So here I am, ten years later with the special ten year anniversary edition of Chad Ferrin’s The Ghouls via the UK distribution shingle Cine du Monde. As this marks ten years since the film first made its way to DVD, the guys over at Cine du Monde have gone all out on this one, delivering a disc full of special features that have never been seen before. This alone is worth the price of the DVD, it goes in-depth from cast interviews, bloopers and an extensive behind-the-scenes making-of segment that shows the warts and all of what goes into making a low-budget indie horror film.
As I’ve said before, Ferrin is no stranger to the darker things in life, and The Ghouls starts off with a bloody and disturbing bang. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the infamous 1998 live footage event of the HIV-positive man who set his truck on fire on a L.A. freeway. Ferrin included this in its uncensored raw and gritty entirety, in which we see the man blow his brains out. More shocking however, is that children’s programming was interrupted with this footage and thus this marks Ferrin’s social commentary in the film regarding the media and the way they encourage such behavior.
After this, we are catapulted into the seedy life of Eric Hayes (Timothy Muskatell), a freelance videographer who’s life is filled with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. He is a man who has seen it all through the lens of his camera, a man that has seen too much and has become almost incapable of feelings, simply shooting the most outrageous events to make a buck to feed his daily habit.
The film is full of graphic images, which again plays into the social commentary, as us, the viewer and the media are drawn to such images, especially of human suffering and the film plays well to that. The back streets are as gritty and as dirty as they come, showing us the true underbelly and the result of human suffering, this plays well to Ferrin’s strengths.
During Hayes’ determination to capture something on camera that will provide him with a payload, he finds himself in a back-alley of downtown L.A. where he believes he has found a group of homeless men raping a young naked girl. With this he begins filming, as he gets closer in for a good shot, he soon realizes that they are not what they seem. Definitely not human, these are flesh-eating ghouls who tear into the milky white flesh of the young girl, exposing her guts for all to see.
Soon he gets far to close for comfort and the ghouls soon give chase to Hayes, in the process cutting his neck before he can make his getaway in his beat-up car. Soon he makes his way to the sleazy TV station where he hopes to sell the footage of the century. Unfortunately for Hayes, he forgot to load the camera with a tape and thus no footage was captured for his payoff.
With this unfortunate outcome, Hayes goes to the only friend he has, a fellow freelance photo-journalistic scumbag, Clift (Trent Haaga). With his friend in-toe, while dubious as to what they will actually uncover, they make there way back into the underbelly of L.A. to finally get the footage they desperately need for the big payoff.
Here the horror truly unfolds, and I’ll leave that to you, the viewer. The film was a total blast, and also a wake-up call to take a closer look at what the media does, and how they exploit the suffering of others.
While the film was made on a shoe-string budget, the gore effects were brilliantly and tightly put together, giving us a realistic and unrelenting look at the carnage on show and this plays well into the film. One of my only downsides was the choice of music in certain parts, especially when it gets serious, it kind of puts you off that intense confrontation.
But apart from that, the film is true exploitative gruesomeness at its best, and definitely one you should add to your collection if you’re after something with a bit more punch. Thankfully the film has recently been released via Cine du Monde which is region free, so you guys in the States can also get a look at the awesome special features included with the disc.