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GHASTLIES (2016)

Directed by Brett Kelly
Written by Chris Bavota
Starring Kim Valentine, Eric Deniverville, Joel Elliott, Janet Hetherington, Jessica Huether, Julie Mainville, Kyle Martellacci, John Migliore, Stephanie Moran, Kendra Summerfield, Zoe Towne, Jurgen Vollrath, Peter Whittaker
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As proven in MULTIPLICITY with the thespian Michael Keaton, when you make a photocopy of a photocopy, the image continues to become dull and unfocused the more copies are made. Take GHASTLIES, for instance—a copy of GHOULIES which itself was sort of a copy of GREMLINS. As one would expect, while the filmmakers’ hearts were in the right place, this one is a stinker from top to ghastly bottom.


Four college girls who look to be in their mid-thirties go on a camping trip in the woods. While they have sorority drama, drink the drama away, and their hunk-a-rific boyfriends show up, they fail to realize they are being stalked in the woods by a trio of little monsters brought into this world by some cultists. Though the cultists are murdered by the little buggers, the monsters live to stalk and make poorly articulated kills and have these bouncing coeds in their sights.

GHASTLIES has a good spirit about it. It doesn’t take itself seriously one bit, which is a good way to approach a no budget film. The acting is pretty stiff, but better than most low to no-fi horror films. While the story is pretty much a flatline in terms of conflict and innovation, there’s a DIY kitschy fun aspect to the way the monsters stalk and scrape their puppet paws across the bodies of the nubiles.

Still, this is a tough one to sit through because of all of the amateurity going on. Sure the spatter is spattered, but because the Ghastlies themselves are just immobile puppets and lit way too brightly, there really is a lack of any scares or tension here. There’s a little animated bit at the end, reminiscent of your typical Loony Tunes Roadrunner short, but that only succeeds in making me wish the entire film had been done in this rudimentary animated manner. GHASTLIES is a little monster movie for those who have always wondered what GREMLINS would be like if the filmmakers didn’t have two nickels to rub together. It’s fun, but I’m only recommending it to DIY horror lovers.



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