Ahhh, memories. Memories have that uncanny ability to paint a past experience with the brush strokes of our choosing. If we subconsciously choose to remember something fondly it will appear in our mind’s eye as a warm and golden dream. Along that same line, if we choose to remember something negatively it will plague our recollection as a vicious nightmare. In reality, sometimes our memories do us a disservice by making Titans out of toy soldiers, or graves out of grass divots. In the case of the 1985 creature feature, Ghoulies, my memories and I need to sit down and have a serious talk.
Ghoulies is the tale of Jonathan Graves (Peter Liapis) and his girlfriend, Rebecca (Lisa Pelikan). Knowing nothing about his parents, Jonathan inherits a sizable mansion and estate upon the passing of his dear old dad, Malcolm Graves (Michael Des Barres). Though the dilapidated mansion leaves much to be desired, Jonathan convinces Rebecca that it will be the perfect place to form a family once the necessary improvements have been made. That, and the fact that the mansion just may reveal a little bit of information about his mysteriously absent parents. It isn’t long before Jonathan begins to be affected by malevolent forces that inhabit his new abode.
Ghoulies was created by Empire Pictures, a precursor company to Full Moon Pictures, the B-movie factory helmed by Charles Band (Puppet Master, Demonic Toys, Subspecies, etc). It is said that Ghoulies was originally called Beasties, and was supposed to be directed by Band himself with the creature effects to be done by the legendary Stan Winston (Aliens, Predator, etc.). Instead, Ghoulies was directed by Luca Bercovici (The Granny, Rockula), and the creature effects were handled by John Carl Buechler (Director of The Dungeon Master). This is a prime example of second guessing yourself coming back to bite you in the ass. My brain aches with wondering what Ghoulies could have, and would have been. Now back to what Ghoulies actually is. This flick was one of those memories that was built up in my head as a classic. For some reason I remember loving this movie. Maybe because I was 9 years old when I saw it. I really can’t say. What I can say is that upon revisiting it 25 years later, I wanted to take my memories, and if they had asses, I would kick every last one of them.
For starters, the role of the ghoulies in a movie titled Ghoulies, was extremely brief and downplayed to mere gag scenes and background filler. The story played out like a Grimm Fairytale with males replacing the roles of princess and evil stepmother. Add in the appearance of two little people dressed as a cross between Flash Gordon and a Renaissance Faire, wooden acting, and equally lifeless dialogue. The only two redeeming factors that I can see with Ghoulies are the fact that the actual ghoulies are pretty cool little puppet designs, and Marishka Hargitay (Law and Order) makes her film debut. As a whole, Ghoulies was a pretty big disappointment, but if I had to play the optimist, I’d say that I’ve wasted 81 minutes in much worse ways. But now that I’ve crossed that bridge of 25 year old recollections, I wish that I would have left this flick as a memory.