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I’ve been hounding my buddy, Paul Ashford, to write a review for a little while now. Besides his vast knowledge of horror and his growing collection of German release Blu-ray hardboxes, he’s one of the only, if not THE only, other Empire Pictures freak that I personally know. That’s why it’s no surprise to me that for his first shot at this reviewing thing he went with a sequel to an Empire film. Just not one actually produced by Empire (or it’s later off-shoot, Full Moon)
Aahh, the Ghoulies… a staple of my childhood memories and VHS hunting days. The original used to always seem to crop up at the many markets and car boot sales I attended, its cool cover of a little green monster appearing out of a toilet bowl always grabbing my attention.
If truth be told, the original underwhelmed me as a kid. The film was more of a slow burner about satanic rituals and possession rather than toilet dwelling little monsters like the cover promised. However, from the little screen time the Ghoulies had in part 1, I was hooked. Part 2 expanded on that with much more Ghoulie mayhem, some fantastic special effects from David Allen, and a catchy metal title track by W.A.S.P. In fact, these 2 films were probably responsible for my love of Empire Pictures and Charles Band, who was heavily involved in both pictures. Which brings me to part 3.
Simply titled “Ghoulies Go to College”, not only was the number “3” missing from the title, but there was no mention of Charles Band or Empire Pictures on the cover at all. Was this to be a disappointing entry in the series? Would it live up to my expectations of the first 2? Read on…
The film starts off 21 years in the past with the Ghoulies being summoned by someone, sat on a rather cool almost mediaeval looking toilet, reading from a “Ghoulish Tales” comic. As soon as they are summoned, they are almost immediately banished again and flushed down the toilet along with the unsuspecting victim.
We then jump to present day. As the title suggests, the film is set at a college. It happens to be prank week, with 2 warring fraternities battling for the prank crown.
Also among the cast are some notable actors, such as Jason Lee and Matthew Lillard as 2 fraternity members. They would later go on to appear in The Jungle Book and Scream respectively. Not to mention genre stalwart Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Piranha) hamming it up as “Professor Ragnar”, the mean-spirited professor at the college trying to put an end to Prank Week once and for all.
So where do the Ghoulies fit into all of this? Well, the comic from the opening scene has conveniently survived the 21 years by being tiled behind the toilet wall. That is until it is discovered by a student who then takes it to class before it gets confiscated by the Professor.
To cut things short, Professor Ragnar then unwittingly unleashes the Ghoulies by reading out a passage from the comic book. The rest of the film makes way for the Ghoulies to wreak havoc amongst the students and teachers of Glazier College, and generally joining in with the fun of the Prank Week.
So, what we have here is a comedy in the style of Animal House or Revenge of the Nerds mixed in with little rubber monsters. It sounds like a perfect flick to get drunk to and watch with your mates, and in my eyes it is! We have 3 Ghoulies this time round who are now able to speak perfect English and like nothing more than to drink beer and watch girls get naked before killing them off.
Although the gore is significantly less than previous installments, the gags and kills more than make up for it. Death by toilet plunger? Check! Death by toilet flush? Check!
The Ghoulies themselves are actually pretty good puppets. Gone is the stop motion wizardry of Dave Allen, but in its place we have larger than life rubber creations from John Carl Buechler (who also directed). Their wise cracking and cheesy one liners really help with the fun of the film, and the 3 Ghoulies often come across like the 3 Stooges, headbutting and punching each other.
You also get to see them participating in many funny scenarios like driving a golf cart, wrecking a frat house and even taking part in a panty raid. Which of course brings me to the other successful ingredient for any horror or genre flick… T&A, which is rather plentiful throughout and provided by Playboy playmate Hope Marie Carlton amongst others.
So, to sum things up, what we have here is a very fun installment of Ghoulies which differs greatly from the others in the series, but offers a different approach to our little rubber friends. Did it live up to my expectations of the first 2? Yes, it did.
I heartedly recommend this one to any fan of the series as well as to those who are just looking for a bit of fun to go with their horror. And don’t fear if you haven’t seen the others in the series, this one stands on its own.
You can keep up with Paul and his little rubber friends on his new FB page, Little Rubber Monsters. https://www.facebook.com/LittleRubberMonsters