Monday, October 14, 2013

A Night of Horror with The Vern: The Doctor is in..sane. Reviews of American Mary and Dr. Giggles

On this installment, I look at two movies where the medical field is best represented, and what better way to respect this time honored profession.  Then to show two flicks where the central character goes slightly off the wall.  "American Mary" and "Dr. Giggles".  Enjoy.

American Mary

Cast: Katherine Isabelle,Antonio Cupo, Tristan Risk

Writers and Directors: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska

*** and a 1/2 *'s out of Four.

The one element that has hardcore horror fans coming back again and again is the gore.  Lately it's been debated that there has been too much use of the red stuff and not enough scares and so they have held back on that element.  Which explains why there were a shit load of PG-13 flicks trying to pass off as being horror, when anyone can see right past that damn lie.  The Soska twins have made a movie that is indeed violent and disturbingly gory but also stylistic in ways other movies of this genre are not.  To explain, the opening involve a series of close up shots of what appears to be human skin being dissected but it is instead a turkey being carved.  This does help set up the premise of body modification and the manipulation of skin to make it look like something else.

Mary Mason(Katherine Isabelle) is a medical student who wants to be a surgeon, but like most people attending college is flat broke.  She sees an ad for the use of someone with her skills, and gets caught up in the world of plastic surgery and body modification.  After she is violated by those she respects.  Mary will use her new surgery skills on those that hurt her in ways some would have paid her to do.

The main thing that sets this film apart from other slasher flicks is that the people being cut in this movie, asked for it..  They have paid to have their body changed in some way or another and Mary helps provide that service.  Ruby Realgirl(Paula Lindberg) wanted to look like an actual Barbie doll. Beatress Johnson(Tristan Risk) wanted to resemble Betty Boop, and others just want basic things like tongue splitting and genital mutilation.  The only ones that didn't want this service were the ones that hurt Mary,  Some may look at this and call it torture porn, but I tend to call it revenge fantasy.  Its enjoyable for me watching assholes get what they deserve for hurting another person.  You're not scared if they get hurt.  You only become worried that Mary will get caught.

The cast in this are just astounding.  Katherine Isabelle is fantastic as Mary who is nice and very likable.  Just don't violate her in anyway otherwise you may lose your balls...literally. She does go a bit crazy near the end, but it's hard to really blame her. The other cast members including John Emmet Tracy as the detective and Antonio Cupo as the owner of the club are also very good in their believability.  However, the one that stood out for me was Tristan Risk and Beatress Johnson.  She has the voice of a 30's character and even while being surrounded by all that make up can still bring to life a very unique and fascinating character. The look of this film is very beautiful.  I do appreciate that it never glorifies some of the more gory aspects of the feature but never shies  away from it either.  They know when to show you something and when to leave it to your imagination.  The movie does run a bit long and I felt the ending could have been tightened up just a little bit, but this was still a very impressive film from Jen and Sylvia Soska.  They are set to direct "See No Evil 2" and if they can incorporate their same signature style to this.  I think they may have a very good career.

Dr. Giggles

Cast: Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs, Max Anderson
Writers: Many Coto, Graham Whifler
Director: Manny Coto.

* and a 1/2 out of Four

In the town of Moorehigh there was a legend of a doctor who was stealing the hearts of his patients.  After he was murdered by the town folks, his son escaped.  Now he has come back to take revenge on the citizens with his own special version of a house call.

I'm going to be really brief with this review because there really is nothing much to say about it.  This is your basic slasher film with a character that borrows a lot of the same one liners from Freddy Krugger.  It's too bad the ones the doctor says are just bad and the ones Freddy used are actually kind of clever. The words "What's the matter?  Feeling tongue tied" while Freddy has a kid tied to a bed using actual tongues is a far better then. "If you think that's bad, wait til you get my bill" after the doctor kills someone.  I don't mind  if the killer wants to be a comic, but at least  make him funny.  Chucky from "Child's Play" wasn't the best either but at least he had more charisma then this guy.  As much as his persona was weak.  The man did have some pretty clever kills. He uses a thermometer with a blade at the end, and he gave someone the ultimate liposuction procedure they will never forget.  The heroes of the story are even more bland then the villain.  They all  fall into the usual stereotypes these movies were well known for before "Scream" made a good satire about them.  None of them had anything of interest, and I could not tell who was more shallow between them all.

Larry Drake was good as the bad guy in "Darkman", and I may have to check out the direct to video sequels of that very soon.  But as a slasher killer.  He just can't hold a candle to Robert Englund("A Nightmare on Elm Street"), Brad Douriff("Child's Play") and Doug Bradley("HellRaiser") to name a few. He really should take a lesson from Leslie Vernon if he wants to be up there with the greats Director Manny Coto followed up this gem with "Star Kid", a family movie starring Joseph Mazzello(The kid from "Jurassic Park"). This was his last feature and has not done much since then.

Before I leave I wanted to announce that Nick of The Cinematic Katzenjammer is hosting a fun blogathon in time for Halloween called The Four Horror Movies of the Apocalypse. These are ones that are best represented by the four horsemen. Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death.   Just click on the name in red to learn more about how you can participate in this event.  Have a good week.


  1. I reviewed this at Your Face earlier this year for a 100 Challenge. I'm pretty much in line with you. I love puns, but the ones here were painful. The villain just didn't work, and neither did any of the other characters. That being said, you can't deny the scene where the kid cuts himself out of the woman is an amazing moment.

    1. Damn even Im messing up on this comment window. Nick. That scene with the kid was very freaky. That's mainly because kids are usually scary creatures

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I have seen Dr. Giggles. Man, that movie sucked.

  4. "I know it Sucks" When a line he used when killing someone with a liposuction machine. I think he was talking about the movie.

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