• Ghastlies

    Released by: Camp Motion Pictures
    Released on: November 7th, 2017.
    Director: Brett Kelly
    Cast: Kim Valentine, Jessica Huether, Julie Mainville, Eric Deniverville, Joel Elliot
    Year: 2016
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    The Movie:

    Brett Kelly’s 2016 picture Ghastlies wears its heart on its sleeve – this movie was clearly inspired by the likes of Gremlins, Critters and Ghoulies – but that’s not necessarily such a bad thing. We’ve had plenty of throwbacks come out of the modern day low budget filmmaking arena in the last few years and to be fair, it is getting a little ‘old hat’ but this one? It’s done well and, most importantly, it’s entertaining.

    When the movie beings, a group of devil worshippers is conducting an arcane ritual in a barn somewhere. They get results, but it’s not quite what they’re expecting – and what happens frightens them. Flash ahead five years, and we meet a quartet of college sorority sisters who seem to have stepped right out of an eighties aerobics video. They’re heading out to get a little rest and relaxation in the country with their boyfriends for the weekend – and at first the trip is going well. They enjoy the scenery, do some swimming, indulge in some horny exercise and generally just have a good time.

    Of course, that can’t last – and it doesn’t. When they decide to take a moonlight stroll through the woods that night, they come across an ominously deserted van and then, even creepier, they find a weird video tape. When they play it, a girl warns whoever is watching that there’s an alien threat about, one that could take spell certain doom for Earth itself! Soon enough, those aliens that they were warned about make their presence known and the body count starts to rise…

    This isn’t the most original story ever told, but it’s entertaining enough and at seventy-six minutes in length, it’s the perfect running time. If originality isn’t a strong point, the movie has a lot more going for it –pretty girls, goofy characters, a good sense of humor. The aliens are all puppets, which gives the film some retro charm (even when one of those puppets proves to be a little rapey!) and the movie is fairly gory as well. All of those effects are done practically, another feather in the picture’s cap. If it never quiet looks like the 80s pictures it tries so hard to emulate (it was obviously shot on digital video and it looks like digital video, not film), Kelly and company at least get an A for effort.

    The performances are okay. Not great, just okay. Maybe a little better than your average micro-budget feature. In the context of the story, however, they work just fine. Everyone who appears in front of the camera seems to be having a good time and as any seasoned fan of low budget/SOV genre pictures will tell you, that’s key, particularly when it is as infectious as it is in this movie.


    Ghastlies hits Blu-ray in a very sharp, colorful AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. Shot digitally, there’s obviously no print damage and the picture is sharp and amazingly colorful. Detail is typically really solid here and black levels are nice too. There are no problems with edge enhancement to note while skin tones look nice and realistic. Yeah, for a movie made on a pretty modest budget, this one translates to the format really, really nicely.

    The only audio option for the feature is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, unfortunately no lossless option has been provided here. As it stands, for a DVD quality track there is nothing to complain about here. The dialogue stays clean, clear and properly balanced while the score and different soundtrack selections have a bit of noticeable depth to them. There’s some fun channel separation in some of the crazier scenes too. No alternate language options or subtitles are provided here.

    Extras start off with a commentary track from director Brett Kelly and actor Travor Payer that covers all the bases – where the ideas came from, getting a cast and crew together to work on the film, the puppet effects and other SFX bits, shooting the picture on a low budget and more.

    Additionally, there are a few featurettes here too, starting with a two minute piece called Going Ghastlies FX which is, as it sounds, an all too short look at the effects work that was conjured up for the feature. Tomb Talks Tubular Music is a three minutes segment that details Tomb Dragomir’s work and what inspired him to score the film. We also get a music video with Dragomir for the track They’re Ghastlies.

    Rounding out the extras is a trailer for the feature, a nice selection of trailers for other Camp Motion Pictures releases, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack, a DVD version of the movie with the same extras has also been included inside the Blu-ray case.

    The Final Word:

    Ghastlies is pretty fun if you’re in the right mood for it. It’s very self-aware and that comes through in all of the humor, but those involved have an obvious love for the eighties creature features that inspired it and that shines through in the picture. For lack of a cornier term, it’s got heart. The Blu-ray release looks quite nice and contains some decent extras, even if the audio is lossy. Fans of modern day low budget SOV throwbacks should get a kick out of this.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!