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Ghoulies / Ghoulies II: Double Feature

Charles Band is one of the most successful fringe players in Hollywood that most people have never heard of. Beginning with his studio Empire Pictures — which later became Full Moon Pictures — his company made cheap drive-in (and now direct-to-video) fodder. The prime obsession of Band and his companies has been miniature things, which may be why there have been so many straight-to-video Puppet Master films. Thus, Ghoulies is a prime example of this fascination with puppets — the series successfully went on to have three sequels. Directed by Luca Bercovici, 1985's Ghoulies has Jonathan Graves (Peter Liapis) inheriting a mansion, only to get sucked into a life of Satanism. He practices the craft with his friends, and by doing so unleashes puppets and midgets (including E.T. herself, Tamara De Treaux) that force Jonathan to do battle with the resurrected former owner (Michael Des Barnes), who is also his deceased father. 1987's sequel has the ghoulies invading an amusement park and making their home in a house of horrors that was about to be shut down by the bank. Plucky young stalwart Larry (Damon Martin) wants to keep it open, until the ghoulies start causing harm. But it's then that the attraction begins to captivate customers, which makes the bank want to keep it open. This one was directed by Albert Band (the father of Charles). Both films are lousy in that "low budget, bad acting, cheap sets" sort of way; at least the second film has a scene of giant puppet ghoulie eating the smaller versions, which is entertaining in a cheap sort of way. The main selling point to both films were their posters, which had a Ghoulie popping out of a toilet with the tag line stating that "They'll get you in the end." Obviously the film was meant to be a cheap cash in/rip-off of Joe Dante's Gremlins, but the inarticulate puppets never develop much personality — or flexibility for that matter. Both films do have the B-movie standard sort-of-famous actor doing a small part (Jack "Eraserhead" Nance in the first and Royal Dano in the second). MGM presents Ghoulies/Ghoulies 2 in anamorphic transfers (1.78:1) and Dolby 2.0 Surround audio. Extras include trailers for both films. Keep-case.
—DSH



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