Posted: 11/21/2004

 

Ghoul School

(1990)

by Barry Meyer



When B movies go bad, they really, you know… start to smell and stuff. Official site here.


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Two thugs break into the local high school in search of hidden treasure, but end up unleashing a gooey zombie chemical into the school’s water supply. Next thing you know the entire swim team is turned into flesh-eating ghouls. A couple horror movie nerds can’t quite believe their horror fantasies have come true, and now they have to convince the visiting heavy metal band to help them escape the mayhem before the ghoulish student body consumes everyone in sight.

Somewhere in the wild 80s the folks who made horror flicks decided it might be sorta fun to make their movies real campy — just like they made them back in the old days. The problem being, when they made those old camp movies in the 50s and 60s, they weren’t really aiming to be campy or bad, they were just bad by default. It’s a whole ‘nother ballgame when you’re actually trying to be bad. You end up doing crazy things like hiring Howard Stern Show buffoon Jackie “the Jokeman” Martling and asking him to just be his funny self (which is more obnoxious than funny), or try and get legendary NYC talk show host Joe Franklin to act (I don’t think the guy could even find the word in the dictionary).

Despite the efforts at B-movie faux camp hi-jinx, Ghoul School doesn’t totally suck—if anything it’s a decent anthropological look at the awful high-rise Jersey hair styles and leftover color-saturated 80s new wave clothing. Director and writer Timothy O’Rawe endeavors all his energy into getting just as many laughs as squirms, and ends up providing maybe a few genuine comedic moments — but not nearly enough to get the average horror nut to come back for another viewing. There’s plenty of good gore, makeup and FX (which gets a behind-the-scenes look in the DVD extras) to keep the most sophisticated splatter fan happy. And speaking of DVD extras, Tempe Entertainment and Splatter Rampage have always been good at providing gobs of it. The GS disc sports not one, but two commentary tracks, one from the director, and a second from cinematographer Michael L. Raso. Also featured is a standup bit by Jackie Martling, some old homemade movies, some Tempe trailers and gobs more.

Barry Meyer is a writer who lives in the ghoul capital of the world — Jersey.



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