The plot of this film centers on Jonathan Graves (Peter Liapis) a young man who uncovers his late father's occult paraphernalia in his family's mansion. Graves tries to summon up the demonic forces his father dabbled with, in hopes of gaining supernatural powers. Consequently, the little Ghoulies arrive to descend on the manor and terrorize everyone who participated in the ritual.
The film also stars Lisa Pelikan, Michael Des Barres and Jack Nance.
The original Ghoulies originated in 1983 under the title Beasties and was to be directed by Charles Band, with special effects by Stan Winston after the two had previously collaborated on Parasite. It ended up being directed by Luca Bercovici with special effects by John Carl Buechler and his company Mechanical and Makeup Imageries Inc. The film was released theatrically by Empire Pictures in March 1985 and was a surprise success on home video. Ghoulies also stars Mariska Hargitay and Peter Liapis.
According to stories that Charles Band tells on his Full Moon Horror Road Show, he was tasked to come up with a great campaign to promote the film. During a brainstorming session he came up with the idea to have the Ghoulie popping up from the toilet. The idea was a huge success and the scene was then shot for the film after the fact. According to Band's 2012 audio commentary for 88Films Blu-ray of Puppetmaster 2, someone else came up with the idea of the Ghoulie popping out of the toilet. Band actually thought it was a bad idea at first.
In the plot of this sequel, the Ghoulies from the first film escape the manor and end up hiding in an amusement park funhouse called "Satan's Den" which becomes a smash hit when visitors believe the little demons are part of the attraction – that is until people start falling victim to the evil creatures.
The film stars Royal Dano, Phil Fondacaro and J. Downing.
The film was again produced by Empire Pictures, and directed by Charles Band's father Albert Band. Ghoulies and Ghoulies II were released as a double feature DVD from MGM Home Entertainment in 2003 and as a double feature Blu-ray from Scream Factory in 2015. Special features include theatrical trailers. Blu-ray special features include commentaries, interviews, still galleries and original theatrical trailers for both films.
In the third installment, the little demons are summoned at a college campus by Professor Ragnar (Kevin McCarthy), who is obsessed with the occult. Soon the creatures wreak havoc that is initially dismissed as elaborate pranks by the partying frat houses during exam "Hell Week" – that is until a couple at the school realize the pranks aren't so innocent.
The film also stars Eva LaRue and Patrick Labyorteaux.
The third film saw Buechler step into the director's chair and was released straight-to-video in 1991 by Vestron Video. The film co-starred genre stalwart Kevin McCarthy and is the first film where the Ghoulies actually speak. The film is currently available on DVD from Lionsgate as part of an 8 horror movie DVD set. This is Matthew Lillard's film debut.
In the final chapter of the series, Jonathan Graves (Peter Liapis) returns, this time a retired occultist turned police officer. His latest assignment finds him battling his former girlfriend Alexandra (Stacie Randall), who has escaped an asylum and tries to summon forth the demonic forces Graves trifled with in the first film.
The film also stars Barbara Alyn Woods.
The series' fourth and final entry was directed by Jim Wynorski and made by CineTel Films and also released straight-to-video in 1994 by Columbia TriStar Home Video. Original Ghoulies lead Pete Liapis returned to the series as Jonathan Graves, now a detective who must deal with a new pair of Ghoulies. This entry in the series has been criticized by the fans of the series because the 'ghoulies' in this film are completely different, however in recent years the movie has managed to receive a cult following for its humour and originality ; instead of the usual puppet Ghoulies, the movie cast dwarf actors in costumes. Ghoulies IV was released on DVD in 2007 by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment.
In the 2012 incarnation of Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the first film's poster can been seen in Michelangelo's bedroom among other horror movie posters.