Ghoulies (1985 - 1994)
One of Charles Bands best known cult creations which is curiously similar to the horror comedy released a year prior 'Gremlins'.
Clearly the best of the bunch this ghoulie romp see's a young couple inherit an old house with a dark secret in the grounds and the bowels of the house (as usual for old houses). The young man of the new house finds an old spell book (as you do) and is slowly possessed into conjuring up the ghoulie creatures to...well I'm not sure, something to do with devil worshipping blah blah blah.
The film is of course low budget and completely trashy but the small puppet creatures are actually pretty neat looking and fun to watch. Much like the puppets from 'Puppet Master' the creations do hold a nice appeal and do look cool, they are all hand workable so you mainly get faces shots and torso's. Not really any blood or gore but the odd decent makeup job and with some curious names in the cast (Sting lookalike Michael Des Barres).
Like many cheapo horror films the first isn't too bad but they just ruin any self respect by churning out terrible sequels.
Ghoulies II (1987)
OK lets just get one thing straight here, these films do not follow any continuity from one to another, the 'Ghoulies' turn up out of nowhere, captured by some guy who is trying to exterminate them for good.
From these rather abstract beginnings the naughty creatures turn up in a kooky crappy carnival where they rather predictably cause suspicious deaths and trouble. There is a bare minimum plot about the workers of the carnival not making enough money to keep their jobs and the evil company (company?) manager setting deadlines to hand in good receipts of business.
At first I thought the Ghoulies were gonna help the carnival folk make their ghost ride more scary so they could make more money and keep their jobs (sounds solid right?), but no. Nothing really happens throughout as you would have expected, some people get killed which are thought to be attractions but who cares? all you wanna see is Ghoulie gore. There is some gore here but not a massive amount, more than the first but this installment lacks the atmosphere of the first.
Very very cheap looking all round but the puppets still look pretty cool, you also get some stop motion animation of the creatures also. Expected better really as I prefer the original but the ending in this is quite amusing and very B-movie/trashy, so much so its good.
Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College (1991)
Why on earth is Kevin McCarthy in this bottom of the barrel muck? seriously?
So this time the Ghoulies are trapped within a comicbook (beats me) and as before can be controlled by whoever releases them. So the comic ends up in a college and after many obvious false starts the demons get released.
Cue lots and lots of your typical cliched, predictable, unfunny college nonsense (in typical American style) with, of course, lots of excuses for tits and ass. The tits and ass is perfectly fine in my books hehe but I think the film makers kinda forget this is suppose to be a horror comedy, not 'Porkies' with puppets.
The plot is puerile and involves two college fraternities trying to 'out prank' each other to win a trophy of sorts. This of course equals lots of trouble with teachers and eventually lots of accusations of trouble which has been caused by the ghoulies. Oh and McCarthy as the main teacher tries to control the little demons for himself, gee I wonder why.
Probably the worst and cheapest of the four films with nothing to keep you awake accept for tits and ass. The ghoulies are still decent looking puppets though and there are a few star names in there as beginners, the most fun (what there is of it) is finding them.
Ghoulies IV (1994)
Last 'Ghoulies' outing? who knows but the franchise ended on a flat note with this mess that's for sure. I'm not really sure what the plot was all about to be frank, some catsuit clad female is after an amulet to free some big demon fella. Also for some reason two Ghoulies are set loose in 'our' world and cause havoc trying to get back to their own world.
The main issue here is of course the fact the Ghoulies have been replaced with little people in shitty looking costumes, gone are the endearing little puppets folks. It wouldn't be so bad but these outfits really do look terrible, their mouths hardly open despite them speaking clearly which sticks out like a sore thumb. Sticks out like really badly designed costumes.
The other horrific problem is the quite awful attempt at comedy in this film. The Ghoulies try for a double act with slapstick and tomfoolery which is just dreadful, whilst their voices are provided by some guys trying their best to be hip and Chris Rock it seems.
Peter Liapis is back in this film which does offer a little continuity and the only plus point within the film really, the other is Stacie Randall in her amazingly gorgeous tight catsuit hehe. There is one reasonable stunt car sequence involving a reasonable explosion at the end but apart from that this film is cheap dross and brings down the 'Ghoulies' franchise (which wasn't that good in the first place).