Following 1984’s Ghoulies, there was a four-year wait for the eventual sequel. Seeing the return of the crazed critters (no, not those Critters), this time the action takes place on an amusement park, specifically the Satan’s Den haunted house attraction. Having been mistaken as being merely part of the show, it doesn’t take long before the Ghoulies start to cause chaos and carnage as the once-dying attraction’s newly-discovered scare-tastic reputation starts to bring in the big crowds.
Whilst the Ghoulies themselves do get more of the spotlight here than in the first movie, that’s not to say that they’re the be-all and end-all of the film. As mentioned, Satan’s Den is on its last legs when the film opens, and it’s down to Larry (Damon Martin) and his Uncle Ned (Royal Dano) to try and save the attraction from the clutches of the no-good carnival owner, Hardin (J. Downing), who is eager to bin any attraction that isn’t making any money. Not content with being a greasy, dislikeable yuppie kind of guy, he ups the stakes in the utter-b*stard ranks by constantly trying to get into the pants of Larry’s other half, Nicole (Kerry Remsen). Oh, and there’s a dwarf, too, for we all know that any amusement park worth its cinematic salt seemingly has to have at least one small fella as part of the show. Known as Sir Nigel (Phil Fondacaro), he’s also none too fond of the slimy Hardin. But with the Ghoulies pulling in the big bucks for Satan’s Den, it’s only a matter of time before blood is spilled and just desserts are handed out.
In terms of the Ghoulies franchise, Ghoulies II is likely the best of the bunch bar the original. Does that mean that it’s actually any good, though? Unfortunately, a lot of this sequel is about as cringe-worthy as watching your dad dance at a wedding or seeing your mate fail miserably with their advances to the opposite sex. That’s not to say that it isn’t still fun to watch at times, however. The acting is horrendous for the most part, with Phil Fondacaro putting in the best performance here. Everyone else though is as wooden and solid as someone who’s overdosed on Viagra. Let’s just say, subtlety, charisma and chemistry were clearly not a necessity when Ghoulies II was being put together in the late-80s. At least the Ghoulies themselves are relatively fun, though, with them hopping on the bumper cars and enjoying the rest of the amusement park that they’d hiding out in. Although, we guess it’s not really hiding if you’re out in clear daylight on a bumper car… but we digress.
Ghoulies II is very much a film of its time, and even taken in that context it’s not a particularly good film of its time. The majority of the cast are plain awful, the plot is paper thin, there aren’t actually any real scares, and the dialogue is embarrassing, but at least there’s Ghoulies with guns and a few fun scenes that can just about be enjoyed for laughs.
GHOULIES II / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ALBERT BAND / SCREENPLAY: DENNIS PAOLI / STARRING: DAMON MARTIN, ROYAL DANO, J. DOWNING, PHIL FONDACARO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW