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ANALOG ABATTOIR: “GHOULIES III: GHOULIES GO TO COLLEGE” is the rubber monster/frat comedy mash up you didn’t know you needed, bro!

Thursday, March 21, 2024 | Analog Abattoir


Starring: Evan MacKenzie, Kevin McCarthy and Matthew Lillard
Directed by John Carl Buechler
Written by Brent Olsen
Exclusively foreign-region releases on Blu-ray 

A party is in progress at the Analog Abattoir frat Kappa Iota Lambda Lambda. Half burnt-out Christmas lights are strung up and blacklights illuminate Frazetta posters of barbarian badassery. Sick thrash jams blast out of the stereo as bodacious babes rock out to choice riffs. Obviously, the projector is unspooling a college horror flick like Night of The Creeps or Pledge Night. Did I mention we stole all the dean’s underpants? Test question: What more could I ask for? Well, the answer is three tiny monster-men dressed like either members of Anthrax or The Fat Boys ready to rage till the break of dawn. GHOULIES III: GHOULIES GO TO COLLEGE aces the test.

I am a sucker for a ludicrous frat comedy. To be clear, I am not talking about the cruel, humorless boner comedy flicks of the early 2000s. Watching a movie like American Pie, full of deeply unlikable kids that confuse humiliation for jokes is torture. Plus, if the crux of your comedy is defiling baked goods, one pie is a low pastry count. I’m a connoisseur of outlandish slobs vs. snobs tales that remain frozen in the insane and sometimes problematic comedy amber of the 1980s and early ’90s. Of course, ground zero is the 1978 classic Animal House. From there, you have everything from the hyper-crass take on fast food known as Hamburger: The Motion Picture, the video arcade-themed Joysticks and the raft race antics of Up The Creek (a personal favorite). In the world of the horror-comedy hybrid, there are a few madcap flicks that get close, like Wacko and Pandemonium, but none hit the mark quite like GHOULIES III.

The first Ghoulies feels like an exercise in throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. Jack Nance as a warlock? A quickly scrapped 3-D gimmick? A little green creature bursting out of a toilet? It turns out the monster in the porcelain throne was the stickiest. Ghoulies II all but abandons the occult element in favor of the Ghoulies crashing an imperiled carnival. Hiding in a dark ride, they unintentionally become a draw for the failing attraction. Throw in the slobs vs. snobs angle of the carnival workers up against a money-hungry new owner and a track by shock rockers WASP, and you have a movie that I feel is far superior to the original. Then came the zenith and undisputed champion of the Ghoulies franchise (Trust me. We don’t want to talk about Ghoulies IV.) GHOULIES III: GHOULIES GO TO COLLEGE delivers in spades on the promise of its title (Looking at you, American Pie 2, which doesn’t have two pies). This time, the creatures are conjured out of an evil toilet via a comic book-style grimoire. Now in the service of the diabolical Professor Ragnar (Kevin McCarthy from the original 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers), they are tasked with eliminating the thorn in his side – Skip Carter and his party animal prankster frat (which includes a young Matthew Lillard, half a decade before his Scream character, Stu, starts feeling real woozy). The action takes place during prank week at the university, and Skip and his band of merry men have their hands full taking on Ragnar, the Ghoulies, and an overzealous campus cop. 

Like the best kind of party, GHOULIES III is self-aware and extremely over-the-top. Moving at a breakneck pace, the movie is perfect for a night when only a deeply silly creature feature will do the trick. Every element is turned up to eleven, from the impossible pranks committed by our heroic frat boys to characters like Hope Marie Carlton’s fitness-obsessed Veronica to the titular Ghoulies. Our trio of little monsters banter like The Three Stooges, spy on girls in their underwear and drink beer faster than Belushi. (Richard Kind voices Cat Ghoulie, and the scene where he says he’ll “just take one” lives rent-free in my head). Credit of course must be given to John Carl Buechler, effects wunderkind and director of this absolute gem.

Now, to end on a very serious and very important piece of information: Some people are livid that the Ghoulies talk in this installment. I learned this from numerous rage-filled Letterboxd reviews, fuming that the otherwise flawless legacy of tiny rubber monsters that high-five and pop out of toilets was ruined when they were given the gift of speech. I want to make something very clear. I love that they talk. Now, crank the metal and pass the beer bong.

Death to false horror,
Dr. Benny Graves


Benjamin Grobshteyn
The thrash metal Marc Maron, Dr. Benny Graves serves as arch-fiend of the analog abattoir. With a deep love for shock rock, schlock horror, and dead media, he can often be found searching the wasteland for the right SOV horror to sate his lust for trash-cinema. Dr. Graves resides in the unholy circle of hell known as New Jersey.