Thursday, October 09, 2008

Review Of R. L. STINE'S WHEN GOOD GHOULS GO BAD By Frankie Franken

Hello, everybody! Today is Day 9, and we're so glad you're all enjoying our 31 Days Of Halloween. I was reading some of the Grrls' other posts and decided that this time I'd try writing a review. Since the Mad Doctor (John) has recently reviewed It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, I chose another special Halloween DVD that's become a classic all its own--When Good Ghouls Go Bad, written by R. L. Stine of Goosebumps fame, and the first of his children's horror stories to be produced as its own feature outside of the Goosebumps brand.

When Good Ghouls Go Bad tells the story of Danny Walker (Joe Pischler), who has
recently moved with his dad (Tom Amandes) to the ancestral hometown of Walker's Falls, Minnesota, in hopes of reopening the family business: the Walker Chocolate Factory, once headed by his reclusive and eccentric "Uncle Fred" (Christopher Lloyd), who is actually Danny's grandfather, and probably the best grandfather in the world; he enjoys race car sets, space shuttle models (even owns his own space suit), funny costumes, and even Halloween... or at least he used to. Danny is not adjusting well to his new town, which has a strange fear of Halloween and everything connected with it. Eventually Danny learns of "The Curse Of Curtis Danko," which is the result of a talented young artist and social outcast being burned alive on Halloween in the school's ceramic kiln, which his Uncle Fred donated to the school. As his father begins plans for reopening the Walker factory with a "Halloween Spooktacular" despite the frightened townspeople's attempts to stop it, Uncle Fred suddenly and unexpectedly dies from suffocation under a huge load of Halloween pumpkins. No one has long to grieve, though, because without warning, Uncle Fred is back from the grave as an extremely lively zombie... and there are more zombies coming. Danny, Uncle Fred, and Danny's love interest Dayna Stenson (Brittany Byrnes) must find out why Uncle Fred is back, and also solve the mystery of what really happened to Curtis Danko.

This film, even though it's a made-for-TV movie, is really cool. It's lively (for a film with zombies) and very entertaining; in fact, it's probably the only zombie film that the other Grrls and I actually like. While Stine has written the movie to be suitable for kids, I think adults could watch it and enjoy it as well, and the underlying message of dealing with the death of a loved one isn't dumbed down at all, as evidenced by Dayna's comforting words to Danny in the cemetery at Uncle Fred's funeral. Joe Pischler and Brittany Byrnes play their parts well, and Christopher Lloyd (who is also known as Uncle Fester in the Addams Family movies) is one of the coolest actors I've ever seen, and really enjoyable as Uncle Fred. It's very obvious that everyone in this movie was having a good time with it, and I think you will too, so be sure to check this one out for Halloween.

That's all for now, but I'll be back soon with another review, so keep watching our 31 Days Of Halloween! See you soon!

Frankie Franken

POST-MORTEM: When Good Ghouls Go Bad is available on, so click our title link above to view. R. L. Stine's latest Halloween DVD is entitled Mostly Ghostly, and is available from at this link. Hey, if Mad Doctor scores that one for the crypt, maybe I'll review it, so keep watching here at the Harbinger for further developments! --F.F.

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