Director: Luca Bercovici
Starring: Peter Liapis, Lisa Pelikan, Michael Des Barres, Jack Nance, Peter Risch
They’ll get you in the end
Jonathan Graves and his girlfriend Rebecca moves in to an old house that Jonathan has inherited from his dead father. Jonathan finds several books with satanic rituals described in them and starts to develop an interest in the occult.
After playing around with the spells, he is able to summon a group of small ugly creatures called Ghoulies. Jonathan starts to get more and more obsessed and ends up summoning his dead father back to life, who wants to use Jonathan and his friends to gain even more power.
Ghoulies has one of the coolest 80’s posters that I know. The green ghoulies who sticks up out of a toilet is so awesome that I have bought t-shirts with the poster “art” on it. Surprisingly enough, the ghoulies doesn’t play that big part of the film. After looking at the poster you would expect these little critters to kill and eat people, but they are sadly more or less in the background here and there and how they are made or what they want are not explained. Instead of a fun little creatures film, Ghoulies turn out to be a dull witchcraft movie.
The film starts off pretty slow and things only get semi-interesting during the last part of it. It doesn’t go hard for scares and just tries to be a silly and fun film. It’s a typical Full Moon movie with some cool things in it (the creatures), but fails to take full use of its potential. Looking at the quality of this one, it’s surprising that it actually got three sequels. I can see how people would buy it back in the day of its release because of the cover, but three sequels? Fool me once etc…
The story and characters are not done well enough to keep you interested. The best part of the film is the puppets, who look great and just makes you wish that they had a bigger part in the film. There is otherwise little violence, no nudity and the humour isn’t very funny. The puppets were created by John Carl Buechler, who himself would go on to direct Troll and Friday the 13th 7: New Blood.
Ghoulies is the first feature film that Luca Bercovici directed. He has mostly worked as an actor, but did also direct Rockula and The Granny, the last being a very terrible film. His work here feels lackluster at times and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of heart in this film. The acting is decent considering the material they had to work with. Peter Liapis as Jonathan does not evoke anything from the viewers, as we could not care less if he survives or not. The rest of the cast is forgettable, but I did notice Mariska Hargitay in one of the supporting roles. She would later on get a leading role on the TV show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
Ghoulies is remembered because of its poster and the little ugly creatures. Without them, this film would just be another forgotten campy 80’s horror film. If you are after a film with small killing creatures then I would rather recommend to go for the Critters series.