For a town that’s terrified of Halloween, the kids in When Good Ghouls Go Bad sure like sneaking into crypts and speculating about dead teenagers, the morbid weirdos.
Halloween is banned in their town because in a flashback from the 80s a child who looked like the lost member of The Cure made a satanic statue and accidentally incinerated himself- yes, this is a family film. It’s kindof like if Toy Story 3 had gone down the far more grim story path.
It’s bad news for… well, the goth looking child for one, but mainly for Uncle Fred, the man who owns the town’s chocolate factory. Halloween of course being the only time of the year you’d ever eat chocolate (???) his factory’s been forced to close. Uncle Fred’s actually the protagonist (let’s call him…Tim)’s grandfather- he just insists on everyone calling him Uncle Fred. How whimsical! What a damning fear of ageing and responsibility!
Uncle Fred is killed off about twenty minutes in- totally a shame of Christopher Lloyd, and also making the tone of the film way heavy. (I know it doesn’t quite work but it was either this or “not even gigawatts could bring him back”.) A funeral Hotwheels display later (it’s what he would have wanted), the tension’s killed when Uncle Fred returns as a zombie in the next scene. In fact, there are a whole shit ton of zombies (to use the metric, in imperial it’s known as a f*ck ton) but none of these re-animated corpses are very, well, animated.
That’s the real problem with Ghouls: it’s all a little too well made, something which the dumb plot can’t undo. Scratch the sheen off this pretty-well produced flick, however, and you’re left with question after question. Questions like:
- How can a child not recognise his own grandfather in another outfit?
- How could a man survive a pumpkin hitting his windshield at full force?
- Why are all the zombies moaning “dank tunes”?
When it comes to the latter question, they’re sadly calling for a “statue” and not anything dank. The statue isn’t satanic after all, it’s a statue of Uncle Fred! Why did a jock lie about it all those years ago? He accidentally killed The Cure’s secret member by locking the kiln, but kept schtum because Uncle Fred had refused to buy new football equipment.
So the whole film is about a lack of sports funding. Truly grim.
Spoopy Rating: 2/3 a last minute spoop, but mainly poop