Old 10-14-2011, 05:02 PM
Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College (1991)

Previously in “Ghoulies”…little beastly demons, posing as copycats of “Gremlins,” showed up uninvited at a mansion inherited by a young man. The man’s father was into black magic and contacted the little sons of bitches. Naturally, our hero picked up where his father left off. Meanwhile, friends came over and the ghoulies joined their celebration to party like it’s 1985. Oh, what a blast that was. Moving on, the ghoulies misadventures continued at a carnival. They became the star attractions and the show they put on was a screaming good time. Talk about fun times.

All caught up? Good. Now, it is time to join the ghoulies as they enroll into college. I imagine that they will put the fun behind them, hit the books, get into marketing and work in ordinary office jobs. What do you think? Oh, you don’t think so? Well, you were right. A few minutes into this movie, I refuse to believe that anyone has learned a thing from this particular college and will be placed in responsible jobs. The students are going nuts over prank week. There are some sweet pranks ranging from simple ones to impressively elaborate ones. With prank week aside, nearly everyone acts completely irresponsible by drinking beer and partying like there is no tomorrow. In other words, this is another college environment that only exists in the movies. To be sure, there is some healthy craziness going in real colleges, as well as unhealthy craziness that has been reported in the news, but this movie is not to be believed. It is so over-the-top, that I fear the ghoulies will learn nothing from the experience and end up in straight-to-video land. Oops, they already have. Never mind. They may as well enjoy the fun while it lasts.

Meet Skip. He is the resident Van Wilder. He was Van Wilder before there was a Van Wilder, so he deserves respect. However, he also has a little bit of Zack Morris from “Saved by The Bell” in him, so he is not a complete original. All in all, he is Zack Morris no longer on a TV-PG leash, and responsible for pre-dating the future aspirations of Mr. Wilder. Skip is a fun-loving guy. He runs a fraternity and knows how let loose. He has a lovely girlfriend in Erin and is a master prankster. His competition is another fraternity run by Jeremy. Jeremy is that cocky blonde guy lampooned in “Not Another Teen Movie.” Jeremy was tailor-made to be Skip’s arch-nemesis, as comedies in the `90’s were still following the handbook established by John Hughes in the 1980’s. Jeremy also rides around the campus on a scooter. Yes, a scooter. He really is that cocky blonde guy and his fraternity won the previous year as the top pranksters. This year, Skip is looking to take the crown from him.

Erin is not happy with Skip. He may be a sharp guy when he wants to be, but he is taking his prankster ways too far. He is being too irresponsible. She walks out on him and chooses to associate with Jeremy. Meanwhile, a student uncovers a “Ghoulish Tales” comic book. When he slacks off in class, Professor Ragner takes possession of the comic book and it is soon time for the ghoulies to make their lovely “Red Carpet” entrance through a toilet. Ragner is also the Dean at the university, and he is as uptight as every stereotypical Dean in every college comedy. He looks closely at the comic book and identifies similarities with dark literature. He reads a chant written in the comic book and brings three ghoulies into the real world. One is short, bald and the leader. Another is taller and has big ears. The last one is the tallest, and has a snout that greatly tells him apart from the other two. Together, they talk and act like the Three Stooges. And they are hilarious.

When Professor Ragner first sees the little creatures, he regrets what he’s done. Later on, he decides to use them in order to put a stop to the prank wars. He couldn’t be more sick of prank week. He is especially sick of Skip. Having called out the ghoulies, he is their master and they have to answer his every command. Ragner’s presence in the beginning is not terribly suttle as this is a silly movie lacking a brilliant script. After choosing to use the ghoulies at his disposal, his personality changes and he becomes unhinged. When he teaches a class on the subject of power and evil, it is anything but subtle.

When the ghoulies are brought into the real world and free to roam around the campus, they have the time of their life. They get to experience every rite of passage available on a college campus. Once free from their restricted supernatural world, they get to see women naked, drink beer, party and trash Skip’s fraternity house. Naturally, Skip believes that Jeremy’s fraternity is responsible. While Jeremy is setting Skip up to get into trouble with the Dean, the ghoulies take part in prank week and place Skip in a difficult position as well. In addition to the female nudity, which there is plenty of, students do screw around. On gym equipment no less. This is that kind of movie, and the first “Ghoulies” film to be rated R. Between the “Ghoulies,” “Critters” and “Gremlins” franchises, this is the only entry to be rated R (as well as “Ghoulies IV” – yes, there is a “Ghoulies IV”!). When the ghoulies let loose, they don’t kill a lot of people. And they didn’t need to. Just seeing them having a blast in such a fresh environment is enough. Seeing them drink more beer than humanly possible is priceless. When they do get around to killing, they think creatively. Think plunger. To the face. And thank the director and special effects guy, John Carl Buechler, later.

John Carl Buechler is a big name. He is responsible for directing “Troll” and “Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood,” as well as providing excellent special effects to numerous films over the years. His special effects here, including the ghoulies themselves, pay off well. For such a silly movie, the acting is not a key issue, but the performances by the main characters are respectable. Even Mackenzie plays Skip. I will judge his performance on the Zack Morris/Van Wilder scale. I rate his performance an 8 out 10. He is witty and funny, sharp when he wants to be, and serious when the situation calls for it. He shows the signs of both Mr. Morris and Mr. Wilder, and is the middle evolution guy between them. Having the honor of portraying Professor Ragnar is the late Kevin McCarthy. He starred in the original “Invasion of The Body Snatchers” from 1956 and “The Sleeping Car” from 1990, as well as other genre work. Here, he chews the scenery and has a grand old time. John Johnston plays Jeremy and makes you believe that he is that cocky, blonde guy. Eva La Rue, as Erin, doesn’t have a demanding role but fares well. The supporting cast, including Jason Scott Lee and Matthew Lillard before they were famous, fare okay and do not necessarily embarrass themselves.

This film is the “Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” of this series. There is something extremely silly and unique about both of them. Whereas “Jason Takes Manhattan” didn’t live up to its title, this movie does and is the better of the two. As the second sequel, it has a responsibility to be a bigger chapter than the last one, and it is. It also abandons any seriousness that was left over by the last chapter and acts as a college comedy. And it is a good college comedy that is very funny. To enjoy this, it is not necessary to watch the first two. Every one of these movies is unrelated. The first two films are watchable and okay, but this third entry is the most entertaining. If you have not seen a “Ghoulies” movie before and want a good laugh, this is a good pick.

**1/2 out of 4

Bonus Feature:

Seizure (1974)

Oliver Stone’s directorial debut on record is “The Hand” from 1981. It is actually this film, whose existence Stone apparently denies. It has a unique premise. A writer is having friends over at his home, and his own demented characters appear in the real world to terrorize them. Unique premise, yes. Some interesting character conflicts and bizarre villains, absolutely. A promising setup too good to be true, unfortunately. Stone’s inexperience behind the camera and the low-budget both show, but that didn’t bother me. What I couldn’t get past is how unpleasant and off-putting it becomes.

** out of 4
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:56 PM
When I was a teenager, I toyed with the idea of renting Ghoulies III. The VHS cover stared at me every time I strolled by it. But I refrained. I've seen the first two entries, and that's good enough for me. Poor Kevin McCarthy. How did he wind up in this flick?
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:45 PM
When this was still available on VHS, I did bite the bullet and rent it. I read a hilarious review on another website and had see it for myself. It was totally worth it. So, I had to pick it up when I saw it at the convention. Now, "Ghoulies IV" I can live without seeing. I read about that one, and it is supposed to truly stink.
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:22 PM
Ghoulies III owns.

I seriously, no joke, like this movie more than the Godfather, but then again I like watching paint dry more than that movie.
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:03 PM
This movie does own. It is hilarious and sticks out from the first two movies in a big way. It has a strong re-watchability value. Down on the dumps? Watch Ghoulies III! Been dumped by the love of your life? Watch Ghoulies III! Tough day at work? Watch Ghoulies III! Want to a watch a college comedy other than "Animal House," "Van Wilder" and the like? Watch Ghoulies III! The possibilities are endless!
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:05 PM
I love this movie. Yes it's stupuid and childish but fuck it, it's awesome. I nostolgia pretty hard whenever I watch it. Also, this song is annoyingly catchy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KveUbjzo-so
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:30 AM
Originally Posted by Duke Nukem View Post
Now, "Ghoulies IV" I can live without seeing. I read about that one, and it is supposed to truly stink.
You read right...I bought it at Best Buy a few years ago for like, $5, and if I recall correctly, I sold another completely different DVD of mine online somewhere, and sent it out to the person for free along with it just to get it out of my house. Seriously.
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