The Dentist (1996)

The Dentist I am an instrument of perfection and hygiene. The enemy of decay and corruption. A dentist. And I have a lot of work to do. –


His name is Dr. Alan Feinstone (Corbin Bernsen). And he’s about to have his worst day at the office. So are his patients, and co-workers – and everyone around him. On the surface, like a shallow Instagram page, he seems to have the perfect life with a big house with a swimming pool and all, and a seemingly loving wife.


And if the cold shoulders from his more and more distant wife wasn’t a bad start of his day already, he smells cigarette smoke from her mouth. Fuck. Now he has to brush his teeth again before he goes to the office. Because: Nothing, how matter how good or how pure, is free of decay. Once the decay gets started, it can only lead to rot, filth, corruption. –


And with that statement it makes me wonder if he has any politicians as clients. Anyway, we quickly learn that Dr. Feinstone is already a mentally sick man with a head filled with schizophrenia and delusions which he always battles to keep in check. But the stream of negativity which also triggers his severe OCD is going to push him over the edge any minute.


He finally hits the breaking point when he sees his wife cheating with the pool cleaner guy as she sucks his cock in the garden in broad daylight – on their anniversary day, even. Oof. And he’s already late for work. Now he just sees filth left and right. The floodgates of filth are open.


– Filth, filth everywhere. Especially children! They’re spoiled rotten! –


Dr. Feinstone is now on a mission. He will rip the filth out of people, tooth by tooth if it’s necessary. Cut off the tongue also while we’re at it. Get rid of all the filth. And you’d bet he has some special plan for his wife on the anniversary night.


Two police detectives, played by Tony Foree and Tony Noakes  get involved as soon Dr. Evil Feinstone leaves his trails of blood. Feinstone’s day isn’t getting any better when Mr Goldbum (Earl Boem), an agent from IRS, is on his neck for not delivering his taxes.


The Dentist is directed by low-budget-cheese meister Brian Yuzna (the mustached brain behind 90s cult-classics like Society, Return of the Living Dead III, Bride of Re-Animator and Faust: Love of the Damned) made for HBO TV with a budget of $700,000. Most of it was filmed in a residential home (Yuzna’s, I guess) where the whole budget went to decorate the dental operation offices. Even with the tight budget, which would be advisable for a simple premise like this, they actually managed to get over the budget, leaving Yuzna unhappy with the finished production design. The gore effects seemed to be a second thought.


With that said, the film looks even lower on the budget and filled with restrains, but the always energetic Corbin Bernsen saves it from mediocrity with his manic, over-the-top performance. We spend a lot of time in the dental office where patients drop like flies under pretty suspect circumstances where the FBI would normally raid the building in a heartbeat. Dr. Feinstone is a crazed loose cannon who does his best to keep it together and not getting caught for doing kinky shenanigans with one of his drugged-out patients. If his day and his mind wasn’t a complete shitstorm already, it’s about to get worse.  So open wide and say fuuuuuuuck.


There’s some clever camera work and cinematography here despite some very dated “trippy” visuals which are as 90s as it can get. The effects, with its flavor of body horror, are nicely done in the unique schlocky way we’re used to seeing in a Brian Yuzna film, but the film’s highlight with the oversized mouth stretch, gets old old pretty fast. More time on the effect department would do the film a bigger favor. As a-madman-on-the-loose with a falling down psychosis, The Dentist is silly entertainment as long its lasts where Yuzna does the best of the little he had of resources.


The sequel The Dentist 2 (1998) is pretty much a nothing-burger with lazy and lackluster kills, filled with tedious drama where the trip to the actual dentist is more entertaining. Watch Stepfather II instead. Both films are available on a 2-disc Blu-ray from Vestron Video with audio commentary from director Brian Yuzna among other extra features.


The Dentist


Director: Brian Yuzna
Writers: Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon, Charles Finch
Country & year: US, 1996
Actors: Corbin Bernsen, Linda Hoffman, Michael Stadvec, Ken Foree, Tony Noakes, Molly Hagan, Patty Toy, Jan Hoag, Virginya Keehne, Earl Boen, Christa Sauls, Mark Ruffalo, Lise Simms



Tom Ghoul








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