Director – Albert Band
Cast – Damon Martin, Royal Dano, Phil Fondacaro, J. Downing, Kerry Remsen, Dale Wyatt, Jon Pennell, Sasha Jenson, Starr Andreeff, William Butler, Don Jeffcoat
Release Year – 1988
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Ghoulies II is a film I was not looking forward to watching, mainly because I was somewhat disappointed with Ghoulies. While I liked Ghoulies overall, I found it to be heavily flawed, and with Ghoulies II being a sequel I expected it to be ever more flawed, but I was wrong. Much more to my amazement, I not only found Ghoulies II to be a fun and satisfying watch, but I enjoyed it more than I did the original, which is a rarity in the horror genre.
In this flick we follow a young man and his magician uncle as they embard cross-country on a traveling amusement park that is on the brink of bankruptcy. The ghoulies from the first film manage to make their way into the travel trailer of the two men, and soon make themselves comfortable in the amusement park’s horror-themed house. The hard-working carnies and amusement workers are at wits end over threats from their financer that if they do not turn a profit that very week they will be terminated and forced to hit the road. However, they turn in profits unlike ever before thanks to the antics of the ghoulies in the horror house, which brings in the spectators, and ultimately leads to the grisly deaths of many.
I love anything in the horror genre having to do with amusement parks or carnivals, and when you throw in some insane live-action creatures you have my devout attention. This amusement park/ carnival element made this flick happen, and I applaud the film’s writers for employing this simple yet effective idea.
The rest of the story is simple as well, but comes with enough fun and cheese to keep the viewer engaged throughout the film’s runtime. Thanks to the carnival element we get quite a few colorful characters thrown in, mostly in regards to the freak show, and they helped move the film along with the drunk magician uncle, who was my personal favorite. The usage of the ghoulies was fun, and they brought on much more cheese than I expected, especially during the final act. I was a iffy on the final act though, mainly because I really dug the first two acts of the film, where the film took itself seriously as a horror film, despite some cheeziness thrown in. During the final act we got some pretty darn silly scenes that I did find fun and enjoyable, but I was really preferring the serious feel we got in the first two acts and wished the film had carried it on.
Direction-wise we get a mostly positive job from the director, who seems to have done the most he could with the film’s small budget. The production value does feel pretty high for such a low-budget effort, which goes to show there was some creativity invovled in making the sets look better than they are. This helped with the visual feel of the flick, which in the end aids in keeping the viewer’s interest at optimum levels. The pacing for the flick is well done, and we get some good carnage at the hands of the ghoulies. Once again we get the same cheesy usage and execution of the critters, which I enjoyed, and the gore they delivered was well-done and fun to watch.
Overall, this is a mostly positive sequel to Ghoulies that in my opinion surpasses it on all levels. We get a fun plot, positive direction, and some good and humorous ghoulie action for fans to enjoy.