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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ghoulies (1984)



Time for me to start a new series here at the blog. I’m going to tackle some franchises and while other much smarter writers would have chosen something better I’ve decided to start with Ghoulies! There are only four movies in the series so far (fingers crossed) and they vary in quality from great to decent. Time to see where it all started!

Things kick off with some nasty cultists in the basement of an old house. Malcom, the guy in charge, calls forth a baby to be killed in order for him to obtain the “ultimate” power. He is stopped by a woman who puts a charm on the child to prevent his sacrifice. Years later we find out that the child, all grown up now, was Malcom’s son and the woman who saved him was his mother. The boy’s name is Jonathan and he has just inherited the house. Sure, enough bad things start happening when he moves in, the first being him summoning little demons from hell, the Ghoulies. The rest of the story is his dead father using Jonathan into bringing him back from the dead so that he can sacrifice him to finally get his “ultimate” power. Well that is going to make the holidays awkward!

I think that I liked this movie more the first time than I do watching it now. I’m not saying that it doesn’t hold up well because it is still a decent movie. But what I now notice now is that I don’t get enough Ghoulies in it! Much of the story focuses on Jonathan and his wacky friends as they party, have sex, smoke weed, and do all of the other things that soon to be victims in an ‘80s horror movie do. This includes a very young Mariska Hargitay portraying one of those whom meets a sad end. Well sort of a sad end, but more on that later. The plot moves along at a brisk pace and the holes are filled in with narration from an all-knowing groundskeeper in a not too annoying way. It is solid from start to finish. Speaking of the finish I hate it when a movie hits the “reset” button and all the dead characters suddenly spring back to life because the bad guy is defeated. I feel cheated!

Ghoulies RULE!!!!!
The special effects work is mixed. There are some visual effects work with lightning and I guess laser beams in the big sorcerer vs sorcerer showdown that don’t hold up well. Can only fight magic with magic you know. But I thought that the Ghoulies looked good on screen. I mean clearly they are just puppets, but effects guy John Carl Buechler designed some nifty look little rubber demons. For me they are the highlight and should be since the movie is named after them! So, is it really surprising that I was bummed by the lack of Ghoulies? Speaking of special effects, we don’t get to see much onscreen action other than a neat trick with a tongue and a creepy bit with a clown. Neither of which are Ghoulies damn it! 

Okay I’ll stop beating that dead horse. The movie is worth checking out, especially if you haven’t seen the others in the series. I like some of the later entries more, but this is where they all started so it deserves some love.



© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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