From time to time, Scream Factory dips into the cat­a­log of Charles Band’s Empire Films. It’s a pret­ty rich source for ‘80s pop­corn hor­ror, as Band was a pro­lific pro­duc­er of gen­re-friend­ly cheap thrills dur­ing that decade. Most recent­ly, Scream Factory has pro­duced a two-for-one set of a pair of entries from one of his most suc­cess­ful film series, the Ghoulies films. Said disc pairs the first two install­ments on one disc and also throws in a bevy of extras.

The trans­fer for Ghoulies is col­or­ful but the details are a bit soft, par­tic­u­lar­ly in long shots, and video grain can get a bit blocky dur­ing night shots and dark inte­ri­ors. The Ghoulies II trans­fer is bet­ter, with sta­ble black lev­els for the night sce­nes, vibrant col­ors and all-around solid details. Both 5.1 and 2.0 loss­less tracks are offered for each title: the 5.1 mix­es aren’t wild­ly event­ful in terms of sur­round speak­er activ­i­ty but both offer a well-bal­anced blend of dia­logue, effects and music.Ghoulies-blu

Both films are also treat­ed to a nice com­ple­ment of extras. There is a com­men­tary track for the first Ghoulies by direc­tor Luca Bercovici. This solo track cov­ers how Bercovici pitched and wrote the script to Band, the issue of whether or not it owes a debt to Gremlins and how John Buechler’s mon­ster designs inspired the humor used with the­se crea­tures. There are peri­od­ic gaps of silence that sug­gest he could have used a mod­er­a­tor but Bercovici cov­ers all the bases and it’s inter­est­ing to hear his per­spec­tive.

There is also a fea­turet­te for Ghoulies enti­tled “From Toilets To Terror.” It runs 30 min­utes and offers some inter­est­ing insights into the film and the his­to­ry of Empire Pictures via inter­views with Charles Band, com­poser Robert Band, star Michael Des Barres and FX man John Vulich. Charles Band is the key play­er here, telling great tales of set­ting up the film’s dis­tri­b­u­tion (which made the future of Empire pos­si­ble) and cre­at­ing the con­tro­ver­sial ad cam­paign. Des Barres adds a lot of wit with amus­ing obser­va­tions about doing gen­re fare and pro­vides a great clos­ing quip. It’s brisk and infor­ma­tive: Empire fans will find it fas­ci­nat­ing.

The Ghoulies extras are a round­ed out by a skill­ful­ly cut trail­er that cap­tures the film’s mix­ture of campy humor and mon­ster thrills plus a 40 image still gallery with stills, poster art and some neat behind-the-sce­nes FX shots.

The Ghoulies II part of the disc has more extras. The cen­ter­piece is “More Toilets, More Terror,” a 17-min­ute fea­turet­te. Charles Band returns for this piece and joins FX man Gino Crognale and actors Donnie Jeffcoat and Kerry Remsen. There’s some fun pro­duc­tion triv­ia about the film — most of it was shot on a huge sound­stage and extras were Italian — plus fond mem­o­ries of Empire’s pro­duc­tion line approach. Crognale admits a lot of the pup­pets used in the film were refur­bished while Jeffcoat and Remsen share fun mem­o­ries of tour­ing and eat­ing well in Rome.

The Ghoulies II extras are round­ed out by a series of alter­nate sce­nes and some pro­mo mate­ri­als. The alter­nate sce­nes run just under three min­utes and are essen­tial­ly lit­tle bits of R-rat­ed gore that were cut from the mon­ster attack sce­nes. There is also a fun the­atri­cal trail­er that focus­es on mon­sters and goof­ball humor while a 25-image still gallery serves up stills, one poster image and some pro­mo pix, includ­ing a fun shot of direc­tor Albert Band with the tit­u­lar pup­pet mon­sters.

In short, this is a solid two-fer for fans despite the mid­dling trans­fer for the first film. If you’re fas­ci­nat­ed by the Charles Band career, this is a fun way to catch up on some its high­lights while learn­ing about the man.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Ghoulies, click here.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Ghoulies II, click here.