• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Ghoulies

TITLE: Ghoulies

YEAR: 1985

GENRE: Horror

Before the invention of CGI many film makers attempted to create the monsters and space battles that we see on the multiplex screens every other week. Some of these were super successful such as the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, but for every one that looked spectacular there were ten or more movies that we could see the zipper in the back of the outfit or the strings suspending the spaceship in the stratosphere. That does not make the movies bad—especially when the technology existed—but it did add to the gag factor of some films. Unfortunately, many films solely relied on the effects and attached the poor effects to a lousy script. On that note, here we have Ghoulies, a poor excuse of a horror film that used little monsters to capitalize on the Gremlins craze of the same time.

A young man named Jonathon Graves (Peter Liapis) and his girlfriend move into a mansion that has a dark secret. The couple has a group of friends over to the house and holds a séance in the basement for laughs in between having sex and other drug and alcohol-soaked fun. The problem here is that the owner of the home has opened himself up for demonic possession, and he opens a portal from Hell in which pop the Ghoulies, miniature monsters with a penchant for blood and other mayhem. As the teenagers meet the wrath of the pint-sized hellions, they must find a way to stop Graves from controlling the demons and to save their own skin from the fury of the Ghoulies.

This is one of those films that must be watched while under some kind of intoxicant to be able to enjoy the movie and forgive so many of its deficiencies. First of all, the script is very poorly written and is just an excuse for sex, drugs, and bloodshed. There is nothing inheritantly wrong with that, but give us a story please. The characters also come across as wooden and dense, and the viewer does not get any real attachment to any of the teens in Ghoulies. The puppets used for the little demons look decent enough, so that is a major plus. The film is an obvious rip-off to the highly successful Joe Dante film Gremlins and does whatever it can to one-up that production by adding as much sex and blood as it can. The end result though is a cheapening of Ghoulies and as a result the viewer just can not take the production seriously. Speaking of endings, Ghoulies has one of the most unexpected yet stupid endings of all time and shows the viewer just how seriously this film can be taken.

Ghoulies is another film that gave a now-famous actress its first taste of the screen, in this case Mariska Hargitay who is now well known for the television hit “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”. Ghoulies was also a huge hit in its day, grossing $35 million in the United States alone and was a great return on its $1 million budget. Despite this, Ghoulies has not aged well as it is hopelessly stuck in the days of the drive-in and Mom and Pop video stores. Better writing would have made Ghoulies a better production and a more enjoyable viewing. If you decide to rent this make sure to kill some brain cells before hitting “play”. Also remember that if you enjoy this kind of torture that there are three sequels to delve into as well.

* *

–Mark

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