Undercover ghostchaser Duke Moore investigates a mysterious medium (Keene Duncan) who fleeces relatives of the dead by fake channeling with the beyond. But beware--the night is alive with ghouls! Titanic 400 lb. Tor Johnso... more »n, Vampira-wannabe Valda Hansen, the ever-clever psychic Criswell (whose predictions are always 100% wrong) and the irrepressible comedy of Kelton the Cop (Paul Marco) are all here in this return to the great days of the gothic horror shockers that thrilled Ed Wood as a child. "Night of the Ghouls" is a must for all "Woodheads" and marks the end of an era for this unique filmmaker. You have to see it to believe it!« less
Great movie! I loved this one! Another great classic! Be sure to check this one out!
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Pristine DVD recommended mainly for seasoned Woodophiles
Surfink | Racine, WI | 06/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Night of the Ghouls, the last film in Ed Wood's horror cycle, (following Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 from Outer Space) borrows elements from both of those films but, while inhabiting a similarly wacked-out world, isn't really a direct sequel to either. Kenne Duncan (struggling to maintain his tough-guy persona while wearing a silly-looking turban) plays Dr. Acula, a phony medium who has set up shop bilking wealthy octogenarians in "the old Willows Lake place where the mad doctor made monsters," a veiled reference to Bride of the Monster. Duke Moore (Plan 9, Sinister Urge) is Lt. Dan Bradford, undercover "spook chaser," investigating reports of mysterious goings-on at the mansion. You know you're watching an Ed Wood movie from the first scene: the clearly identified East Los Angeles police station is shown while Criswell describes the location as "Anytown U.S.A."; cut to the interior of the station where a `Wanted' poster on the wall displays none other than the director himself. (He also appears in some brief "JD" footage.) Night of the Ghouls is actually somewhat controversial in bad film circles; some rank it as one of Wood's best, while others claim to find it boring. True, it does share a slower pace and relative lack of dizzying incompetence with Jail Bait, Wood's other neglected and similarly maligned 1950s feature. But all the requisite elements of an "Ed Wood movie" are here for the faithful: the florid Criswell narration and convoluted, mind-numbing dialogue; the wildly contrasting acting styles, from complete indifference to rampant scenery-chewing; the lurching, paradoxical continuity and non-sequitur edits; the poverty-stricken sets (darkness stands in for scenery a lot and Dr. Acula's makeup mirror is missing half its bulbs); and Gordon Zahler's cringeworthy stock music cues (also featured in Monstrosity, Astounding She Monster, and Beast of Yucca Flats). On balance, William C. Thompson's cinematography looks terrific, as usual (especially considering the schedule). Wood `discovery' Valda Hansen emotes strangely as the White Ghost; Paul Marco does his so-unfunny-it's-amusing Kelton the Cop routine; Jeannie Stevens stalks and stares Vampira-like as the completely unexplained Black Ghost; zero-budget producer Anthony (Yucca Flats) Cardoza has a bit part; Wood's chiropodist, Tom Mason (who doubled Lugosi in Plan 9), appears as a Ross Perot-look ghost; and narrator Criswell (looking uncharacteristically rough in the intro) abruptly shows up at the climax, well-scrubbed and spit-curled, as an undead avenger, complete with `sepulchral' vibra-tone vocal effect. Big Tor (in his third and final outing as "Lobo") sports what is perhaps makeup man Harry Thomas's wildest gross-out creation ever: he's got a creepy white eyeball and the other half of his face and shoulder are a mass of scar tissue (??). Unfortunately he doesn't get that much screen time (apparently Tor walked off the set at least once over money!) Check the scene where Lt. Bradford encounters Acula and Lobo and doesn't even seem to NOTICE the hideously scarred hulking brute standing right next to him! Actually improves with multiple viewings. CAUTION: Enjoyment of Night of the Ghouls is probably proportional with one's appreciation of Wood's previous work. While veteran Wood-heads will find familiar, if perhaps subtler, delights to groove on, I would advise the uninitiated to start with the more notorious films in the Ed Wood canon (Plan 9, Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster); first-time Wood viewers may not "get the references," and find Ghouls boring and confusing. To take the whole movie to another level, find a copy of Rudolph Grey's out-of-print Nightmare of Ecstasy, which contains some incredible anecdotes, particularly from Ms. Hansen and assistant director Ronnie Ashcroft (director/producer of Astounding She Monster), several of which concern Kenne Duncan's lecherous on-set behavior.
Presumably the last major release in the Image/Wade Williams "Edward D. Wood, Jr. Library," Night of the Ghouls looks spectacular on DVD. Williams supposedly rescued this film from oblivion by paying Wood's outstanding lab bills in the 1980s, so the elements are virtually pristine. You have to look really hard to see even the occasional speckle, and the brightness, contrast, grayscale, sharpness, and shadow/highlight detail are simply terrific, especially for a movie of its age and pedigree. The main menu is animated and the DD 1.0 mono sound is clear. Since the picture was never released theatrically there is no accompanying trailer, although five of the usual suspects are included in a cookie. Twelve chapter stops are the only other extra, but for hard-core Wood fans this is still essential. Others reread my cautionary statement."
Monsters to be Pitied! Monsters to be Despised!
Robert I. Hedges | 04/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Night of the Ghouls" is Ed Wood's sequel to "Bride of the Monster" with Tor Johnson providing continuity as Lobo the lumbering mute henchman, now with a badly burned face courtesy of the immolation of Dr. Vornoff's laboratory. Thank goodness Tor was able to escape the plastic octopus and nuclear blast at the end of "Bride of the Monster." I wouldn't have thought a 400 pound Swedish wrestler capable of outrunning a mushroom cloud, but you learn something new every day!"Night of the Ghouls" starts with Wood regular Criswell in a coffin (big surprise) rambling on with verbal compost such as "For many years I have told you the almost unbelievable, related to the unreal, and showed to be more than fact." Just when that is sinking in, we get sidetracked on a ten minute plot cul-de-sac about juvenile delinquency ("Is this the major horror of our times?") illustrated with a scandalous sock hop and fist fight sequence. Logically this, of course, leads to a narrated discussion on statistics of motor vehicle accidents (watch for a cameo of Ed Wood himself as a crash victim) as kept by the National Safety Council. Huh?All this may lead you to ask, "Yes, but where are the ghouls?", and a fair question that is. We finally get to see a woman in a gauzy dress looking for all the world like a bad Stevie Nicks impersonator, frighten two very hammy old actors with her terrifying fingernails. I refer to her as the Budget Zombie, and once you've seen the movie, you will understand why. Thank goodness Wood regular Kelton the cop (Paul Marco) is on the case along with Lieutenant Daniel Bradford, professional ghost chaser. (That's the movie's actual words, honest.) Kelton spends the bulk of this film (the third in the exciting "Kelton Trilogy") shivering in a police car after a ghost frightened him so badly he was compelled to run into a tree.Needless to say, all the problems we find are as a result of nefarious activity in the 'old house at Willows Lake' (which was the former Bela and Tor residence in "Bride of the Monster", we are led to understand.) This time it is the home of fraudulent conniver 'Dr. Acula', which may be the worst single pun in movie making history (played by professional heavy Kenne Duncan.) Dr. Acula is busy conducting bogus seances, which are the second least realistic seances ever filmed, narrowly edged out by the disturbingly comical seance in "The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman." Present at the seance are a couple of skeletons, a trumpet suspended by strings playing random notes (you are clinically dead if this does not make you laugh), a ghost which is lamer than any Halloween costume ever (yes; it's a guy with a sheet on), all accompanied by a decidedly un-spooky slide whistle, and last, but certainly not least, a piece of what appears to be a Tupperware of some sort, or possibly a Salad Spinner, 'levitating' in a most entertaining way accompanied by a cat playing a zither (apparently.) You must see this scene to believe it. Oh, yes, and for dramatic effect, Dr. Acula channels an idiot who can barely speak English wearing a colander on his head to relay information on the deceased from beyond the grave to their living relatives, one of whom is wearing the most imaginative (and large) feather trimmed fedora I have ever seen. To add a touch of panache, famed Coleman Francis regular Tony Cardoza ("The Skydivers", "Red Zone Cuba") makes a special guest appearance as 'Tony.' Watch for it!This is a wonderful specimen of Wood. Though not as great as the immortal "Plan 9", "Night of the Ghouls" has its own charms, and is worth the time of any viewer interested in the history of grade Z cinema, or for that matter, anyone who just wants a good laugh. The trumpets and levitating kitchenware alone are worth the asking price of this DVD, which, by the way, is of splendid quality, though sadly lacking added features. Thank you Ed Wood for this little known gem, and thank you, Image Entertainment, for bringing us this DVD!"
Lots of fun for fans of Z- grade schlock
BD Ashley | Otago, New Zealand | 06/14/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ed Wood, the worst director of all time; strikes again with this sequel to his "classics" PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE and BRIDE OF THE MONSTER. NIGHT OF THE GHOULS (a.k.a REVENGE OF THE DEAD) has the inimitable Tor Johnson reprising his role as the hulking henchman Lobo; now hideously disfigured following the lab fire at the climax of BOTM. Criswell also narrates the film from the comfort of his coffin: "... a tale so astounding that some of you may faint!"
Once again Wood wears multiple hats as writer, producer and director of another awful but fun "horror" movie.
The story takes place in the small town of Willow Lake, where in the now familiar creepy old house Lugosi's successor, a mad Swami named Dr Acula (Kenne Moore) is raising the dead from their graves- one of which is a man in a cape with a high neck which is supposed to make him appear headless!- and setting them on juvenile delinquents, kids who do nothing worse than rock 'n roll dancing. Enter bumbling police Captain Robbins (John Carpenter- not the director) to try and make sense of and put an end to the madness, once and for all. But inside the house he has to contend with joke shop skeletons which are seated at the dining room table and possessed floating trumpets that play by themselves; as well as taking part in Acula's seance to raise the dead: the conjured spirit turns out to just be a guy covered by a bedsheet! Wood's attempt at a climactic plot twist is just as awful as the rest of the movie... which is good. Right?
What makes Wood's movies so funny is that he always made them with serious intentions, here he tries to tackle "serious" subjects such as the aforementioned delinquency and road deaths, the results of which are (naturally) inept and wholly innocuous. There are also references by characters to BRIDE OF THE MONSTER as well as several shots from that movie being reused- notably the lightning storm. NIGHT OF THE GHOULS went unreleased for 25 years because Wood couldn't afford to pay the printing lab.
DVD extras includea bio and filmography for Wood, as well as trailers for PLAN 9, GLEN OR GLENDA, BRIDE OF THE MONSTER and JAIL BAIT (which I haven't seen yet). A must-have for film buff and fans of bad movies."
Ed Wood is the King of Ineptitude
ellafan | MI | 05/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You gotta love this guy: He is the Wile E. Coyote of filmdom: He got battered at every turn;rejected by mainstream Hollywood,but he never gave up.He continued to produce the most god-awful, and therefore,wonderful movies ever.This is one of his best.Just the scene of the old guy and his wife "driving" on the country road is worth the price of this DVD.Also,there is a floating toilet plunger that appears every once in a while.You have to see it!And that's only the beginning!
It's odd,though: Intellectually you are fully aware of how horrible his movies were,but you can't help but love what he did,I guess because he was such a nice guy himself,and he was blessed with eternal optimism.I have all of his movies that are available,plus a couple of "Misties,"and I never tire of watching them.I really love this one in particular.It's cheesiness rating is "10," and it's fun quotient is 20."
One of Woods lesser films
email@example.com | Salt Lake City | 01/31/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Very good Ed Wood effort. Its not on the same level as some of his earlier work like Bride of the Monster, Glen or Glenda, or Plan 9 from Outer Space (which is one of those films like Citizen Kane, Seven Samarai, and the Godfather, that every good film buff should see). The monsters only seem to kill people who had done something wrong. At times, Wood overwrites, and/or seems to be reaching for camp!!! Nevertheless it still has that weird dialougue, bargain basement special effects, and mismatched footage. Check out his more popular movies, if you like what you see move on to this."