Dr. Giggles (the late, great Larry Drake) is an escaped mental patient who likes to pretend he’s a doctor. Hence the name, he also laughs at inappropriate times, not unlike Dr. Hibbert on The Simpsons. He returns to his hometown to take revenge for his father, who was killed by the locals because he murdered his patients in hopes of finding a heart for his dying wife. In the process ol’ Giggles comes across teenager Jen (Holly Marie Combs), who, coincidentally, is in need of a heart transplant. He thinks he’s just the guy for the job.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a horror comedy, but it seems to have more than its fair share of one-liners. Most of them are just awful: [Dr. Giggles is holding a pair of severed arms] “He should have kept his hands to himself.” Though I have to admit a grudging admiration for his spiel to Jen: “You may be having second thoughts, but when you wake up you’ll have a change of heart.” The deaths are also played for laughs, like when the girl Jen’s boyfriend cheats on her with is suffocated by a giant Band-Aid.
I also find it mildly amusing that the old sex equals death cliché from slasher movies holds true: characters who die do so right after sex or just the mention of sex, even Jen’s stepmother, who’s young but far from being a naughty teenager. Not funny at all and more annoying than the bad puns is the presence of both of the clichés about Black folks in horror movies: the token Black guy who (almost, in this case) dies first, and the token Black guy who dies saving the white folks. Gripes aside, the plot is somewhat original and the acting is not unpleasant. The best performance is by Drake as Dr. Giggles, who’s probably the creepiest actor I’ve ever seen; he played escaped mental patients (yes, more than one) like no one else. Bleh!
I have an admitted soft spot for this movie. The terrible jokes remind me of when I was a kid playing Castlevania on the Nintendo; it featured floating eyeballs, and my sister Suzy would start spouting bad puns like, “I’ve got my eye on you.” I recommend this especially to hardcore Tales from the Crypt fans—it has a total of four former guests: Larry Drake (“And All Through the House”; “The Secret”), Nancy Fish (“Easel Kill Ya”), Michelle Johnson (“Split Second”), and Darin Heames (“99 and 44\100% Pure Horror”).