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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ghoulies II (1988)



The franchise review of Ghoulies continues with their further misadventures in Ghoulies II. The action doesn’t follow directly from the first movie, but it does keep the theme of the little rubber demons being summoned by cultists so there is that. Time to dive in and see how this first sequel turned out.

The action opens with a man carrying a bag full of squirming somethings. In hot pursuit are hooded cultists but before they can catch him the man dumps the bag into a vat of solvent to destroy the contents. Of course, the Ghoulies are in the bag and not only don’t they die but the man ends up in the vat instead. The little monsters hitch a ride on a carnival attraction that is stopped nearby and decide to make it their home. A spook house called Satan’s Den seems like the perfect place for them to stay. Before you know it the attraction is a hit because the patrons think that the Ghoulies are part of the act. But then they start killing people because you know Ghoulies have to do their thing. Eventually the carnival workers figure out what is happening and do battle with the hell spawn. Ever see a fire breather fight a puppet? Watch Ghoulies II and you will!

My biggest complaint with the first movie is that there weren’t enough Ghoulies in it. If you remember there is the plot with the son and his father the evil warlock/cultist. Here it is all about the Ghoulies and after a brief appearance we don’t even see the cultists! This allows more puppet mayhem to flourish on screen and that makes me happy. We get all sorts of fun and creative kills using the props of a carnival attraction. The wrack is used, another is shocked by the fake electric chair, and in a pinch the little bastards even use a straight razor on another victim. But the best kill of all has to do with a payoff that is a whole movie in coming. If you noticed the cover of the first movie has our little bald green pal climbing out of the toilet implying that something bad happens. Well that doesn’t happen in the original movie, but it sure as hell gets a proper payoff in this one! Yeah it is off-screen but damn the sound effects fill in some horrible blanks.

God I love the Ghoulies!
The human cast is decent. This is the last entry that Charles Band was involved in so I wasn’t too surprised to see the great Phil Fondacaro have a major role in the movie. A lot of directors and producers might use him as a gimmick, but he can act and Band always makes sure that he has something to do. The other familiar face is the legendary Royal Dano. Towards the end of his career he did some killer low budget genre movies and I count this among them. He is very good and makes every scene he is in much more fun to watch.

The effects work is good. You don’t get a ton of gore, but the kills we get are good for a low budget movie. The Ghoulies aren’t realistic, but we are watching a movie about puppets standing in for little demonic imps. How picky can you really be? That said I love them in all their goofy glory! I also have always enjoyed how each of the four have a unique personality and sort of do their own thing. Watching them high five each other as they create panic is a blast every time that I watch Ghoulies II. The big payoff is the “giant” Ghoulie that is summoned to drag the little ones back to hell.

I could go on. I love this movie so much. Yes, I know the creatures look goofy and much of the movie is played for laughs and not horror. But that is quintessentially ‘80s so who can complain? As much as I liked the first Ghoulies this sequel is much better. The formula is easy. More puppets equal more fun. I recommend it.



© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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