When Good Ghouls Go Bad

I was crushed by Pumpkins today! ...Not as catchy.

I was crushed by Pumpkins today! …Not as catchy.

Hello, Spongey here.

Back in July of 2012, I wanted to cover what I called the R.L. Stine film trilogy. I did “The Haunting Hour: Don’t Think About It”, and while I planned to do Mostly Ghostly at that time, it fell through. I did it the following year, but there one movie I still haven’t done.

It was a forgotten entry in the Stine Trilogy. I tried to review it but I couldn’t find it. Couldn’t find on youtube, a site I use, or even on torrents! All I found was, oddly enough, a video review of it. Which was pretty good, by the way.

Then out of nowhere, it popped up on Youtube. I checked it and it was the full movie. …So now I can finally complete the R.L. Stine Film trilogy! No, it’s not a quadrilogy as Mostly Ghostly 2 is a sequel.

Though it will be one next year…but that’s another story. So what can I say about this movie? …No seriously, what can I say?

There isn’t much info to go around. All I know is that Doc Brown’s head is in it somewhere. Like Haunting Hour, it’s not based on a book by Stine, but he did come up with the Story for the film. At least, that’s what the opening credits say.

I know the basic plot, but that’s really it. The director did Baby’s Day Out…that’s something. It came in 2001, as a TV Movie. However, it didn’t air often and it just kind of vanished. I’d ask a channel like The Hub to air it but nope, that’s not gonna happen. Thank you Discovery.

It’s pretty obscure, so I have no idea what to expect going into this. None of the actors have done anything, except one, but we’ll get to that. So, let’s see if this movie is any good at all.

This, is When Good Ghouls go Bad

The movie opens with narration by Christoper Lloyd. A great way to start any movie.

“One of the things you learn in life is that things aren’t always what they appear to be”

Doc Brown introduces to Danny a kid that lives in the town of Walker falls. He recently moved, because it’s a Stine movie. We see him at school, as everything seems normal.

During Gym, Danny is hurt but his Dad can’t come get cuz he’s busy at work. Yep, that cliché. Danny gets up and Judge Doom tells us …nothing. He just rambles on. It’s funny so I can forgive it.

On the walk home from School, he bumps into Generic Bullies #565. They take him into the Graveyard and tell a story. Years ago, Curtis Danko (Brendan McCarthy) was an artistic boy, who was ostracized by “normal” people. When competition was held for all the eighth graders to design a sculpture of their personal hero, Curtis kept his project covered during the day, then came to school at night to work on it.

On Halloween night, he went to work on his sculpture, and someone saw him work on it, in the window. The next day, they found Curtis’s charred skeleton and a message in the ashes, saying that if the town ever celebrated another Halloween, he would come back and destroy them. Everyone in the town believed the legend and, since then, Halloween has never been celebrated.

That’s…dark. The whole ashes thing. Perfect for a story like this, if you ask me. By the way, the guy who saw this was the bully’s Dad. Dad went blind for 3 days after seeing that sight and that’s part of the reason people bought the legend. Now that’s creepy.

And now the bully is forcing Danny to look at the buried skeleton. Wow, what a dick. Danny escapes and runs home, where we meet Uncle Fred, played by Christoper Lloyd.

‘And narrator to you, the audience”

Best character.

We see that Uncle Fred is weird. He’s dressed as a Viking. Christoper Lloyd as a viking. This is the best movie ever made. He’s actually his Grandfather but he insists people called him Uncle. Because reasons.

We cut to the Bully’s Goon as meets up with Ryan, the bully. Ran dug up the thing containing the Skeleton and he plans to do things with it. Spooky. Back at home, Dad arrives,

“The germans are coming, the germans are coming!”

…Okay.

He’s actually referring to German Investors he needs to strike a deal with. Danny tries to tell Dad about the bully but he’s too busy being a cliché Dad.

He heads to the Town Hall to tell everyone about an Idea he has. We find out that Danny’s family is the town’s namesake, and they had a Chocolate Factory until Fred shut it down due to the Curtis Danko stuff, I guess.

Dad wants to bring the factory back, but he spent all his money doing so, so to make the money back, he brought in some German investors to help out. They are coming On October 31st. Why? Cuz It’s Halloween!

“He said Halloween!”

“Don’t say it again!”

Yep, Dad wants to bring Halloween back as well. He thinks the Curtis thing is just a legend, and thus wants to set up to the first ever Halloween Spooktacular. There actually exists ANOTHER review of this movie, saying the Investors stuff is pointless, as the Spooktackular thing is distant enough from it to stand on it’s own.
Which is fair. We could have had him wanting to bring Halloween back without that stuff, but I suppose we needed some world building with the family factory. No one is on board with it. Infact, they run away. Heh

Dad goes home and talks to Fred about all of this. Dad calls out Fred for not being there lot of the time, and turning his back on the town. But we just cut to Danny talking to Fred, so whatever. Oh, and that scene reveals that Fred built the kiln that killed Curtis.

…Not sure why people hate him though. Curtis kind of did it to himself with his creepy…stuff. Who built the thing isn’t really important.

After a nice scene with Danny and Fred, we cut to the next morning as a bunch of Halloween stuff has been set up. The most notable thing being a pile of pumpkins in the town Square. Like, a huge pile.

Fred is amazed by this, so he didn’t set it up. So who did? Dun dun dun!

Some of the people actually want a pumpkin, since Curtis never said anything about pumpkins in general. Fred takes a pumpkin…and the huge pile falls,and kills him.

….

….

What.

…We just saw someone get killed on screen. By pumpkins. Holy shit. This is the best movie ever made. I can’t street this enough. He got killed on screen! We don’t really…see the details but it happens!

Even Haunting Hour hasn’t gone this far, unless you count Girl in the Painting or The Golem! Damn!

Okay I’m calm. And yes, it does make sense since Old Man + A ton of pumpkins=SPLAT.

We cut to his funeral, which is as depressing as it sounds. Fred’s narration brings even more sad-ness to this scene. Even in death, he has to narrate everything.

Since Danny has lost his true father figure, he leashes at Dad for not really being there. The cliché is worth it since this bit is…damn. It keeps being sad as some random girl gives Danny a speech about Death. We went from Viking Dr Clipboard…to this.

The girl takes Danny to Curtis Danko’s old house…for reasons. Actually this place is sort of a home for all the Halloween stuff people have been hiding. Dayna plans to give Halloween back to the people, but the bullies aren’t having it, as they pop up.

Remember that Skeleton he as? He plans to use the house to store that, but he’s not telling our heroes that just yet. Hey, I’m in sum up the movie mode again! Woo-hoo!

Sorry, this is a time where I don’t have much to say. They leave and we see that everyone is taking down the Halloween stuff. Danny arrives home to find…Uncle Fred.

Whaaaaaa….

‘You’re dead!”

“Apparently not”

He’s a Zombie. …Zombie Christopher Lloyd. And I thought Vampire Doc Brown was amazing, holy shit!

He doesn’t know why he’s a Zombie but he’s here, so deal with it. Danny is confused, but happy nonetheless. Fred’s first act as a Zombie is to scare the pants off the bully kid who pops up for no reason.

“You’re dead!”

“You’re right, I was. And I was resting pretty darn comfy too”

Guess who is making the movie so far.

Fred loses his hand in the Bully Dad’s car as he drives away,

“You’re hand is riding down the street at 60 mile per hour”

And it when it hits  88, it’s gonna see some serious shit.

..

THEY WALKED RIGHT INTO THAT ONE!

I love Fred’s attitude during this whole thing. He’s “Yeah. I’m Dead. That’s coo’. He just walks around doing stuff, not caring who sees. That’s awesome.

Bully Dad talks to his family about this, and he thinks Fred faked his death to scare them. This whole scene is awesome because the Bully Dad is clearly having fun here.

Danny visit Dayna again and tells her about Zombie Doc Brown. She thinks he’s lying but it doesn’t matter cuz her Mom pops up and scolds her. A bit after that, she calls up Danny’s Dad, and somehow this conversations has a part where Dad says Danny comes in a long line of kids who have had to deal with not having Dad around. I bet that will be important later.
Hell, it’s important now, as Dad briefly thanks about his own father. It’s actually quite emotional. Speaking of Fred, he heads to the Bully’s house to get his hand back. They are having this weird party thing, so Fred disguises himself as a Clown to get in.

We’ve seen Chris Lloyd as a Viking, a Zombie, and now a clown. This is the best movie ever made. He finds his hand in the trash but it’s a bit…crazy. Bully Dad pulls him away before he can catch it so we have the hand running around while this is going on.

Danny happens to be there, so Fred does weird clown stuff with him there. Danny figures out that the clown is Fred and Fred promises a 100 dollar bill to the kid who can find the “magic hand”. It goes as well as you’d expect.

We get an insane scene of the hand running around, which is kind of amazing. Then we get a romantic scene with Dayna’s Mom and Danny’s Dad. …They have a romance now. Deal with it?

Things calm down as the kids retrieve the hand. Later on, Danny visits the Graveyard and finds out that whoever dug Fred out, it was someone from…under the ground. Then Zombies pop up.

This movie just gets better with every passing minute. They run home and while this is going on, Curtis Danko’s ….body vanishes from his Crypt and the Bully Dad tells this cop dude to find it.

Back with Danny, he wonders what the hell is going on. Fred explains that he….wished himself back because firefly magic is in the ground…or something. I don’t know, it makes just as much sense in context.

…So anyway, Zombies storm the town hall, while Danny reveals Zombie Fred to Dad. His reaction is priceless. Then Zombies pop up and reveal they want the statue Curtis made. So they must return it to send them back into the grave.

They visit that place the Bully took over earlier, as they figured out he has the statue…somehow. It seems like taking the statue woke Curtis up, hence the zombies. The bully doesn’t buy it…which makes me wonder why he took it in the first place if, to him, it wouldn’t do anything.

Thankfully, he changes his tune when some Zombies pop up. Curtis hmself pops up (now an ugly Skeleton thing) pops up and sets up the statue. Before Curtis can do anything, Danny’s Dad admits everything that is going on is his fault. Then Dayna says it’s her fault. But now it’s Danny’s fault, which is plausible, I suppose.

But it doesn’t matter cuz the Bully Dad comes and beats the shit out of Curtis. …Okay, that’s awesome. It gets rather Graphic too, as he stomps on the Skeleton again and again.

“Ding dong, the zombie’s dead!”

Then Curtis pieces himself back together. Wah wah.

I should mention that the effects here, with Curtis are pretty good for this type of movie. It looks pretty decent.

So Curtis unveils the statue…and it’s of Fred. What a twist! Curtis shows him a picture of the two, revealing that Curtis looked up to look. The picture has Fred shaking his hand at some art thing which Curtis won.

“I built the Kiln. It’s my fault”

Curtis points at Mr Kankle, the bully Dad. Dun dun dun. As it turns out on the night Curtis died, Kankle, Frady, and his group pulled a prank, and pushed Curtis into the kiln and locked him in it. Suddenly, the janitor appeared and Kankle’s group ran off. While cleaning the class, the janitor accidentally turns on the kiln not realizing Curtis was in it.

So yeah, he kind of killed Curtis. …Wow, that’s…dark.

To hide his crime, he made up the curse. Why did he do that? Because the statue that would be in town square was of Fred, not his statue of HIS Dad. Fred was very generous, donating all the time, but mostly to things Kankle saw as “Sissy” and not Manly things.

Speaking of his Dad, he pops up as a Zombie. Oh God, this is gonna be great. Kankle’s Dad pills him away to give him a whopping. Yeah, I was right. It’d worth noting that Kankle did all this because he looked up to his father, but he went all about it the wrong way.

So in a way, he has a reasonable motivation and isn’t just a dick for the sake of being a dick. Granted, he’s taken away here without much redemption, but …taking Halloween away for 20 years is pretty bad. Sorry.

With that, Curtis finally leaves. Then Fred’s wife pops up as a Zombie cuz why not. But that’s not important because Fred has a moment with his son.

“I finally really know that I loved”

They have a tearful goodbye, as Fred says he is proud of his son.

“Thanks”

For his final wish, he dances with his wife which is pretty cheesy, but kind of sweet anyway. And Danny and Dayna kiss….cuz they had a romance. Remember that completely existent romance?!

Danny watches all this while Fred gives us more narration. It’s mostly some cheesy speech about cheesy stuff. It’s REALLY cheesey…but really sweet, and very effective. Awesome.

We cut to the next morning as the German Investors pop up. Oh yeah, they were in this movie. They love the idea of Halloween and want to Reopen the factory. Glad that was resolved.

We zoom in on the Fred Statue in the town Square, as everyone is finally celebrating Halloween again. Fred closes us out.

“Happy Halloween”

Roll credits.

Hey, a good ending for once! A bit rushed but it did wrap up things up well enough. Good on you, Stine! I have issues here, but I’ll address them in a second.

Final Thoughts:

This is the best of the Stine film trilogy. And it’s not because of Christoper Lloyd. It’s because of the awesome story. It actually doesn’t feel like a Stine product, because of how deep the story gets.

Yeah, he’s done deep stuff before, but nothing to do this level. This has an underling theme of Legacies, Fathers and sons, and the people we look up to and admire. The whole story is driven by the character’s admiration for their fathers in some way. They even manage to do that with the actual villain.

That’s really interesting, and a cut above this kind of movie. I’d compare to Haunting Hour, but eh, It is it’s own beast. This movie has everything I could want in a Halloween move.

It’s genuinely funny, thanks to it’s strange sense of humor that leads to funny moments that usually fit with the story. It has a good Halloween vibe with a really interesting story that kept my interest all the way through.

Yeah, some parts felt pointless, like the Workaholic cliché and the German stuff, but the factory did play an important factor in the end. As they don’t focus enough on that cliché for it to bug me.

It did feel more like Dad and Fred’s story, but he did get enough focus in the end. He isn’t too interesting but he works. Really, the best characters are Dad and Fred. They have a lot of development, and they have a great complex relationship.

The acting is decent, but come on, you all know Chris Lloyd is the scene stealer here. He’s clearly having a lot of fun here, but he shows his serious side too. That makes his performance even better, if you ask me. It doesn’t hurt that his character is pretty interesting.

Yeah, Dayna was a pointless character and the Bully Dad can be REALLY over the top at times, but I didn’t mind that too much. The reveal was well written and it added a lot of depth to the themes of the film.

It does get really cheesy near the end, but the heart is so big that it works. Overall, this movie is very good. It’s funny, has good atmosphere, and it has great themes with a lot of heart.

It has all the things that made the other Stine movies good, but without the flaws. If you can find it on Youtube before it’s taken down, watch it. Or you can track down a DVD copy somewhere. I really hope they re-air it someday, as it deserves a lot more attention. I personally think it should traditional Halloween viewing, right with Halloweentown and stuff like that.

It may not be a perfect movie, but it’s fun, complex, and heartfelt. A lot better than you would expect. And it has Zombie Doc Brown. That’s cool.

Grade: B+

Next time, we finally tackle an animated Scooby Doo Movie. Woo-hoo.

See ya.

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About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
This entry was posted in Play by Play Reviews, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to When Good Ghouls Go Bad

  1. I saw this movie on the SyFy channel once. I was not disappointed

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