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The Ghouligans!
cast: Mike Ulser, Justin Herz, Peter Bune, Sean King, and Jaime Frevele

directors: Sean King, Dino Castelli, and Mike Ulser

60 minutes (n/r) 2005
Slack Pack DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Paul Higson
This is harmless enough! The Ghouligans are a gang of teenage monsters, well, they were at least teenagers when they pegged out, retaining youthfulness but also making eternal their delinquency too. Count Farnham (Justin Hertz) should be the natural ringleader but no one is in charge of this Halloween bunch. Wolfgang (Pete Bune) is the hip black werewolf. We like him! Mike Ulser is Boris, the reactivated body parts, whilst Sean King's Void takes the opposite direction and, as the resident zombie, has a habit of shedding limbs.

The history of these short films is unknown to me but they run various lengths and there is differing quality to the make-up and technical standard. The quality of the scripts gives rise to the notion that it was a learning process. Modern in some of its humour, it still revels in and successfully pays homage to the 1960s' film and television monster fun and the horror pantomime of some of the garage rock bands of the era. One suspects that the makers were aiming to syndicate with MTV and the standard ought earn them that, though some of the sketches fall horribly flat. There are a couple of big laughs along the way, and I will not steal all of them by recounting all here. Besides, most of the funniest are visual gags. Maybe it's an old joke, it was new to me, but I had to laugh at the sketch which began with Boris, the frankenscience monster turning down a date to the dance because he has two left feet... quite literally, two left feet.

The sketches are black-and-white but for the one, and the reason for that is, again, one of the better comedy pay-offs. It draws primarily on the monster kid amateur films of the 1960s, the 8mm mini love letters to the creature features and the Don F. Gluts dragstrip denizens, but The Ghouligans! also confess their fondness for The Munsters, Mad Monster Party, The Groovin' Ghoulies, AIP and beach blanket bop movies. They go down to the shore and a monster (name of Salty) that may have had The Horror Of Party Beach for a pa and The Creature From The Haunted Sea as a ma rises from the surf. King and Ulser are predominantly the writers and have a penchant for applying fun names for its community of characters. Ghoulfriends, beat chicks, monster acquaintances and local thugs go by names like Gia, Gi-Gi, Greta, Diamond Dazzle, Bo Mummy, Robit X, Johhny Juvie, Dee Dee Sleeves, Herbeche Villa Lobo and Harry Hair. The music is rock 'n' roll, psychobilly and surf guitar, and you should be bobbing to it, Paul Lamo chiefly composing the tracks with the Sonics and the Duponts supplying additional numbers. Blips aside, they are having fun and so will you. Timely for All Hallows and at only 60 minutes perfect for the kids' Halloween DVD programming schedule. There is not much more to be said. The Ghouligans! can be found online at www.theghouligans.com
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