Horror Digital  

Go Back   Horror Digital > Reviews > DVD Reviews A-M

Latest Poll
What's your favorite Christopher Lee Horror Performance?
Count Dracula
Dacula AD 1972
Dracula Has Risen From the Grave
Dracula: Prince of Darkness
Horror Express
Horror Hotel
Horror of Dracula
Howling II
Rasputin the Mad Monk
Scars of Dracula
Scream and Scream Again
Taste the Blood of Dracula
The Curse of Frankenstein
The Devil Rides Out
The Gorgon
The House That Dripped Blood
The Mummy
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll
The Wicker Man
Other (specify in thread)
Who's Online
There are currently 0 members and 45 guests. Most users ever online was 2,642, 04-12-2015 at 05:18 PM.
 Thread Rating: 25 votes, 5.00 average.
Old 12-24-2007, 06:15 AM
Scored: 3
Views: 10,498
Default Ghoulies IV

Reviewer: Rhett
Review Date: December 23, 2007

Released by: Echo Bridge
Release date: 07/03/2007
MSRP: $6.99
Region 1, NTSC
Full frame 1.33:1

inline ImageOver the years I’ve exhibited a pretty love-hate relationship with the Ghoulies franchise. The notorious poster for the first attained mythic status for my friends and me as kids, so much so that I’d protest going to the bathroom until near self-implosion. Of course, upon finally viewing the first film, it was about the equivalent of said bowel movement. But then there’s Ghoulies II and Ghoulies Go to College, which are both God’s gift to brooding young horror fans. As if seeing a creature emerge from a toilet wasn’t already the holy grail to any kid bred on the notion that the fart jokes are legitimate entertainment, but they also had more deaths, more swears, more boobs and more genuine mayhem than the Gremlins films could ever offer. I’m sure nostalgia alone make these films incapable of fair appraisal, but let’s be honest here, is there any better high concept than having creatures that emerge from a toilet attend a post-secondary institution? I think not.

With the four year gap in between the third and fourth films in the series, I’m sure most of the target market had done as I had and grew up (relatively, of course). Ghoulies was a series of a time, and by 1994’s Ghoulies IV that time had expired. While I continue to actively lobby for a Ghoulies Go to College Criterion, it never really bothered my that the severed finale went for me unseen. Upon reviewing Prom Night a few months past though, I saw this humble sequel amongst Echo Bridge’s assortment of bargain bin titles. Now was the time. So with Ghoulies IV, is there some amazing, underappreciated socio-political subtext, or, as would be fitting for the series, is a turd simply a turd?

The Story

inline ImageWell, this should be fun. So we’ve got a woman in leather (falsely listed as Barbara Alyn Woods on the box) doing another makeshift séance on the floor of a warehouse. In her trying, she accidentally opens a path to the netherworld, where, uh, Faust appears and informs her of the calamity. He’s lost a precious jewel, and the only way for him to make the jump into reality is if it is reclaimed. Wait. This is like the first movie. For the love of God. And Jack Nance is dead, so not even he can save this. Oh wait, what’s this, a couple of ghoulies also crossed off into the real world…but they are in potato sacks, and they one is played by the elf from Bad Santa. Welcome to the doghouse, my friends.

inline ImageSo these two “ghoulies” also roam around the city, but they really do nothing to serve the plot, so that’s the last I’ll mention of them in the synopsis. Instead, this is a movie about a drunken cop (Peter Liapis, Jonathan Graves from the original), who has reclaimed this jewel and used it to get Hulkian powers. Back in his séance days he had a fling with the leather lady and so here he is again dealing with his past personal, uh, demons. If the film weren’t already unbelievable enough, this schlub also apparently has two other women fighting over his gaze – one is a reformed call girl, and the other his old partner on the force (the real Barbara Alyn Woods). The drunk self-admittedly can’t even get it up, yet he’s got an entourage of beautiful women clenching at his loins. Take note, lonely readers.

inline ImageSo eventually this jewel gets into the wrong hands, and call girl Jeanine ends up kidnapped and tied up for sacrifice. It’s up to Jonathan to clean up his act, rescue the girl, sever ties to the bondage bitch, reconcile with his witty female partner, and send the ghoulies and the series as a whole, back to the toilet.

inline ImageGhoulies IV reunites us with the protagonist of the first film, yet fans of the films knows the heart of the series lies with the little toilet dwellers. Theoretically this sequel should be a return to the series roots, but without the titular beasts, it couldn’t seem further off course. That’s right, it’s a Ghoulies film without any real ghoulies. Now, there are two midgets in potato sacks and masks, but anyone who has seen Troll 2 knows that they are goblins. And that they don’t exist. And instead of wreaking havoc like in the previous films, these ghoulie imposters are instead do-gooders. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a ghoulie rescue a woman held up at knifepoint by clubbing a mugger with spare construction equipment. Yeah, these little fellas have none of the edge of the originals. Their most valiant attempt – ogling at women in a “Playpen” magazine, seems so disturbingly off-base that it actually sent me in a philosophical query as to the nature of lust and desire.

inline ImageWould a ghoulie really be attracted to a woman? Would it not be more enticing for them to see a slimy creature partially submerged in fecal matter? Does reading a “Playpen” thus constitute a form of bestiality? I’ll give these creatures the benefit of the doubt, since they really don’t seem to know what they are doing – considering they observe prostitutes and think the street corner is a good place to thumb a ride rather than finger a pick-up. Whatever the case, the magic of John Carl Buechler’s inventive creature effects are lost to the little people here.

inline ImageNow, the original ghoulies do make somewhat of a cameo, but only through some out of place flashbacks to the original. The ghoulies from the original sucked anyway. Are they friends with these other ghoulies who crossed onto earth, and if so, why are they such pussies? Instead of getting a movie where monsters tear up the landscape, we instead get another about a drunken cop, a leather clad devil worshiper and a little people version of Jason Takes Manhattan. Ugh.

inline ImageNow, it’s not a complete loss. The acting isn’t terrible (the back of the box proudly boasts “…one of the more better-acted films of the genre…”), with likable performances from the leads. If you get past the fact that this is not a creature feature, then the lightweight, satiric story isn’t totally without interest either. But still, no death by toilet, no pummeling by plunger, no frat house bedlam. It’s just not the same. Not even a final self-referential promise of “Goulies IV 2” by the goblins can incite any sort of excitement. No, Ghoulies was a gift to the children of the eighties…we grew up, they grew down. Until the inevitable remake, may we all flush in peace.

Image Quality

inline ImageIt would be fitting that a Ghoulies movie look like shit, but this one is more just mediocre. Shot and presented here in 1.33:1, there’s a fair bit of grain visible throughout. The cuts between the original film and the fourth are pretty seamless, in that both have a layer of grain and a fairly bland color palette. It’s interlaced, like all Echo Bridge discs, but it still retains a fairly nice clarity. The print is fairly clean, too. It's not reference quality, but it'll at least retire those VHS tapes.


Mono. No problems.

Supplemental Material

Not even a courtesy flush is included here.

Final Thoughts

They may have already graduated from college, but this movie is pretty dumb. The film tries to return the series to its roots, but with the ghoulies pushed to the background, it’s little more than a cheap buddy cop film. The image and sound are average, and without any extras, this is a release for fans of the first film only. All other ghoulies fans would be better signing some sort of online petition for the release of the masterpiece that is Ghoulies Go to College. It is only then that the stench of neglect this trademark eighties series has received will finally dissipate.


Movie - D
Image Quality - B-
Sound - B-
Supplements - N/A

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running time - 1 hour 23 minutes
  • Unrated
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English mono

  • N/A

Other Pictures


Can't argue with a confident man.

New Article
New Reply

DVD Reviews A-M
« Previous | Next »

Old 12-24-2007, 10:29 AM
They stay the same age...
It always pisses me off when a hole in a series isn't out on DVD. But, I too want Ghoulies III, my VHS's sound isn't so hot and I can't really make out what the Ghoulies are saying sometimes, but it was hella fun for what I could make out. I paid around $15 to get it on Ebay only to find it a couple months later for sale at Movies R Us for $1. Wonderful fate.

Ghoulies 1 is the best, though. I don't get the hate.
Oh, the Horror! Reviews - Theatrical, DVD and VHS horror reviews, interviews and lists! Now on Twitter!
B.A.L.L.S. Academy - Your Alma mater for teen films, raunchy, low-brow comedies, sexploitation & coming of age dramas.
Old 12-24-2007, 12:41 PM
Great review!

My favorites are Ghoulies Go To College and the second one, I thought Ghoulies 4 was a decent stand alone movie. My VHS snapped of Ghoulies 3 so I am hoping for a dvd release.
You know what this is for, Warren? It's for JACKING OFF!
Old 12-28-2007, 07:20 AM
Meeting Adjourned.
Some real gems in this review, Rhett. The way you talk about Ghoulies Go to College, they have to put it out on DVD. Think I'll pass on Part IV.
*10 Years of Film Tracking!: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Originally Posted by thing View Post
Well as the video explains, I do not think it is a great film, nor do I think.
Old 02-05-2008, 01:47 AM
neva seen this one, but it doesnt look liek something to go out and by but all together i liked the other ones
Old 04-04-2008, 11:16 AM
french ghoulies go to college
Hi guys !

I have a one good news but obviously followed by a bad one ...

Good news is there's been a dvd release of ghoulies go to college in France.
... But it's ONLY in french (sic).

As a french myself I can't stand the french dub. But if any of you are interested try a search on the french ebay (ebay.fr), you'll find it for 2 euros (so approximatively 3 or 4 $).

Hope I've helped someone desperately in need

And oh yeah I want a ghoulies 3 criterion edition !

Posting Rules
You may not post new articles
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Main > Reviews > DVD Reviews A-M
All times are GMT +1. The time now is 03:17 PM.

Portal By vbPortal Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vbPortal. All Rights Reserved.