They'll get you in the end.
Year of Release: 1985
Running Time: 81 minutes (1:21)
Director: Luca Bercovici
Peter Liapis ... Jonathan Graves
Lisa Pelikan ... Rebecca
Michael Des Barres ... Malcolm Graves
Jack Nance ... Wolfgang
Peter Risch ... Grizzel
Tamara De Treaux ... Greedigut
Scott Thomson ... Mike
Ralph Seymour ... Mark (Toad Boy)
Mariska Hargitay ... Donna
Keith Joe Dick ... Dick
David Dayan ... Eddie
Victoria Catlin ... Anastasia
Charene Cathleen ... Robin
Brian Connolly ... Ghoulie (voice)
Annie Stocking ... Ghoulie (voice)
Craig Talmy ... Ghoulie (voice)
Take a creepy old Hollywood mansion, a naive young man and a pretty girl. Add an over-the-top orgy and some slimy, winged goblins who crawl out of toilets, and you have Ghoulies, a horrifying and hilarious ride into the darkest regions of hell! Conjured up during a party thrown by the mansion's new owner, the hairy, fanged demons waste no time wreaking havoc on the scene - and declaring the unsuspecting owner their new lord and master!
Ghoulies, the movie that reminds us always to take care when naming a child. A "Dick" can very easily become a self fulfilling prophecy. Spelling is important too, for example, you never wanna use an "i" in place of a "y" when it comes to girls. At that point you may as well build 'em a stripper pole out in the garage an get it over with quick. You don't even wanna know what happens to the ones that get the "ee" treatment, but suffice it to say, Eliot Spitzer approves. I won't bother explainin' who hates this one, cause you know as well as I, that everyone that saw Gremlins an thought it'd sound real profound to babble "rip off" outta the left side of their mouths while droolin' like they're havin' a stroke fits this category. I'm havin' to be theoretical about who'd love and treasure Ghoulies above all others because the fact remains that in North Korea, Kim Dong Poon simply won't let his fellow countrymen experience cinematic masterpieces like Ghoulies. But I think they'd really like this one, and not just because it'd be the first movie they ever saw that wasn't a cartoon flip show of Lil' Kim beatin' the crap outta Dubya an Obama at the same time while Condi Rice an Nancy Pelosi have a cat fight over who gets to polish his Lil' Kim. Nah, see, North Korea really is better than us, the only problem is that nobody seems to really get that. I think one of the best examples, and one that Ghoulies illustrates particularly well, is the scene where the little glopola monster splashes up outta the turlet lookin' for a hunk of rump roast. Now see? We in America, or any other first world country, have the constant fear and mental torment that every shit could be our last. One of these little guys could be bidin' its time, just waitin' for us to get the late night munchies an hit the Taco Bell, then, when our backside is turned, that's it. Our bikini/speedo wearin' days are over. See, we citizens of first world nations see the lack of indoor plumbing as a real downer. But let me ask you this; ever seen a glopola monster lurch outta the chamber pot an try to sink its teeth into your assets? Course you haven't. This is just one example of how the world just doesn't seem to understand why North Korea is a utopia the likes of which most of us will simply never get the opportunity to grace. I can't afford the airfare, so I just poop in the lawn at night when nobody's lookin'. Cept for this one time when the neighbor was lookin', but I'm pretty sure that's just cause he's a homosexual. Anyway, we're gettin' off track here when we can ill afford to waste time, cause Ghoulies is without a doubt the greatest movie ever made to feature Detective Olivia Benson from Law and Order: SVU gettin' her tatas gnawed off by slimy glopola monsters an has a lot to offer in the psychological stimulation department, cause Ghoulies may be the best "how to" guide ever put to film on the subject of coexisting with roommates while practicing devil worship.
First, when someone cooks a meal for you, just go inside an eat. The ominous tombstone in the front yard isn't goin' anywhere, it'll be there when you're done. You remember what Mom always used to say when you wanted to skip dinner? Whatever you wanna go do will always be there when you're done. Well, that never stops bein' true. An whatever you do, don't ask for it to go. There's a good chance you'll be wearin' it after doing so an hot soup doesn't play well with your tender areas. Second, if you're gonna start commandin' the elements an makin' it rain inside, make sure you're alone. It really weirds out the normals an can seriously damage the furniture, so cover the important stuff with plastic and for fuck's sake have a carpet shampooer handy. An third, if you're gonna cast spells on your girlfriend while makin' the sign of the triple pouched wallaby, make sure to hide the Satanic geometry you've drawn with sidewalk chalk under the bed, cause she will NOT be happy when she finds it. I realize that by now I've probably already saved a few lives with those three kernels of wisdom, but I've got one more. Ever notice in the creepy old house movies like this one that the caretaker's always a cranky old weirdo that looks like John McCain after he got buried alive an had to chew his way outta the grave? I know that the economists've been tellin' all you weird creepolas that you're pretty much unemployable an that in this economy you're not even worth counting among the unemployed cause you're too danged ugly, but those guys're on the government payroll so they have no reason to do any serious research cause they know if they ever get fired their golden parachute's gonna be more than they can spend in a lifetime anyway.
A caretaker job might be right up your alley, an even though I should let these prestigious jobs go to the most qualified applicant, I'm gonna share some tips that'll land you a job quicker'n an illegal immigrant that can speak English. Unless you're up against that same illegal immigrant, in which case I make no promises. First thing you'll wanna do is just keep your mouth shut, or if you can, speak with a stutter or simply a series of grunts. Employers like that, makes 'em realize you're never gettin' another job so they can abuse you relentlessly. Second, never bathe. You'll also wanna avoid all other forms of hygiene as well, and grow as much facial hair as you can. Men have an advantage here but for any woman that can swing it, your rewards will be even greater than a man's. Third, shoot everyone discomforting looks. If they're women, skeev on 'em. If they're men, pierce them with an icy stare. If they're musclebound men, blow 'em kisses. And fourth, do the creep. Peek in at people every chance you get, especially if they're doin' something embarrassin'. If you're caught, see the discomforting looks section for how to react. And with that, you're now ready for success in the caretaking industry. Now, there are some people who're gonna laugh at you for your career choice, but if this happens, just ask them how their five figure student loan debt's workin' out for 'em. Shuts 'em right up. Do try to be courteous though, so make sure that when you do so, they're on their 10 minute break, and not actually working. The Wendy's drive thru is hardly the place for this sort of discussion.
The movie begins at a Klan rally where some big shot in fancy robes wearin' Pan's hat (Malcolm) starts speakin' in tongues as he's about to sacrifice a baby (his son) to appease David Duke. Only when he tries to stab the baby its protective amulet fires a hot shot up Malcolm's arm an makes the whole room smell like barbeque'd satyr an he has to order the baby out of his sight so it can't see 'im cry. It's kinda like Harry Potter when you think about it. But Malcom's real mad now an he puts the force choke on his baby mama til he makes her sprout a third tit that explodes like an infected zit all over the room. The Klan's gonna have a nasty dry cleaning bill this month, I'll tell ya that much. Fortunately, the guy that carried the baby to safety gave 'im to some nice Christian family so he could grow up an inherit Chateau Flamin' Cross. Twenty some years later, after Malcom finally dies off after spittin' out the wrong magical words an inadvertently offendin' Satan's mama, the child (Jonathan) and his girlfriend (Rebecca) return to the house to clean it up an sell it to Vincent Price. So as they walk the grounds and admire the scenery, the creepy old groundskeeper creeps up on 'em an scares the bejezus outta Rebecca an says nothing as Jonathan tries to introduce them. Rebecca, Eraserhead. Eraserhead, Rebecca. Jonathan explains how Erasherhead's kinda been in a lousy mood ever since his Jersey Devil baby died on 'em, so they go in the house an start cleanin' up. But while Jonathan's cleanin' he finds a weird lookin' sundial painted on the floor an a chest that looks like there might be pirate booty inside, but no such luck. Just some dirty old vestments an the book of shadows. But Jonathan takes to the book pretty quickly an does his best to ignore Rebecca while she begs for some social interaction. Moments after demanding a party, she's got one. Among the guests we've got Norman Bates (Mark), Chunkhead (Dick), Mariska Hargitay (Donna), The Sandman (Mike), E-Z Access (Robin) an Eddie as the indistinct one. So while everyone's tryin' to establish their character types in as little time as possible, Mike's gotten higher'n George Wendt's cholesterol an started break dancin' on the floor like Shabba-Doo Quinones til he accidentally piledrives himself an has make an early curtain call. Then everybody sits around tryin' to figure out how to pass the time an Jonathan tells 'em to go downstairs so he can try to summon the ghost of Sam Kinison to keep everybody entertained. So once they get down there Jon scribbles some Pagan arithmetic on the floor an makes everybody stand inside a circle an starts askin' Satan for a favor. Only problem is his party guests won't quit actin' like party guests an no matter what Jon tries nobody takes his serious face serious so after he thinks the spell's fizzled everybody goes back upstairs
Only once everybody's gone, the fog machine kicks on an somethin' that looks like the spawn of a rat that raped a chihuahua appears an looks around the room lookin' for cheese and/or Taco Bell. Then everybody notices that Robin wandered off after Jon told her to shut her whore mouth if she wasn't gonna do somethin' useful with it an they spread out to find her. Ironic. Usually it's Robin that does the spreadin' out. Anyway, the stoners (Mike an Eddie) go upstairs an look for Robin in a closet, only a Dracula RealDoll falls out an scares the bejezus out of 'em. To be fair, that thing'd scare the bejezus outta anybody, must belong to some teenage Twilight fan. But anyway, it seems pretty funny til they realize the thing was sittin' in the chair when they walked into the room an suddenly they remember they've gotta be anywhere but there. Eventually Jon an Dick find her out by the tombstones an Dick takes her back to the house to show her a stiff that she won't even have to dig up to gain access to. The next day, Jon tells Rebecca he's gonna drop outta school an clean up the house. Which is just as well cause his college degree won't matter in 10 years an this way he'll have a decade of janitorial experience over the college graduates competin' for the sanitation jobs. Rebecca is disappoint, but since they're not married yet she can't hammer 'im into the ground like a misery sledge just yet an heads out to attend her own classes. While she's gone, Jon cleans faster'n a Guatamalan immigrant bein' threatened with deportation so he'll have time to head down into the basement an set up a real base of operations for his Pagan workshop. Later that day, Rebecca comes home an loves what Jon's done with the place. It's so much nicer now that all the dead silverfish have been swept into neat and manageable piles, an what's more, he's got a second surprise. A fancy-pants necklace with evil symbolism that she should in no way be worried about. This man's a keeper. That evening, Jon's bein' inexplicably drawn to the tombstones out front. He's not quite sure why, but somethin' out here really wants 'em to stand around in the cold shakin' harder'n a flabby ass that got slapped by Bob Filner while snot-cicles form under his nose. That doesn't concern Rebecca much, but when he says he can't come to dinner cause he's fasting for Ramadan, he can go fuck 'imself. Then he goes over to the fountain with his cardboard trident an he starts usin' Evilspeak again an his eyes turn the color of Hi-C Ecto Cooler til some little Chernobyl babies pop outta the water an he tells 'em in no uncertain terms that he's the boss an that it's cool if they hang out around the house but to make sure nobody sees 'em. He's firm but fair. He knows he's gotta lay down the law right from the get go, otherwise this movie'll turn into a Tony Danza sitcom where you never know who's in charge.
The next day, Jon heads back into the basement an starts conjurin' again but pretty quick it starts pourin' down rain an the whole place is soaked cause he accidentally left the top up on his basement. Then Rebecca walks in an... okay so this is gonna be a little hard to explain. I tell ya, summon one rainstorm in your basement an your woman gets all bent outta shape. Never marry a Shaman, that's what women tell each other at the hair salon. But anyway, Jon tells her he just wants to understand his parents an defyin' the laws of meteorology are the only way he knows how, but since she's gonna be such a buzzkill about, he promises to behave 'imself from now on. So later that night when they get into bed, Jon starts puttin' the moves on her an initiatin' the customary apology sex, only before too long he starts speakin' Moldavian again an realizes too late that he didn't get enough blood outta her brain for this to work when she slams the garage door shut if you follow me. Then she looks under the bed an finds the wheel of the Zodiac an shoots 'im this look like she just found out that he's never liked her meat loaf an storms out. Well, you can't win 'em all. So Jon goes back to the alter an summons a couple dwarves (Grizzel an Greedigut) cause he needs somebody to forge more of those pretty Pagan necklaces. Jon's gettin' pretty pleased with 'imself by now, so he really puts 'em through the wringer an asks questions like whether they'll "forsake all others" to serve him an they get this look on their faces like they're not sure if they're all talkin' about the same kinda service. But they promise to be the best minions he's ever had an tell 'im they can help 'im get the knowledge an power he wants, despite the fact that if he'd just gone to business school he could have gotten both of those things without 'em. He also wants his Becky back. Becky back, Becky back. No prob, they say. So when Becky does finally come back to "talk", by which she means force Jon into givin' up his posh digs and fancy powers, he gives her the cold shoulder. He's also gotta wear sunglasses at night now so he can hide his neon green eyes, an even once he shows 'em to her she still wants to masquerade with the guy in the shades. At least she does once Grizzel uses the Vulcan mind meld to convince her that Jon is the void she's lookin' for an within seconds the Grizz turns her into a Stepford wife. So now that Jon's got everything under control, he calls all his obnoxious friends back over so he can do his big time voodoo ritual an be more powerful than God an Big Oil put together. So while the little slimer monsters swim around in the cuisine, Jon proposes a toast in Evilspeak an teleports everyone into the basement, complete with Klansmen garb.
Quick sidebar here, did you notice, as I have, that the Satanist wants power, and goes through all these big trials an seances an Satan keggers an what have you, to get the power? They wear funny robes an carry dominion over others an what not, an who does that remind you of? Faith healers maybe? Satanists strive for the power, the faith healers have "the powah." Is that what happens when the Satanists ascend? I think the obvious answer here, is yes. Really obvious, actually, sorry to waste your time with that. So anyway, Jon goes into his big Satan pitch an everybody starts howlin' like Marmaduke when dinner's late til Malcolm pops outta the grave outside cause they've literally made so much noise that they woke the dead. Then Jon twitches his nose an puts everybody back where they were before the seance started like after the aliens abduct you an tells 'em he's goin' to bed an they can have the house. So while Malcolm wanders around the grounds givin' the little slimers chin scratches an belly rubs, Dick an Robin show the mattress a good time. Elsewhere, Mark scares the bejezus outta Mariska, cause he's *that* guy an eventually fondles her til her bracelet falls in the fountain an Mark has to fish around in there til he pulls up somethin' that looks like it came outta Charlie Sheen's lungs. As if that wasn't bad enough, that's the moment the glopola monsters choose to mount an offense after mountin' both their faces an eatin' the good parts. Back inside, Dick needs water, which is sad considering no more than 4 minutes have elapsed since we last left him. Then again, he's one of those meatheads that can't do anything without a spotter. But anyway, he goes downstairs an finds a hot blonde an goes for her groceries, only once he gets to the produce section she wraps two an a half miles of tongue around his neck an chokes 'im out. While that's goin' on, Mike (who, with Eddie, has been propped up against a wall for the last hour gigglin' due to all the smoke inhalation) gets up to find some matches, but while he's lookin' he thinks he sees a midget with a hubcap on its head run down the hallway. Mike thinks that's kinda strange, since the midget in his hallucinations usually wears a pasta strainer, so he peeks out into the hallway an immediately gets clubbed like a seal in Nova Scotia an Grizzel an Greedigut drag 'em outside where they beat the tar outta one of the fillet knives with furry faces an scoop it up in a blanket. Shortly thereafter, Eddie realizes it's just not as fun gigglin' like an idiot when you're alone so he goes lookin' for Mike, but when he finds 'im he thinks he's hoggin' the doob an spins 'im around. Unfortunately, Eddie's been taken in by the short guys on shoulders routine (known in rural areas as the Little Rascal), at which point Grizzel velcro-kitty's the rabid rodent (who by now's pretty disgruntled) onto his face. This's gettin' way too long. So eventually the RealDracDoll from earlier comes alive an mutates into a giant zucchini beast straight outta Troll an eats Robin an Malcolm calls his troops down into the basement to square off with sonny boy.
As you might have guessed, due to the fact that this one's had quite a bit more exposure, its IMDB rating is in the toilet. Don't let that fool you. As a matter of fact, don't believe anything the IMDB tells you unless it's below a 3. At that point it probably really is bad. This is another fun one from Charles Band and Empire Pictures, and like most of Band's stuff from that era (I said most), it's got more charm in the first five minutes than anything made in the last 15 years contains in its entire run time. Interestingly, the movie was originally pitched to Fox (albeit with a different storyline) and was greenlit with a $12,000,000 budget. I'd be very interested to see what Band would do with that much money since he's generally only got about 10% of that for any given picture. Of course, it didn't take too long before the Fox executives got their heads screwed on right, or sobered up, an shit canned that idea. But it would have been really interesting to see how it turned out with a ridiculous budget like that. Granted, it could have used a bigger budget than it had, but anything more than about 2 million just seems insane. When the 12 million was in play, the plan was to have Stan Winston do the creature effects, which would have helped the overall quality of the special effects a great deal, but then again, I think John Buechler could have made some really great creatures with that money as well. Also amusing: apparently, Band got a fair chunk of hate mail from irate mothers after the trailers for the movie started running on TV because of the scene where the Ghoulie pops outta the toilet. It seems their kids didn't wanna go to the bathroom afterwards, lest the slimy beasts glom onto their butt cheeks. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if part of that anger was caused by the fact that said mothers were probably afraid of that happening to them as well. I'd imagine that realizing you're being irrational and not being able to do anything to stop it must be really infuriating. So anyway, I realize everyone's leavin' skid marks all over this one, but there's really no reason for that. It's a bit cheesy, and I acknowledge that, but a 3.3 is really, REALLY blown out of proportion. Interestingly, the type of person that's going to ridicule something like Ghoulies is going to do so because of the creature effects, which I acknowledge are a little inept at times. But check that same person's rating for a movie like Labyrinth, which frankly, has some bad special effects at times as well, and you'll find they've probably tacked an 8 or better on that one. My point is not that Ghoulies is better than Labyrinth, it isn't. But they'll tell you the special effects are the root cause, only it doesn't seem to bother them so much from movies where they have more affection for the subject matter. It's purely psychological. A movie with this kind of premise doesn't SEEM like it should be able to be enjoyable, therefore it must not be. And they grab the low hanging fruit to "prove" their point. But I'm not bitter.
Alrighty, lets lift the lid an see what bites us. I'd recommend a cup for the men and a chain mail bra for the women. The plot is interesting enough. It's nothing new, or anywhere near it, but it's done with style and decent writing that, if nothing else, doesn't leave gaping plot holes. So the plot's alright, nothing special. The acting, honestly, is pretty decent. Particularly when you consider just how much any of these people (save Mariska Hargitay) worked after the movie was released. Nobody really went anywhere, and when you see that on its own, you'd expect the acting to be sub par, but that's not the case. It's not a grand exhibition of cinematic greatness, but it gets the job done, and the characters are reasonably well defined according to their importance in the movie. By which I mean, the writers wrote the parts to be distinct enough that we're not left with a lot of questions about anyone. The main characters get enough screen time that we care about them, and the body count fodder are given labels so we can tell them apart. That's all I ask. You've got the weirdo, the nice girl, the slut, the jock, and the two stoners. Cut an dry, clear as crystal, it works. Here's who matters and why: Peter Liapis (Ghoulies IV, The Stepdaughter, Wishmaster), Michael Des Barres (Waxwork II, "I, Monster"), Jack Nance (Voodoo, The Blob 1988, Dune, Eraserhead), Peter Risch (The Lord of the Rings 1978), Tamara De Treaux (Rockula, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark), Scott Thompson (Vamps, Night of the Living Dead 3-D Re-Animation, Frightmare, Parasite), Ralph Seymour (Killer Party, Just Before Dawn), Mariska Hargitay (Lake Placid), Victoria Catlin (Mutant on the Bounty, Howling V, Maniac Cop), Bobbie Bresee (Evil Spawn, Surf Nazis Must Die, Mausoleum). Tamara was in the suit for E.T. too, for you pretentious types. Put that in your DVD player an smoke it. So the acting's not bad. The special effects are hit and miss. Sometimes the creatures look pretty good, sometimes they're just okay, sometimes it's really obvious that there's a hand inside. But for anyone that suggests these creatures are terrible, I pity them for their lack of perspective. They're not perfect, and the movie would score a lot higher if they were better, but they're not a deal breaker, not by a long shot. Shooting location? Another old dark house. Another GOOD, old dark house. Particularly the external shots, this place reeks of atmosphere, and dryrot. Very well scouted, and equally important, very nice cinematography. You can have the greatest shooting locations in the world, but if your cinematographer is pants on head retarded, it won't do any good. The soundtrack is a fun one, it fits the tone of the movie perfectly, never taking itself too seriously, but never falling into the category of comedic. But you probably knew that without even watching it, it's a 1980s Empire Pictures film, that means Richard Band. That means: enjoyable. Overall, Ghoulies is an extremely fun movie, but ultimately, just average due to a few shortcomings. Check it out if you think you can manage not comparing it to Gremlins.