Sunday, October 29, 2006

Horror Fest Day Three:"They're Coming to Get You, Barbara" Night of the Living Dead (1990)

When the hoopla about Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake was in full force, somehow the fact that Night of the Living Dead had already been remade (and, in another version, considerably altered) by the time Dawn hit theaters. With another remake of NOTLD on the way (in 3D, no less), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at Tom Savini's take on Romero's first big movie.

It's clear that Savini knows his relationship with Romero is front and center in the remake and footage of George visiting the set only serves to remind us that the two are inextricably linked in the horror world. While Savini doesn't radically alter the storyline of NOTLD, he makes some telling changes, ones that reflect both the era and advances in special effects.

Night of the Living Dead, in 1990 as in 1968, is still the story of Barbara, Ben, Tom, Judy, and the Coopers, but the focus from original to remake shifts, altering the fates of most of the characters. Gone is the shellshocked Barbara, unable to cope with the death of her brother Johnny. When Ben hits her in the remake, she switches gears and becomes a survivalist, not unlike Francine in Dawn of the Dead or Sarah in Day of the Dead. In fact, Barbara goes from being a victim to a survivor by the end of the film, recognizing finally that "they're us", when she returns with the militia to the farmhouse stronghold.

It is Ben who dies and returns as a zombie, and instead of killing Cooper, Ben is instead his victim, leaving Barbara to execute a very much alive Harry Cooper in cold blood the following morning. But this is not the only adjustment to the original.

Shooting in color is only logical in 1990, so it's safe to leave that out. However, having Tom Savini as your director means that the maestro behind Dawn and Day's effects available to adjust the zombie menace, changing mere makeup effects to full on gore tricks. Instead of implied hits, we see Johnny's skull crack against the tombstone, and watch Ben and Barbara beat zombies to death with crowbars. It's also important to note, in light of the Snyder remake, that the graveyard zombie in the NOTLD remake runs, not shuffles, after Barbara's car. Only later do they begin to shuffle, so running zombie gripers need to redirect their blame a little bit. Snyder didn't do it without precedent.

Savini's remake of Night isn't perfect (the hitting effects are quite cheap looking and Barbara's shift a little too quick) but what it lacks in certain areas it makes up for in its cast. Savini brings in a group of genre regulars, recognizable but not distracting, to fill in these now classic roles. Having people like Tom Towles (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), Tony Todd (Candyman), William Butler (Friday the 13th: The New Blood), and Bill Moseley (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2) in your cast doesn't hurt in the horror community, and adds a little credence to the often derided subgenre of remakes.

Savini's Night of the Living Dead is no substitution for Romero's, nor is Snyder's Dawn of the Dead. Instead, they're different enough to still be interesting, alternate takes of a world we're familiar with. Whether Steve Miner's Day of the Dead Remake is successful or not remains to be seen, but when discussing the remake trend, we shouldn't forget this sixteen year old "reimagining", but step back and realize the tendency to remake is not merely a recent trend.

Horror Fest 2006 Day Three: Re-Animator

After the cinematic feast that is the Jeeper Creeper, it only seemed right to test Adam's true loathing of Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator, a movie he rented the same day as Castle Freak (also a Stuart Gordon flick) and recalled hating. So, in the spirit of fairness, he decided to revisit this gem from the eighties gorezone and see if the antics of Herbert West and Daniel Cain were as awful as he remembered.

By his memory, Adam quickly realized this was not the movie he'd seen so many years ago. When we got to the reanimated cat scene, he said "none of this is ringing a bell", but while the none corpse segments limped along somewhat, the strictly black comedy of the angry undead more than made up for it. That, and the main villain, Dr. Hill, bears a stunning resemblence to John Kerry, which made Adam laugh even harder.

Of course, that's not the only thing about Re-Animator that's going to remind you of something. The score is unmistakably stolen from Psycho, and to call it original would be akin to saying a Puff Daddy song from 1998 was totally new music. It's almost impossible to miss the main theme from Psycho during the opening credits, and it pops up repeadetly amidst the synth-gurgles elsewhere in the movie.

But Re-Animator holds up. Jeffrey Combs is certifiably creepy as Herbert West, and the kills are inventive and disgusting, including the presumed demise of West near the end (where he's sucked into Hill's headless body with intestines), and the "giving head" scene is still sufficiently fucked up, twenty years later.

I can't speak for Bride of Re-Animator, but Beyond Re-Animator works on a much more broadly disgusting way, and I'm excited by the premise of House of Re-Animator, which focuses on Dr. West and Dr. Cain being called into the White House to help preserve the illusion the President isn't dead. William H. Macy is in it too, hopefully as the President. I can't wait.

Horror Fest Day Three: B Eating U: Jeepers Creepers 2

To be quite blunt, I fucking hated Jeepers Creepers.

When it started, I had the sneaking suspicion it was going to be a Texas Chain Saw Massacre kind of retread, and for a while, it seemed like that's exactly what would happen.

And then the monster shows up, and suddenly I wish it had been a Chain Saw ripoff.

The premise was interesting, but to be honest, it was more interesting than the movie itself. Watching two kids running around and exposition getting shoehorned in wherever possible really killed the possibility of being engaged in the movie, even after we knew why the Jeeper Creeper wanted the boy. And the ending was just stupid; I mean, okay, I get it, you kill the hero, good for you, no eyeballs, Jeeper Creeper wins, movie over.

So needless to say I was in no hurry to see the second one. What changed my mind was a phone call from my at the time roommate, who'd just seen it with an audience (not just an audience, "that" audience, the mythical congregation of just the right people with just the right movie), and he told me about one scene, where the Jeeper Creeper is hanging upside down outside a bus, and choosing which members of the disposable teen brigade inside that he's going to eat.

But the Jeeper Creeper doesn't just look at them. When he picks one, he winks, or smiles suggestively, or, my personal favorite, he gives them the one hand "gun click" point. And that alone sold me. The Jeeper Creeper was actually a character, and not some faceless spectre out to eat kids.

The kids aren't important in this movie at all. Even the "psychic" character, who exists only to give these walking sacrifices information that the audience already knows, only gets two scenes. Everyone else is a walking stereotype: the "is he or isn't he gay" player, the pinnings of racism white dude, the three black guys, the nerdy team manager, the tough bus driver, the jock just waiting to get his head pulled off. They're all there, on a bus, waiting to get picked off on the last day of the Jeeper Creeper's 23 day feeding festival.

But this time, we get an Ahab to follow, and it's Leland fucking Palmer! That's right, Ray Wise is some farmer who happens to have a foundry in his barn, and when his youngest son becomes Jeeper Creeper food, he builds himself a harpoon gun and goes a-hunting. This is useful, because a running Jeeper Creeper is pretty boring, but since he can now fly, we have ourselves a ball game, folks.

You can probably tell by the way I keep calling him the Jeeper Creeper that I don't take this movie too seriously, but there are enough outlandish set pieces to keep things going, and the movie doesn't waste time with exposition. That bus is on the ground in twenty minutes, and the Jeeper Creeper is taunting and pulling his head off and eating ASAP.

If you find yourself ever wondering "should I check out Jeepers Creepers?" the answer is no. Drop the zero and make with the hero, and that's Jeepers Creepers 2.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Horror Fest Day Two: Slither

We got off to a really late start (great party though), and as a result nobody had energy to watch more than one movie, so we decided to give Slither the glory slot.

Slither is the kind of movie that I figured they just couldn't make these days; yes, it's little bit like Evolution, but the gross factor is amped way up... think Monster Squad meets Night of the Demons, with a little bit of Squirm for good measure.

This is a space slug movie, but just as quickly it becomes a zombie movie, and then throws in some From Beyond shit near the end, but all the while keeping the funny in healthy doses, thanks in large part to the cast. Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, Jenna Fischer, and Michael Rooker are there to deliver good one liners (especially Fillion) but it never strikes you as "Wink wink" stuff, just something their character would do or say.

It has some strange parallels with Feast, due mostly to their mutual fascination with alien bodily fluids, but it plays to a much more conventional structure than the "anything goes" Feast. This movie could easily play in a double feature with something like Real Genius or Killer Klowns from Outer Space (well, what movie can't play in a double feature with Killer Klowns?)

At any rate, if you like your gross-out a little less gratuitous and your humour a little more balanced, check out Slither. It's a nice throwback to eighties horror comedies, and isn't quite as anarchic as Feast. Not better or worse, just different.

Horror Fest Day Two: “Live or die, your choice” SAW

The cult of SAW loves them. The rest of the world hates them. Some call it "reactionary horror", or horror with no redeeming social value, and therefore not worthy of discussing or even of giving credence to.

I hadn't seen Saw since the first time at The Grande three years ago, but I remembered liking it well enough. The traps were clever and the premise interesting: a killer who allowed his victims to do the murdering themselves. The structure judiciously doles out information, which keeps you guessing, or, if you're watching the second time, paying attention.

Mostly I picked it up because I didn't realize Michael Emerson was in it (he plays Zep in the movie). Many of you know Emerson as "Henry Gale" or Benjamin Linus on Lost, so I thought it would be interesting to rewatch it. And it was worth rewatching.

It's not a great movie, or without its flaws (Cary Elwes's accent drops more often than Keanu Reeves's in The Devils Advocate, and there are logic gaffes about) but in the end I have to say that even so-called reactionary horror can be enjoyed on a strictly entertainment level, so if the academics choose to dismiss it, then so be it.

I haven't seen Saw III yet, but I really didn't enjoy the second movie: I thought the acting was uniformly terrible, even if the traps were interesting, and while the twist was interesting enough (Amanda, not the surveillance), overall I just didn't feel it.

Off to a party for a few hours, then more company arrives. In the meantime, there's some MST3K playing on the VCR, just waiting for my return...

Horror Fest Day Two: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

When Paramount decided they needed to kill of Jason Vorhees once and for all (the first time), they did it right, bringing back Tom Savini to finish the job he started with Friday the 13th.

The movie begins with a nice recap of the first three Friday movies, hitting plot points and showing off the best kills from each one (including the Betsy Palmer decapitation) and then picks up right where part three left off, with Jason "dead" in the barn from a machete to the head. The cops bag him, tag him, and take him to the hospital.

But of course, this is the beginning of the movie, not the end, so Jason can't be dead. And to make sure, we need to see him dispatch some horny hospital workers and escape unseen from wherever the hell this hospital is. Where to? Crystal Lake, of course.

This time we're on the non-camp side of the lake, though, near a cabin and its nearby rental house, where our prerequisite stock cast of idiot teenagers have just arrived, fresh for the slaughter. Now, we know we're off to a good start when we see Crispin "Dead Fuck" Glover (and his wicked hot dance moves), but then we get the skinny dip twins and some useless hunter free of charge! What luck!!!

Jason dispatches them in varying degrees of awesomeness (including but not limited to: hatchet in the chest, knife in the back of the head, implied dog homocide, thrown into car so hard it explodes, and speargun to the junk) and then moves on to the family renting the house out and their quaint (and window loaded) cabin, the Jarvises.

Now, we can't talk about Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter without discussing little Corey Feldman is Tommy Jarvis, a boy ingenious enough to sneak into Tom Savini's workshop and steal all of his gags. Young Tommy also spies some teenagers getting it on, and a whole mass of people skinny dipping. (Between this, The Goonies, and The Lost Boys, is it any wonder this kid ended up so screwed up?)

Tommy is mostly around to give us something other than dead teenagers, hitchhikers, dogs, and parents to look at, until the end of the film, where he goes bat shit crazy, shaves his head, and kills the shit out of Jason. And I mean that.

There's a nice little coda implying that the trauma of what Tommy did may drive him to be like Jason, but for Mr. Vorhees, this is the end of the line... right?

Well, since this is part four and there are (to date) ten Jason movies, I think you can figure it out, but The Final Chapter does mark the last time we see Jason as mutant survialist killer. From here on out he's either a copycat killer or Zombie Jason, who isn't good at absorbing damage but is instead just undead, and accordingly doesn't feel pain. For that, and many other layers of awesomeness (and "Dead Fuck" Glover substituting for a door) Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter, is a high water mark for the series.

I'm going to fit in one more movie here and then it's off to a Halloween party for a while (don't worry, there's still going to be a VHS playing so I can come back to movies) but later tonight, you can expect updates on Slither, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, A Taste for Flesh and Blood 2, Hostel, and, if you're lucky, Chopping Mall.

Horror Fest Day Two:"okay, ramblers..." From Dusk Till Dawn

I have a theory why From Dusk Till Dawn wasn't given a kind reception when it came out, and it has a lot to do with the way Dimension marketed the film. FDTD is the kind of movie where you shouldn't come in knowing it's a vampire movie. It's like knowing Marion Crane dies in Psycho; the expectation outweighs the experience, and as a result, people got bored during the first hour of FDTD.

Why? Because every ad made it clear that this was a vampire movie, and the first hour is nothing more than a crime film. Because we're anticipating vampire action, all of the tension at the border is nonexistent, all of the build up about Richie (Tarantino) and Kate (Juliette Lewis) is irrelevant. We know what kills people, and it's those damn vampires, so make with it.

Tarantino and Rodriguez have gone on record stating they wish that the movie had been marketed as a crime flick, so when Salma Hayek turns for the first time at the hour mark, the movie has its "what the fuck!?" moment, instead of "well, it's about time!" Imagine you didn't know you were watching a horror movie, and suddenly the Titty Twister goes crazy with vampires. That's the kind of movie they were shooting for.

Still, for people who want to see their test run for Grindhouse, From Dusk Till Dawn is a great example of a couple of A-Listers making a B movie, complete with B movie faces (Michael Parks, John Saxon, Fred Williamson), plus giving Cheech Marin three parts in one movie, and turning almost everyone into a vampire so they can kill and be killed in the most gruesome fashion.

Which isn't to say the crime half of the movie is a wash. The opening liquor store scene is executed perfectly, building and building until there's nowhere left to go but to blow it all up. Tarantino keeps the pop culture schtick to a minimum, and instead gives you the kind of macho bullshit you'd expect from a thief and a psychopath who kidnap a minister and his family. The way Rodriguez handles the reveal of the bank teller's death, by giving us quick flashes and forcing the audience to decide what happened to her is much more disturbing than the over the top gore later in the film.

And, most importantly, it ends the way a good B movie is supposed to; Seth (Clooney) goes his way, and Kate goes hers. Sure, she wants to go to El Ray with him, but as Seth puts it:

"I may be a bastard, but I'm not a fucking bastard."

…and the he speeds off. As she leaves, we get one last shot of the bar, giving a nice sense of scope to The Titty Twister's modus operandi.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is on TCM right now, but I think I'm going to pop in something else. You'll know what when I'm done with it...

Horror Fest Day One: The Wicker Man

I scarcely remember watching The Wicker Man last night. I know I did, although I may have been in and out of consciousness while I was watching it, but it did leave strange imprints on my groggy brain.

The songs are certainly stranger when you're a little loopy, in particular Britt Ekland's temptress dance. The sense of dread is still palpable on me, but how much of that was the X-Files and how much was the last ten minutes of The Wicker Man, I am unsure.

That being said, I do think that it's better to watch Robin Hardy's little ode to pagans in the wee hours than with sunlight pouring into the room, as I did the first time I saw it. And I can't fathom the remake working at all.

Up next... haven't decided. MST3K's keeping the VCR warm in the other room, but I'll choose a movie proper shortly. Expect my first reaction to Slither later tonight.

Horror Fest Day One: Feast / Zim / X-Files

I just wrapped up a back to back to back freak out fest, starting with Feast, a movie I hadn't seen at all heading into this marathon.

Feast is funny, and very violent. This is the kind of movie that plays gleefully with conventions, but not in a way that's grating or obnoxious. It also knows when to pile on the humour and when to pile on the grue, which it delivers in abundance. Also, there's a certain chaotic effect to the sheer number of people killed off in the first fifteen minutes of the movie that leaves you uncertain of what the hell John Gulager is going to do. That and you get to see Jason Mewes get his face ripped off. And what a Henry Rollins battering ram would look like, but only after putting him in pink sweat pants.

The monsters are used sparingly, rarely giving you a good look until near the end, and the disgusting transformation of Judah Frielander's character really is both sickening and hilarious.

Feast is also wise not to overstay its welcome, running less than ninety minutes of actual film, and when it starts to drag, things pick up quickly. This is definitely worth checking out, and if you watched this season of Project Greenlight, you'll be amazed at how well this turned out.

After that, we watched Invader Zim episode "Dark Harvest", which accomplishes in 12 minutes what many ninety minute movies strain to do, which create, sustain, and pay off suspense. Animated suspense, no less. And it's still replete with Jhonen Vasquez humour. The basic plot is that Zim is afraid he will be discovered for not having human organs, so he reasons that the more organs he has, the more human he is. Dib tries desperately to stop Zim, and then finally to not fall victim to him, bringing about the most suspensful use of a bird since Hitchcock.

After that we watched what may be the most disturbing episode of the X-Files to ever air: "Die Hand Die Verlezt", a show from season two that was so creepy that Fox refused to air it again for almost five years. In addition to dealing with devil worship, the episode hits on teenage suicide, pedophilia, snakes eating humans, and a pig dissection that comes to life.

The episode itself is about a small town in New Hampshire whose town leaders worship the devil, but in recent years have taken their power for granted, only to have the Devil appear to enact vengeance for their transgressions. And Mulder and Scully are right in the middle of it. I'd honestly forgotten just how disturbing it is to watch, and I can only imagine how people felt in 1994/5 when it first aired.

I'm going to try to keep this going and watch The Wicker Man, because we're in the midst of the twilight hours and after that episode I'm really quite prepared to go the next step in strange and transgressive film experience, so if you don't get the review right away, I promise it'll be up tomorrow before the next batch pops up.

Horror Fest Day One: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys is pure 1980's cheeseball, as only Joel Schumacher can deliver it. The soundtrack is full of music you'll only hear in the eighties, even if it's songs from the sixties and seventies, and since almost everyone's career is DOA now (except of course for Vampire Jack Bauer), The Lost Boys is a kind reminder of the good old days when Jason Patric and Corey Haim were cool.

And you could get away with having a Rob Lowe poster in your room. And were a guy.

There's a lot more I could say about The Lost Boys, but it's time to watch Feast, and that is far more crucial.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Horror Fest Day One: Treehouse Of Horror I-V

I just watched the first five Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Episodes, joined by Tom, who has them pretty much memorized.

To help jog your memory, the break down as followed

Treehouse of Horror:
1. Bad Dream House - the segment where the Simpsons buy a haunted house above and Indian Burial Ground, and when faced with the decision to live with the Simpsons, the house implodes.
2. Hungry are the Damned - The first episode with Kodos and Kang, as well as James Earl Jones as the Preparer, who's name would require the removal of your tongue. A fun twist on "To Serve Man"
3. The Raven - Edgar Allen Poe meets Homer Simpson. Narrated by James Earl Jones

Treehouse of Horror II
1.The Monkey's Paw - Notable not only for the adaptation of the Monkey's Paw story, but also the episode where Kodos and Kang are defeated by a board with a nail in it.
2. It's a Good Bart - The Twilight Zone episode about the little boy with mind powers goes Simpsons. Features perhaps the most outlandish prank phone call of the series.
3. Robot Homer, or the Man with Two Burns - Homer gets fired and ends up as the brain in Mr. Burns's robot, and then ends up with Burns grafted to his head.

Treehouse of Horror III
Opens with a warning, but instead of Marge, Homer comes in to an Alfred Hitchcock Presents homage.
1. Killer Krusty Doll - The Talking Tina episode of the Twilight Zone, notable for both the Bottomless Pit (and naked Whoopi Goldberg pictures), but the "Evil" switch on the Krusty Doll
2. King Homer - A pretty faithful retelling of King Kong, but much shorter and with Homer eating everyone.
3. Dial "Z" for Zombies - Bart tries to raise Snowball I from the grave, and instead unleashes, and Homer gets to kill Zombie Flanders ("He was a zombie?")

Treehouse of Horror IV
featuring Night Gallery inspired introductions
1. The Devil and Homer Simpson - Homer deals his soul for a forbidden doughnut. Featuring a not dead yet Richard Nixon in the jury of the damned, and Flanders as The Devil.
2. Nightmare at 5 1/2 Feet - Bart and the Gremlin recreate classic Shatner Twilight Zone action. With decapitated
Flanders and Joy Joy Candies (Mit Iodine)
3. Bart Simpson's Dracula - Mr. Burns is the head Vampire.... or is he??? Featuring Happy Super Fun Slide and "Yes, I'm a Vampire by Montgomery Burns (Foreword by Steve Allen)"
episode ends with a Charlie Brown Christmas joke

Treehouse of Horror V
featuring an Outer Limits opening
1. The Shinning - "Don't you mean Shining?" "Shhh! Do you want to get sued?" "Urge to kill fading...fading....RISING... fading." "Strange, the blood usually gets off on the second floor." "No TV and No Beer make Homer something something..." you get the idea.
2. Time and Punishment - For people who want to see how "A Sound of Thunder" should've come out. Homer becomes the second non-Brazilian to travel through time. Willie gets an axe in the back. again.
3. Nightmare Cafeteria - The faculty gets a taste for students, but surely something will save the Simpson children....
Like a fog that turns people's skin inside out!

Horror Fest Day One: Alligator People


Filmed in glorious Cinemascope, and black and white.

The Alligator People is more of a mystery than a horror movie, and structured accordingly. We start out with a patient under hypnosis at a psychiatric facility, who weaves a strange and terrifying tale:

Paul and Joyce Webster are newlyweds, taking a train to their honeymoon. Paul was a military pilot who was almost killed in a plane crash, but miraculously survived. Paul receives a telegram, and abruptly gets of the train at a quick stopover. Joyce has no idea why her new husband left, but follows a trail of clues to the Bayou Country, where she finds snakes, radioactive crates, and a drunken Lon Chaney Jr. (with hook, no less)

Chaney hates alligators (this is important) but agrees to take her to the Cypress Plantation, where old Widow Hawthorne locks her in a guest room and then goes to scheme with the mysterious Dr. Sinclair.

Somehow, Joyce gets out, and snoops downstairs, only to find a mystery man playing the piano! Who could it be???

The next morning, Joyce demands answers, and Old Widow Hawthorne and Dr. Sinclair cave; it's Paul. Or, more correctly, Half Paul / Half Alligator (or, as I like to call him, Paulligator). That night, Paulligator sneaks back into the house, only to spy Joyce and run off into the swamp.

Joyce pursues, but is nearly eaten by normal alligators, and then almost ravaged by a Drunken Lon Chaney Jr, until Paulligator comes to the rescue. Then it's time to come totally clean, so Dr. Sinclair explains that he used Alligator glands to heal critically wounded patients, only to discover they became half human / half alligators (I have no good one for this), but he thinks by exposing Paulligator to direct Cobalt Radiation that he can heal him, so they all agree to try it.

Of course, Chaney shows up and screws things up, and in the process gets that hook of his stuck to a live wire, but not before turning Paulligator from half and half to mostly alligator, including a rubber alligator head. The lab explodes, killing everyone but Joyce and Paulligator, who run into the swamp.

Paulligator, unable to cope with this existensial crisis, wrestles some alligators and then drowns in quicksand. The end.

The Alligator People tries very hard to be a serious film about science gone amuck, but when you have Lon Chaney Jr in the twilight of his career (and literally drunk) and a lead character that sounds like Karl from Sling Blade, you can only get so serious.

That being said, it's only 77 minutes long.

Gotta go, I hear Treehouse of Horror Episodes in the background...

Horror Fest Day One: Ghoulies 2

While I'm waiting for people to arrive, I popped in 28 Days Later, but of course the dvd player didn't want to work with that disc, so instead, I fired up Ghoulies 2, a gem from that glorious decade of horror, the eighties (the same eighties that brought us Monster Squad, Return of the Living Dead, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.)

Ghoulies 2 starts out with a little truck labeled DEN OF SATAN, which turns out to be a carnival ride, but when we see it, it's a truck. Quicker than you can say "presto change-o", some drunk kid's uncle is talking about how much fuller the moon is, and then the radiator starts acting up.

This is our preamble to the credits, and thereby the two most important things we need to know about Ghoulies 2:

1. It's a Charles Band production (later of Full Moon Pictures, the company behind Puppet Master, Castle Freak, and The Dead Hate the Living)

2. The Ghoulies were created by John Carl Buechler (he who directed Friday the 13th Part Seven and was like the third ranked effects guy in the eighties behind fledgling KNB and Tom Savini)

But what is a movie about Demonic Puppets without a little Satan Worshipping??? After staring at the fuller moon for a while, we see this guy who looks like Leonard Nimoy running with a sack full of kittens (or is it... Ghoulies?), escaping the woods with three guys in red cloaks and blue jeans in warm pursuit.

Lucky for the old guy (and us), there's an abandoned gas station with a conveniently unlocked door, and an even more convenient open barrel of solvent which is labeled "EXTREMELY TOXIC" (I'm not kidding), for him to drop those demonic kitties into. (The Devil Worshippers just kind of give up chasing him and go home)

But the Ghoulies have better plans, and after dispatching that Leonard Nimoy looking motherfucker, they sneak into the also conveniently unlocked SATAN'S DEN truck, and off to the circus we go.

We, the audience, know things are going to get whacky and wild, because Ghoulies are only about two feet tall and look like baby gremlins, or rats, or in one instance, a cat, and generally don't seem to do anything but make mischief and stab people with razors and knives left about by some errant carny.

Speaking of carnies, I'd be remiss not to mention midget Danny Trejo (or is it midget Gallagher? The world may never know) and the strong man, who delivers bon mots such as this:

Girl destined to be attacked: "Have you seen my little muffy?"
Strong Man: "Who hasn't?"

Oh, those crazy carnies...

But SATAN'S DEN is in trouble because it isn't making any money, and the stock jerkoff eighties Yuppie guy tells them it's going to close in sixteen hours. But when some idiot teenagers and two eleven year olds go into the spook house, those whacky Ghoulies destroy their jukebox and hurl snot at them! Hilarity!!!

Somehow, two eleven year olds convince every teenager at the carnival to buy tickets for SATAN'S DEN, and you can see where this is going. What hijinks will those Ghoulies pull now? How drunk can the Great Fausto really get? Will the sleazy yuppie get the girl, or will the earnest but mullet sporting young hero?

All this and so much more! Ghoulies 2 may never actually be mistaken for a horror movie, but damn if it isn't a hoot.