Ghoulies (1985)

I remember seeing the cover to Ghoulies at Prime Time Video and like some kind of snobbery moron, I never rented it. What was I thinking? Did I think it was a ripoff of Gremlins and not worth watching? I was half right, because it is, but it’s way better than it has any right to be.

I mean, does this movie know me? It starts with a Satanic ceremony in which Malcolm Graves (Michael Des Barres, once of the band Detective) tries to sacrifice a child. Instead, he kills his mother Anastasia (Victoria Catlin, Maniac Cop) and sends him away with an assistant named Wolfgang (Jack Nance). Twenty-five years later, the child grows up to be Jonathan (Peter Liapis) and he inherits his father’s estate.

He decides to invite his girlfriend Rebecca (Lisa Pelikan, Jennifer) and friends to explore the mansion. They find an entire basement of occult books and supplies, so they decide to perform a ritual. You know, as you do. They leave when nothing happens but as soon as they walk away, a small creature shows up and before you know it, the ghost of Malcolm has taken over Jonathan and he’s unleashing several ghoulies and the dwarves Grizzel and Greedigut (Tamara De Treaux, who played one of the creatures in Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and was one of several actors who played E.T.).

As Malcolm begins to grow in power, all of their friends — Mike (Scott Thompson, Fast Times At Ridgemont High), Donna (Mariska Hargitay), Toad Boy (Ralph Seymour), Dick (Keith Joe Dick) and Eddie (David Dayan) — are all toast. Luckily, the man who saved him once before, Wolfgang, comes back and battles the evil sorcerer, everyone gets revived and they drive into the sunset with a ghoulie in the backseat.

Directed by Luca Bercovici (who also made Rockula for Cannon) and written by Jefery Levy, this was produced by Charles Band. It was actually started before Gremlins but there was a time when the production ran out of money, which is why it came out after. It was shot at the Wattles Mansion, near the park where Jim Wynorski shot The Lost Empire.

The real stars are the ghoulies, which were created by John Carl Buechler, who did effects for some of the coolest looking 80s and 90s horror films, including PrisonDollsThe Eliminators and more. The ones that show up in this movie are fish ghoulie, cat ghoulie, rat ghoulie, flying ghoulie and clown doll ghoulie.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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