De Palma ripping off Hitchcock was bad enough, but now an even greater cinematic sin has been committed. That's right folks, the guy who's directing Aliens in the Attic is stealing from the guy who directed Ghoulies.

I'm by no means the first person to have made this observation (really!)  but the new big budget CGI-overloaded family movie Aliens in the Attic seems to owe a debt of gratitude to the not quite so big budget cult classic Gremlins imitation Ghoulies.

"But Nick, why so?" you may be asking.

Two words ladies and gentlemen: toilet monsters.

Whilst watching the Aliens in the Attic commercial, when I wasn't thinking about having "the sex" with star Ashley Tisdale (sorry Vanessa dear! I had a much larger erection during the Bandslam promo, I promise!) I was busy noticing there is a scene in the movie where one of these so called "aliens" lunges up out of a commode to attack an unsuspecting victim.

This in itself wouldn't be so bad, if this particular extraterrestrial evil doer didn't look EXACTLY like a ghoulie. Albeit a ghoulie rendered with needlessly expensive computer effects. (Don't kid yourselves kids, puppets look better.)

Yep, it's a ripoff of a ripoff. Or more precisely, a multi-million dollar ripoff of a 30 dollar ripoff.

Ghoulies movie posterFor those of my generation, the Ghoulies series is the absolute pinnacle of toilet monster cinema, though it has had its competitors for "the throne" so to speak over the years. Most notably, to me at least, was 1986's ultra-mega obscure The Abomination and Tromas The Class of Nuke ‘em High (also from '86). But no one threatened our little 1980's butt cheeks more than the Ghoulies.

Ya see, back in the day, there were these things called VHS tapes. They were a lot like DVDs but if you watched one too many times it would unravel in the machine, make a sound like a blender full of quarters, and catch fire.

Anyway, the box art on VHSs tended to beat the shit out of those on DVDs, and the Ghoulies box, by a long chalk, featured the best: a small, rubbery, puppet-ish monster poking its head up out of a toilet bowl.

Now for me at the time, a child on his way to the kids section looking for Ducktales and Masters of the Universe episodes, this was a traumatizing sight. Let's just say it made me think twice before going number two.

Much later, during something like the fourth semester of my 16th year at college, my roomies and I made a pact  that we would take turns purchasing, for our collection, every single crap-tastic low budget Gremlins knockoff (there are a LOT of them). If you ever attempt this at home, promise me you will stay away from Hobgoblins, unless you're absolutely certain it's the MST3K version.

There was a reason my pals and I were so set on completing this collection. Remember how on Cribs all the gangsta rappers, and that one douche-nozzle from Incubus, used to proudly show off their copy of Scarface?  Well if my band "The Attractive Distractions" ever got on that show, we were going to pull out, for the MTV people, every single Gremlins knockoff that we owned. We figured by the time we got to Critters 4 they would just leave.

Sadly we never reached our goal. (I still have yet to secure Elves or Munchies.) But during this quest we at least managed to get the 2-pack Ghoulies and Ghoulies II on DVD.

I hadn't watched these films since I was younger, but after "seeing them again for the first time" I have to say Ghoulies II is better. What with the carnival side show folk and the giant man-sized ghoulie who could totally kick your ass.

And speaking of asses, this brings me back to my original point: if your going to rip off Ghoulies, well, just don't. Or, to paraphrase an ad line from the movie, you might end up regretting it "in the end." MWAHAHAAHA!

Alients in the toilet

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