Thanks to its long-awaited UK Blu-ray release, GHOULIES is no longer one of those low-budget 80s horror films I’ve heard of but never seen. I’ve been on a bit of a retrospective horror kick recently, and, as with a lot of films of this kind, I ended up enjoying GHOULIES more than I thought I would. I mean, it’s ridiculous, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also fun and laughably stupid. Basically everything I want from a small horror flick made during the decade I was born!
For those of us who are new to GHOULIES and currently have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s quite simple to explain: a man attempts to summon up some dodgy demonic forces but ends up inviting a few ugly little Ghoulies round instead, thus wreaking havoc on his friends and anyone unfortunate enough to get in the way. As far as plots go, it’s daft and forgettable, but it’s an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half.
I can’t honestly say GHOULIES is a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but there are aspects of it that I really liked. The Ghoulies themselves are ugly and cute, and I want a real one to come and live on my windowsill. They’re more evil than Gremlins and certainly more of an eyesore (fish Ghoulie, anyone?), but their personalities and practical design are the most memorable part of the whole film, along with the two dwarf Willow-wannabes who show up, aptly named Grizzel and Greedigut.
GHOULIES subsequently spawned three sequels, and I can see why it became a popular B-movie franchise of sorts. I’m a self-confessed fan of silly slapstick horror in all its many incarnations, and there’s no-one who did that better than filmmakers of the 80s. Mix the absurdity of Killer Klowns from Outer Space with a less intelligent Gremlins, and that’s GHOULIES in a nutshell — instead of heavily made-up clowns there are strange little creatures who like to dwell in toilets, which really is as funny as it sounds!
Aside from an utterly bizarre conclusion and somewhat flimsy story, GHOULIES is a decent watch for anyone with even a passing interest in horror. Its ludicrous nature adds to the overall charm of everything you see on screen, and I’m very much looking forward to viewing the other three instalments in the series. Oh, and if anyone knows where I can get an evil miniature Ghoulie from, please do let me know!
101 Films presents GHOULIES on Blu-ray with its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and a 1080p transfer, which is probably the best the film will ever look. Colours are bright and crisp, and the HD makes the Ghoulies look even more abhorrent than usual!
Special features include a short introduction to the film and an informative feature-length audio commentary by director Luca Bercovici. Unlike the US Shout Factory release, this UK version doesn’t have any featurettes.
This is definitely one for die-hard horror collectors and purveyors of cult classics. Or anyone who just likes tiny creatures with a penchant for killing people! It’s certainly a fun watch with some memorable moments, but it’s not one I see myself revisiting as much as other horror films.
– JENNY DAVIES