be released as a 2xLP package.

Dawn of the Dead will also get a 2xLP release that will include brand new artwork, re-mastered audio, and more. The same kind of treatment is being given to The ‘Burbs. Christopher Young’s Drag Me to Hell soundtrack will be a single LP but will get the same level of attention and quality as the other titles.

As for Peele’s Get Out. Michael Abels; score will be released on a 2xLP vinyl set and will pay tribute to one of the most culturally significant movies of the past several years.

The Waxwork Records subscription package will be $250 ($285 in Canada) and will open up for sale this Friday, the 24th. More information can be found on Waxwork’s website.

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