Jan 18, 2009


There's no rest for the wicked. Especially the naive. Young Jonathan inherits a decrepit Hollywood manor. Following traditional horror sub lines, said young adult dabbles in magic and the occult with the aid of a mystic book. This event leads to the inception of a malevolent spirit that begins to slice off digits from the population. We've seen it all before. Sometimes with more gore, with more comedy, but still, we've never seen it quite like this.

Ghoulies has Gremlins to thank for the 32 million dollar box office reception. Critters has Ghoulies to blame for the horrible critical reception. It's an awkward Hollywood train of monster deceit. An interesting note to add, the character of Donna was played by Mariska Hargitay. Her mother, Jayne Mansfield died in a car accident after a Satanic curse was cast on Sam Brody, her boyfriend at the time. The "culprit" of this incident, you might know as a man known as Anton Szandor LaVey - the leader of the Church of Satan.

With scent of the brief history behind the satanic roots of Ghoulies, it also manages to serve as a slightly entertaining and reactionary story of miniature creatures of hell with very accurate inscriptions of black magic led with many Latin translations. The real stars of Ghoulies are the "ghoulies" themselves. Without the tiny monster cast, it's sad to say that this film would be absolutely nowhere. Thanks to these creatures, many sequels were produced including one with a surname of "Ghoulies go to College".

With a generous ad campaign, Ghoulies soared to phenomenal cult success. The infamous image of a suspender adorned slimy monster propped inside of a toilet has been laser engraved into the back of most horror fans eyelids. This image brings to mind many fears and at times makes me look twice when using the bathroom. With the "toilet humor" intact, Ghoulies certainly makes going back into the water indeed a scary thing to do. Perhaps the most generous contribution Ghoulies returns is not the over-the-top stoner persona's but the heavy dosage of mysticism and occultism. Ghoulies also delivers in the department of PG-13 titillation.

Hints of a role perfect by Jack "Don't Call Me Eraserhead" Nance are periodically strewn about through the film of Ghoulies. His unexplored role as deus ex machina exists solely to attribute to a happy ending and a believable (and cameo induced) resolution to the story of Ghoulies. In a dazzling scene that makes Lord of the Rings look like a campfire tale, Nance grapples a decaying Rutger Hauer lookalike while wardrobed in a purple glittery garb. Gandalf himself would be rolling in his grave at the sight of this marvelous display of wizard virility. Please note that the last two sentences are examples of the occasional weakness of writing and the glories of sarcasm.

The "Ghoulies" in question are a rather mischievous bunch of demonic misfits. They all are displayed physically as a slimy, hairy lot of devils, many of which seem to fit the bill of microscopic relatives of select "wild things" from Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. Despite the fact that the Ghoulies appear lovable, the bunch quickly puts the smiles to an end and decides to face-attack every party goer to be pawns in a satanic ritual. You might eventually mix up several for one another due to a poor character design flaw. But yet, the biggest surprise is the uber-creepy life size clown doll that moves but mere inches and still manages to terrify me after 20 years.

Ghoulies is a rather amusing B-grade horror film that managed to pull through and make marvelous revenue at the box office. Call it the little horror film that could if you must. Either way, Ghoulies is recognizable for rental fodder sequels and the marvelous campaign of toilets conquered by slimy creatures with serrated teeth. Many venomous things can be said about Ghoulies but no one can deny the entertainment factor that is visible to all beings. Even a jaded cynic such as myself could find much to love about this film. Ghoulies lies dormant on most bargain bin shelves just waiting for recognition. Pick this film up and give it a chance but don't forget about the infinitely better Critters.


1 comment:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

this reveiw was almost as entertaining to read as the film itself was to watch, superb. The thing i remember about the film more than anything else was the actress lisa pelikan, she wasn`t particularly pretty but there was just something about her that made me want to bugger her.