Before MST3K there was THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT! Before Joel and Mike lovers of bad movies had Randy and Richard! Before Devil Dogs, Observers and Deep 13 there came Cellumites, giant rats and Level 31. I make a point of opening my T27FV posts now with this reminder because I had been getting some emails from people claiming Randy and Richard imitated MST3K which is impossible since their show came first!

My research and my correspondence with Randy Clower, co-creator and co-star of T27FV have been helping me fill in some info on this neglected cult show which ran from February 1985 to August 1987. With all the renewed interest in Movie Host shows of the 1980’s and earlier Balladeer’s Blog likes to spread some love to this program.

Last time I reviewed the very first film ever shown on The Texas 27 Film Vault so this time I’ll examine the final movie presented and mocked by the machine-gun toting Randy and Richard and their colleagues in the Film Vault Corps – “the few, the proud, the sarcastic”.

GHOULIES (1984) Some sources list 1985 as the year for this flick but I’m going by the copyright date at the end of the film, which says 1984.

FILM VAULT LORE – A T27FV fan calling herself Georgia remarked at Egor’s site: “I still lived (in Dallas) when they did their last show. They knew they were going off the air because they talked about it and seemed pretty sad about it. I was sad, too. It was the best thing on tv.” The original broadcast date for this final episode was Saturday August 29th, 1987 at 8PM.

The show was still hot in the ratings but Randy, Richard, Ken “Tex” Miller and Joe “The Hypnotic Eye” Riley got hot job offers they couldn’t turn down. Combine that with the collapse of the Film Vault Guys’ most recent attempt to get a syndication deal (what might have been) and the gang disbanded after 2 and 1/2 years of bad movie fun. Plus one of them was dating Yoko Ono and that NEVER helps!  

The Movie – This was a product from Charles Band, so lovers of bad 1980’s horror films know what they’re in for. Jack Nance from Eraserhead and Mariska Hargitay from Law and Order: SVU can both point to this flick as their most embarrassing moment on camera!

Ghoulies poster

Ghoulies poster

A Satanist played by rock singer Michael Des Barres leaves his mansion – which was the site of his Black Masses and human sacrifices – to a young couple played by Lisa Pelikan and Peter Liapis. They move into the creepy old place and the man starts to become possessed by the dark forces that linger in the mansion. Eventually his dabbling in Satanic rituals causes his zombified father Malcolm (Des Barres) to climb out of his grave,which is conveniently located in the mansion’s backyard.

His mucking around also unleashes the title menaces, some of whom are midgets, one of whom is a clown-doll ala Poltergeist and some of whom are ugly, fake-looking Gremlins-wannabes. The attack scenes are almost as comically inept as those in Attack of the Beast Creatures, a film previously reviewed here at Balladeer’s Blog. A large part of the film involves the resurrected and still-malevolent Malcolm and the Ghoulies slaughtering the guests that Liapis has invited to the vile mansion. Hargitay is one of the guests who gets wiped out in the laugh-til-you cry death scenes.

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault

Jack Nance shows up at the end of the film to battle Des Barres in a duel of black magic vs white magic. The special effects here are typical of Charles Band Productions – which means a public access cable show could do better. The little person who played ET portrays one of the title creatures so that’s another nice bit of trivia from this hilariously awful film.

SPOILERS: The triumph of white magic at the end reverses the evil that’s been done, so the dead teens all get resurrected, but then the film says “to hell with our own continuity” and throws in a closing scene featuring the Ghoulies still alive and functioning and about to slaughter the human characters all over again.

IN THE NEAR FUTURE BALLADEER’S BLOG WILL PRESENT MORE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT MILESTONES. Be here to share the Film Vault Corp’s mission of “safeguarding America’s schlock-culture heritage”.


© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Filed under Bad and weird movies, Movie Hosts


  1. Whoa….talk about unsung heroes! I’m letting everybody in my social network know about this show! Go Film Vault Corps!

  2. I love learning about old shows like this! These guys were there early and it seems like they did it well! Very trend-setting!

  3. Sick! I didn’t know about this show but it had obvious influence! Cheers!

  4. This really sounds like a great show! They just missed out on being bigger hits than they were!

    • I agree! Like Randy said in my interview with him, if they had gotten rich they’d have blown it all on riotous living. Ha! Joe Riley went on to do The Hypnotic Eye tv show AND a stage play with Randy.

  5. So cool! The Texas 27 Film Vault really led the way for what came later!

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    • Thanks for weighing in! Always glad to hear from my fellow fans of the show! Feel free to email me with any particular memories you want to share about the show!

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    • What is it about you dateless Mike Nelson fans that makes you so unstable? Even Nelson admits there were plenty of shows making fun of bad movies long before the Minnesota show. It’s just assholes like you who seem to have a problem every time pre-MST3K shows get discussed.

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  38. You seriously need to write a book about this show. What an overlooked gem!

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  40. Sad to see this show go off the air so soon! They deserved to be MST3K!

  41. Tina

    This show should have lasted longer!

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  43. Asha

    I’m sorry I missed this show!

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  46. These guys seem to have had more balls than that pussy Mike Nelson.

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  48. So sad! They came this close to being MST3K!

  49. Kim

    I’m glad someone like you is making sure this show gets remembered!

  50. Oliver Twisted

    These dudes were just a little too ahead of their time by just two years.

  51. Curtis

    Balladeer, your movie reviews are always so entertaining!

  52. This movie made me laugh.

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