Surgical Spirit


3 Stars  1992/18/95m

“The doctor is out…of his mind.”

Director: Manny Coto / Writers: Coto & Graeme Whifler / Cast: Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs, Cliff DeYoung, Glenn Quinn, Michelle Johnson, Keith Diamond, Richard Bradford, Nancy Fish, Doug E. Doug, John Vickery, Sara Melson, Zoe Trilling, Darin Heames, Denise Barnes, Deborah Tucker, Patrick Cronin.

Body Count: 18

Dire-logue: “Get ready to take your medicine, Moorehigh: the doctor is in.”

“The town’s got a doctor and his name is Rendell, stay away from his house ‘cos he’s the doctor from hell…” So goes the jump rope chant that the residents of your common or garden American small-town-with-a-past, in this case a psychotic Doc who offed several patients trying to find a cure for his ailing wife.

35 years after it all went down, Dr Rendell’s son (Drake) – who was never found – is now a fully grown lunatic standing over six feet tall and handily escapes from his institute and returns to Moorehigh for a comedically grisly revenge on the townfolk he perceives murdered his dad.

We’re presented with a few high schoolers and an array of other people who Doc Rendell Jr. injects, impales, saws and sucks to death, always with a witty medical one-liner to accompany their demise. The teen heroine Jennifer conveniently has a heart malfunction that prompts Rendell to stalk her in the hope of achieving with her what pops couldn’t for his missus. On the way, a nosy neighbour gets the nasal probe from hell, a horny couple fail to get their rocks off with each other and a girl is gagged to death with a giant band aid.

By 1992 there was very little left to explore in slasher film territory until Scream came along and shook it all up just four years later. Much of Dr Giggles is recycled from things we’ve already seen and leans heavily on the later Elm Street‘s for its comedic roots and the likes of low-renters like Psycho Cop.

Nevertheless, Drake’s charm and the corny jokes combined with a good cast make it a pleasant diversion and it’s interesting to see a young Holly Marie Combs in one of her earliest roles as Jennifer.

Best moment: Rendell says “it’s time to do what Doctors do best,” and grabs a golf club.

Blurbs-of-interest: Larry Drake was Bubba in Dark Night of the Scarecrow (and has barely aged); Nancy Fish was Mrs Knocht in Cutting Class; Coto also directed weird Yugoslavian flick Playroom.

One comment

  • funny ironic thing, when I was hospitalized after catching dengue, I watched this through my laptop as company while my folks are away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.