Friday, August 17, 2012

Ghoul School (1990) and Bong of the Dead (2011)

Everyone whose watched movies for a long time that certain people have a lot to answer for, whether they mean to or not. Michael Moore needs to answer for the wave of bad political documentaries that came after "Bowling For Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11." Or in this case, Lloyd Kaufman has a lot to answer for when it comes to the wave of bad horror comedies in the wake of "The Toxic Avenger." Granted, movies like that and "Class of Nuke 'Em High" are actually really fun movies that offer some genuine laughs. Many of the movies to come since are clearly inspired by Troma's "Dumb and we know it" brand, but few of them actually get what makes those movies work.

Out first case in point: Timothy O'Rawe and his 1990 film "Ghoul School." Steve (William Friedman) and Jeff (Scott Gordon) are just two guys trying to get through the pressures and rigors of high school. However, a toxic pollutant has reached the water supply, turning the student body into flesh hungry zombies. There's also a terrible hair metal band and an appearance from Jackie Martling from "The Howard Stern Show", but they add nothing to the paper thin plot.

They're the heroes this...actually, they aren't worthy of anything. Not even a bad play on a "Dark Knight" quote.

Clearly influenced by "Class of Nuke Em High", "Return of the Living Dead" and "Demons", "Ghoul School" plays out the way you'd expect, and not in a good way. Gore is plentiful, but none of it is particularly interesting. Attempts at humor bomb worse than a Dane Cook wannabe on open mic night. People do stupid things and mug for the camera. All of the actors playing high school students are clearly in their 30's. The presence of Martling doesn't help matters, and neither does that of VH1 Classic personality Joe Franklin and "Slime City" actress Nancy Sirianni. Life's too short for bullshit like this.

Slightly better is 2011's "Bong of the Dead." Here, the zombie apocalypse has happened, and all Tommy (Jy Harris) and Edwin (Mark Wynn) just wanna get high, man. Well there's some good news for them, as it turns out that zombie brains make a potent fertilizer, as well as a new girl to hang out with in Leah (Simone Bailly.) On the minus side, there's that whole zombie apocalypse that puts a damper on things.

On the plus side, "Bong of the Dead" actually looks good for a movie that cost almost nothing to make, and unlike "Ghoul School", has some great gore effects and kills. On the minus side, most of this movie is fucking boring to sit through. Much of it is made up of people talking, getting high, talking some more, farting, getting high again, drinking beer, get the point. This would probably be mildly amusing if I were stoned, but I wasn't, so none of that was funny, and much of the film feels like a pot head taking forever to tell a joke who keeps cracking up in the process. Granted, the final act is gory as hell and kind of fun-up to a point. As it lurches towards its conclusion, you just wish the damn thing would end already.

As they stand, these are two movies that serve as nothing more than wastes of time. Sure, there's an audience for these kinds of movies, but that doesn't mean that I need to sit through them.


Ghoul School: 0.5/10
Bong of the Dead: 3/10

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