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Film / Hobgoblins

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McCreedy: There's been an accident at the studio...
Crow: We made Hobgoblins!

Slightly dorky Everyman Kevin gets a job as a security guard at an abandoned film studio mostly to impress his cold and domineering girlfriend Amy. One night, he chases a burglar into an old film vault which his boss, McCreedy, warned him not to enter. By doing so he releases the titular hobgoblins, little furry aliens who have the power to make any person's deepest fantasies come true and then use those fantasies to kill said person.

Kevin, along with the help of Well, Excuse Me, Princess! Amy, the slutty Daphne, Daphne's obnoxious Army boyfriend Nick and phone sex obsessed dork Kyle, sets out to capture the hobgoblins before it is too late.

This movie is probably best known for being featured on a particularly memorable episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Rick Sloane, the movie's director, actually requested that the film be featured on the show. Despite this, Sloane and his film suffered some of the harshest riffing that the show ever dished out. Series writer Paul Chaplin commented that the film "[shot] right to the top of the list of the worst movies [they had] ever done". Nonetheless, the choice of this film led to the creation of an episode that many fans of the show consider to be one of the best.

Sloane would later be known as the writer/director of the equally low-budget and ineptly-made Vice Academy series of films which were a ratings hit for the USA Network.

Twenty years later, Rick Sloane made a sequel. Yes, really. To this day, it is one of two movies ever covered on Mystery Science Theater 3000 that had a sequel released after it was featured on the show (the other was Return of The Killer Shrews).


  • Action Girl: Daphne is the closest thing to this. For a horrible, irritating person, she does manage to directly dispatch a few Hobgoblins and actually shows some intelligence by getting wise to one of their "fantasies" (blowing up the fantasy-military sergeant in the process). Furthermore, she's the only character to actually kill the Hobgoblin trying to off her; everyone else — including the hero — gets saved from their own personal Hobgoblin by someone else.
  • Affectionate Parody: The movie was clearly meant to parody Gremlins, Ghoulies and other '80s little monsters movies. However, it is so unfunny that the result is that it is utterly terrible.
  • All for Nothing: The entire section of the movie in which the main characters try to chase down and catch the Hobgoblins turns out to be pointless since the Hobgoblins end up returning to the movie studio on their own.
  • All Women Are Prudes: Amy in the first half of the film. Though certainly inverted with Daphne.
  • Artistic License – Explosives: Nick jumps on the grenade he himself threw, and ends up getting set on fire (though he somehow survives). Hand grenades like the ones he was using are concussive, not incendiary, meaning instead of being set on fire, he's likely just get blown up, and/or peppered with shrapnel.
  • Artistic License – Military: There's way too much to mention all of it, but a few highlights...
    • Nick had just gotten back from several months of basic training, yet he clearly has a full-head of hair. It should be basic knowledge that, in any kind of military setting, soldiers are required to have their hair cut to reduce the chances of contracting diseases and prevent enemies from grabbing soldiers by their hair. note 
    • Nick salutes his Sergeant. Saluting is normally reserved for dealing with commissioned officers.
    • Special note is made of Nick's Drill Sergeant Nasty wearing his uniform (and his dress uniform at that) off-duty... while visiting a strip club. Military personnel are not usually supposed to wear their uniform while off-duty, and when they do they are expected to present an image of dignity in keeping with military standards, so wearing the uniform while at a sleazy strip club is straight out.
      • Lampshaded by Daphne when she sees him in uniform.
    • The Drill Sergeant Nasty also mentions he plans to "ship Nick off to some third world country." It goes without saying, Drill Sergeants do not hand out combat deployments. Possibly justified as the Sergeant was actually a fantasy created by the hobgoblins, who probably don't know how the US military works.
    • More obviously, Nick's inexplicable and extremely illegal collection of weapons, including an Uzi sub-machine gun and hand grenades.
  • Ascended Meme: The trailer for Hobgoblins 2 contains a cover of the "Hobgoblins" song Mike & The Bots sing.
  • Auto Erotica: With a side order of Squick. Nothing happens in the car, mind you, it's just that the fantasy-woman is rather trashy, husky/nasally-voiced and repulsive. That earlier bit with the van, on the other hand...
  • Badbutt: The hobgoblins are built up as a threat, but only kill a single person in the whole movie. Nick, who's only been in army training for a few weeks, comes off as this at several points.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Club Scum, though once we see the interior we learn it's an Informed Attribute. The movie doesn't have the backbone to do anything actually sleazy, and the set isn't decorated well enough to hide that it's clearly a dressed-up school gym or cafeteria.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Double subversion — Kevin tries to stop Amy from doing anything she'd regret, but he is pleased with the new direction their relationship takes by the film's end.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The hobgoblins purposefully corrupt their victims' fantasies to kill them.
  • Beehive Hairdo: One of the girls at Club Scum.
  • Big Damn Heroes: McCreedy rescuing Kevin at the end.
  • Broomstick Quarterstaff: Nick challenges Kevin to a duel with garden rakes. "I can teach you all about hand-to-hand combat!"
  • Camp Straight: Kyle. According to Sloane, actor Steven Boggs is even more flamboyant in Real Life.
  • Common Hollywood Sex Traits: That's... not how phone sex lines work. There's more of an interactive element, rather than a lady just describing some cheap porno plot to you.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Out of all the places the Hobgoblins could go after achieving freedom for the first time in decades, they just happen to go to a house occupied by Kevin's friends.
  • Covert Pervert: Prudish Amy secretly wishes she could be just as sex-crazed as her friend Daphne. In her fantasy, she's a stripper.
  • Death by Falling Over: Dennis's fantasy sees him get Crowd Surfed to the edge of the crowd where he lands on his head and dies.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Hahahaha... you wish. It takes 29 minutes for the title creatures to show up on-screen, and by then you want them to murder the whole cast.
  • Disney Death: Nick, who gets set on fire, but later returns looking as if the worst that had happened to him was a bad sunburn. Though did anyone, either watching the movie or in-universe, really even mourn him when he "died?"
  • Don't Come A-Knockin': Nick and Daphne's van starts a-rockin' in a Funny Background Event. Twice.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Appears as part of Nick's "fantasy." He starts randomly chucking grenades around and viciously pointing a submachine gun at his surroundings (though never actually firing it — perhaps fake explosions were cheaper than a prop gun that could fire blanks?)
  • Dull Surprise: The patrons at Club Scum aren't exactly frightened of the hobgoblins suddenly popping up.
  • Expy: In one of the film's odder aesthetic choices, Club Scum seems to have borrowed the emcee from Cabaret.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • The extra in the Club Scum fight scene who overturns his own table no less than three times.
    • Outside of Club Scum, each of them passes their wallets on to the next one in the group for safekeeping. The last guy in line calmly pulls a switchblade and mugs everyone — which may be the only gag in the film that actually resembles comedy.
    • Kyle bouncing around all over the place during the impromptu at-home dance party during while Amy & Daphne are arguing outside (Kyle's still in the house & you see him goofing via the window behind the two girls).
    • Daphne & Nick doing the wild thing in the van while Kevin & Amy argue in the foreground... except the "funny" in Funny Background Event is a total fail.
  • Honking Arriving Car: Nick, after two months of basic training, pulls up in his blue van in front of Kevin's house and sounds a novelty car horn, much to the delight of his girlfriend Daphne.
    Daphne: I'd recognize that horn anywhere!
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Iced Chicken? Pig Sticker? Pig Liquor? FISH PICKER! Kiss Kicker '99 The mysterious lyrics are finally revealed here (see video description)
  • Informed Attribute: McCreedy describes the Hobgoblins as being Obliviously Evil Literal Genie types who try to make people's dreams come true, but inadvertently end up killing them. This is completely at odds by what we actually see in the film, where the Hobgoblins are completely malicious and Always Chaotic Evil, and are very deliberately trying to kill the people whose fantasies they bring to life.
  • Intimate Telecommunications: There's a scene involving a phone sex line that betrays that no one involved in the production has any idea how phone sex lines work. Real phone sex lines are an interactive experience, not just someone reading off a really lame porn script at you.
  • Jerkass: Amy, so very much. Not only does she treat Kevin like shit but in one scene, he has a fight with someone using rakes and is defeated. Rather than ask if he is ok or anything she immediately starts berating him for "humiliating" her by losing.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Nick does this during his "fantasy"... which somehow sets him on fire.
  • Leitmotif: Poorly done and inconsistently rendered, but there's a recognizable musical sting that plays when the Hobgoblins are active.
  • Made of Plasticine: Apparently Dennis was killed by attempting to crowdsurf when nobody was actually there to hold him up. His fantasy appears to have been "to perform a rock concert from a really, really tall stage to an empty room," though this may just be the Hobgoblin's use of artistic license, as it's hard to imagine Kyle's fantasy was a slutty woman who would actively try to murder him.
  • Makeout Point: Called "Reputation Road". It's surprisingly elaborate, with signs to indicate where you should park based on what you plan to do.
  • Mickey Mousing: Hitting something with a garden implement, such as when fighting with rakes, or killing a hobgoblin with a hoe.
    Crow T. Robot: Their garden tools make little Casio sounds.
  • Mildly Military: While minor in the grand scheme of gaping plot holes this movie has, Nick has an incredible amount of hair for someone a) in the Army and b) just out of boot camp. Mike seems to lampshade this, "Time for my hourly shave..."
  • The Mockbuster: The film is an obvious ripoff of Gremlins.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Epic rake-dueling! With Casio sound effects!
  • My Girl Is a Slut:
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The exact powers of the hobgoblins are... inconsistent to say the least, ranging from just brainwashing (as they do with Amy, and a couple Club Scum employees), to downright Reality Warping (as they subject Dennis, Kyle, and Kevin to). And apparently they will sometimes just resort to attacking physically, as if they have none of those abilities at all. McCreedy claims that they inevitably end up killing people with these fantasies, but the only time the fantasy ever actually directly acts on this was in Kyle's case.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: They're plush-sized furry space creatures that can make your deepest fantasies manifest. They're also incredibly incompetent for monsters. They only manage to kill one guy in the entire film. They even failed to kill one of the main characters!
    • And that one guy was in the Cold Opening prologue, for crying out loud!
  • Parody: In this case, it's not a Parody Retcon. (The "PLEASE WAIT TIL THE MOVIE COMES TO A COMPLETE STOP" at the very end confirms that this was intended as a parody of little creatures films.)
  • Parody Assistance: Rick Sloane personally gave the film to Mystery Science Theater 3000 to riff.
  • Plot Hole:
    • Why is it the Hobgoblins didn't escape from the vault when it was open for several minutes but the second time it was opened they run out in a second?
    • Here's another: Why didn't the old man just blow them up immediately after it was clear they were dangerous? Sure, he would've lost his job but he wasn't too old at the time and would easily have gotten another as long as he could cover up the whole "blew up my last job" thing.
    • He could at least have locked the vault. I mean, that's the sole reason for using a vault, isn't it?
    • Why don't the hobgoblins use their mind-warping mojo on McCreedy, as they do on literally every other human they encounter?
    • What happened to Dennis's body? Did McCreedy just leave it to rot in the vault? There is a scene in the uncut version where McCreedy tells his boss that Dennis "quit"; but this doesn't plug the hole because Dennis would surely have family and friend(s) outside work who might possibly notice his disappearance, not to mention the implication that this has happened to some of McCreedy's previous assistants as well.
    • At the end of the movie, the hobgoblins return to the studio on their own, which makes the main character's pursuit of them them throughout the film completely pointless. They could have just sat around and waiting for the hobgoblins to come back.
    • How did Nick know where everyone else went after they left Club Scum?
  • Really Gets Around: Daphne. Many jokes are told, many groans are heard.
  • Scare Chord: Used bizarrely during the rake fight scene.
  • Self-Parody: The sequel, at least so it would seem from the trailer.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To another Rick Sloane film (Yes, he made other stuff. *shudder*). During the flashback, McCreedy is shown reading some sort of promotional material or script for The Visitants.
    • The idea that the Hobgoblins are attracted to bright lights may be a not-so-sly nod to Gremlins, wherein the titular creatures were harmed by bright light.
  • Smoldering Shoes: The Army guy conjured as part of Nick's fantasy is blown up with a grenade, and leaves a pair of smoking boots behind. (This was probably done for the gag, but it does raise the question of whether the guy was a real person that the gang really killed, not a hobgoblin fantasy.)
  • Speed Sex: After the rake fight, Daphne and Nick immediately make for the van for some celebratory sex, and it's seen rocking vigorously while Kevin and Amy argue in the foreground. They reemerge after exactly thirty seconds, dressed and none the worse for wear.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Kyle sure looks excited as he pins the corsage on Daphne's chest.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: "Kiss Kicker", the song played by the band at Club Scum.
  • Title Drop: During McCreedy's narration during his flashback sequence, "...out emerged a strange creature... a sort of... Hobgoblin..."
  • Too Dumb to Live: A list of the characters that aren't too dumb to live would take much less time to account for.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Nick's Disney Death. Guy gets charbroiled near the climax, and then returns at the very end with nary a scratch.
  • The Unintelligible: The singer who garbles his way through "Kiss Kicker".
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Turning off the lights is enough to subdue to Hobgoblins, as old man McCreedy explains that they're attracted to bright light. Of course, this doesn't take into account all the times the little buggers are raising havoc in places with no bright ambient light sources, but that's just one of many plot holes in this movie.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Amy scorns Kevin when he loses the rake fight with Nick. Kevin complains that Nick's had army training and it wasn't a fair fight.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?:
    • Why didn't McCreedy blow up the hobgoblin's vault in the first place? It makes a "bit" more sense in the uncut version, as McCreedy uses the opportunity to screw his boss over on not being able to file an insurance claim because said boss never believed McCreedy about the Hobgoblins. Of course, Kevin is almost certainly going to be fired too, but the movie never really addresses that.
    • In the sequel, McCreedy gets thrown into the psychiatric hospital as a consequence of his actions.
  • With Friends Like These...: With so little in common, it's sort of baffling to wonder how this group of kids came to be friends. Even without the hobgoblins drawing their latent fantasies to the surface, they don't seem to really trust each other or have much fun being together. The one thing that seems to be holding them together is the hope of sex.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Prim, prudish Amy's fantasy turns out to be losing her inhibitions so she can put on a stripshow.