Ghoulies II (1988)

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A band of demonic creatures raise hell at a carnival in this sequel to the 1985 cult classic.

Larry Parrish is an aspiring magician who is traveling with his uncle Ned as they are set to bring their haunted house Satan’s Den to the small town of Greenville. En route, their radiator busts and they have to go to a garage to try to get it fixed before it’s too late. While they are taking a look, five mysterious creatures, the Ghoulies, have emerged and decide to hitch a ride on the truck. The next day, the carnival crew learns that businessman and accountant Philip Hardin plans to shut down any attraction that’s not selling. Satan’s Den is one of those attractions.

When two kids enter Satan’s Den, one is at first unimpressed until they meet one of the Ghoulies. Soon enough, Satan’s Den becomes one of the biggest attractions at the carnival. However, the Ghoulies do like a good bloodletting and they also begin maiming and killing within the haunted house. Soon enough, things go too far when Ned is killed by the Ghoulies and Hardin attempts to cover it up due to his alcoholism. Larry, along with friend Nigel and love interest Nicole, who is a belly dancer at one of the other attractions, must find a way to stop the Ghoulies, especially when they escape Satan’s Den and into the public.

1985’s Ghoulies is considered a cult classic from the mind of Luca Bercovici with the great Charles Band producing. Three years later, the creatures are back and this time, they are taking over a haunted house within a carnival. This is actually a fun sequel that at one point, was going to amp up the blood, but ultimately, they settled for a PG-13 rating, perhaps to get a wider audience and to capitalize on the PG-13 hit film Critters. While there is some bloodletting in this sequel, it still holds well and can be somewhat of a standalone as well as serving as a sequel.

Damon Martin makes for a pretty good lead role in Larry, an aspiring magician who has enough problems on his hands, from dealing with his alcoholic uncle Ned (played by horror film veteran Royal Dano) and the fact that he may lose the attraction due to poor sales on account of the “scumbag” of the film, J. Downing’s Philip Hardin. While Dano, who is also known for his roles in House II: The Second Story and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, spends most of the film as a drunken has-been, his character does prove to be vital when it comes to potentially learning how to stop the Ghoulies.

Phil Fondacaro, a little person who along with Warwick Davis, made a name for himself in the 80s, is great as Nigel, Larry’s friend who loves quoting Shakespeare and becomes a major piece of the puzzle during the film’s final act. Kerry Remsen, who plays love interest Nicole, has quite a past that proves to be vital when necessary. This brings a nice twist to the story where it breaks a subconscious notion that Nicole would be a damsel in distress. There are some potential victims in the form of some teen toughs led by Jon Maynard Pennell’s Bobby as well as the final act, in which the Ghoulies emerge from the haunted house to wreaking havoc all over the carnival. And one can’t help but cheer when one victim who deserves his comeuppance gets his the only way one can hope.

Ghoulies II is a fun sequel that can even serve somewhat of a standalone film, with some pretty fun monsters, some bloodletting, and a final act that is both wild and at times unpredictable.

WFG RATING: B

Empire Pictures presents a Taryn Pictures production. Director: Albert Band. Producer: Albert Band. Writer: Dennis Paoli; story by Charlie Dolan; based on characters created by Luca Bercovici. Cinematography: Sergio Salvati. Editing: Barry Zetlin.

Cast: Damon Martin, Royal Dano, Phil Fondacaro, Kerry Remsen, J. Downing, Jon Maynard Pennell, Sasha Jenson, Starr Andreeff, William Butler, Donnie Jeffcoat, Christopher Burton, Mickey Knox, Dale Wyatt, Romano Puppo, Ames Morton.

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