Starring Kevin McCarthy, Evan Mackenzie, Eva La Rue, Patrick Labyorteaux, John Johnston, Billy Morrissette, Hope Marie Carlton, Marcia Wallace, Stephen Lee, Jason Scott Lee, Andrew Barach, Matthew Lillard
Directed by John Carl Buechler
Expectations: High. The first two are horror comedy gold.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
Ghoulies III is a film that offends me on a deep level because it takes something I genuinely love and completely trashes it. It reminds me of the Star Wars prequels in that way, and if there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s remind me of the Star Wars prequels. Ugh. As soon as I’m done with this review I’m going to disregard that this film ever existed. On that cheery note, let’s get down to business!
First off, this is a direct-to-video sequel that was not produced by a Charles Band company. As far as I can tell he had nothing to do with this film, although the director, John Carl Buechler, did make a few films with Empire International and did the FX for a ton more. He definitely has the cred to be respectable, so I can’t imagine why he agreed to make this, other than needing quick cash to pay off a loan shark or something. Realistically, there’s nothing terribly wrong here with the FX or the directing, but more with the writing choices and the direction they decided to take the series. After watching this, it isn’t hard to imagine why this is screenwriter Brent Olson’s only credit on IMDB.
In the first two films, the Ghoulies did not speak, other than a few funny moments when the Ghoulies mouthed words or kind of spoke under their breath. These worked well because the Ghoulies never actually crossed the line into full sentences or coherent thought. I bet you can see where this is heading. Someone on this production had the grand idea that this should all change in Ghoulies III, and arguably if the Ghoulies were going to college I guess it’s reasonable to expect them to be able to speak. But all logic games aside, the Ghoulies were not meant to speak and they shouldn’t. Any guesses what their first line on-screen is?
I can only follow this line with a slow shake of my down-turned head because I know from this moment on it’s only going to get worse. The Ghoulies are also dressed throughout the film which is 57 shades of annoying. If you’ve followed my reviews of the Ghoulies series, you will know that the first two films feature Snake Fetus popping up out of a toilet. This is a very minor part of these films, played up in the advertising to try and wrangle in that young adult poop-joke crowd. In Ghoulies III they decided to go all out and focus their film around an ornate, cursed toilet that is somehow a gateway through which Ghoulies can be summoned when an unsuspecting Joe reads a specific issue of the Ghoulish Tales comic. Yes, that’s the setup. Any sane man would push stop at this point and combat his disappointment by selecting a hopefully better film from his video rental pile, but not I. For the good of all humanity I soldiered on and watched the train wreck that is Ghoulies III so you don’t have to. It’s fitting though that the film revolves around a toilet, as it is an absolute pile of shit.
The focus has also shifted from horror comedy to comedy horror. The evidence? At one point Snake Fetus yells, “Beer run!” Cut to: an ominous looking monolith-like fridge complete with accompanying Also Sprach Zarastrutha theme. The Ghoulies then proceed to get absolutely shit-faced in a mind-blowing scene of near-constant farts, burps and shitty one-liners. It is later learned that the Ghoulies drank… you guessed it… all 2001 of the frat’s beers.
The Ghoulies have undergone another physical change for this film as well. This time only three Ghoulies appear on-screen: Snake Fetus, Abominable Monkey and Acid Rat. Batling Spider Ghoul couldn’t be reached for comment, but I respect him for his decision to remain distant from this production. He may be a Ghoulie, but damn it, he’s a Ghoulie with integrity. Anyway, the Ghoulies that do appear in the film resemble the Ghoulies you know and love but there’s something that’s just not right about them, especially Acid Rat. His acid attack is gone and his face resembles a horse much more than it should, while still retaining some rat qualities. It’s like the real Ghoulies were asking too much money for this sequel and the producers decided to hire cheap look-alikes to fill the rolls. I guess that makes this a Ghoulies clone film, so from this point forward I will refer to the Ghoulies by their clone names: Snake Feet, Abominable Monko and Corrosive Vermin, collectively known as the Ghoulos.
If you ever thought your Ghoulos needed more influence from The Three Stooges, then this is the film for you. Snake Feet fills the roll of Moe to perfection, knocking Abominable Monko and Corrosive Vermin’s heads together (complete with bonk sound) multiple times throughout the film. Never before has a Ghoulos film felt so much like children’s fare.
Oddly enough, this is the first Ghoulos film rated R, but not because of its violence or gore. The rating here is purely for nudity. Wanna rent your shitty VHS tape to a bunch of unsuspecting fools? Put some tits in it. Works every time. Ghoulos Go to College features lots of nudity, but pretty-faced college coeds can only get you so far. There is one scene that I did enjoy that successfully blended nudity with tame FX. The Ghoulos sneak up an a girl showering and put a plunger on her face and stretch it out. It’s cheap and relatively stupid, but it looks pretty damn good.
I could continue, but it’s becoming painful to recall my harrowing journey through the murky toilet waters of Ghoulies III. If the rest of the review didn’t hammer home the fact that this movie sucks, then I don’t know what closing thoughts I could say to dissuade you from ever seeing this film. I did have more fun writing about how awful this was than actually watching it and now that the memory dump has been completed, I can start to erase the files and defrag my mind.
You know, it’s a shame they never made a third Ghoulies, the first two are fantastic.
Come back next week for my look at an early Charles Band picture, The Alchemist! Be there!