I used to not be sure what a negative ten on the acting scale looked like, but now I do.

While the ghouls or zombies or whatever feast on the swim coaches's gooey innards, the scene shifts to Jeff and Steve, who are holed up in the AV room watching a bad horror movie bootleg Jeff got from his friend Bob. Ironically, whatever movie they are watching actually looks more interesting than "Ghoul School" itself, so the director has enough sense to quickly cut away. Jeff's bladder cannot contain the excitement and excuses himself to go to the bathroom, where he hears a strange crunching and slurping coming from one of the stalls. Like anyone who hears disgusting noises in a public bathroom, his first instinct is to go take a look and see what it is. He approaches the stall cautiously, and slowly pushes open the door, building what was probably intended to be suspense but instead just allowed me the time to wipe away my tears of anguish.

Sure enough, inside the stall is a ghoul gnawing on a severed leg. Jeff's eyes widen. His lips purse. "Oh shit," he says, very slowly and precisely, enunciating each syllable with exacting precision, savoring the moment as he feels the giddy rush that comes from saying a naughty word on film. He runs out of the stall, with the ghoul in hot pursuit. Soon Jeff finds Steve and the two run through the darkened halls. They stop and grab an axe and fire extinguisher off the wall. "It's time for a fire drill," says Steve, sinking the art of the action movie catchphrase to a new low. Then they bang the ghoul over the head with the extinguisher and sink the fire axe into its chest, killing it. These are some of the wimpiest undead creatures ever if a head contusion and an axe in the chest is all one needs to take them down.

The kids then leave the axe behind since it's apparently one of those single-use inventory items and continue running, eventually ending up in the principal's office, who enjoys brooding silently in his office at all hours of day and night. They tell him that there are zombies running loose in the school, and like any asshole administrator, he doesn't believe them. "You watch too many horror movies," he says. Jeff is adamant. "I'm not kidding! I just killed one with an axe!" The principal is too slick to fall for an admission of murder and just rolls his eyes. Finally Jeff manages to wrench the phone away from the principal and dial 911, only to find that the line is conveniently dead. The principal has had enough of two of his students frantically trying to contact emergency services and babbling about just killing someone with an axe, and he finally kicks them out of his office with a stern admonishment. "I want you in here first thing Monday morning!" he says, thus ensuring that he will soon be slaughtered by monsters, one cliche which actually does manage to come true.

The final zombie's dramatic takedown.

Steve and Jeff then head for an exit when suddenly Jeff stops dead. "What are you waiting for?" asks Steve, and Jeff replies that he forgot about the VHS tape. Steve, who is apparently not a complete moron, wants to forget the fucking tape. "I can't!" Jeff whines. "If I don't get the tape, Bob will kill me!" Steve relents, because it turns out he actually is a complete moron.

At this point the movie completely fucking derails, as the director can't even think up a decent reason for the kids to remain inside the school. This is not hard, and I will offer my services as freelance script doctor to help out: the zombies lock all the doors and windows somehow. There, fixed it. Was that so hard, Timothy O'Rawe? If you're going to give an excuse for people to run around being slaughtered in an enclosed environment, don't insult what little intelligence I still possess.

The rest of the movie is completely unremarkable, involving a horrible heavy metal band, a horrible varsity basketball team, and various other horrible things. People's heads get thrown around, intestines are pulled out of abdomens, and blood squirts everywhere. The two bad guys from earlier in the movie show up as ghouls too, although no one cares. By the end all the zombies are shot dead, and as the haggard survivors finally exit from the unlocked front entrance after deciding they've hung around long enough, they're all suddenly shot dead by the police, or by zombie police, or something. At least it's over.

Before I finish there is one more thing I want to mention. One of the most intriguing aspects -- let me rephrase that, the only intriguing aspect -- of "Ghoul School" is that its 2004 DVD release includes not just one but two full-length commentary tracks, one by the director and one by the cinematographer. As tempting as it was to spend another few hours absorbing all the secrets from behind the scenes of "Ghoul School," I only ended up skipping through the director's commentary, where I learned such trivia as "I could have done this so much better" and "I had no idea what I was doing." Somehow I don't think viewers needed a commentary track to figure that much out.

Plot:- 9
Acting:- 10
Special Effects:- 8
Directing:- 10
Music / Sound:- 9
Overall:- 46

– Andrew "Linguica" Stine

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