A Lesser Known Ghoul School
Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School always manages to bring back tons of good memories and nostalgia from childhood for me. The girl ghouls in the film have arguably acquired a decent-sized following in the fandom over the years, between fan art, fanfiction, and even a random appearance in the Halloween special of OK KO: Let's Be Heroes! in 2018. Since Ghoul School is my favorite Scooby movie to date, I've always wished the girl ghouls would have appeared in more than one Scooby production. While we sadly didn't get that, we did get a TV show that follows the premise of Ghoul School almost exactly. That series is Gravedale High, a TV show from 1990 (two years after Ghoul School) that ran for 13 episodes. In the show, Rick Moranis plays a human teacher named Max Schneider who is hired to work at a school full of ghouls. Sounds pretty familiar, right? Even more familiarly, the series was written by Glenn Leopold, who wrote Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School! In this article, I wanted to highlight and review Gravedale High as sort of a sequel in spirit (there's a bad ghoul pun in there somewhere haha) to Ghoul School.
While there is no danger of supernatural threat like Revolta, I still feel this series is very much like a Ghoul School spin-off show would have been. If you'll forgive the brief plug of my own work, I very much intended my own fanfic about the girl ghouls, titled Fangs for the Memories, to be a coming-of-age style show where the girls have to overcome problems of growing up. This is exactly what we get here: a slice-of-life show about the lives of several monster students. What I really like about this show is that the coming-of-age aspect of it isn't super in-your-face or like a bad after-school special. Most episodes center around a single monster student and the plot is about a problem they face as teenagers.
The characters are also super relatable, and the fact that they all (except one) get their own episode arc makes them quite easy to get to know. There are 9 students in all. The first of which is Frankentyke, who I'll get out of the way because he's the one character that annoys me. He's a very bratty Frankenstein monster, whose name similarly parodies Frankenstein in the same vein as Elsa Frankenteen. As the Wikipedia article about him says, he's the result of if you combined Frankenstein's Monster and Bart Simpson lol. Which is actually pretty accurate, as he says "man" after nearly every line he has. His brattiness and constant overuse of "man" personally annoys me, but it's not unwatchable. Unfortunately, Frankentyke does get three episodes dedicated to him: one in which he feels neglected by his big shot little brother, another where he's ashamed of his father so he creates his own dad, and lastly, one where he is hired as a jockey. The jockey episode is my least favorite of the entire series, simply because it's not very coming-of-age-ish and feels very much like filler. It's also an odd storyline, because Frankentyke is hired as a jockey after it is suddenly discovered he's good with horses, which seems implausible. To conclude my bio of Frankentyke, I'd also go so far as to say he's the most rebellious of the students. Frankentyke is voiced by Frank Welker.
Also voiced by Frank Welker is J.P. Ghastly III, a rich student that loves money and buying stocks. J.P. is kind of a goblinish student, but it's never really confirmed what type of monster he is. J.P. is the one student who does not get his own episode, oddly, so there's really little to say about him.
Sid is an invisible man voiced by Maurice LaMarche, who's perhaps most famous in the Scooby fandom for voicing Vincent Van Ghoul in SDMI and Curse of the 13th Ghost. Sid loves doing impersonations and very much embodies the class clown trope. Sid's episode arc involves him getting sick and going to the hospital, which causes the ghouls to have to venture out into the human world.
Let me start before introducing Cleo that her full name would have likely never been used in today's day and age, due to it potentially being somewhat offensive. Cleo's full name is Cleofatra, and she's a nerdy mummy. She loves soap operas, and in her episode, she becomes pen pals with the star of a monster soap opera, who falls in love with her. However, she has self-esteem issues, which prove problematic in this same episode because she sends a picture of her beautiful best friend, and it ends up being a lesson of sorts about pretending to be someone you're not (in this case, literally).
Gil Waterman is a California surfer dude sea monster (he even has a surfer accent). He and Frankentyke are best friends. He loves surfing, and in the episode that focuses the most on him, he is discovered by a surfer named Kahuna Bob and drops out of school. This causes Kahuna Bob to have to join the monster class, to convince Gil to come back...which kind of makes no sense as we never see Kahuna Bob in the class ever again.
Blanche is a zombie with a Southern Belle's voice, who likes to shop at the mall. I'm guessing what the writers were going for here was to riff on the phrase "mall zombie," which isn't really a saying anymore (which is basically like a material girl/shopaholic, if you haven't heard of the saying, I guess the closest thing to that now would be the phrase "basic bitch" lol?) Can't say I really loved her character either, but I didn't hate her like I do Frankentyke. She's just very whiney and comes off as completely helpless.
Reggie Moonshroud is a nerdy werewolf. He's shown to be really bad at practical skills in the series finale, which centers around Reggie's fear of learning to drive. While he eventually gets the hang of it, he causes a minor car accident, and the woman in the car he hit (literally the definition of a Karen, if that term would have existed in the 90s lol) pretends to be brutally injured and sues him.
At last, we get to my favorite character, Vinnie Stoker (his last name being borrowed from the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker). Vinnie is a Fonz-like vampire, who always acts very cool, and constantly begins each sentence with "Ay, yo!" You're probably wondering why I'm okay with this and not Frankentyke saying "man" at the end of every sentence...I'm not really sure myself haha. I guess I find Vinnie being a parody of the Fonz kind of endearing lol. He generally is the laziest of the students, and always shows up late to class. In his episode arc, he suddenly gains a fear of flying.
Duzer, short for Medusa, is the final student. She's very much a stuck-up Valley girl. Her catchphrase is "get a life!" and she has a crush on Vinnie. I really like Duzer as well, and I'd say she's my second favorite character after Vinnie. She gets two different episodes centered around her: the first being when she borrows money from the class to buy a dress but it gets destroyed, and she has to find a job to pay her friends back. The second episode is about Duzer taking over the school newspaper, and uses it to publish fake news.
Max Schenider is the teacher of the delinquent class of monsters, made up of the nine students above. He's very level-headed and down-to-Earth, and manages to earn the monsters' respect despite their reluctance to trust him at the beginning of the series. Even though we don't get to see Max's first day teaching the class, the students really do get a lot nicer as the series goes on, which is cool to see them all develop as characters. He's quite shocked and a bit afraid of the monsters' strange habits at first, similar to Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy in Ghoul School, but Max does eventually start warming up.
Besides our main characters, we get a few other students throughout: Suey, a pig, Rover, a dog who speaks like Scooby does, and a human fly named Busby. We also get Headmistress Crone, who's the very strict owner of Gravedale High. Coach Cadaver, a hotheaded sleazy coach, also shows up in several episodes of the series. I actually didn't know this until just now when I looked it up, but he's voiced by Jonathan Winters! Come to think of it, the coach sounds incredibly similar to when Jonathan Winters was pretending to be a general in the barn during "The Frickert Fracas." We also get a chef named Sal, a bad-breathed 5000 year old mummy named Mr. Tuttner (voiced by Tim Curry) and Boneyard, an undertaker-like character who is a driver. I guess there's also Clawford, the pet cat, and a mouse named Bella that he always chases, but any scene with Clawford and Bella just seems like filler to me.
Overall, I think this series is a great coming-of-age show that deals with issues of growing up such as being yourself, being responsible, letting fame go to your head, fear, jealousy, and much more. Listing out all those lessons probably makes it sound more boring than it is, but seriously, it's a great show that knows how to have fun and be witty/silly along the way.
I wish I could share a place to watch this, but there really isn't any. This show has been kind of forgotten about and has never gotten any releases on DVD and digital. I wanted to review it on here just because it's so much what I've always imagined Ghoul School would be like if it was a series. Hopefully you enjoyed this review and maybe it even provided a blast from the past if you've seen this series before. For those who haven't seen it and want to, I guess the best I can offer is that there are certainly less than legal ways to watch it online, which is all I'll say haha.
2/5/2021 11:34:02 am
Yeah, I've watched this series, its pretty good!
2/5/2021 11:41:16 am
Awesome! Glad to see someone else knows this series besides me.
2/6/2021 04:32:26 am
Been a while since I watched it but was certainly interesting from what I can remember! Animation, like a lot of other forms of media, are a great insight to life at that time and social norms.
2/6/2021 10:55:46 am
Couldn't agree more! The series does come off as very 90s.
2/5/2021 08:37:08 pm
Gravedale high, man I wish I could see this show, I have some of the Happymeal toys somewhere.
2/5/2021 09:15:57 pm
I saw the Happy Meal toys when I was doing research for this article! It's pretty cool that they made Happy Meal toys for the show given it was cancelled after only 13 episodes.
2/5/2021 10:17:30 pm
Yea, it's surprising, though I imagine they thought it would succeed and in those days the Happy Meal toys were well built, still got some of the Hot Wheels and the transforming ones. Also sometimes these things get planned months in advance, especially back in the dawn of the digital age, by the time they knew it wasn't doing well the toys were already out.
2/5/2021 11:06:29 pm
That's a great point, I suppose they could have been overoptimistic and planned the toys when the show first came out.
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