October 6, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Ghoulies

October marches on and so does my horror watching. So far none of my viewing have been revisits. Each one has filled a previously empty whole in my horror experience. Of course, some of those holes should have been left empty. You could say that this month has not been so much about quality, as it has been just about watching stuff, regardless of their stature in the pantheon of horror cinema. This time I saw another one that is not quite a classic, and is not really all that good of a movie. It is one that appears to have been made to capitalize on the success of Gremlins while not being nearly as entertaining.

In 1985 the company that would become Full Moon Entertainment released a movie that features magic, midgets with pans on their heads, and as something an afterthought, little demon critters who don't really do much of anything. The movie is Ghoulies and it was produced through Charles Band's Empire Pictures. It did well at the box office, clawing its way to $35 million based on a paltry $1 million budget. This is a good example of the little rip off that could.

It is not exactly a rip off as the story is nothing like that of Gremlins, it is just a movie that incorporates a bunch of little demony critters into its story in the hopes of drawing in a similar crowd. Unfortunately, while it does have a certain low budget charm, it is not much of a keeper, once you see it, you will not have much of a desire to return to it any time soon.

The movie opens with a Satanic ritual set at some 25-years in the past before it jumps forward and introduces our stars. This ritual is notable in that the evil guy is apparently trying to sacrifice his son but ends up offing his wife. No one seems ot be bothered by the switch or why it happened. The child is secreted away and this is where they jump ahead. The main ritual guy is dead, and the saved son has inherited the house.

Jonathan (Peter Liapis) and his girlfriend Becky show up to check things out. They see a grave in the garden (Jonathan's father, Malcolm) and the scarcely around caretaker. The couple then decide the best way to break in the new digs is by throwing a party. You know, the 80's kind of party where everyone is an idiot and the best way to attract a girl is by breakdancing, badly breakdancing.

Once the party winds down, a few friends decide to sleep over. Jonathan decides they should have a seance. It doesn't seem to do much, and everyone takes off. It seems it was just a delayed reaction as later a little Ghoulie appears in the chalk marks that he had written. This pushes him more towards wanting to practice black magic, in an effort to understand his father he tells Becky.

Of course, this magic infatuation puts a strain on the relationship. Jonathan is even more intent on his magic. He summons a bunch more of the Ghoulies, but never does anything with them. Perhaps it just wasn't in the budget to actually animate them doing anything. He does bring forth a couple of midgets, who are not evil, but will do whatever he tells them to.

The next step in his magical journey is to have a big spell with all his friends around. So, he does this. It is odd as everyone is wearing sunglasses and Ghoulies are sitting in the prepared dinner. What is even more odd is that no one questions this. What follows is a bunch of screaming which awakens the long dead father, who immediately becomes the main bad guy. He is opposed by.... ahhh, not telling you, but if you pay attention to the rule of economy of characters, you will know who it is.

It is funny, this isn't really a Gremlins rip off, no matter what the cover art may lead you to believe. Still, it feels like the critters are there to remind you of that other movie. It has its own ideas, they just aren't executed all that well. This is one of those movies where your knowledge that it exists combined with your story assumptions is going to be better than the reality. I still want to see the movie where the little monster pops out of the toilet dressed like a Cabbage Patch Kid.

Also, if you pay attention, you will see an early screen appearance from Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: SVU.

Not Recommended.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment