Zombie frogs, demonic exercise machines, ghostly sports jerseys, and evil toilets, they’re all here to be about as moronic as possible in one of the least scary movies I’ve ever seen. RL Stine in his days of “Goosebumps” drew more chills from me than “Haunted High” a film so laughably bad, it’s almost impossible to watch in one sitting. It basically has everything a bad horror film should have. Special effects so bad they seem to have been created in the mid-eighties, a villain so non-threatening he barely registers above a yawn in the spook meter, and did I mention genre favorite Charisma Carpenter gets top billing for a role that’s literally only thirty seconds in length?
The legendary MC Gainey plays ex-headmaster Danforth for a posh private school whose shady past has remained a secret for quite some time. For some reason his great grandson attends the very school he ruled, and carries around a bag of mystic coins. After an over eager teacher tries to get student Quentin to lend him his coins, the teacher unleashes a very cliche pentagram which oddly awakens the demonic headmaster. MC Gainey is pissed away in a role he could do in his sleep. His demonic villain is basically a warmed over Freddy Krueger who is prone to using the environment of the school for killing students and staff members. When circumstances trap some students inside the school, the headmaster Danforth and his evil succubi roam around the halls indulging in the lamest on-screen kills ever conceived.
Watch as a guy’s soul is trapped in a display case glass! Gaze in awe a young student have his lips sewn shut! Gasp as two teachers fight an army of undead frogs, all of whom are obviously suspended by wires off camera! Gainey basically plays this role in his sleep, delivering horrible one-liners to his potential victims and basically sauntering around in a black robe with his minions who do nothing but screech and follow him around. Meanwhile we’re forced to follow a group of non characters all of whom either over act or under act. The plot of Danforth is much too convenient and there’s never any explanation as to what he would have done if his descendent weren’t attending the actual school. Also, once Danforth possessed his great grandson what then? Does he still have evil powers?
Would he have run the school again? Why did Danforth’s soul stay in the school, again? In either “Haunted High” is a cheese fest if only for the really awful special effects, all of which are sub-par even by television movie standards. Danny Trejo plays the school’s mystical janitor (no small parts, just small actors) whose job it is avenge his sister who guides him in his fight against the evil headmaster. “Haunted High” has potential to be so bad it’s good material, but based around the nonsensical story, really lame murders, and awful characters, it’s just a bad genre mess. And not one worth experimenting on for quick laughs. Killer frogs, killer hallways, and Charisma Carpenter collects an easy paycheck, “Haunted High” is a brutal horror comedy, one lacking in original scares, or interesting laughs.