Many a franchise saw its start in 1980s. It was a golden time for horror with huge releases every year even if the quality was often lacking. That’s kind of the case here with the 80’s classic, Ghoulies. Time has not been kind to it.
Opening in the basement of an old house, we see a group of people about to sacrifice a baby to some dark demonic lord. The leader is stopped in his tracks though by the child’s mother who takes the babies place as the sacrifice. The child is then taken way by a friendlier member of the group.
Many years later, the child is all grown up & moving into his old family home, the very same house that housed his ‘almost’ sacrifice. Jonathan, along with his annoying girlfriend, are looking to make the place a happy home for them both but it’s not long before the occult paraphernalia in the basement is discovered.
During a party with friends, Jonathan gets curious about the potential of summoning a demon so gets everyone to play along. It seemingly doesn’t work but unknown to the group, a number of little demonic monsters have now arrived.
As Jonathan gets more & more fascinated with the occult the creatures begin to do his bidding. Jonathan believes he has them under his control but this is all one big ploy to get their true master resurrected.
Ghoulies is fun whenever the actual creatures are involved but for the most part it’s a boring story that takes an age to get anywhere & has some of the most dire, poorly acted characters of 80’s horror.
As the main lead, Jonathan has to carry most of this film & he hams it up to such an extent that it starts becoming funny. He’s fine when he has to be normal but during his occult moments it’s just so silly. He is near perfect though compared to his girlfriend who just whines & complains throughout. She’s absent for huge parts of the film but it’s impossible to not groan whenever she makes her return because you know she’s going to be complaining about something again.
The visuals are decent, 80’s decent. The Ghoulies are puppets but positioned in a way that never makes them look cheap or tacky. Each has its own distinctive look that will more than likely have you cooing over how cute they are. Scary? No.
The movie also has some glaringly bad editing issues in particular during a conversation Jonathan has with two demons he conjures up.
Ghoulies is of a time, an era that really was one of the best for original horror & it would have stood tall amongst them. It’s still a good watch though, it’s just painfully obvious how little happens resulting in a few too many boring moments.