A psycho doctor, an evil robot, a mutating man, and a mad mummy. So which of these 90s killers is worth the time?
DR. GIGGLES (1992)
The result of the wisecracking killer craze that ruined the slasher genre at the end of the 80s, Dr. Giggles is a prime example of why early 90s horror sucked. Leave it to a 90s slasher to be a piece of shit despite having:
- Tons of victims.
- Gory kills.
- Larry Drake (Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Tales from the Crypt Santa) as the killer.
- Piper from Charmed as the main girl.
- Mark from Roseanne as her boyfriend.
- A hot surfer dude bathing with a condom.
Unfortunately, the movie is an aimless mess that’s not funny or scary. Dr. Giggles escapes a mental institution and comes back to the town where his serial killer dad was caught to kill random people and operate on Piper, a local teenager with a heart problem.
The campy medical related one-liners Giggles utters are painfully predictable and unfunny. Meaningless characters are thrown in left and right to up the body count. And Giggles seems to magically be teleported to an excessive number of locations around the town just in time to claim another victim. I’d say Dr. Giggles is even worse than I remembered. Not even nostalgia can save this one for me.
DEATH MACHINE (1994)
A big corporation is in hot water when its military cyborg becomes a killing machine. So a woman is sent in to do damage control, which means firing the crazy inventor of the machine, played by Brad Dourif!
What’s a disgruntled ex-employee to do? Release his killer creation on the bigwigs, of course! Conveniently, there’s a militant protest group planning to break into the organization’s building the same night.
The director’s cut of Death Machine runs over two hours, so there’s tons of dialogue, technical science jargon, and subplots I didn’t give a shit about. All I needed to know is that a killer robot that looks like a big mech dinosaur (it has teeth) is running around an office building with an interior that looks more like a spaceship.
So what does Death Machine have going for it? All the characters are named after horror directors. Computers look straight out of 1994 even though the movie is supposed to take place in 2003. A guy rips his underwear off in an emergency…without even dropping his pants (his wedgie face rules). Best of all, the death machine wreaks havoc in an amazing elevator scene.
One thing sets Death Machine apart from all the other Alien type sci-fi/action/horror movies of the time. That’s Brad Dourif. His crazy, campy performance as the resident loon is one of his best ever (excluding his killer doll voice).
WES CRAVEN PRESENTS MIND RIPPER (1995)
It gets Wes’s approval…even if it got no one else’s. Written by Wes’s son and originally intended as The Hills Have Eyes Part 3, Mind Ripper was guaranteed to fail.
Seeing it for the first time twenty years later, I had no expectations. So I liked it despite the cliché plot. During a top secret experiment in an underground lab six years ago, attempts were made to reanimate a suicide victim as a superhuman. Turns out…it worked.
Typical shit happens, with the crew getting dragged away and massacred by some creature in the vents. Then comes the stupid plot turn. Lance Henriksen, who was originally part of the experiment team, decides to bring his kids into the middle of the desert and…they end up in the underground lab. His kids happen to be Giovanni Ribisi and the chick that got axed for singing Total Eclipse of the Heart at the beginning of Urban Legend.
Their asinine arrival is the point at which the movie gets damn good! The “creature” turns out to be a shirtless hunk of a man named…THOR. I kid not. Unfortunately, Thor has demonic eyes and some sort of vagina in his mouth that unleashes a sharp, brain-sucking appendage. It makes for some great gore and chase scenes. But when the creature keeps coming back—even after the survivors have taken off in a helicopter—I laughed out loud.
TALE OF THE MUMMY (1998)
When I hear Christopher Lee and mummy, I immediately think Hammer Films throwback. But don’t expect Lee to carry Tale of the Mummy. He’s only in the first five minutes.
His granddaughter is the one paying for his archaeological invasion of a mummy’s tomb. But she’s not pursued by a killer mummy. The monster is…killer mummy wrap. WTF? I laughed at first. But when I realized this film was taking itself absolutely seriously as CGI gauze tape chased victims through parking garages, apartment buildings, dance clubs, and sewers, I decided this movie fricking rules.
At one point, the gauze tape even ridiculously backs off so it won’t be caught trying to sneak attack a showering woman who opens her eyes. And wait until you see the gauze tape form into the shape of a man, get lit on fire…and take off flying. Flame on!
Eventually, we get a full mummy (thanks to the gauze tape harvesting body parts of its victims), but that’s when the film is least fun—except for the moment of the mummy’s transformation into a man: a naked man with a great ass. TAIL of the Mummy….
The cast includes the likes of Gerard Butler, Shelley Duvall, and 90s horror queen Lysette Anthony. But my favorite is hottie Jason Scott Lee as a detective.