Ghoulies 2 (1988)
Director: Albert Band
Writer(s): Charlie Dolan (story), Dennis Paoli (screenplay)
Starring: Damon Martin, Royal Dano, Phil Fondacaro, J. Downing
Although one could argue that most direct to video (not DVD, not streaming but VIDEO) horror flicks are guilty pleasures by nature, there are a select few that go beyond the charm of a campy horror flick and proudly cross the line where the entertaining becomes ridiculous. What I do appreciate about these flicks however that’s SORELY lacking today, is that these guilty pleasure horror movies that go beyond the normal amount of corny never seem to realize that they have sauntered onto new frontier. My beef with the “campy” horror movies nowadays, with movies such as Sharknado and The Gingerbread Man is that they are clearly self-aware that they are making a ridiculously BAD movie. It’s analogous to someone watching someone give you the thumbs up every time they made a bad joke as opposed to a comedic style where the delivery is so honest even though the joke is so bad, you can’t help but laugh. I believe the same thing works with campy horror flicks; if it seems like you’re taking it seriously, it’s so much more pleasurable to watch and thus it becomes a cult classic and/or guilty pleasure.
Okay, first off, the first Ghoulies is TERRIBLE. Not ironically, not satirically, just AWFUL. Perhaps the reason I was so cheesed off was because the cover made it seem like you were in for a good time; who wouldn’t want to spend a night watching little demons terrorize some folks? Unfortunately the movie did everything but deliver on the promise of the cover; the Ghoulies themselves felt like they had shared the screen for an accumulative 8-10 minutes and the rest was the muwahaha-ing of a mad man. Even as a kid, I remember feeling bamboozled, used and definitely sad for wasting a $1.10 on such garbage, I could have bought a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos for the same amount! So needless to say, I was quite weary on renting the sequel.
My hand trembled as I popped in the VHS tape into the player and I prepared for more regret and a yearning for spicy snacks. Within the first 10 minutes however, I was SOLD! This was everything the first failed to deliver; simple plot, interesting backdrop and some GOD DAMN GHOULIES! We’re introduced to our main character Larry (Damon Martin), a down on his luck carny that has to care for his alcoholic Uncle Ned (Royal Dano). They both work in a traveling carnival along with their pint-size Shakespearean pal, Sir Nigel Penneyweight (Phil Fondacaro) and they all operate a failing haunted house attraction. Add the stereotypical rich boy villain, P. Hardin (J. Downing) who wants to close down the haunted house due to its lack of sales and now you have the formula for why a bunch of little demons might be welcome to the plot.
Boozy Uncle Ned decides to conjure up some demons and hellacious hijinks ensue! Sales are up in the haunted house but unfortunately (or fortunately for the audience) so does a swarm of death. What’s great about this flick is not only we get 500% more Ghoulies than the first flick but you see them attacking as a group like a well-oiled unit which is always fun when you’re dealing with small murderers. You have the slimy, baby-faced Ghoulie that has an affinity for hiding in toilets (as the cover indicates), the Cat Ghoulie who has the creepiest eyes and hooves…for some reason, the Rat Ghoulie who also happens to spit gooey acid at its victims, the crocodile Ghoulie who runs on all fours biting his victims with its giant mouth and the flying ghoulie who probably had the best ability, yet didn’t do too much in the flick. All the little Ghoulies have their moment in the spotlight that made them unique and the plot point on how to get rid of the Ghoulies was just fantastic to watch!
I recommend this fun guilty pleasure to anyone not wanting to get scared but enjoy some genuine camp and for a seasoned horror veteran that wants to broaden their horizon with something silly yet sincere in its delivery! I’ll see you folks in the New Year, have a FearTASTIC time folks!