Night of the Ghouls

Year Of Release: 1959
Running Time: 69 Minutes
DVD Released By: Image Entertainment
Directed By: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Writing Credits: Edward D. Wood Jr. (also novel)
Filming Location: Unknown

Starring: Kenne Duncan, Duke Moore, Tor Johnson, Valda Hansen, Johnny Carpenter, Paul Marco, Don Nagel, Bud Osborne, Jeannie Stevens

Tagline: The dead of night is alive with the dead!

Alternate Titles:
Dr. Acula (1959) (USA: original script title)
Revenge of the Dead (1959)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Edward D. Wood, Jr. was so broke he couldn't pay the film lab to develop this movie. It wasn't until 1983 (long after Wood was dead) that entrepreneur Wade Williams paid a 24-year-old lab bill, and the movie was finally released. Kenne Duncan who played, Dr. Acula in this film, died on the 5th of February 1972 when he committed suicide by overdosing on barbituates. He was an alcoholic and was on medication for a stroke that he had suffered during the year before his death.




Cast Of Characters
Criswell: He's the narrator of the film and appears later on as the leader of the dead guys. Unfortunately, he has a voice that pierces your head like an icepic. To say this guy is bizarre would be an understatement.

Dr. Acula: A con artist who tricks people into handing over their money in return for his help in contacting and reviving their dead loved ones. He gets a little more than he bargained for in the end.

Sheila, The White Ghost: Sheila isn't really overly bad or evil. She just got hooked up with Dr. Acula and is helping him with his con games. It was her job to pretend to be a ghost in order to scare nosy people away from the old house. Sheila's very nice to look at.

Lt. Bradford: First he gets called in on a night when he's supposed to be attending the opening of an opera, and then he gets send out to some creepy old house that used to belong to a mad scientist, just so he can investigate a report from a couple of old senile people about some kind of a ghost creeping around out there. I'd say this guy is pretty seriously dedicated to his job and probably deserves a raise and a promotion.

Patrolman Kelton: This guy is seriously whack! All he does is complain about how scared he is and how unfair it is that he gets sent on all the funky assignments with weird creatures running around and stuff. I honestly think he'd be happier doing something a little less stressful like flower arranging or taking still life photos of bowls of fruit.

Lobo: Known mostly for his sparkling wit and his brilliant conversational abilities, this handsome fellow manages to make it through the whole film without having to even remember a single line. All he does is grunt and breathe heavy.

The Black Ghost / Mannequin: This one is a real ghost. She doesn't really do much. She attacks a couple of teenagers at the beginning of the film, but other than that, all she really does is wander around a lot and act weird. If someone caught her walking around like that today, they'd probably think she was a crack head or something. Like Sabrina, she's quite hot and would definitely be a nice addition to my undead harem.




The Plot
When an old couple spots what they think is a ghost out by the old mad scientist's place, they report it to the police. Lt. Bradford and Patrolman Kelton are assigned to investigate the siting, and find a lot more than they bargained for. The place has been taken over by Dr. Acula, a charlatan who has convinced people that he can communicate with and raise the dead. These people are so desperate to contact or revive their loved ones, that they're paying him lots and lots of money to do it. Unbeknownst to Dr. Acula, he truly does have the power to raise the dead, and they have the power to bring him back to the grave with them.



What The Hell???
1. What the hell is with this Criswell guy anyway? What a drama queen he is. I guess that sleeping in a coffin is kinda cool though in a twisted sort of a way. I think I'd like to try that sometime. At least if I could sleep in a coffin, I could close the lid and ignore my dog when he's climbing all over me at 4:30 in the morning wanting me to get up and pay attention to him.

2. Apparently Los Angeles has a serious juvenile delinquent problem as well as a large number of drunk drivers. There also seems to be a problem with uppity girls who smack their boyfriends in the face for trying to kiss them and then run away at 2x speed while their boyfriends chase after them at 1.5x speed, and then when the girls fall down they're attacked by some hot looking ghost chick who doesn't actually look like a ghost, she just looks like a really hot chick in the kind of a black dress that a really hot chick like that would wear to a funeral or something, and I also decided that she would probably make a great poster chick for necrophilia because seriously now, she looks damn good..

3. Oh man. I can tell right now this movie is going to be hilarious. Three cops standing around in the front office of the police station. A drunk guy staggers in, smiles at them, and then staggers back out. The cops just laugh at him. No wonder they got so many drunk drivers in Los Angeles. At least these cops seem a little more competent than the ones in "Blood Feast". The inspector didn't even have to read his lines off his hand in this movie.
4. I don't know what kind of cars the old people drive in this movie, but apparently they have really loose steering. The old man driving with his wife had that steering wheel going all over the place, but they just kept going straight the whole time. In the real world, if you jerked a steering wheel around like that, you'd probably find yourself upside down in a ditch somewhere. Now if they were actually swerving around, I notice they didn't get stopped and checked for drunk driving. Again, I understand the drunk driving statistics in this town. I wonder if the cops actually do anything at all besides fart around at the cop station? Well, I'm only twelve and a half minutes into the movie, so I guess they're not off their fifteen minute donut break yet.
5. When the old people are driving by the old mad scientists place, they cut to a scene of a woman, (Sabrina, the white ghost,) walking through the gate at the old house. Watch her as she walks through the creeping ivy over the gateway. First she takes a vine in the face and doesn't even blink. Then she keeps on walking and the vine comes off the wall completely and wraps over her shoulder as she walks. She sure stays in character well during this scene. Much better than the slave girl in "At The Earth's Core" who started smiling when Doug McClure fell backwards into her. Now that was just sad. I don't know why people rip on Ed Wood movies so much. This movie is pretty fun. I've certainly seen a lot worse acting than this in other movies.
6. She sure dresses nice for a ghost type chick. I wonder who does her hair and makeup? She looks great!

7. The old people's car stalls and they see the ghost chick standing nearby staring wildly at them and wiggling her fingers. The old woman is terrified, but she's got a smile on her face the whole time. I don't get it? If that was supposed to be her scared look, then she seriously needs to go back to acting school so that she can re-take the facial expressions course.

8. Policemen in tuxedos can't be bothered to change before going out on an investigation.
9. Criswell's voice pops in every now and then for his narration bits. There's something very irritating about the way he talks, and it gives me a weird feeling up my back when I listen to him.
10. When Lt. Bradford comes into the old mad scientists house, Dr. Acula chews him out for entering without knocking. I'm not sure what happened after that but Dr. Acula ends up taking Bradford out to see his resurrection chamber. I really don't know if I'd follow a creepy guy in a genie turban out into the darkness to see his resurrection chamber by the cemetery. There's gotta be some internal trigger in there somewhere that makes you say to yourself, "Are you freakin' nuts?!?!" There's also gotta be something illegal about keeping dead bodies around and trying to resurrect them. That excuse about the cremation furnace being broken just don't cut it.
11. As they're walking out to the resurrection chamber, one hot female ghost sees the other one and then she starts screaming and runs away. What the hell got into her all of a sudden??? Must be that time of the month. It's only later that we find out why she really screamed and ran away.
12. Patrolman Kelton is a basket case. He's probably wearing his "Barney Fife Fan Club" T-shirt under his uniform. He sees one ghost and he turns into Don freakin' Knotts. Now the only really abnormal thing about this particular ghost woman is that she walks slow and just kinda wanders around. So Kelton sees her walking in the woods in her black dress and all of a sudden he freaks out and starts trying to empty his gun into her without even making the least little bit of effort to find out who she is and what she's doing there. Naturally his bullets didn't affect her, but I have to wonder how many innocent people he's killed in the past just because he couldn't control his nerves.

13. Lt. Bradford is attending a seance given by Dr. Acula. Three of the people sitting at the seance table are skeletons, and one of them is in a bad wig. There's a dufus in a sheet who wanders by like a ghost making a slide whistle noise as he moves along, an object floating through the air making a really low frequency noise, and a trumpet that floats in the air and plays itself. Anyone who's suckered into believing in Dr. Acula after attending this completely cheeseball seance, deserves to get suckered out of every penny they got.

14. Ok seriously now, these ghost chicks are way hot. Especially for 1958 ghost chicks. I wonder if Dr. Acula is still alive? I'd like to track him down and have him whip me up a couple of hot ghost chicks for my very own.

15. So a spirit shows up at the seance. It looks like a Japanese air raid warden with a really bad speech impediment who talks at like ¼ speed. Then an old woman's dead husband pops up out of a coffin and starts talking to her, telling her it's ok for her to marry again. She's gotta be seventy if she's a day, and her fiancee is like thirty. No, he doesn't want her for her money or anything, does he?
16. Ok, it turns out the blonde ghost chick isn't a ghost after all. She works for Dr. Acula, creeping around to scare people away who don't belong there. That's why she freaked out when she saw the real ghost.
17. When Bradford finds the ghost chick standing in the old laboratory, he assumes she's some kind of prop that Dr. Acula uses. This ghost chick is supposed to be standing still like some kind of a demented mannequin. but she's not very good at standing still. Funny how a man who could make lieutenant is so unobservant that he can't even figure out that the chick is real.
18. The sound effects they use during the seance are so totally cheesy, that they manage to be stupid and hilarious at the same time.
19. Kelton busts in on the seance and tries to break it up so he can find out what's going on. Someone better clue these people that Kelton shoots first and asks questions later. Lobo comes in and grabs him, but not before Kelton manages to shoot him like three times. Didn't have much of an effect though, and Kelton got captured anyway. Lobo stuffed him in a coffin in some side room. Bradford sneaks into the room and finds Kelton unconscious in a coffin. Now if you were the cop investigating all this, wouldn't you have called in for massive backup a long time ago? Who the hell goes out to a creepy old place like that on an investigation by themselves anyway? I sure as hell wouldn't.
20. Why is it that in movies like this, the big demented dudes like Lobo always require at least six to eight shots to kill them? How come no one ever just shoots these guys in the head? I mean after all, it works in Roger Corman films.
21. Dr. Acula actually was a powerful medium and he didn't even realize it. He actually did raise the dead, who were allowed to come back for only twelve hours. When he and Sabrina happen upon them down in the coffin room, they knock him out, stuff him in a coffin and carry the coffin back to the crypt. Wouldn't it have just been simpler if he had run away when he saw them all standing there? I mean, they actually told him that the twelve hours was almost up. How hard could it have been to have avoided them for just a bit, until their time back in the land of the living had expired again. His girlfriend ends up getting hers from the ghost chick who was creeping around outside. At least we think she gets hers. That part is left up in the air at the end.



Best Quote

"Monsters. Space people. Mad doctors. They didn't teach me about such things in the police academy, and yet that's all I've been assigned to since I became on active duty. Why do I get picked for these screwy details all the time? I resign."

 

- Patrolman Kelton whining about being sent out to the old mad scientist's place to investigate the old people's report of the strange ghost sighting. - (Reviewer's Note: I guess I would have to admit that I'd be pretty damn freaked out if I was a cop and I kept getting sent out on all the screwy assignments too. I know I'd be looking for another job like toot sweet.)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Night of the Ghouls
This is a part of the seance. It's got all the best stuff from the seance right here in one segment of the scene.



The Conclusion

This is the first Ed Wood movie I've ever actually seen and I feel like I've been initiated somehow. This movie didn't get particularly good reviews in the various user comments I've read, but I think the people who made these less than flattering comments about this film were missing something. As I watched this film, I realized right away that Ed Wood knew that the script of this film was cheesy as hell and that the best way to bring out the specialness in the script was to direct his actors to play it as cheesy as it was written. If he had even begun to attempt to make this into a serious film and to take a script that was this ridiculous and to make it into something it wasn't, it would have completely ruined this film. Instead, he had fun with it and made a fun film that's not only bizarre enough to be truly appreciated by B-Movie fans, but goofy enough to be enjoyed by just about anyone with a good sense of humor and a love of cheesy movies.

The plot was fairly standard if you looked at it on a simplistic level, but the joy in watching this film comes in the execution of that plot, and not in the plot itself. One of the best scenes in the film is the seance scene. Not so much because of the acting per se, but because of all the goofy stuff that was going on around them. There's so many little weird and goofy things going on in this movie that I couldn't even begin to mention them all, and I probably won't even catch them all until I've seen the movie at least a few times. As I said at the beginning, I've never seen an Ed Wood film before, but now that I've seen this one, I find myself wishing I had watched it sooner, and I look forward to watching even more Ed Wood films in the future.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 5 Bees!

Purchase this film from Amazon:
or

Purchase this film from Movies Unlimited:
or

Unseen Things: Origins



My series of contemporary fantasy / sci-fi novels, Unseen Things is now available through the official website, Amazon, Smashwords and other online retail sites.

BMC Facebook Page




Donations

If you enjoy this site, please consider making a donation.

alt

Affiliates




Login Form