Welcome back to our special week of Buried Credits, a column that dives deep into the IMDB pages of favorite actors, directors, and writers to find their lost, forgotten, or unknown film and TV credits. This week, in honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday, instead of just looking at one person’s early or forgotten work, we’re looking at famous firsts in horror movies.
Today’s “frightful first” is….
When you hear the name Mariska Hargitay the first thing that probably comes to mind is her character Olivia Benson from the myriad of SUV TV shows (well, that or that she is Jayne Mansfield’s daughter). However, Hargitay is pretty much a walking, talking, breathing example of what this column is all about. Her credits range from an episode of Seinfeld to a stint on ER. While she’s been on a lot of different TV shows over the course of her career, she HAS done a handful of movies. In fact, Mariska’s first role was in a little movie called:
Director: Luca Bercovici
Writers: Luca Bercovici, Jefery Levy
Ghoulies is one of those movies that came out in the wake of Gremlins (like Critters) but failed (hard) to cash in on any of the success that Joe Dante’s film had, and after watching it you can see why. For starters, the eponymous Ghoulies aren’t in the film very much and when they are, they don’t DO very much. While credit must be given for making the little guys puppets, the fact that they all look less like demonic creatures and more like Muppets who were nearly cooked alive in a microwave oven goes a long way towards making this movie as horrible as it is. Now, if I were reviewing this movie I could have a field day tearing it apart, but we’re here for Mariska Hargitay. So, instead let’s talk about her character, Donna.
Donna doesn’t do much.
We first meet her in the kitchen at a party making small talk with her friend. This is the best scene in the movie because when a smarmy guy introduces himself by saying “They call me Dick, but you can call me… Dick” as he opens a beer that starts to foam out of the can. As he then takes a swig it’s obvious that Mariska starts actually laughing. After this admittedly funny scene, it’s all downhill.
She kind of just stands around as the host/lead character performs a demonic ritual (which he suggests they do “for fun” instead of playing something like Trivial Pursuit or strip poker) and it isn’t until later when she and another character are out for a walk that she does anything else. During this scene she is ends up being tickled whereupon she starts making noises like someone is ripping her intestines out. Her bracelet falls into a little pond and when they guy who was tickling her reaches in to get it, a couple of the Ghoulies pop out and attack. However, aside from seeing one of the Ghoulies latch onto the guy’s face and seeing Donna scream and react in horror, we don’t see anything. No, we cut inside to two guys who are drinking and getting stoned and mistakenly believe the screams we hear now are those of passion.
And that’s it. Well, there’s a scene at the very end where all of the friends are leaving the house where the Ghoulies were that we see her again, but does that really count?
Verdict: Leave it buried
While Hargitay may be an Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress, you would never know it from her performance in Ghoulies. Granted, her screen time is rather limited but she doesn’t do much with what she has. Couple that with the fact that the movie itself is just bad (and not in a “Gee, this is a bad movie but it’s fun to watch” way), and you’ve got no real reason to bother digging this one up.