ave learnt that Ghoulies was one of my childhood “Hoy Grail” films that i never managed to see until later in life. Because of this, Ghoulies always carried a kind of aura to it. Ghoulies II on the other hand, i managed to watch very close to its release on VHS.
Ive got to be honest here, i didn't think too much of it at the time. The reason, I think, is due to the image i had built up of its predecessor didn't match what i was seeing in the sequel.
So when i got the opportunity to review the Blu-Ray releases of both, i jumped at the chance to see how much my tastes in horror had changed from my youth.
Before i give you my opinion of the film, and let you know if it has changed with age, let me tell you about the plot.
First of all, i can tell you that(except for the little monsters) Ghoulies 2 has no connection whatsoever to the plot of its predecessor. This is a sequel in name only and doesn't advance Ghoulies plot one bit.
Ghoulies 2 takes place in a roaming fairground, that is struggling financially and may have to close its doors. Larry (Damon Martin-who went on to appear in Amityville: It's About Time and Freddys Nightmares) and his uncle Ned (veteran actor Royal Dano who has over 190 acting credits to his name) are your stereotypical carnies, so the idea of moving on and changing career is not a welcome one. When Ned stumbles upon an ancient book of spells, he unwittingly unleashes Ghoulies from their Hellish resting place.
The arrival of the Ghoulies turns out to be a welcome one for Larry and Ned. The Ghoulies take up residence in their House of Horrors, and as the paying punters mistake the creatures for exhibits, word spreads and business picks up!
Unfortunately(and predictably), the Ghoulies soon manage to escape and wreak havoc in the carnival.
The first thing i want to say is that Ghoulies 2 does manage to improve on the original, primarily due to the fact the monsters now take centre stage and don't appear as an afterthought. There are now long, prolonged sequences(especially near the end) that focus on the Ghoulies actions.
Thats not to say that the human characters are not well developed though. At the core of the film is the relationship between Larry and a female carnie that is eerily like the main relationship in Gremlins(even going as far as having the female reveal tragic moments for her past, sound familiar?).
The quality of acting in the film, while not terrible by any means, is at a level where i found it hard to invest in any of the characters, which essentially just made them bait for the Ghoulies to me.
So, i hear you cry. Has my opinion in the film changed after all these years. Well, yes it has. While i still don't think its a good film by any means, it isn't as bad as i remember. Maybe its the years of watching crap films that has put things into perspective for me, but it is at least watchable and there are sequences in the film that re a lot of fun.
The Blu-Ray, widescreen transfer that the film has received makes it look great, and if I'm honest is a lot better that the film really deserves. The film also sounds great though a home cinema system.
To sum it up, its fairly obvious that, like the original, has been “inspired” by Gremlins, with the Ghoulies even giggling and acting mischievous in such a way that it is hard NOT to compare them with Joe Dante’s classic. But if you are a child of the late 70’s or 80’s, and remember the spate of horror films that flooded into the country in the wake of the home video revolution, then this is well worth a watch, if for nothing else, for the nostalgia.