'Ghoulies is a 1984 horror / comedy / fantasy film written and directed by Luca Bercovici and co written by Jefery Levy.
The film stars Peter Liapis, Lisa Pelikan, Michael Des Barres and Jack Nance.
As the saying goes “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. Nothing rings more true than this exact quote concerning 'Ghoulies’.
As the box art displays a green goblin looking creature coming out of a toilet, the first series of thoughts most people would typically fall upon is that the film features some sort of sewer dwelling monstrosity which is able to use the piping system in order to get into and escape people's homes. This sounds like a fun yet silly premise, but is unfortunately the furthest thing away from what the film actually entails. The depiction of the 'Ghoulie’ coming out of the bowl was actually a marketing strategy created by Charles Band.
If you’re old enough to have been around through the good ol’ movie rental days, this unique still from the movie's cover is guaranteed to have been seared into your mind and due to its popularity, a short scene depicting the same creature, was shot and added to the film following wrap up.
Although that image has always been with me, I can admit that I've never seen the film up until now. Nobody has actually ever spoken to me about it, nor had I seen it come on television at any point in time. The only exception was the BTV episode “Unruly Ghoulies”. This had assisted me in piecing together was it could be like and just let my mind fill in the blanks.
Centering around the black arts, Malcolm Graves attempts to complete a ceremonial sacrifice. Unable to lay his hands on the offering due to the powers of an amulet worn by the child, Graves sends the boy away. Years later, that same boy, Jonathan, has come to learn that he’s inherited his family’s property. Following his research throughout the homes many magical books, Jonathan is seemingly possessed and stops at nothing to gain the powers once held by his father, Malcolm, going as far as summoning Demons known to viewers as the 'Ghoulies.
The storyline was much deeper than I had anticipated. Expecting killer rodents and the like, I had been greeted with a background filled with supernatural elements, entertaining characters and a tone which was attempting to keep everything as serious as possible with the slight exception of two drunken stoner characters and a man named ‘Dick’ serving as the comedic relief.
If you're looking for a well thought out storyline, it's likely best that you avoid this film. A lot of things are either unexplained or nonsensical such as the form of possession the lead character must go through, the handling of the amulet from the films opening scene as opposed to the remainder of the story, what the actual reasoning behind the 'Ghoulies’ is and although unrelated to the story, I want to make quick mention of the issues with the special effects used for the eyes of those possessed.
The biggest thing I wanted to see was a full out slaughter coming from the 'Ghoulies’ and with only a small handful of attacks coming from them, it felt like their presence was completely unnecessary to the films plot. Sure, they're fun to look at, but they aren't giving viewers what we want to see from a 'Creature Feature’. They did have an interesting look to them and added the sense of impending dread but in all, were ultimately useless.
The kill count itself was also very low. What they did display in deaths prior to the films final scene was still entertaining due to the effects which had been used but in this specific category, it felt a little bit lacking overall.
Considering the lack of deaths, nudity as well as foul language, I feel like it's a perfect horror flick to share with younger fans of the genre or those trying to ease their friends or family members into it.
5 out of 10.
Have you listened to the latest Beyond The Void Horror Podcast? This week we talk about two movies about demons. The Church & The Keep. It's a fun episode. Listen here or subscribe/listen on iTunes HERE!