Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College (1990) — They’re still paying off the student loan debt

“We’re here! You said the magic word!”

Justin’s rating: So many toilet shots

Justin’s review: After seeing two Ghoulies movie, I feel like I know precious little about the titular creatures. They’re sort-of demonic creations that can be summoned, like to kill, and have a twisted sense of humor. Also, they like to come out of toilets from time to time. That’s about it. It’s a pretty thin narrative broth from which to make a movie stew, but these filmmakers kept trying.

Dipping our ladle into the pot again, we draw it out to find a heaping portion of Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College (Academy Award nominee for Best Film Title, 1990). I mean, that title is why I’m here. It’s why you’re reading this. Evil little creatures matriculating to an institution of higher learning and keg stands? Seeing this should be on everybody’s bucket list.

The ill-defined rules of the ghoulies take another turn for the bizarre as now the creatures can talk instead of grunt and shriek, which I guess was to make them more like Freddy Krueger and associates. Also, they’re about 50% bigger than in Ghoulies II to spit on continuity.

At College University (not its real name), it’s “Prank Week” and the population is out-of-control pulling the dumbest gags ever. Mess with the janitor’s cart so it goes flying down some stairs? NOW it’s a prank week! A frat dude-brah stumbles upon a comic book that allows a dean (UHF’s Kevin McCarthy) to unintentionally invite the ghoulies to compete in the week’s hijinks.

Within the first 10 minutes, you get the impression that the filmmakers are covering subject matter that they know in a theoretical sense. I’m not talking about demons but rather college. This university setting is like a photocopy of a parody of a sketch of a page from TV Tropes. The students run around like tittering toddlers, the professors are an amalgamation of every ’80s comedy villain, and slapstick is the only language that anyone understands.

As two frats compete to see who can out-prank each other, the fed-up dean sics a trio of quippy ghoulies on both of them. Seeing as how the creatures literally start out in a toilet, we’re not in for intellectually witty retorts and clever running gags. It’s going to be lowest common denominator, so grossly unfunny that it becomes mesmerizing to watch.

I have to give some props to this movie for actually making good on the title. You see a horror flick with the subtitle “goes to college,” and the assumption is that it’ll just be the bad guys killing in that setting. Here? The ghoulies actually join in on the college fun, dressing, acting, and living like frat boys. Insightful satire.

Also, here you’ve got the film debut of Scream’s Matthew Lillard, which means it will one day be an exhibit in the Matthew Lillard Presidential Library.

Ghoulies II had the better balance of humor, comedy, and interesting setting, but Ghoulies III offers far more ghoulies action and people trying to make out on treadmills. You’ll have to be in a very particular mood where slapstick comedy, collegiate stereotypes, and quipping puppets sounds like a good life choice.

Didja notice?

  • Oh yeah, crank out that organ and goofy xylophone for tonal whiplash
  • Colleges have officially endorsed “prank weeks”
  • Friday the 13th’s Kane Hodder in a odd cameo
  • Ghoulies III is the first in the series to get an R-rating, not be touched by Charles Band, and not see a theatrical release.
  • Ejector benches are funny but might result in blunt force trauma
  • “Gee Skip, you’re quite the yanker!”
  • It’s totally fine to make out in class
  • Axes are useful to cut pizza
  • “Hey there sexy… officer Barkus!”
  • You can flush frat bros down toilets
  • How many times they call pranks “yanks”
  • 2001 brews… a drinking odyssey

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