Director – Luca Bercovici
Cast – Peter Liapis, Lisa Pelikan, Michael Des Barres, Jack Nance, Peter Risch, Tamara De Treaux, Scott Thomson, Ralph Seymour, Mariska Hargitay, Keith Joe Dick, David Dayan, Victoria Catlin, Charene Cathleen, Bobbie Bresee, Jamie Bronow
Release Year – 1985
Reviewed by John of the Dead
After the success of Joe Dante’s Gremlins in 1984, a slew of films looking to cash in on employing cute little monsters wreaking havoc debuted the following years. We got Munchies in 1987, Critters in 1986, and in 1985…Ghoulies. While Ghoulies is an insanely cheezy watch that will be overly critiqued by many, it succeeds in every level of horror cheeze that there is.
In Ghoulies we follow Jonathan Graves(Peter Liapis), a young man who inherit’s a giant home from parents he never knew. Jonathan and his girlfriend move into the creepy old home, and Jonathan unknowingly becomes the pawn of an ancient force with the ability to control demons.
Well, Ghoulies was actually quite far from what I expected this film to be. I expected the little demons, I expected lots of cheese, but what I never expected was the zany plot this film comes with. For such a low-budget flick this one sure comes with a plot unlike the simple no-brainer ones we usually get with such films.
While the overall plot is a sweet one due to my love of horror films following someone inheriting something evil, the film’s plot may come off as “too much” for some viewers. We get many zany elements thrown into the plot that I never saw coming, and at times could not believe actually made it into the film. The usage of the demon manipulating Jonathan was never fully developed until the ending sequences, and in a way it did hurt the film because the pacing and development were slowed down due to this. I personally expected more usage of the demons for a film titled Ghoulies, but we really did not see much of them until the third act of the film, which coupled with a lack of interesting elements made the first two acts a bit slow. One cool thing to note, a few prominent actors have supporting roles in this film, Jack Nance of Eraserhead fame, and a young Mariska Hartigay, better known as Det. Olivia Benson in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”.
Direction-wise Luca Bercovici did a fine job bringing on the cheeze, which will only be truly appreciated if you go into this film not taking anything seriously whatsoever. His execution during some scenes is downright silly, but silly in a sense that I can find some joy in thanks to its campy feel. The look of the demons was awesome, and I loved how they were pretty much puppets with the puppeteer’s hand out of sight. We get some good action from them, although it did take a while for the action to come. The sets used in the film were well chosen, especially the old house Jonathan inherited, and provided for some nice spooky atmosphere.
Overall, this is a fun film for those who enjoy cheesy horror mixed with spooky elements. We get demons, great atmosphere, and a flick underappreciated by many.