Thursday, January 7, 2010

Moon Over Miami: Ghoulies IV

In case you don't know him, I would like to introduce you to a man named Jim Wynorski. His big claim to fame: directed the sequels to films in which he did not make the original. Mind you, some people do this occasionally, but he did it a lot! This is the man behind Deathstalker II (originally by James Sbardelatti), 976 Evil 2: The Astral Factor (originally by Robert Englund), The Return of Swamp Thing (originally by Wes Craven), Big Bad Mama II (originally by Steve Carver) and Sorority House Massacre II (originally by Carol Frank). There is also today's film, which has been handled by three different men before Jim- Luca Bercovici, Charles Band and John Carl Buechler. I should also note that most of these movies series ended with Jim's films, but take that for what you will. The premise of this movie is that it is going to ignore II and III & make a sequel to the first film. The only problem is that they- once again- made shit up and changed the rules. So this is neither a true sequel nor a continuation of the last two films. Oh joy. Now that you know the story, let's jump right into...
Our story begins with a woman resembling Catwoman's cousin breaking into a warehouse. She quickly kills one guard with her judo skills and a second with a throwing star to the head. What is this- Revenge of the Ninja? She makes a ritual sacrifice using all of the guards she killed (about four or five) and summons a mysterious man in a cloak who tells her to get a tiny gem. Unfortunately for us, the spell also summons two ghoulies, at least they are supposed to be ghoulies. Rather than being puppets, these guys (only two this time) are midgets in Halloween masks in New York jive. What the hell happened to this series? We cut to a police detective, who looks like an older, grizzled version of the guy from the first Ghoulies. Actually, it is the same actor reprising his role, although he has gone from an aimless, lay-about wizard to a police detective in about ten years. Thanks, Keiser Career College! Faster than you can ask 'Why would you steal plot points from Trancers III,' a liquor store robbery breaks out & our hero stops it. He gets a talking-to from his police captain, who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend. This movie is going to get catty, isn't it?

As it turns out, the ghoulies in this film don't really do much. They hide out in the warehouse (by putting frames around their faces, no less) as the police investigate. The creatures recognize our hero, which is funny because nobody has ever seen you the hell before! I'm sorry, but I had to get that out of my system. In a complete non sequitur, a pair of plumbers that look like the characters from The Honeymooners show up, only to get killed by the evil woman. Thanks for that, movie. Dominatrix Barbie continues to look for the gem when she finds out about our hero being on the case. She figures that he could help her out. Mind you, her idea of getting him to her side is beating up his partner, possessing him and sending him to another dimension. No, this time it is not a euphemism for death. Surprisingly, he rejects her, but he does have the time for a prostitute girlfriend. Somewhere during all of this, the ghoulies save a girl from a mugger, steal some food and read porn. Hurray?

The movie finally gets around to explaining the reason for all of this. Basically, the crazy lady is an ex-girlfriend (another one?!?) of his who liked him in his wild, magical days & wants them back. Wait- is she supposed to be the girlfriend from Ghoulies? If so, she's, well, not. Anyhow, she is resurrected his dark side via magic- which is supposed to explain a plot point about him being tired all the time- and wants that version of him to be the real one. As such, she kidnaps our hero's current girlfriend, pressing the man and his EX-girlfriend to have to save the day. I know you're wondering about this, so I'll tell you that the ghoulies do about jack shit here. The man dumps her on the side of the road, however, and goes off alone...which leads her to follow him mere seconds later. Wow, that went nowhere. The detective manages to fight off a giant Asian man (not Bolo Yeung), but is sent to the other dimension. Thankfully, his lady shows up and instantly figures out how to use the magical gem to save the day. Score one point for you, convenient screen-writing. The day is saved, the real couple gets back together and even the nerdy partner gets hit on by a second-hand floozy. The ghoulies show up again and tell us to look for their tale in Ghoulies IV: Part 2. No thanks. The End.

This movie is not god, but it is also not the worst movie out there. No matter how bad his movies are, Jim Wynorski manages to make them bearable through sheer force of will. If you can resist his charms, however, you can see a film that pretends to be a part of the series when it really has jack-shit to do with it. It has the guy from Ghoulies and references it (even using stock footage), but just does not fit. The whole thing is built around referencing numerous events that apparently happened to our hero between the two movies. If you are so in love with them, why not set this movie DURING those events. It just feels like they were trying to get around introducing a brand new story in the FOURTH film by constantly referencing the past. It does not work, by the way. I honestly did not hate the ghoulies in this movie- I just don't think that they are ghoulies. I think they just wanted to make another Munchies films (why would you?) and just thought that this would sell better. Then again, the ghoulies were mostly just mute puppets, so why should I care? It's not a terrible movie. It's also not a Ghoulies movie.

Next on the agenda, my review for the Final Girl Film Club. Did they just get me to watch a good horror movie? Stay tuned...


  1. Ghoulies 4 is bad...real bad. like eye-gouging bad. I had no idea what the hell those two freaks were but they were not the Ghoulies I remember from the first three. And the Ghoulies 4 part 2 joke at the end was FAIL. Actually, everything was FAIL.

  2. I have to disagree here, SPM II and 976-EVIL Part Deux are both the epitomy of the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. Terrible. And yet.. I am still drawn to watch this one along with HOBGOBLINS 2..

  3. Anyone who willingly sees 'Hobgoblins 2' deserves what is coming to them. I say this as someone who has seen 'Hobgoblins 2.' I have nobody to blame but myself...and the director...and the cast...and his backers...and the entire format of DVD.

    As for Jim's films, I love 'The Return of the Swamp Thing' and 'Deathstalker II.' As for '976 Evil 2," I have yet to see the original. It's on my Queue, but has not moved up yet. I'm going to dive head-first back into '80s horror again soon and that is one of my top priorities.