Dir: Luca Bercovici
***Ghoulies is one of those comedy horror films of the 1980s that found notoriety thanks to a brilliant VHS cover. Originally titled 'Beasties', the film was meant to be directed by Charles Band of Empire Pictures fame, featuring the special effects and puppetry of the mighty Stan Winston (Jurassic Park, The Thing, Predator). Band directed a segment of Ragewar (AKA The Dungeonmaster) instead while Winston made a little film called the The Terminator, leaving Luca Bercovici with directional duties and John Carl Buechler (who would go on to direct Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College and Troll) in charge of the puppets. The acting is fairly awful and the story a little ridiculous but these things are unimportant in cheesy b-movie horror. The real shame is that there is a distinct lack of Ghoulies, somewhat of a problem when a. the poster promises Ghoulies and b. the film is called Ghoulies. Unlike Jaws, less isn't more when it comes to low budget horror. The VHS cover is glorious and always had me transfixed when I would gaze up at it on the shelf of my local video store in the late 80s. It basically shows a little green Ghoulie puppet popping out the top of a toilet with the tag line 'They'll get you in the end'. Utterly brilliant and if there was an Oscar for best poster it would have been sure-fire winner. The film is a bit rubbish, it is this image alone that gave it it's cult following. However, the film is in so bad its good territory and thanks to a couple of choice scenes, it's a firm three star film. The Ghoulies themselves could have been better but their awakening scene is glorious, as is the scene when one finally did come up the toilet, although it doesn't make any sense and was clearly put in to match the promotional image. Some of the better horror scenes actually come courtesy of Michael Des Barres' devil-worshiping character. Des Barres, who has clearly found his inner Klaus Kinski, appears in the two best scenes of the film, the first being when he suddenly pops out of his own grave, mouth wide open and then when he turns into an older woman and extends his tongue around one of the teenage party guest's neck. The film is at its best when it isn't taking itself too seriously, personally I think it could have ditched the devil worshiping type story line and the Ghoulies themselves could have come from elsewhere but it's all good. It just needed more Ghoulies and more toilets.