Menu
Home / Film / Home Video / Ghoulies/Ghoulies II (US Blu-ray review)
Daughters of Darkness Book

Ghoulies/Ghoulies II (US Blu-ray review)

Specs

Specs

Details

Director: Luca Bercovici | Albert Band
Writers: Luca Bercovici, Jefery Levi | Charles Dolan, Dennis Paoli
Cast:  Lisa Pelikan, Peter Liapis, Jack Nance, Mariska Hargitay | Damon Martin, Royal Dano, Phil Fondacaro
Year: 1984 | 1988
Length: 81 min | 89 min
Rating: PG-13 | R
Region: A
Disks: 1
Label: Scream Factory
Release Date:  April 21, 2015

Video

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1
Type: Color

Audio

Audio:  English: DTS-HD Master 1.0
Subtitles: English SDH

Extras
  • Audio Commentary with Luca Bercovici
  • Interviews with Charles Band, Richard Band, Michael Des Barres, John Vulich, Gino Crognale, and Kerry Remsen
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailers
Ghou_CovWhile it still happens in some capacity, there used to be a time (a great time mind you) where producers could take some poster designs to the major film markets and presell titles they didn’t even have plans to otherwise produce. This is probably the sole reason that some of our most beloved (and cheesy) B films exist. Probably the best (at least my favorite) example of this is Ghoulies. Charles Band produced the, now, infamous poster of the Ghoulie popping out of a toilet and the rest is history. In fact, Band had to make sure that they went back and shot a scene with the Ghoulie popping out of a toilet after the fact, just to appease buyers. Ghoulies and Ghoulies II are very representational of Band’s overall output. There is absolutely no reason that anyone would ever expect that these films would end up on Blu-Ray, but because we live in amazing times that is exactly what happened….

The Film

Where do you begin with Ghoulies? Is a plot synopsis necessary? Perhaps not, but for the hell of it, here we go. Aspiring student and orphan, Jonathan Graves (Peter Liapis) inherits an old, eerie mansion and decides to move him and his girlfriend (Lisa Pelikan) in. However, as he begins the process of fixing the place up he discovers the relics of an ancient satanic cult. He finds himself drawn to the objects, and it is not long before he falls under their hypnotic powers. Jonathan begins to learn the dark arts and conjures up ancient spirits, which take the form of demonic creatures. Drawn by the forces of evil, Jonathan concocts a plan to invite his friends to his home so he can offer them up as sacrifices.

Luca Bercovici's Ghoulies (1984) [click to enlarge]

Luca Bercovici’s Ghoulies (1984) [click to enlarge]

The biggest downfall of Ghoulies is that it is remarkably reserved for a Charles Band related project. The film is, to be frank, tame. It moves at a very slow pace and feels longer than it is. If you didn’t know better, it would be easy to assume that — given Empire’s history — the film was already produced as a straight Satanic film that had the Ghoulies added after the fact as an extra selling point. The creatures play such a relegated role in the film that it really feels like two films condensed into one. The strangest thing is that this is not the case, which leaves more questions than answers. It does, however, have two redeeming qualities. The first is that the opening scene of the film, which depicts a satanic ritual sacrifice, is very well crafted. It remains the single most effective piece from the film, but unfortunately that level of filmmaking is never fully returned to. The second aspect of the film that really works is the creature design. The Ghoulies look, admittedly, great in that low-budget kind of way. Other treats include an appearance by Jack Nance (Eraserhead) and a young Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU).
Luca Bercovici's Ghoulies (1984) [click to enlarge]

Luca Bercovici’s Ghoulies (1984) [click to enlarge]

In the history of cinema, there are few sequels that are not only better than the original, but blow the first one away. In this case, this is one of those films. Ghoulies II learns from all of the first film’s mistakes. It ramps up the humor, the death, the involvement of the Ghoulies, and doesn’t even really try to work through a meaningful plot. While the first film makes an honest attempt to craft a story about a satanic cult, giving a sense of justification for the Ghoulies existence, the second seems to just take their existence as fact. There is some mild exposition, and the carnival makes for a great backdrop, but the film is far more concerned with the spectacle of it all. Ghoulies II is everything you want in an Empire picture. It is pure, unpretentious fun. If for nothing else, Ghoulies II showcases the grossly underrated Phil Fondacaro’s talent. While the script certainly takes a few easy shots, Fondacaro is able to transcend what may otherwise be a “token” role, creating something of a real value out of it. Similarly, long time character actor Royal Dano delivers a wonderful — albeit terribly excessive — performance as the old drunkard, Uncle Ned.

GHOU_1

Video/ Audio

While you can never expect to much with double features — as for obvious reasons they are more novelties than anything else — , the transfers on these releases are nicely handled. This comes as a surprise as Empire/Full Moon is notorious for cutting corners. The 1.85:1 transfers may be subject to small complaints but they are every bit as good as any one should want and/or expect, with Ghoulies II faring better (whether that be because of its higher production value or not is left to be said). In the same light, the audio is finely handled and doesn’t appear to feature any problems of major note.

Albert Band's Ghoulies II (1988) [click to enlarge]

Albert Band’s Ghoulies II (1988) [click to enlarge]

Extras

With these dual releases, you come to expect that extras will be limited, if not essentially non-existent, so it was nice to see that Scream have assembled a respectable amount of supplementary features for this collection. For die-hard fans of the series, you’ll be pleased to see an audio commentary with director Luca Bercovici. Others will probably have more fun with the two featurette documentaries on each film. It is always great to see Band talk about his career, because he generally has some interesting (mildly offensive) stories—as is the case here. Also included, are many of the cut scenes of gore from Ghoulies II. It is a shame that they couldn’t have featured the uncut film but it is nice to see some of the footage.

Albert Band's Ghoulies II (1988) [click to enlarge]

Albert Band’s Ghoulies II (1988) [click to enlarge]

Bottom Line

Neither Ghoulies nor Ghoulies II can be compared with anything close to art but neither are they trying to either. While Ghoulies is a little long in the tooth and dry, this collection is worth owning simply for the second film, which is loads more fun. Overall, it is a nice addition to anyone collection, and its probably best that rather than take up two places on your shelf, these titles can be presented together. Scream does a respectful job with films that are anything but respectful. So pop it in, turn it up, tune out, and have a blast with these little creatures.

Luca Bercovici's Ghoulies (1984) [click to enlarge]

Luca Bercovici’s Ghoulies (1984) [click to enlarge]

Details Director: Luca Bercovici | Albert Band Writers: Luca Bercovici, Jefery Levi | Charles Dolan, Dennis Paoli Cast:  Lisa Pelikan, Peter Liapis, Jack Nance, Mariska Hargitay | Damon Martin, Royal Dano, Phil Fondacaro Year: 1984 | 1988 Length: 81 min | 89 min Rating: PG-13 | R Region: A Disks: 1 Label: Scream Factory Release Date:  April 21, 2015 Video Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Resolution: 1080p Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1 Type: Color Audio Audio:  English: DTS-HD Master 1.0 Subtitles: English SDH Extras Audio Commentary with Luca Bercovici Interviews with Charles Band, Richard Band, Michael Des Barres, John Vulich, Gino Crognale, and Kerry Remsen…

Review Overview

The Film: Ghoulies
The Filme: Ghoulies II
Video
Audio
Extras

User Rating: 3.5 ( 1 votes)
Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros Years

About Joe Yanick

Joe Yanick is a writer, videographer, and film/music critic based in Brooklyn, NY. He is the former Managing Editor for Diabolique Magazine, as well as a contributing writer for Noisey.vice.com, and Stagebuddy.com. In addition, he has worked with the Cleveland International Film Festival as a Feature reviewer. He is currently a Cinema Studies MA Candidate at New York University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Informed. Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

You will never receive spam. Unsubscribe at any time.






You have Successfully Subscribed!