I shut this one off 30 seconds in, after watching a group of 80's Satanists embarrass themselves. Two glasses of Syrah later, I was ready to give it another shot. Where to begin? Ok, how about the opening credits? They must have accounted for a third of the whole movie. It has that not scary, boppy choppy strings crap and then adds a harp to give it that E.T. otherworldly feel. Then it gets all intense again and continues. Every single person involved in this movie gets their name onscreen for at least a couple of seconds including Jack “Eraserhead” Nance. The plot (if there even was one) was gleefully made up it went along, with the likely goal of rushing it to the theaters while Gremlins-mania was still sweeping the nation.
Jonathon inherits a mansion with some dark secrets. As he spends more and more time practicing the dark arts, his marriage deteriorates. Finally Becky decides to leave when he starts chanting eerily during sex. To console himself, he summons two evil midgets to do his dirty work – Gristle and Gritty Gut. Their presence spices things up.
The ghoulies themselves make their first appearance somewhere around this time and after careful consideration, I decided that I like them. I was under the impression that there would be hundreds of the little monsters wreaking havoc when really the ghoulies are just a rag-tag team of seven or eight mischievous puppets. I warmed up to them pretty quickly and gave some of them names: Donkey Kong Jr, Green Fetus, Cat Ghoul and Elderly Penis. They don’t really have a clear agenda but it involves laughing, killing and popping out of toilets.
Unfortunately, the ghoulies are only supporting characters in a larger, lamer story. Jonathon summons a power-hungry spirit that looks suspiciously like Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates fame. Jack Nance returns at the end apparently to rid himself of excess self-respect. He and Daryl Hall exchange eye lazers and they both blow up. If it sounds idiotic that’s only because it is. In the end, everything is back to normal except that the ghoulies hit the road, possibly in search of a sequel.