Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ghoulies IV (1994)

Reviewed By: Billy

I just want to make something perfectly clear. I would never buy Ghoulies IV on my own. Really, I wouldn’t. But, when you find a crazy 2-pack of Ghoulies IV and the original Prom Night at Movie Stop for $3, you just don’t turn it down. I mean, Prom Night and Ghoulies IV? What is the connective thread there? What movie exec in Christ’s name decided to package these two together?

Well…anyway…Ghoulies IV picks up right where Ghoulies III left off. Probably. Actually I’ve never seen any of the other Ghoulies movies…but I’m guessing it’s a cohesive franchise. This installment is directed by Jim Wynorski, who we at Tower Farm have a love/hate relationship with (i.e. we love him for The Haunting of Morella and hate him for 976-Evil 2: The Astral Factor). There are certain hallmarks that define a Wynorski production; first, you have to expect bleached-blondes with really bad 90s-mom haircuts and huge boobs, and second, there are going to be so many characters that you’re going to have a hard time remembering who they all are. Thus, I felt right at home when we were immediately introduced to this character (who is supposed to be a police captain)…

…along with about fifteen or twenty other people that I couldn’t keep straight.

Speaking of not keep things straight…what in the hell is this movie about? It opens with some sort of futuristic female bounty hunter in a black catsuit sneaking into a museum warehouse to steal a magical red jewel (which looks suspiciously like something you can get for a quarter in the little machine outside Wal-Mart). I should probably mention that this museum warehouse includes such items as the plastic Nefertiti bust pictured on the table below…so I’m guessing this museum doesn’t actually collect anything of value.

Anyway, the bounty huntress uses the jewel and a chalk pentagram to resurrect not only some guy in a cloak called Faust, but also our two Ghoulies. At least, I think they're Ghoulies (they sure don't look like whatever was on the box cover of Part 1). Whatever they're supposed to be, in reality they're little people running around in costumes and Halloween masks. And really, I'm not sure what I expected here...but I didn't expect that they'd talk. In slang-laden, pseudo-New York accents, no less. See…these Ghoulies aren't the bad guys; they're comic relief...merely included in the story to get into all kinds of slapstick trouble and utter lines like “Yo, man, I don’t think we’re in Oz anymore!” a la two mini-Danny DeVitos. In one scene, they end up rescuing a hooker who’s getting mugged at gunpoint. And then take her up on her offer of giving them a "treat."

I’m not kidding.

Really, it’s futile to go on trying to describe the plot…because, again, I’m not convinced there is one. As expected, there are tons and tons of characters, none of whom seem to be in the same movie. There are even a few bizarre flashbacks featuring lots of smaller Ghoulies, which I assume might be footage from an earlier movie in the series. These are particularly odd since no character actually seems to be “flashing back” to these scenes…they’re just edited in at various points when the script starts to lag. A more cynical person might call this time-padding. The entire production, meanwhile, looks like a long-lost episode of “Charmed” – right down to the seedy L.A. backlot feel of the sets and special effects like these:

The only thing to recommend would be the patented Jim Wynorski sex scenes, featuring boobs and beefcake…except that there are none. Or maybe the death scenes…except that there are none. At least the script is mildly entertaining; for example, the writer’s knowledge of police lingo includes exactly one term, BOLO, which is therefore repeated a couple of times (i.e. “Want me to put a BOLO out on him?”), and we even get a demon with really bad grammar growling the line, “There are far more worse things in the Beyond.” More worse?

Finally things come to a conclusion at a mental hospital, where the bounty huntress is attempting to sacrifice a hooker who is wearing the magical jewel, which the hooker stole from the leading man, who happens to be her boyfriend, and who once dated the bounty huntress and got her involved in dark magic. Oh, and Faust and the leading man are actually the same person.

What? My head hurts.

So perhaps all of this sounds fun, kind of like a Troll 2 without the odd European vibe. And at times it is. But the big difference here is that everyone is trying to be funny. Really trying. For example, at the very end, the Ghoulies actually wave to us and tell us to watch for the sequel, Ghoulies IV, Part 2.

Umm...unless it comes in a DVD 2-pack with Terror Train...I think this one will do.
TWO-AND-A-HALF FINGERS (One for each Ghoulie and a half for the "more worse" line)

8 comments:

  1. Fuck man, I never made it past Ghoulies 2... you are a braver man than me.

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  2. Monsters reading porn? I'm sold.

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  3. Johnny,
    I wouldn't call it brave. Stupid, maybe, but not brave. I am a little curious to see if part 1 is as insane as this one.

    Monsterscholar,
    I know...that shot of the Ghoulie reading "Playpen" magazine may be one of my favorite images in horror ever.

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  4. Ghoulies 1 is a trial of patience, I dont recommend it, but Ghoulies 2 is an all time full moon fav! Love the new banner, I have a sweet trip planned where Im switching houses with a family from Nilbog, should be fun

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  5. I have not seen this one in quite some time and I could only stomach one viewing. Saw Ghoulies 1 and 2 in the 80's but had enough and never wanted to see 3. Don't know why I watched this entry on cable. I think I was bored and drinking. It really blew. I'm glad you mentioned that "Ghoulies IV part 2" line because I remember hearing them say that in the end but didn't know if that was the Ghoulies talking or the Wild Turkey.

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  6. Carl! Don't do it! LOL.

    Billy- Do the mouths move on the Ghoulies, at least? Or, are they just stationary masks?

    This movie looks great. Love the review.

    JM

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  7. If I remember correctly, the Ghoulies don't talk. They are cheap puppets that make randon noises. These part 4 Ghoulies and the Ghoulies from 1 and 2 are polar opposites. When I first saw part IV, I was a little confused trying to figure out if those two were the Ghoulies or not.

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  8. Geof,

    Yeah...I was thinking the monsters in this movie looked a whole lot different than the Ghoulies pictured on the box for part 1.

    And I think "bored and drinking" is really the only way to watch this one.

    -Billy

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