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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Ghoulies III: Ghoulies go to College (1991)



The Ghoulies franchise just keeps getting better and better. The slapstick and comedy is ramped up even more in this third entry into the series. Not only do we get the extended screen time for everyone’s favorite evil puppets like we did in part II, but the Ghoulies talk now. This leads to what I like to call the “Stooges” effect. Time for our favorite rubber minions from hell to experience higher learning in Ghoulies III: Ghoulies go to College.

After an intro that shows a college frat boy messing around with a comic book and summoning the Ghoulies the action shifts to years later. It is prank week at the college and cranky old Professor Ragnar hates it! When the comic ends up in his hands he realizes that it can summon the demons to do his bidding. It scares him at first, but then he decides to turn the tables on the frats competing for the crown awarded to the best prankster. Soon the Ghoulies are rampaging across campus creating havoc that initially no one notices because of all the pranks. Eventually though the bodies start to be found. It is up to our hero Skip to save his girl, stop Ragnar, banish the Ghoulies, and yes win the pranking crown!

As silly as the previous entry into the franchise was this one pushes it even further. The kills are a blast with more than one of them consisting of the Ghoulies shoving the victim into their magic toilet that is a portal to hell! The other kills are a secretary who is “tongued” to death, a skillet to the face of a Frat Boy, and the best on screen effect a coed meeting a plunger in the shower! Again, these kills are being played for laughs and are more slapstick than bloody. The creature designs for the Ghoulies are pretty much the same from the three earlier movies. Though they get even more screen time and wear clothes. They also get to talk which gives them even more personality than in previous entries. Is this because John Carl Buechler who did the effects work on the first two gets to direct this installment as well? Don’t know for sure but I approve! The one new creature design is the Ragnar “Ghoulie”. The professor ends up absorbing the power of the Ghoulies for the big showdown which leads to a nifty bit of makeup work.

They upped their toilet game for this entry!
Much like Royal Dano in part II the filmmakers filled a major role in this one with a legendary actor. The amazing Kevin McCarthy chews up some scenery as the evil Professor Ragnar. He is having a blast playing the part and acting over the top and this energy makes his scenes the best the movie has to offer. As much as I love this one I will be honest that when McCarthy is off-screen it gets a little slow and boring. Unless there are Ghoulies… they always make it better. The rest of the cast is okay and includes a young Eva LaRue (my wife is a big Soap Opera fan) and the late great Marcia Wallace from the Newhart show and the Simpsons. Decent talent for a low budget movie.

Before I finish I need to explain the “Stooges” effect. Now that the Ghoulies talk and that there are only three of them we get a lot of slapstick. You have some familiar head being “bonked” together and the occasional slap. But what really sealed the deal for me is when you get the “slowly I turned line”. As a Three Stooges fan, I recognized all the bits that they referenced. This and some funny one-liners made the Ghoulies even more fun to watch. This series just keeps getting better and better.



© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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