Ghoulies / Ghoulies II (Blu-ray Review)


Ghoulies / Ghoulies II (Blu-ray Review)
Rated: PG-13 and R/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 1 (Share the same Disc)
Available from Scream Factory

Ghoulies (1984) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Luca Bercovici
Starring: Lisa Pelikan, Peter Liapis, Michael Des Barres
Rated: PG-13

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Take a creepy old Hollywood mansion, a naive young man and a pretty girl. Add an over-the-top orgy and some slimy, winged goblins who crawl out of toilets, and you have Ghoulies, a horrifying and hilarious ride into the darkest regions of hell! Conjured during a party thrown by the mansion’s new owner, the hairy, fanged demons waste no time wreaking havoc on the scene – and declaring the unsuspecting owner their new lord and master! Peter Liapis (Ghost Warrior), Lisa Pelkin (Jennifer), Michael Des Barres (Waxwork II, Under Siege) and Jack Nance (Eraserhead, Twin Peaks) star in this fanged frenzy of sharp twists and eye-popping shocks that’ll get you where it counts!

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Ahh, the Ghoulies. A 1984 PG-13 horror creation of Charles Band and you should probably realize he had something to do with it as soon as you see we have small creatures here in the film. Anyway, it is a mix of comedy, cults, and some wacky character that you’d expect to see in a horror movie from 1984. Things, however, do move a bit slow for my taste, as things take their time getting set-up. As we wait for something to happen, you can at least take comfort in seeing none other than Eraserhead himself, Jack Nance, playing the role of Wolfgang. A character that is here when it counts, but one I wish we would have seen even more based off just who is playing the character. The meat of the story revolves around Jonathan Graves, a character with a past, and a character that likes to dress up as a wizard and bring these little things (“Ghoulies”) out. He isn’t what I’d call a strong character, but there are at least attempts to make him a complex character, with the jury being out on if they ever really succeed in that job or not. We also don’t seem to have a female character that we really want to get behind in sight, something that can also work against a movie like this.

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Basically, Ghoulies, is about as campy as you can get. A Full Moon movie without really being officially a Full Moon movie. It packs the tone and campy nature of those films you’d see later on from Charles Band and the gang, and if that is something you just love, then you will love Ghoulies for all of that to which it packs inside it’s hour and a half running time. If you want something a little more like blood, a body count, and a better pace, then you might be more along side me in my boat when it comes to Ghoulies. I’m happy to see it being released on Blu-ray, don’t get me wrong. I’m also just really happy it comes with the sequel, because I don’t think it is good enough to really stand on it’s own as a Scream Factory release. The effects are cool, I will admit that. I just wish it all had came to a much better end result. It is a bit of a tease with all the potential it had, but it never does fully deliver in the overall movie side of things. There is one bright spot, that is a table scene that gets pretty gnarly, but everything else falls a little too flat for me.

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– Audio Commentary With Director/Co-writer Luca Bercovici
– New Interviews With Executive Producer Charles Band, Composer Richard Band, Actor Michael Des Barres And Special Effects Makeup Artist John Vulich
– Original Theatrical Trailer

Quality of Transfer: 82%




Ghoulies II (1988) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Albert Band
Starring: Damon Martin, Royal Dano, Phil Fondacaro
Rated: R

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The demonic, toilet-dwelling goblins are back! Stowed away in “Satan’s Den,” the traveling House of Horror operated by carnival workers Larry and Uncle Ned, the Ghoulies merrily devour the sideshow attraction’s patrons… until Larry realizes his horror house is for real and tries to flee the scene! Deliciously outrageous special effects and over-the-top antics ratchet up the horrific fun! Kerry Remsen (Pumpkinhead), Phil Fondacaro (Troll), William Butler (1990’s Night Of The Living Dead) and Royal Dano (Big Bad Mama) star in this creepy, crawly sequel that’s got every bit as big a bite as the original!

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In the 80s, it seemed like everything got a sequel and Ghoulies was no different. While I’m not a fan (as you could tell) of the original Ghoulies, I will admit that the second film does improve on a lot of what was wrong with the original. I don’t think it is a classic by any means, but it at least comes across as fun most the time and also has the cool setting going for it. Look, a carnival makes everything better. It worked in The Funhouse and it works here in a whole lot of ways (Not to mention the cool “Devil’s Den” name it comes with). The overall setting feels like a good 80s movie instead of the other 80s movie the original one was. We also have more time with these darn Ghoulies here and that makes things better overall. We still seem to cut away when we’d rather hang around a scene much longer, but at least it isn’t taking as long for stuff to get rolling this time around like it did before with the original film. I also think these darn Ghoulies themselves are overall more entertaining this time around. Not sure if they reach a “goes to college” level of fun, but you will take notice, as you should when watching creatures that a movie is named after.

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I do think we have made a better choice in our leads this time around! Both the characters of Larry and Nicole are much better than our leads before. Heck, just the characters of Uncle Ned and our dwarf Sir Nigel Penneyweight are better characters than anyone we’d find in our last movie. We even have a bad guy to really hate here as well in the evil business man, P. Hardin. There is a better pace, setting, use of the characters, and use of the Ghoulies here to enjoy in Ghoulies II. The movie seems a little light at times on the horror, even for a horror comedy, but when watched right after the original you can really appreciate more what it does do right. While I don’t usually give great details on the transfers of these things, I will also point out that the look of Ghoulies II is head and shoulders better than the original on this disc as well. Together, these films make for a nice buy for any Ghoulies fan. I’m just happy they didn’t try to put these out solo.

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Quality of Transfer: 90%
– New Interviews With Executive Producer Charles Band, Actors Kerry Remsen And Donnie Jeffcoat, And Special Effects Artist Gino Crognale
– Rare Deleted Scenes
– Original Theatrical Trailer