Words by Paul Clements.
A long time ago a very young me gazed at my first movie poster, the image of a green monster coming out of a toilet with the title “Ghoulies, they’ll get yours in the end”… I was enthralled…
I had been thrown out of toddler group for cracking kids on the head with a small wooden hammer. I rode my tricycle alone, to the end of my road, like a rebel on a crappy island off the kentish coast, an island with a grey sea and a grey sky.
Here was something I could relate to. Here was a reflection of my young self – a grimey monster. A creepy gremlin who lived in the toilet and wore braces and bit your balls off.
At 4 years old I didn’t know what sex was yet, but I knew straight away that that thing wanted to rip my balls off! Entranced by the world of 80s cartoons and television shows, with all the goodies and clean cut heroes, I found my young mind often rooted for the villains and baddies, they had all the best weapons all the skulls and monsters. My parents were unhappy, and my father was either not there or coming home drunk and they would always argue and shout, I struggled as a child and i just couldn’t see HE MAN or Superman as relatable . I felt evil inside – cold and self obsessed, ugly, unlovable and cruel, and that was why when I cycled to the end of the road on my little trike and peered into the corner shop window, I related with that little green demon. The ‘Ghoulie’ that dressed like a child, was the same size as me, looked evil and threatening and would rip your fucking balls off.
Even now writing this I can see it and I can still feel the release of knowing that out there, grown ups were coming together and making these monsters and movies and posters… Someone out there was like me.
Around the same time 1984/85 I was visiting Nan and granddad on the same island. We went cockle picking and I walked past another newsagent, that’s when I saw a huge THE TOXIC AVENGER poster…
That poster is iconic to this day and the epic nature of it enthralled me, mesmerized me.
I could see he was meant to be the hero, but he looked so scary and grimey, so evil looking… and toxic… But he was the hero? I think that seeing this gave me hope. Hope that adults out there were making childish movies, almost proof that I was right about my parents and teachers, that I could be evil and scary, still look cool, not be a goodie, not be the kid that the school, and society wanted me to be. Fuck them and fuck the whole world, I wanted to be a toxic avenger, whatever that was!
Of course I didn’t actually see either of these films for years to come, but my imagination was on fire, picturing what wonders these two posters promised.
Now I’m all grown up and a successful human being, I’m still evil inside, I’m still bitter and twisted but I have learned to harness that side of me thanks to the teachings of Kaufman and Charles Band.
Ghoulies, it turns out, is an accurate and encouraging master-class in occult teachings thinly disguised as a film about little monsters (which I love), and The toxic avenger is a lesson on abstract chaos and deep thought. The pleasure of watching deliberate over acting (a Kaufman standard) and the beauty of gore filled violence for the sheer sake of it.
This is how 2 posters changed my life and taught me to be a bad ass…
WATCH THESE FILMS IF YOU AIN’T and you shall be set free!! (or at least marvel at the posters)
Words by Paul Clements
Insta – @paul.u.clements