Thursday, 29 October 2009

Ghoulies II (1987, Albert Band)

If you're anything like me, you sat through all of "Ghoulies" hoping for that toilet scene. This time out, we get one. Unfortunately, the poster lies once more, promising us yet again precisely one Ghoulie too many in a toilet attack. Don't say I'm nitpicking.

This is it, the "Gremlins" rip-off I'd been waiting for. If one day I make my own hand-puppet vehicle, "Gremlins" will be the large-print Bible and this will be the creased-to-shit Mad Magazine I slip inside during church.

Here are some simple things Ghoulies II has going for it:
  • Actual Ghoulies action - this time out, the featured characters are given as much screentime as the heroes, they are the main antagonists and the films a lot more fun as a result.
  • A much wittier script, by Re-Animator writer Dennis Paoli.
  • A great carnival/funhouse setting.
  • Featured midget performer - unlike the two faceless midget/dwarves last time out, this one is a guy you'll recognise from everything from "Bordello of Blood" to "Sabrina the Teenage Witch". You know you will. Here, he speaks in Shakespearian verse a lot.
  • There's some dreadful eighties cockrock, courtesy of the band W.A.S.P. , which stands for "What A Stupid Acronym" (they weren't very good at spelling).
  • The old alcoholic magician, played by Royal Dano, who I also loved in "Killer Klowns From Outer Space", who says things like "The master [of magic] ? That's great, he can do anything, he can even make this bottle disappear!", then drinks the entire bottle of whiskey and smashes it on the floor. Bare in mind, he was a fairly gentile and senile old man in all the previous scenes.
What results is an immensely superior film that's a lot more fun than the first outing. There's some criticism of this film on sites around the web that it's a poor follow up, and it is - but that's good, the first one was boring and this time out, the filmmakers wisely decided to just make a fun, low-budget version of what the audience wants and expects.

I loved the part where the evil corperate guy who's daddy owns the carnival and is here to fire some faces tells a team of cops "ten thousand dollars if anyone brings me one alive". This has absolutely no bearing on the plot at all - as far as I can tell, it's only there so it can be cut into a trailer and give the impression that the film has much more of a plot than there really is.

Overall, very recommended to hand-puppet horror enthusiasts.

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