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Ghoul School (1990)

DVD Cover (Camp Motion Pictures)
Genres:
Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Zombie Film
Director:
Timothy O'Rawe Timothy O'Rawe
Starring:
Joe Franklin Joe Franklin
William Friedman William Friedman
Scott Gordon Scott Gordon
Paul Venier Paul Venier
Nancy Sirianni Nancy Sirianni

3.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: January 27, 2007
Camp Motion Pictures is a relatively new company that is nothing less than a godsend for those of us who routinely picked through the horror section of our preferred mom-and-pop video stores during the boom of the late-eighties / early-nineties. This is a company that takes those movies that most of today's horror fans have probably never heard of and gives them a well-deserved DVD release. Now, they don't merely slap the movie on a disc and ship it out as most companies would; instead, they give them the proper treatment, complete with bonus features galore, commentary tracks, and cleaned up audio and video. What more could any self-respecting horror fan ask for?

Steve (William Friedman) and Jeff (Scott Gordon) are your typical Fangoria-reading high-school horror nerds, and before the movie wraps up, they'll be forced to quit watching horror movies in the school A/V room and team up with a horrendous metal band in order to fight a zombified swim-team. This situation occurs when a group of hoodlums attempt to rob the school janitor (because, you know, janitors are loaded), and instead of finding his mounds of gold or whatever it was that they were hunting for, they find a big red button that unleashes toxic gas into the school's water supply. This water travels through the pipes, out the garden hose, and directly into the pool - the pool that the swim-team is practicing in. All questions aside (why are they filling an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a mere garden hose?), it doesn't take long before these swimmers have turned into flesh-hungry ghouls who are hellbent on tearing everyone inside this school limb from limb. Now, Steve and Jeff have to team up with a hair-metal band that was practicing inside the school auditorium (for their big show at the school dance, naturally), the band's soon-to-be manager Roxy (Nancy Sirianni), and a group of the whitest basketball players you'll ever see in a feeble attempt to live through the night.

Before getting into my thoughts on the movie at hand, let me just come right out and say it: this is a pretty bad movie in every sense of the word. Scenes run for much longer than they should, such as when we watch the basketball players shoot hoops for about five minutes straight (and miss damned near every shot) or when the band plays through an entire song (giving a performance that's about as fake as an Ashlee Simpson concert). The acting isn't much better, the makeup effects are laughable, and the gore - well, the special effects guys didn't even try to conceal the tubing that squirts out the blood, if that tells you anything.

Then we have the cameo appearances of Joe Franklin and Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling. These guys show up in a scene which has nothing at all to do with the movie in order to tell some pretty lame jokes, a move which pretty much brings the film to a screeching halt for five minutes. I could have forgiven that had it been the extent of their appearances; after all, if I was a putting together a low-budget film and had the opportunity to include some relatively big names, I'd come up with something for them to do so that I could plaster their names on the DVD cover. But that's not the extent of it: for the remainder of the movie, we're constantly bombarded by ads for their external projects. Normally, directors thank whomever it is making the cameo appearance by putting in a subtle nod to their work - such as a Toxic Avenger poster in the hundreds of movies that Lloyd Kaufman has cameoed in - give them some thanks during the credits, and that's it. The characters here wear Jackie Martling t-shirts, posters for Jackie Martling events are plastered all around the school, stickers promoting Jackie Martling are plastered inside the air-ducts, and the list just goes on and on. If this was meant to be funny, well, those responsible for this decision succeeded... but probably not in the way that they intended.

By now, you're probably expecting me to simply wrap this review up with something along the lines of "Avoid - 0/10." I'll admit that those last couple of paragraphs aren't exactly flattering, but oddly enough, I did enjoy this movie to an extent. There's a certain charm about the film, and even though it quickly becomes apparent that just about everyone involved was lacking in the talent department, you can easily tell that they had fun making it and were at least trying to be convincing. The storyline driving the movie along is pretty standard fare, but there is enough "life" in it to set it apart from the hundreds of other low-budget zombie films, and you could certainly do much worse when it comes to the genre.

Depending on what you're looking for in a movie, this will either get the aforementioned "Avoid - 0/10" rating or a "Check it out - 5/10." If you're in the market for a "serious" zombie film which is loaded with flesh-tearing and entrails-eating, then the former rating is for you; if, however, you're in the market for some laughs courtesy of a cheesy movie which isn't near as bad as some of the other reviews online would lead you to believe, go with the latter. With that in mind: check it out - 5/10.
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