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Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam (1985)

PG | | Comedy, Sci-Fi | 19 July 1985 (USA)
Dr. Otto grows a hand out of the top of his head and tries to destroy the world.


John R. Cherry III


Daniel Butler (additional dialogue), John R. Cherry III (as John Cherry) | 5 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Varney ... Dr. Otto / Rudd Hardtact / Laughin' Jack / Guy Dandy / Auntie Nelda / Ernest P. Worrell
Glenn Petach Glenn Petach ... Otto's Head Hand
Myke R. Mueller Myke R. Mueller ... Lance
Jackie Welch ... Doris
Daniel Butler Daniel Butler ... Slave Willie / Aide #1 - Kegler
Esther Huston Esther Huston ... Tina
Tina Goetze Tina Goetze ... Rhonda Sue
Jennifer Wood Jennifer Wood ... Monique
David Landon David Landon ... Bank Pres. Rutherford
Mac Bennett ... V.P. #1
Winslow Stillman Winslow Stillman ... Lance's Dad
Mary Jane Harvill Mary Jane Harvill ... Lance's Mom
Irv Kane Irv Kane ... Herr Vonschnick
Leslie Potter Leslie Potter ... Mme. Vonschnick
Bill Middleton Bill Middleton ... Man at Autoteller


Ernest P. Worrel tries out a strange contraption he bought cheaply called the Changing Coffin. The machine turns him into his opposite - a mad scientist and supervillain bent on world domination called Dr. Otto. He plans to use his Gloom Beam to render all the computers that keep people's financial records and bank accounts useless which would make him the only one with access to all this dough. Bumbling hero Lance Sterling and his cautious sidekick Doris are sent to Dr. Otto's lair to stop him. There, they must face various scary alter egos of Dr. Otto as well as his manservant, Willie the Robot.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Most copies of this film that are available are of very low visual quality. Because of this, some fans have been campaigning for the film to receive a new scan from the original 35mm film negatives. This might prove very difficult as all the negatives and prints of this film no longer exist. A few prints were, however, sold to private collectors within the last few years. So the chances for a digital remaster of the film are possible, but very low. See more »


Tina: My makeup's running,my hair's a mess,and I'm gonna die! Why? Because I didn't listen to my mother,and fell for a foreign accent with a hand growing out of his head!
See more »

Crazy Credits

[Closing message] We're sorry Elmo - if we get to film another one, we'll make it up to you. See more »


Followed by Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) See more »


The Riddle
Music by Shane Keister
Lyrics by Shane Keister, John R. Cherry III (as John Cherry) & Coke Sams
See more »

User Reviews

A Very Funny Movie
9 September 2002 | by spiff42See all my reviews

A dark comedy, a twist that is somewhere between Ernest and Tim Burton, very cheaply made but well done, surrealistic plot with very cool characters made especially by the man Jim Varney. This movie is like watching a dream and then waking up not having any idea what to think, what a great flick.

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Release Date:

19 July 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dr. Otto See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (re-release)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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