The Ghoulies are back in Ghoulies II!!! MVD Entertainment’s Rewind Collection continues to take care of cult classics like this Charles Band-produced gem on Blu-ray filled with special features.
After watching Ghoulies, you were like; “Yeah, but if we can have more Ghoulies and set it within a Carnival/Circus, but with a lot more Ghoulies”. Then, Ghoulies II is going to be your jam.
I love Ghoulies II because it does exactly what Gremlins II: The New Batch does (but wouldn’t do for another three years, which makes Ghoulies II the film that Gremlins II STOLE FROM!!!) which gives us more monsters and more zany antics. By setting it in a Carnival ala Nightmare Alley and Freaks (stealing some plot points from both those Noir Classic) it allows for more time with the monsters.
The secret weapon of Ghoulies II isn’t the ghoulies but the one-of-a-kind character actor Royal Dano. Dano playing a down-on-his-luck four-time loser of a magician/carney Uncle Ned is flat-out amazing. The work is so sullen and sad but mixed in with the characteristically funny Dano spin gives us something elevated. The way that he tries to do his best but then after failure after failure allows himself to revel in his demons is the rare sort of elevated performance one hopes to see in a film like this, but rarely does.
Not to be outdone by Dano, Phil Fondacaro, is the film’s second MVP. Playing Sir Nigel Pennyweight another of the carneys and friend to Dano’s character. Pennyweight is a Royal Shakespeare actor who’s been relegated to this carnival because of his stature. Fondacaro gives the role the weight, empathy, and respect it deserves. The moment that the teenagers screw with him hits you harder than anything in the entire film. It’s because of Fondacaro’s work and just how great he is in this role with a surprising amount of depth.
I would be remiss if I did not say that Ghoulies II really kicks ass. In that, the ghoulies terrorize everyone and murder the a-holes that deserve it and the only way to stop them is to create a MEGA-GHOULIE to eat them all. So yes, this is not some sort of Awards Chasing drama about life at the Carnival but rather quite the opposite.
Yes, Ghoulies II is everything you want in a sequel to Ghoulies – more ghoulies, more kills, more ghoulies!!
The transfer of a 2K scan of the interpositive overseen by MGM is a delight. The transfer is a solid reproduction of the 35mm image. Though not as glorious as the native 4K transfer of the original film that was recently released by MVD but the transfer is as good as any of the transfers in the Arrow Video’s recent release Enter the Video Store Box Set (which covers many of the Charles Band-produced Empire Pictures films) and its film’s transfers. The image is sharp with a beautiful patina of active grain giving it the look of a freshly struck print. Bravo to MVD for making sure the mastering and authoring of this disc was exactly what fans want.
They include the following;
- Introduction by Screenwriter Dennis Paoli
- More Toilets, More Terror: The Making of Ghoulies II
- Under A Magic Moon: Interview with Dennis Paoli
- Deleted Scenes
- Photo Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
- 2-Sided Artwork
- Collectible Mini-Poster
- Limited Edition Slipcover (*FIRST PRESSING ONLY)
Introduction by Screenwriter Dennis Paoli (1:15) – a brief introduction from the screenwriter that rails against CG FX work over the practical FX work of the feature.
More Toilets, More Terror: The Making of Ghoulies II (16:50) – a companion piece to the making-of on the Ghoulies4K edition. This beautifully produced making-of covers all the bases, editing the various footage from the film, b-roll, and behind-the-scenes photos to take us through the film’s even wilder production than the first. They do cover some interesting points about the film like the production going to Italy and why, the carnival scenes were on a set, Italian extras and crew on the production, Charles Band’s father Allan directed the picture, and how many of the American actors felt like it was a vacation because of the Italian style of production, how they achieved the FX work, and much more. With comments by Producer Charles Band, actor Donnie Jeffcoat, actor Kerry Remsen, FX artist Gino Crognale, and others.
Under A Magic Moon: Interview with Dennis Paoli (33:36) – The archival interview with Paoli begins with his theories on what his specific task is as a screenwriter. Some of the other details covered during the interview include his time with Stuart Gordon in high school; his time at Second City – in Chicago; his time at the University of Wisconsin in the late 1960s; a conversation about his involvement with the protests at the Chicago National Convention in 1969; how Gordon and Paoli bonded over Lovecraft and comedian Jonathon Winters; his work on Gordon’s Reanimator; how he infused humor into the script as they developed Reanimator – a larger discussion about the closeness of horror and comedy; a discussion about writing both Spellcaster (another Empire Pictures production) and Ghoulies II – which leads to how each were developed very different; how Charles Band worked with filmmakers and development; a larger discussion about the difficulties of writing for Charles Band and the various scripts he had written – including the wild notion that he wrote the sequel without having seen Ghoulies both the movie and the creatures; and much more.
Deleted Scenes (2:43) – This is more consistent with the violence and gore that was cut to attain a PG-13 rating.
Photo Gallery – The still gallery consists of 22 behind-the-scenes photos, production stills, and poster art from the film. Unfortunately, you cannot navigate the gallery but you can pause any still for further inspection.
Theatrical Trailer (1:23)
The Final Thought
Get your popcorn ready. Ghoulies II delivers cult classic 80s horror-ness in the only way that Charles Band and Co. can. MVD has produced a wonderful Blu-ray edition. Highest Recommended!!!