Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bathroom.
Year of Release: 1988
Running Time: 89 minutes (1:29)
Director: Albert Band
Damon Martin ... Larry
Royal Dano ... Uncle Ned
Phil Fondacaro ... Sir Nigel Penneyweight
J. Downing ... P. Hardin
Kerry Remsen ... Nicole
Dale Wyatt ... Dixie
Jon Pennell ... Bobby
Sasha Jenson ... Teddy
Starr Andreeff ... Alice
William Butler ... Merle
Hal Rayle ... Ghoulies (voice) (uncredited)
The Ghoulies are back and more devilish than ever, as they turn an unsuspecting carnival into a House of Pandemonium in this wildly outrageous sequel to the original smash hit "Ghoulies"!
"Satan's Den" has received its final warning. Either the not-so-creepy House of Horrors spooks-up its act and scares-up some customers fast, or its gateway to hell will be closed - for eternity. Just when Larry Prentice believes there's not a ghost of a chance to save his show, he gets some uninvited visitors to spice things up. The Ghoulies make "Satan's Den" their home, and profits soar as the demonic little creatures wreak havoc on the helpless fairgrounds. So take a ride on the Ghoulie-Go-Round and play some Bumper Ghoulies - enjoy yourself -'cause the Ghoulies will get you in the end!
Ghoulies II, remindin' us that the whole "thou shalt not steal" thing really only applies if you ain't wearin' one of those clerical collars at the time of said thievery. Cripes, where the heck was the Amber Alert when the little glopola monsters got pilfered by this pious putz? We've got some double standards in this country that really need to be addressed like right now, this's downright pitiful. It's not like these things're easy to summon. Granted, the guy ends up learnin' exactly why the war ain't over just cause you've surrounded the ground troops when he gets air raided by this slimy terrordactyl monster an knocked into a barrel fulla Chakna that melts all his flesh off worse'n James Hetfield when the pyrotechnics operator screws up, but it still sends a bad message to the kids. Once you get past that little downer though, what we've got here is a classic Empire Pictures tiny terrors feature. When it comes right down to it, Band movies probably have more learnin' opportunities than any other line of movies I can name 'cept for Roger Corman's, so after an extensive narrowing process I've whittled the list down to the three most pragmatic lessons this one's got to offer so as to keep everybody functionin', cause lets face it; for most of us, the day we stop learnin' is the day we prolly died doin' somethin' we wouldn't have if we'd only watched enough B movies to know better. So first thing, nothin' rallies your troops to the banner of team spirit quite like tellin' everybody they're gonna be shit canned if they don't start doin' as well as the top performer. It can be a little anxiety inducin' in the context of this particular movie, where you realize just how many people there are out there waitin' to take up the carny lifestyle an replace you the moment you end up havin' a little cotton candy snafu involvin' spider eggs, but it's still pretty effective. Like you're just supposed to know not to use the same duster to clean the Ferris wheel gear box an the cotton candy machine or somethin'. Second, ninja stars are not effective weaponry against carnival dwelling demons. I can't believe I even need to explain why this is, but I guess the kid in the movie's prolly a little young to understand that the carnival is the birthplace of that famous "bullet catch" trick where the magician's assistant with the rhinestone outfit an the huge casabas fires a gun directly into his face to see if he can chomp down on it before it passes through his mouth an severs his spinal column at the brain stem. Not only can the nasty little beasties catch the ninja stars in their mouths, but they can also chew it up an swallow it like a Milk Dud. That one's a classic too. An third, if you go through life bein' a complete asshole to everybody, don't expect any sympathy if the potty monster chews off your spaghetti an meatballs when you sit down to make a poop. That's just nature's way of puttin' an end to a defective gene pool.
But what I wanna address about this movie in greater detail is how to deal with demonic vomit. I'm sure that if nothin' else, you've all seen The Exorcist, an I don't mean to get off tangent here cause Ghoulies II is just as fine a movie as The Exorcist in its own way, but this is important. You remember that scene where Linda Blair paints the town an Jason Miller's vestments green? Course you do, it's a classic. Remember what happened after that? Maybe not. It's less interestin' but just as educational. What happened was, Ellen Burstyn gets those priestly pants in the washin' machine on the double, cause once that pea soup stain sinks in not even Alice from The Brady Bunch can do anything with it. Now sure, Jason was a little bit uncomfortable standin' around in his zebra print thong while his threads were gettin' the ole Calgon Baptismal, but in the long run, he was by god grateful. Mostly cause the church don't pay much an they make you furnish your own sacred shirts. But anyway, that was a textbook save on Ellen's part, an that's exactly how you've gotta handle that kinda situation, every time. One lax reaction an those clothes're gonna reek like the dumpster behind a Del Monte plant for the rest of your natural life. But even more important than the impact of Satanic spit-up on clothing is what happens when it actually comes into contact with your skin. They didn't really show these particular horrors in The Exorcist cause Max Von Sydow was a seasoned demon antagonist by that point in his career an he'd been spit on more than our troops after returnin' from Vietnam so he just wiped off Lucifer's loogie an went right on with his business. Ghoulies II, on the other hand, shows exactly why it's critical to get the Beelzebub borscht offa you immediately after splat-down cause if you don't get that gunk hosed off it ends up Bondoin' you to anything you might be touchin' at the time. Which in this movie, results in this guy gettin' his face Elmers glued to his bimbo girlfriend while they're playin' tonsil hockey, an even though this is only about the 4th most embarrasin' way you can get stuck to your girlfriend, that's not much consolation when everybody in the E.R.'s pointin' an laughin' at you like Joaquin Phoenix after his poorly positioned rappin' led to 'im rappin' his face on the concrete floor behind the stage. All that said, I applaud the efforts of Charlie Band an company for showin' the negative effects of this sorta thing, rather than takin' the wimp way out just to keep people from feelin' uncomfortable when they see it. If there's any justice in this world, one day you'll all be as famous as those guys who made the VD movies for the Army.
The movie begins with this teenager (Larry) an his uncle (Ned) who looks like a Morlock that woke up in a Waste Management receptacle after a three day drunk, drivin' a truck haulin' their carnival attraction down the highway til the needle on their temperature gauge goes clear past H an starts headin' towards "Hiroshima Sun Tan" an they have to start lookin' for an auto repair shop. Not too far away, this priest who's carryin' a bag that's makin' noises like whatever's inside ate an entire pepperoni pizza by itself an really needs a bathroom stop sneaks into this mechanic's garage while bein' pursued by these guys in red pajamas. Must be the Indian version of the KKK or somethin'. But anyway, he ditches those guys an notices this oil drum that's got an "extremely toxic" label on it (it's a little hard to read, but I've seen it before on a crock pot that the day care provider had when I was a kid) an after consultin' with the man upstairs, dumps whatever's inside the bag into the drum til the garage looks an smells like one of those hippy stores that sell a lotta Grateful Dead merchandise. Unfortunately, about that time the son of Rodan comes flyin' through the window an knocks the priest into the barrel til he melts down worse'n a Japanese nuclear reactor, an about that time Larry an uncle Ned roll in an discover to their horror that mechanics typically don't operate past about 2 in the AM. So while they're lookin' around for the grease monkey, the little glopola monsters from the first movie (I'm callin' 'em: Tor, Smiley, Rodan, Nugent, an Bigglesworth) emerge from the drum, havin' had the foresight to put on their haz-mat suits before bein' dunked in the chemicals, an once they crawl out they spot the truck parked out front painted up like an Insane Clown Posse album cover an decide to hop on board cause it reminds 'em of home. After a while, Larry gives up lookin' for anybody with coveralls an a little patch with a name sewn on it an fills up a few water jugs so they can hit the road again. The next day, this empty suit (Hardin) in a tin can hippy wimpmobile shows up at the carnival grounds an tells Phil Fondacaro he wants everybody rounded up for a meetin' so he can quiz everybody on the carny code an the moment he's outta sight Phil gives 'im the carny salute. Once Phil gets everybody together the junior vice president of havin' a job cause his daddy owns the place tells everybody that if they don't start pullin' their weight he's gonna start replacin' 'em with donkey shows an backyard wrestling an proceeds to walk smugly outta there before all the carnies start diggin' their pockets for their yuppy dismemberin' equipment.
So then Larry, Ned, an Phil start settlin' up Satan's Den (their spook house) an Ned starts whinin' about their props bein' lame an outdated an by that time Phil's gripin' about havin' to wear a furry suit that makes his balls sweat like a Norwegian in Death Valley for the privilege of bein' laughed at by a buncha punk kids that're only there to try an get to second base with their second cousins. Then Larry cracks their skulls together an tells the two chowder-heads to get with the program an suggests that Ned start up his old magic routine to help bring in some extra bucks. After processin' this information an about half a 40, Ned gets this look on his face like he's somehow simultaneously way too drunk, and yet not nearly drunk enough for this, an stumbles off to go find one of those spinnin' tea cups to puke in. Elsewhere, this airheaded frat house toy that works at the titty shakin' booth ends up losin' 'er cat an heads inside Satan's Den to look for it. She's the kinda girl that invites every guy on the block over to "study" to increase 'er odds of landin' the starrin' role on Teen Mom, if you see what I'm gettin' at. Only once she gets inside, Bigglesworth gets a little overzealous tryin' to shave 'er sasquatchian forearm fur off with a straight razor an when she trips an lands on 'er moneymaker the others hold 'er down while the barbaric barber takes a little off the top. Then Ned goes inside an relieves the torture chamber of any non-alcoholic oxygen an starts sarcastically tryin' to summon a rabbit out of his hat with his little black magic book an becomes a bit alarmed when he pulls out a glopola monster that looks like Tor Johnson an ends up chuckin' it across the room cause he thinks his bunny's got the swamp mange. So he stumbles off an finds Phil an drags 'im back to the torture chamber, only by now all the little crud creatures've taken off to raid Ned's liquor cabinet an so he starts blubberin' like Nancy Kerrigan when she got knee capped by that baton an then Larry comes in an gets P.O.'d at Ned for bein' a shiftless souse an puts 'im to bed. So now Larry has to be the barker, an he lets these two kids go inside so they can criticize all the props for bein' old an busted til they spot Nugent an start crowdin' 'im til their bowl cuts make 'im so sick he has to puke all over 'em an they end up takin' off to find their friends so they can bring 'em in to get puked on too. Then Larry lets these Winger fans in they start partyin' in the torture chamber til Rodan reports 'em for noise pollution an proceeds to gnaw on the head deadhead til he an his girlfriend have to go lookin' for the Satan's Denmother to get a bandie.
The other two punks decide to stick around, only they end up gettin' fused together like ugly an Jan Brewer when the little hairy Linda Blairy projectile vomits on 'em while they're tryin' to suck the funnel cake remnants offa eachother's tonsils an they end up havin' to walk like Siamese twins to get outta there. Then the punks' toadie (Merle) who pays for everything so he can pretend to be part of the group wanders around lookin' for 'em til the little heathens get ahold of 'im an tie 'im to the rack an play Shit an the Pendulum til he's short enough to fit into Phil's wardrobe. Later on after closin' time, Larry spots his favorite titty shaker (Nicole) comin' outta Phil's trailer with Hardin an gets this look on his face like he's thinkin' they prolly broke Phil's tiny headboard with all their career advancement negotiations an just when it looks like Larry's about to go ape shit on the million dollar baby the cops show up with the guy that was on the receivin' end of the fly by chewin' earlier. He's P.O.'d, an he ain't gonna take this kinda treatment offa some punk carny that looks like Joey Lawrence, so they all head into the house that Jack Daniels built to do a glopola monster lineup an see if the chunkhead can identify his assailant. Meanwhile, Ned's awoken from his sour nap an gone inside to convince 'imself that the demons're real an that there's no reason for 'im to cut back on the Tequila Shooters, only when he finds 'em Nugent gives 'im Rat Scratch Fever while he's tryin' to find a banish spell in his Demons for Dummies manual an then Smiley starts playin' tug-of-war with it like a disobedient puppy eatin' the Sunday paper. Then he gets cocky when Bigglesworth tries switchbladin' 'im an only succeeds in stabbin' through what's now the marked deck of cards in his pocket an by now Nugent's had about enough of this old man's crap an chews through a power cable an connects it to Ned's rear outlet til he lights up like that ball they drop in Central Park on New Years Eve. A few minutes later, the varmint vigilantes show up an find Ned lookin' like a strip of overcooked bacon an Hardin explains in a completely nondouchey way what a drunk Ned was an that there's no reason whatsoever to call OSHA about all this while Larry sits there with sad face. The next mornin', Phil tries bringin' Larry some consolation coffee, only Larry's got a case of third degree butthurt an starts yellin' at 'im for tryin' to put Preparation H on it.
So Phil goes into the Den an starts tightenin' up loose bolts an tryin' to air the smell of deep fried baby boomer outta the place when he's confronted with a pack of mutant muppets that've all got debilitatin' hangovers from ingestin' some of Ned's blood an about that time Phil remembers he's got some place to be an hauls butt outta there before they can get ahold of some coffee an get their heads on straight. Elsewhere, Nicole comes by to talk to Larry an offer 'er condolences an Larry gets this look on his face like he wants to know why he's bein' offered so much less than she offered Hardin last night. But she explains that Hardin' just wanted 'er to risk 'er life doin' 'er old high wire act an that it wasn't anything self servin' like sex. Then she tells Larry about how 'er tight rope act kinda lost its appeal when she realized how high up it was while she was watchin' 'er brother plummet to the ground like spit off an overpass an it makes Larry feel better to know that Ned wasn't the only one that lived an died by the glamorous carny life style. Later that evening, Larry tries goin' into the Den to make sure alla Ned's cremated remains got swept into a neat and manageable pile before the show, only by now Hardin's gone all Ebenezer Scrooge an foreclosed the mortgage on 'im an so he has to chest bump the security guard outta the way just to get in an once he does he finds Phil hidin' his midget junk in a trunk. Once he's able to get Phil to quit shakin' like a terrified chihuahua in sub-zero temperatures, Phil tells 'im there's a packa P.O.'d puppets after 'im an before Larry can even start lookin' at 'im like he's caught the crazy from Ned he gets jumped by Nugent an Bigglesworth who try breastfeedin' on his man boobs. Then Phil takes off like he just remembered he had a date with Twidget an tries to get help outside, only nobody listens to 'im cause carnival partrons're generally pretty distrustful of people that can use proper English. Back inside, Larry ends up havin' to grab ahold of an exposed electrical wire to get the little creeps off of 'im an once he makes it outside he starts rallyin' the carnies for an all out war against Satan's squatters. Once he's assembled the C-Team, they bowl Hardin' over like one of those southern Baptists that stand in traffic for church donations after they get a little too pushy an start battlin' the hairy horrors. Only then Hardin shows up with a scatter-gun an when Larry tries pryin' it outta his drinkin' straw like arms he ends up blowin' a hole the size of the national debt in the wall an the little crunch 'n munchers head out into the fairgrounds to grab some nachos an Jolt cola. Well, this isn't gonna help their insurance premiums at all; cuttin' here.
This one's far and away the best in the Ghoulies series, and a textbook example of how great Empire/Full Moon pictures used to be before Charlie Band lost his mind and/or talent. Absolutely reeks of the 80s, love that smell. Smells like hair gel and Arctic Circle cheeseburgers. This one's almost perfect on the horror/comedy balance, which is absolutely mandatory if you don't want your movie to suck harder than Tim Taylor's souped up Oreck vacuum cleaner. I say "almost" perfect mainly due to the scene where two of the Ghoulies high-five each other, which was a little over the line, but other than that it's got fantastic balance. Modern horror movies don't even try to walk the line, or maybe they do and they're just completely terrible at it. The comedy in newer horror movies (this is obviously discounting movies that don't go down the comedy path at all) is pretty much always too far, and not even entertainingly so the way it is in a Troma movie. I don't really even like Troma movies all that much, but it's certainly not because they've accidentally gone too far with the humor. That's full throttle intentional, which is completely different. But back on the topic of Empire, they really had a good business model by havin' their studio located in Italy, as your movie's budget will go a lot farther there. At least at the time, not really sure if that's still the case, an so they shot a whole lot of their movies over there, which allowed most of their budget to actually make it onto the screen. I'm not sure what the budget on this one actually was, but it certainly looks like a whole lot more than the first movie. The setting alone suggests as much, and beyond that, the creature effects were a whole lot better in this one. Once again, hats off to John Buechler, he's gotta be the most under rated special effects guy of all time. OF ALL TIME. Kanye West should've shown up at the Saturn Awards, jerked the microphone away from Stan Winston an promised to let 'im finish before declaring that Buechler's the greatest ever. His creatures are consistently better than a movie's budget suggests they should be, even when they're not perfect. Unfortunately, as you've probably guessed if you've been paying attention for the last year and a half, because this one had some pretty significant TV exposure on USA Up All Night and TNT's Monstervision, its IMDB rating is unjustifiably in the toilet, again. Never mind that 3.9 nonsense though, by now, you know who's responsible for that.
Alrighty, lets electrocute this thing an see where the poop goes when its usual escape route is plugged. The plot is simple enough, apparently Empire figured that first movie just had way too much plot gettin' in the way of the story an decided to amputate some of it so it'd be easier for us to understand. Realistically, I like the storyline for this one a whole lot better than the first, even though it's almost non-existent. Ghoulies stow away in a truck, camp out in a carnival attraction, and kill all the mouth breathers that go inside. Neat and tidy, very good. The acting is generally speaking, pretty good, although Kerry Remsen is another graduate of The Kristen Stewart School for Emotionally Drained Actresses. Other than her, though, we've got a few genre actors in Phil Fondacaro, Starr Andreeff, William Butler, and Royal Dano who's really not so much a genre actor as just a great character actor in general. Phil's one of my favorites, and Butler's got some really choice dialog in the movie including: "Duuuude... your tunes!" and "I'll kick your ass, fuzzball!", so I'm very much on board with the casting director for this one.
The who matters and why list is pretty ridiculous, so unless you're genuinely curious, you may wanna fire up the scroll wheel on your mouse: Damon Martin: (Amityville 1992), Royal Dano (The Dark Half, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, House II, Messiah of Evil, Moon of the Wolf), Phil Fondacaro (Devil Dolls, Immortally Yours, Evil Bong, Decadent Evil, Land of the Dead, Blood Dolls, The Creeps, The Nature of the Beast, Dollman vs. Demonic Toys, Night Angel, Monster High, Phantasm II, Willow, Invaders from Mars 1986, Troll, Hard Rock Zombies, Ragewar, Return of the Jedi), J. Downing (Robot Wars), Kerry Remsen (Pumpkinhead, After Midnight, Nightmare on Elm Street II, Appointment with Fear), Dale Wyatt (Spellcaster, From Beyond, Troll), Sasha Jenson (The Nature of the Beast, The Unnameable II, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Halloween 4), Starr Andreeff (Club Vampire, Vampire Journals, Amityville: Dollhouse, Scanner Cop, Syngenor, Dance of the Damned, The Terror Within, Out of the Dark, Nightfall, Skullduggery), William Butler (Gingerdead Man 3, Terror Toons 3, Dead Country, Watchers III, Night of the Living Dead 1990, Buried Alive 1990, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Arena, Spellcaster, Friday the 13th Part VII, Terror Night), Donnie Jeffcoat (Night of the Demons), Christopher Burton (The Neverending Story II), Mickey Knox (Cemetery Man, Frankenstein Unbound, Vampire in Venice, StageFright: Acquarius, 1990: The Bronx Warriors), Romano Puppo (Robowar: Robot da guerra, Fracchia contro Dracula, 2019: After the Fall of New York, Escape from the Bronx, The Last Shark, The Great Alligator), Michael Deak (Halloween II 2009, Gingerdead Man 2, Grindhouse, Abominable, Le zombi de Cop-Rouge, Beastmaster: The Eye of Braxus, Return of the Living Dead III, Puppet Master III, Bad Channels, Guyver, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, Arena, Spellcaster, Cellar Dweller, Evil Spawn), Anthony Dawson (The Curse of the Werewolf, The Haunted Strangler), Donald Hodson (The Fishmen and their Queen, Frankenstein Unbound, Spellcaster, Transformations, The Blade Master, Alien 2: On Earth, Starcrash), Carrie Janisse (Vampire Centerfolds), Steve Pelot (Robot Jox, Leviathan), Larry Dolgin (The Pit and the Pendulum 1991, Robot Jox, Leviathan. He also did voice dubbing for Endgame: Bronx lotta finale, Yor, the Hunter from the Future, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, Cannibal Ferox, Nightmare City, Hell of the Living Dead, Contamination 1980, Zombie Holocaust, The Humanoid), Ettore Martini (Catacombs), Robert Spafford (Voice dubbing for: Killer Crocodile 2, Demonia, Alien from the Deep, Arena, Yor, the Hunter from the Future, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, The New York Ripper, Hell of the Living Dead, City of the Living Dead, The Gestapo's Last Orgy, SS Camp 5: Women's Hell), Hal Rayle (Predator 2, Star Worms II: Attack of the Pleasure Pods, The Ewok Adventure). Rayle was a pretty big cartoon voice actor from 1986 - 1998 as well, partaking in many series that're highly beloved by the oldest of the millennial generation. And Donnie Jeffcoat aughta be ashamed of himself for being involved with Wild and Crazy Kids.
The special effects are pretty good, and a huge improvement over the first movie. They kept the designs for a couple of the original Ghoulies but also added a few new ones, all of which look great. Very good puppeteering as well. In addition to the Ghoulies there's the great melted corpse of the pilfering priest that falls into the caustic chemical barrel, some straight razor ripping, switchblade stabbins, wino electrocution, varmint vomit, and terrordactyl tearing. The blood's got good consistency and while it may be slightly lacking a little on the overall gore-gonzola, it's still got a respectable volume. The shooting locations are great, I've always really liked the carnival setting for horror movies. There are others that utilize it as well, but up to this point in my watchings, this one is still my favorite. Maybe because it's an 80s movie, but then so was The Funhouse. The New Kids is as well, though that's technically an amusement park. The Satan's Den sets are great as well, and despite the complaining from the children in the movie, it's probably a better spook house than any I've ever seen at a carnival. But then, I suppose it's pretty easy to make one when you're Empire pictures and you've got an abundance of props left over from other features, but it's still pretty well designed. The soundtrack is vintage 80s, and pretty atmospheric for a movie with a lower budget. The opening track that plays over the credits is really good, and other than a few tracks designed specifically to play over suspenseful or violent sequences, a lot of it writes itself due to the fact that the movie takes place in a carnival. It has a good mix of original, creepy tracks, as well as standard carnival tracks. Some of the soundtrack had been used on a previous Empire Pictures movie called Ghost Town, but I must confess I've not yet watched that one. W.A.S.P.'s "Scream Until You Like It" that plays over the end credits is a fairly rockin' tune as well, by 80s standards, and makes it clear (if it wasn't already abundantly so) that the movie doesn't take itself too seriously. Overall, it's the best in the Ghoulies series, and one of the best in the tiny terrors sub-genre of monster movies, definitely check it out.