Ghoulies ★★★

GHOULIES (Luca Bercovici, 1985)
Empire Pictures 35mm (Theatrical)

"I got an idea... Let's do a ritual." College kid Johnathan inherits a dilapidated mansion in the Hollywood Hills, and pretty much immediately succumbs to the call of his black magic ancestors. With the help of a dusty runebook, he conjures up a squadron of rubbery mini-monsters who always hang out near a table or couch edge -- do they even have legs? Blinded by his desire for more power, Johnathan invites some friends over for a Satanic soirée, but it's soon revealed that his minute minions are secretly devoted to his newly-resurrected father, who's been manipulating his son from beyond the grave. As his pals get ghoulie-gnashed, a sorcery showdown is set to go downstairs -- who will emerge victorious?

All right, first things first: the movie's called GHOULIES, so why don't those little fuckers actually do anything? They're some of the most hilariously immobile critters you're likely to find, and the majority of their screen time is dedicated to close-ups of them simply drooling. That said, and it may be nostalgia speaking, but they're still kind of cool, and I couldn't stop laughing at the cat-like one with the bulging eyes and a particularly retarded look on its face. Surprisingly, the best of parts of the movie were stolen by its supporting characters -- from Keith Joe Dick's sex-crazed goofball ("They call me Dick, but you can call me... Dick.") to the two potheads who spend all their time together and want to explore a closet, and especially Michael Des Barres' over-the-top theatrics as dear dead dad, Michael Graves. All in all, for a mid-'80s PG-13 horror comedy it held up better than expected, though I'm sure seeing it with an appreciative crowd bumped things up an extra point or so. That and the ludicrously bad break-dancing. 6/10

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