Ghoulies (1985)

ghoulies poster 1985 movie
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 3/10
Visual: 4/10

Fun critters, creepy clown doll, tongue attack

No plot, poor acting, weak visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name: Ghoulies

Studio: Empire Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/Comedy/B-Movies

Release Date(s): March 2, 1985

MPAA Rating: PG-13


Oh no, little rubber puppets!

Jonathan Graves (Peter Liapis) has inherited his family home and sets out to rebuild it with his girlfriend Rebecca (Lisa Pelikan).  When Jonathan and his friends accidentally summon his father’s demons, Jonathan finds himself diving deeper and deeper into the dark world.  Malcolm Graves (Michael Des Barres) has returned to life and he wants his home and his demonic followers back under his control.

Directed by Luca Bercovici, Ghoulies (originally titled Beasties) was a low-budget horror film which received a lot of play in the early VHS market.  The movie was poorly received by critics but became a cult favorite partially due to the poster which featured a Ghoulie popping out of a toilet (which reportedly angered parent groups who claimed it scared their young children from wanting to use the toilet).


French kissing gone wrong!

I loved Ghoulies when I was a kid.  We had just gotten a VCR and the film was a semi-safe PG-13 which allowed me to get it.  The movie was an obvious stab at Gremlins’ popularity, but for the most part, took out the humor.  With a PG-13 rating, Ghoulies was a bit edgier than Gremlins, but that edginess did not translate into quality.

Plot-wise, Ghoulies makes virtually no sense…something I even recognized as a kid.  The story is all over the place and has no direction.  There are the Ghoulies themselves, which are minions of Malcolm Graves, there is random witchcraft like the living clown doll (a Poltergeist reference), and there are little people servants who seem almost like references to Phantasm (another movie which isn’t entirely logical).  The hodgepodge of a plot really goes no where…and then end up being completely negated at the end where everyone returns to life.


I don’t know what this clown has to do with anything or why it turns into a monster…but it is horrifying…

The obvious appeal of the film are the Ghoulies which are just little puppet creatures.  The designs are a bit grosser and scarier than Gremlins, but they also lack the realism that was created by Gremlins.  I find some of the other stuff in the film a bit eerier like the puppet man (which randomly transforms into a monster), the glowing eyes, the little assistants, and the classic tongue killing of “Dick”.

Ghoulies isn’t a very good picture, but it does feature the first film appearance of Mariska Hargitay as one of the friends and David Lynch long-time actor Jack Nance also has a role.  The movie is very laughable (for all ages), and despite its cult status and sequels, I could see this film eventually disappearing from most radars because it isn’t bad enough to be one of the worst movies ever made, but it isn’t good enough to really seek out for new viewers.  Ghoulies was followed by Ghoulies II in 1988.

Related Links:

Ghoulies II (1988)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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