Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ghoulies II (1987)

Directed by:
Albert Band

Veteran character actor Royal Dano ("Go back to the hell that spawned you!") is Uncle Ned, a sweaty old drunk who operates a spook house called "Satan's Den" at a traveling carnival with his teen grandson Larry (Damon Martin) and dwarf Sir Nigel (Phil Fondacaro). When an asshole businessman (J. Downing) takes over and threatens to close them down, Ned uses a satanic book of magic to call up five little mutant monsters (gator, cat, rat, fish, bat) to help with business. They do, but naturally being the mischievous little demons they are, can't help themselves in the killing department as characters bite it with a pendulum, switchblade, carnival ride, electric wires, bumper cars and other toned-down PG-13 silliness. A larger monster that looks like a rejected extra from HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP shows up at the end to burp and explode. Dennis Poali's script attempts to create sympathetic characters and it’s a slight improvement over the first film, but there's too much juvenile humor and other than some brief stop-motion, the creature FX are cheap rubbery puppets. Also in the cast are Kerry Remsen, Dale Wyatt, Sasha Jenson, Starr Andreeff and William Butler. And if you recognize names like Mickey Knox, Romano Puppo and Anthony Dawson, it's because this was, surprisingly enough, filmed in Rome.


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