Ghoulies can be thought of as good or bad depending upon who is viewing it. If your taste is toward serious horror, then you'll probably side with IMDB and give it a 3.4 rating. [Ouch, that's gotta hurt!] However, if you look at it as a film whose over the top performances are intentional and humorous, like a Road Runner cartoon, then you just might enjoy the ride.
I fall into the latter category so let me make my case. If Jim Henson had made a pact with the devil, then his muppets might look a bit like the ones in Ghoulies. I think they're absolutely fantastic. They are masterfully constructed with moving eyes and expressive mouths. Their slimy skin, gnarled teeth and sparse hair are quite effective, giving them an old world, decayed look. For me Ghoulies gets a Very Good rating simply because of their presence in the film.
As for the humanoids, it's true their acting is sometimes over the top but I'm convinced this is intentional. Watching them conjure up the Devil using ridiculous made up words, dry ice fog and lots of hocus pocus puts a smile on my face. It's not supposed to be scary, people. It's supposed to be funny so lighten up a bit.
My final argument for the film is that it is well made. Yes, it's full of 80's excesses and cliches but in its darker moments it has a wonderful look and texture to it. I find the "little people" that appear later in the film to be a bit too much, but most of this film works pretty well. It's got a solid plot and the acting is much, much better than it's 3.4 rating on IMDB.
So, critics be damned. I think Ghoulies is good fun if you approach it that way from the start. As a final note look for a cameo from Mariska Hargitay from Law and Order:SVU. It's a kick to see her all dolled up in her 80's hair and belted sweater skirt. OMG!
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.