‘Ghoulies II’ Polishes the Porcelain Altar in Ultra HD [4K Review]

After Ghoulies (1985) proved to be a modest hit for Charles Band’s Empire Pictures it was inevitable a sequel would follow. Ghoulies II (1987) drops all of the characters and setting from the first film, retaining only those diminutive demons that sold the picture. Ghoulies struggled to find a balance between stark satanic horror and gallows humor, but Ghoulies II knows what kind of film it wants to be, and the experience is much more fun.

It also helps the cast is better this time around, too, featuring the rambunctious old rascal Royal Dano playing the leader of a carnival troupe—Satan’s Den—which provides a spook house that turns out to be the ideal lair for ghoulie mischief. John Carl Buechler returns for the special effects, bringing back most of the ghoulies from last time and adding a few more fiendish friends to the mix, too. This is one of those B-movies I used to catch on cable all the time in the ‘90s and I was pleased to find it’s still just as goofy and gory today.

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Satan’s Den, a traveling sideshow, rolls into town, led by charming drunk Uncle Ned (Royal Dano), and unbeknownst to its employees a gaggle of ghoulies has hitched a ride. Corporate bozo Hardin (J. Downing) wants to shutter the show because they haven’t been turning a profit. But when the ghoulies step out in the horror house and start to slay the guests a strange thing happens: they become the hit of the show. Soon guests are lining up, eager to trade their dollars for a chance to check out these mini murderers. But their carnival carnage can only continue for so long before the show’s employees realize they need to figure out how to banish the little beasts back to hell before they devour every paying customer.

Royal Dano brings the same kind of unkempt, sauced-up hijinks he did in the opening of Killer Klowns from Outer Space and he’s the main draw outside of the ghoulies. His character of Uncle Ned is foolish enough to think he can control the tiny ghouls, when in reality his booze-soaked brain doesn’t understand how they operate. Phil Fondacaro, a frequent stalwart of Band’s films, pops up as Sir Nigel Penneyweight, playing one of the only characters to use his brain. Horror aficionados will also spot William Butler and Sasha Jenson among the soon-to-be-dead crowd. J. Downing plays the epitome of an ‘80s corporate scumbag. His role is vital because he helps deliver on the promise of the first film’s poster—i.e. the toilet gag.

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Until this most recent viewing of Ghoulies II, I had no idea Band not only shot this film in Rome but that the entire carnival is actually inside a massive stage. Once you know that it’s impossible not to see, especially when some explosions later on illuminate the black curtain backdrop. But I’ve got to give the production team credit for making the grounds look like they exist in a dark open field in the middle of America.

This 4K release should come as no surprise since MVD announced it was forthcoming even before their previous Blu-ray hit shelves last September. But what wasn’t revealed—and should prove to be a key selling point—is that this edition includes the unrated version. Yes, both theatrical and unrated cuts in 4K. Although the difference is a mere one minute, horror fans know sometimes cuts were made to films by frames, so a full minute leaves plenty of room for more ghoulie gore.

The new 4K transfer comes from a 2024 16-bit scan of the original camera negative, with Dolby Vision/HDR grading available. The 1.85:1 2160p image is a clear upgrade over the last release, as that Blu-ray was sourced from a 2K interpositive supplied by MGM (it is also included in this package), and this 4K ups the ante with greater picture density, a slightly richer color palette, and increased black levels. MVD deserves credit not only for giving fans a heads-up on this release but also for restoring both cuts so lovingly. A true boon for those who find this sequel superior to the original.

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Audio is available as an English LPCM 2.0 track and while it doesn’t have much presence it gets the job done without many issues. Some lines of dialogue are a bit choppy and/or muddy but they’re far and few between. The score by Fuzzbee Morse (that’s quite a name) delivers something to match the creepy comedy on screen. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, and French.

Screenwriter Dennis Paoli provides a brief introduction (HD, 1:15) that can be watched prior to the film.

“More Toilets, More Terror: The Making of Ghoulies II” (HD, 16:50) is a concise piece with interviews from the cast and crew, discussing the fun they had making this movie. Sounds like at the very least everyone enjoyed a “free” trip to Italy.

“Under a Magic Moon: Interview with Dennis Paoli” (HD, 33:36), offers a long discussion with the film’s writer, who talks about coming up with the sequel idea, rewrites, working with Band, etc.

A handful of deleted scenes (HD, 2:43) are included. There is also a photo gallery (HD, 1:50). Finally, the disc contains trailers for other MVD releases: Ghoulies, Ghoulies II, Vampire’s Kiss, Swamp Thing, and The Return of Swamp Thing.  

Special Features:


  • Includes both the 90-minute Theatrical PG-13 cut and the restored 91-minute Unrated / R-rated cut of the film in 4K
  • Optional English Subtitles
  • LPCM 2.0 Stereo Audio
  • Introduction by Screenwriter Dennis Paoli (1:15)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1:23)
  • Collectible “4K LaserVision” Mini-Poster
  • Reversible Artwork (with “MVD Rewind Collection” style and numbering on the reverse side”)
  • Optional English subtitles for the main feature


  • LPCM 2.0 Stereo Audio
  • Optional English, French and Spanish Subtitles
  • Introduction by Screenwriter Dennis Paoli (HD, 1:15)
  • More Toilets, More Terror: The Making of Ghoulies 2 (HD, 16:50)
  • Under A Magic Moon: Interview with Dennis Paoli (HD, 33:36)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 2:43)
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:23)
  • Optional English subtitles for the main feature
  • *This is the same disc as the previously released MVD Rewind Collection #53.
  • Ghoulies II
  • Special Features


MVD said this would be coming and fans who held off on their last edition are rewarded not only with the feature in extra clarity but the inclusion of the unrated cut makes this a must-buy.



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