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When Good Ghouls Go Bad
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 93 minutes
Starring Christopher Lloyd, Joe Pichler, Tom
Teleplay by Patrick Read Johnson & John Lau
Story by R.L. Stine
Directed by Patrick Read Johnson
Retail Price: $19.98
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby
Digital, English Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions,
English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (12
Released: September 4th, 2001
Oh no! Danny Walker has just moved to a small town
because of his father (who used to live in the town himself)
and is an outsider! Oh no! Because of a weird kid back in
the magical year 1981, the town refuses to celebrate
Halloween! Oh no! Everyone's paranoid about the subject and
no one can even say the word, interrupting with "SHHH!" OH
NO DAMMIT, OH NO. WE'RE TREATED TO ANOTHER DIRECT TO VIDEO
MOVIE WITH CHEESY ACTING, A TERRIBLE AND CORNY STORY WITH
GOOD CHEERY SPIRIT ALL FROM HORROR MASTERMIND R.L. STINE WHO
PROBABLY HAD THE IDEA FOR THIS WHILE SLEEPING ON A BIG PILE
Whatever happened to R.L. Stine anyway? He used to be
quite famous and noteworthy author, but it seems he's
vanished into oblivion lately. He did those "Fear Street"
books or whatever, and of course, the over-franchised and
over-merchandised and over-crappified "Goosebumps" books
that raked in millions and million. Remember those? He used
to write one like every week. And then they were spinned-off
into 8000 different series. Anyway, so this is what he's
been doing while not taking in checks and counting his
money... the main selling point of this flick is that it's a
STORY BY R.L. STINE. WOW, THAT WILL PULL KIDS IN! DO
KIDS REMEMBER HIM? WOW HE'S SUCH A GREAT, TALENTED
STORYTELLER AND HE DIDN'T EVEN WRITE THE TELEPLAY FOR THIS.
Enough of my Stine ranting, he doesn't seem like a bad guy
and who can blame him for cashing in? Still, you get my
point. AND YOU JUST HAVE TO LOVE THE TITLE OF THIS
MASTERPIECE - "When Good Ghouls Go Bad" JUST LIKE AN
ANNOYING REALITY SERIES ON FOX. WOW, BETTER GET THOSE
AMATEUR TAPES READY AND THOSE VIDEO CAMERA ROLLIN'!
The movie is just so clichéd and a whole cornfest.
The dialogue and plot is laughable, not to mention how
stupid and predictible it is. Still, the main demographic
for this movie is kids. The filmmakers aren't trying to
please 18-49 year olds here, they're trying to please kids
and that's what counts and that's what is important I
suppose. So young kids, maybe even pre-teens will like this.
Still, it's just another crazy story about some great thing
we all know and love that some town has gotten rid of and in
the end, unites them together. AND IT HAS CHEESY SPECIAL
EFFECTS AND A HEART-TUGGING SUBPLOT ABOUT THE BROKEN BOND
BETWEEN A SINGLE FATHER AND HIS SON!
The acting is terrible... B-rate actors are in this and
they just overplay it all. But the star is the sole
exception, and that is the wonderful Christopher Lloyd as
Uncle Fred. Yes, he stars and narrates this tale. He takes
the role of Fred and runs with it. He gets the kookiness
down straight and makes it a lighthearted and warm
performance. He really fits the bill perfectly and is worth
watching, actually. Like usual, Lloyd is strong and gets
into what he's playing. His performance is not cheesy at
all. Lloyd does a lot of these sort of deals - why he does a
lot of great films, he sure does a lot of not so great ones
too. But hey, an actor's got work and make money. Still, I
liked his performance and the kids should too.
I believe this was made as a made-for-TV movie, not
direct to video. It sure seems like it and feels like it.
Despite the dumb humor, bad dialogue and corniness, kids may
want to look into it. You could do far worse. A bad family
film, but it's really for the young ones.
Wow, for some reason, we got a 1.78:1 anamorphic
widescreen and it looks rather fantastic. The only main
problems I noticed in this transfer are some shimmering now
and then. Other than that, it's rather breathtaking to my
surprise. Black levels are solid, while colors, hues and
fleshtones are really, really well saturated. They're
vibrant and bold. Detail is also good. Overall, a rather
Aren't we lucky! "When Good Ghouls Go Bad" has English
closed captions, English subtitles, Spanish subtitles, an
English Dolby Surround track and an English Dolby Digital
5.1 track. The 5.1 mix isn't special and I was expecting a
little bit more activity within it. It doesn't feel that
haunting, and only has weak .1 LFE in the mix. Surrounds
aren't that powerful and it feels more stereo of such to me.
Yes the "creepy" music and haunting noises (pumpkins
rolling, doors creaking) give it atmosphere... but it's more
of a cheesy atmosphere. Dialogue is crisp and easy to hear,
no overpowerment here. So, it's simply an "eh."
What? No trailers for other family titles? Nope! You got
a 11 minute Featurette. The featurette has clips from
this flick, and features interviews with the cast and crew.
It's all light promotional fluff and plays like a big
commercial. I find it laughable how the actors like through
their teeth when they call this a "great movie." All of it
is in non-anamorphic letterbox. Come on, make it anamorphic
if you're gonna make it widescreen!
Kids wil enjoy this one, but anyone over the age of
thirteen will love to mock this nice little piece of kiddie
fare (that includes me!). Still, if you're throwing a
Halloween party for a child or need a good laugh, pop this
disc in (though I don't think the children will enjoy the
widescreen aspect ratio). The presentation is nice, the
price is good and it's bare bones. So uh, if you want to
waste money on crap fare or want to surprise your kid with
this corny number, pick it up.
(2/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)