A Retro Review poster for the movie Ghoulies.
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Last Call | Retro Review: So Here’s What U.S.-Soviet Relations Were Like 35 Years Ago (And ‘Ghoulies’ Too!)

Joe Bob Briggs gives his first impression of a new era of U.S.-Soviet relations and he reviews a Gremlins ripoff that has a title that sounds like Goonies.

Joe Bob gives his first impression of this Grabachek guy and initiates the years-long process of detente

Please note: This column was originally syndicated on March 15, 1985. A couple of things have changed since then.

Just when I was learning how to pronounce Konstantin Chickenski. All I got to say about it is, I was nowhere close to Moscow when the death occurred. I have no knowledge of any circumstances surrounding the man’s trip to Commonist Heaven. (I understand he rode up on a tractor.) I will have no further comment.

All I got to say is, death does not make me happy. The fact that the guy’s lying there cold as a mackerel with his face all puffed up from all the drugs they pumped in him — this does not make me want to laugh. But I’m not gonna talk about it. I don’t want to dwell on it.

I’ll tell you one goldurn thing, though. The man was not happy. He was all screwed up from working in the KGB and sneaking around Bloomingdale’s spying on the Russians that were trying to buy crotchless panties and take em back to the wife in Vladivostok. They say Chickenski was so good he could disguise hisself as a Ford Fairlane and cause internal revenue agents to sit on his stomach while he was working. But that’s enough of that. The man is dead. He’s outta here. He’s history. They’re working overtime this week, ripping up the Commonist Encyclopedia and puttin in that embarrassing incident with the Siberian husky when Chickenski had to be excused from the table.

Okay, let’s see who’s next in line to keel over like a goldfish that had Amoco 10-W-40 poured in his tank.

Grabachek. Mikhail Grabachek. Take a good look at him. Remember that face. Remember how he looks like a deer on the first day of season. Remember that shiny head with the tattoo on it. They say he got that tattoo when he was in the navy. He got drunk one night in San Diego, went over to Tijuana, and told em to write “Mother Russia” on his bald spot, only he forgot how to spell it so he told em to erase it and do it in French. That’s the kind of guy he is. Tattooed.

So let’s all be nice to the guy:

Dear Grabachek:

We don’t want you to nuke us, and we don’t wanna have to nuke you for being a Commonist, so we’d like to invite you over to agree to act peaceable except when we get mad at one another.

We’re getting a keg and everthing.

Do you know how to play Vodka Chugalug?

Want us to line up some dates for you, and if so, do you like em nasty, fat, or what? I probly have a few close personal friends I could line up to remind you of the five-year plan for Soviet agriculture. We can also provide farm animals, but only if you give us twenty-four-hour notice.

We ’ll slip you a few Playboys on the side.

No hugging, though.

What I’m trying to say is, let’s gets drunk and talk world extermination.
Detente City.

Later gator,
Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Ambassador

As you can see, I’m all for talking to the Russians, at least till we get more nukes than them.

Speaking of ugly, Ghoulies opened last week and I got to say it’s the best Gremlins ripoff in the last month. Spielberg is comin out this summer with a flick called Goonies and if the Ghoulies people had any IQs, they would have brought out this sucker two, three weeks before Goonies and cashed in on the stupid-people audience like Roger Corman did two years ago with Space Raiders on the week before Spacehunter, when Columbia was dropping $70 million on advertising.

But newwwwwwww, they got to bring it out in March, when nobody except drive-in experts knows what the heck Goonies is. One automatic star deduction for not knowing the meaning of the word “exploitation.”

What we got here is the finest midget actress working today. Tamara de Treaux. People talk about Drew Barrymore being in E.T. Tamara de Treaux was E.T. She was inside the guy, turning him into a star, but does Spielberg the wimp give her any credit? She had to go get drive-in work before they’d even let us see her face, and she’s great in a leading role as a Satanic midget.

Here’s the deal. This college-student couple inherits a haunted mansion, only they don’t know it’s haunted cause they’re so stupid they both look about 35 years old and they still han’t graduated. Little does Jonathan know that it’s the same house where his daddy ripped out his mama’s heart and let her get eat up by rat-monsters. But now Jonathan starts reading the magic books in the basement and dressing up like a Ku Klux Klan member and holding a spear up and saying “Gitchee Goomee Gomer Pyle,” until his eyes turn green and his robes starting flying in the wind and these little yellow-intestine creatures show up and then two midgets get zapped into the room so they can say, “We are here to serve you, Master.”

Then Jonathan throws a party, but his wife gets suspicious, freaks out, and ruins the scrambled eggs when the ghoulies start playing in the food and jumping around on the Greek statues, and especially after Jonathan’s father jumps out of the grave and comes back after 25 years, looking like Professor Irwin Corey with face herpes. So Jonathan zaps his wife into a trance and wraps up all his dinner guests in Ku Klux Klan sheets and the slime starts to spew.

We got nine dead bodies. Two breasts. Midget Fu. Tongue Fu. Devil Fu. Two beasts. Tongue-talkin. Whining. Wailing. Screaming. Face-eating. Rat attack. Spear-chucking. Exploding heart. Laser-eye special effects. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Keith Joe (“They call me”) Dick, as a stoned geek; Peter Liapis, as Jonathan, who says things like “I’ve got an idea! Let’s do a ritual!”; Lisa Pelikan, as his wife, for saying stuff like ‘‘You bastard! You didn’t tell me you were into magic!”; Luca Bercovici, the star of Parasite, who directed this sucker; Tamara de Treaux, the real E.T.; and Peter Risch, for best performance by a male midget dressed up like a clump of moss. With the one-star deduction, we’re talking two and a half stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

Communist Alert! They chopped down the screen at the Winchester Drive-In in Campbell. Calif., so they can put up a “research and development complex” named Campbell Corporate Center, and here’s what the turkey at Caz Development Co, said: “We took it and gave it a higher-image office configuration. We felt the character of the area warranted it.” The police were standing right there when it happened, but they didn’t even arrest the guy for using the word “configuration.” Corruption is a nasty thing. Remember, without eternal vigilance, it could happen here.

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