Ghastlies begins in a way I’m sure we can all relate to…namely with a U.F.O dispensing toothy aliens that bite the shit out of a Satanic cult…real human condition stuff. Following that lil’ slice of gravitas we are introduced to four sorority sisters who head off to a secluded cabin in the woods where, as you may have surmised, they too are plagued (eventually…more on that in ye olde third paragraph) by those same menacin’ monsters from beyond the stars. Can our comely heroines survive this night of teeth, claws, and dodgy puppetry?
Ghastlies is exactly what it sets out to be; a fun throwback to the Gremlins clones (Critters, Hobgoblins, Munchies, Ghoulies…especially with that satanic angle mentioned previous) your’s cruelly absolutely loved in his misspent youth…aw screw it, we all know I still love ’em! You get blood, boobs, practical low-rent (read: gloriously rad) puppets, and a ton of goofy fun. The whole affair is cartoony, surreal, and a total hoot! Adding to the fun is a wacky synth score by Tomb Dragomir, and some game performances from a genuinely likable cast that really sell the ludicrous nonsense we are treated to!
On the flip side, it takes waaay too long for our titular antagonists to reappear. After our cold open it’s nearly thirty minutes before the Ghastlies re-appear…and when your feature runs an hour and fifteen minutes (with credits), that’s a tad too long to keep us waiting for the ghoulish goods (but I’m a tried and true monster junkie so your mileage may very)! Also, the film’s low budget seems show here and there, in particular in regards to sound, as there is a scene set around a campfire where the cracklin’ flames drown out some of the dialog. Nothing too major in the negative department here creeps…and even though it’s light on creature action in the first half it avoids the one cardinal sin that really evokes the ire of ol’ Daniel XIII; thy film should not be boring. Ghastlies is never that, and I am thankful for it!
All in all, the main event is created with plenty of heart, and is a ton of fun, but there are some special features included on this release that add to the overall experience of Ghastlies. First up we have an audio commentary with Director Brett Kelly and Actor Trevor Payer. This is an informative and very fun listen that examines both the production of the film and the concepts that inspired it…with plenty of jokes sand anecdotes throughout. Following that we get featurettes on the film’s FX and music. Both are brief but offer a cool peek behind the scenes of the film’s creation. Bringing up the rear is the film’s trailer and a music video of the theme song.
If you are looking for a fun fright flick with a serious nostalgic streak and it’s tongue pressed incredibly hard into it’s cheek then look no further than Ghastlies; it’s guaranteed to tickle your ol’ funny bone…then break it and suck out the marrow!