Worthless Guide to Monsters: Ghouls

GhoulWhat led me to write this article was a conversation I had about ghouls with a coworker the other day. I said, “Hey, what exactly IS a ghoul anyway.” He ignored me, turning a page in his book. “Is a ghoul the same thing as a ghost? Maybe it's more like a zombie. But I think ghouls are smaller, and I thought they had pointy ears...”

“Mmm.” My coworker said, without looking up.

“What about a gremlin?” I continued, “Maybe a ghoul is a type of gremlin. Oh! Or maybe it's a goblin! That sounds more like it. But hey, what's the difference between a gremlin and a goblin anyway? I don't think they're the same thing.” He still wasn't paying any attention, but it didn't matter. My mind was made up. “When I get home I'll look up ghouls on the internet.” I said.

So I did, and here's what I found out.

ShrugSo What is a Ghoul Then?

I'm sorry to say it, but I don't think anybody knows what a ghoul is. I did probably the most exhaustive research ever to be undertaken in the field of ghoul studies (skimming the “ghouls” wikipedia entry and browsing someone's personal website because it had the the word ghouls in the title and then realizing it wasn't actually about ghouls at all) and the only real information I've come across is that the female form of ghoul is “ghouleh" and the plural is "ghilan". I suppose that's better than nothing.

Ghouls in Popular Culture

Alright, maybe I did come up with a few other things about ghouls, this section being one of them. But I gotta tell you, this was still sort of a tough one. Who can say that they've ever seen a ghoul on TV, or in a movie? Not anyone I know, that's for sure (and I know because I asked them). But upon doing this research I discovered that famous ghouls do indeed exist. You just have to know where to look.

The Ghoul (1975 British Film)

FilmIn this film, a missionary's son develops “a taste for human flesh” while traveling in India. The missionary murders a bunch of people and feeds them to his son, who he keeps locked in an attic.

Garbage. I might not know what a ghoul IS, but I sure as hell know what one ISN'T, and the boy in this story is most cefrtainly NOT a ghoul. If he's anything, he's a cannibal, and an ineffectual one at that. What kind of cannibal has to have his dad go out and catch humans for him to eat? It's ridiculous!

Give a man chunks of human flesh and you feed him for a day. But teach a man to leap snarling from a balconies onto an unassuming vagrants in moonlit alleys on starless nights, ripping open their throats with rusty straightrazors and subsequently reveling in the fountain of warm crimson which issues forth from their split jugular in gushing spurts, and you feed him for a lifetime.

I rate this movie: 0/10 stars.

Ghoulies (Film)

GhouliesAlright, I didn't actually research this, and I've never actually seen any of them, but I'm reasonably sure that these movies exist. And since this is the only ACTUAL information I've got about Ghoulies, I guess I'll just sort of have to hypothesize about it in the remaining paragraphs.

Ghoulies is ostensibly a film about ghouls, although I'm not exactly sure this is the case. A ghoulie may  be quite different from a ghoul, but there's no real way of knowing for sure. I think I can safely assume though, with what little ghoul knowledge I possess, and having seen the cover of the VHS version of Ghoulies in the video store as a very small child, that ghoulies are in fact a sort of ghoul.

So in conclusion: Ghoulies might be ghouls and they live in toilets and sometimes they come out of the toilets and probably cause all sorts of mischief.

Ghoulies are bad news.

Various Video Games

WarcraftYeah yeah, I'm sure we've all seen a bunch of ghouls in video games before. There are about a million kinds. There are Fallout ghouls (plain old mutated humans) Diablo ghouls (zombie sprites the developer has painted blue instead of green) Warcraft ghouls (gremlins), the list goes on.

And that's precisely the problem. The video game community cannot agree on a single definition for ghouls. And so, all videogames everywhere are now hereby disqualified (by me) from ever defining or portraying ghouls in any form, ever again. If they do try it (and I'm sure they will), there'll be hell to pay, believe you me.

Now never speak to me again of ghouls. It makes me sick. If I never see another ghoul again, it'll be too soon.