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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 09 E 07 Hobgoblins

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Film watched: Hobgoblins

"Can you catch a venereal disease from a movie?"
Tom Servo

While Hobgoblins is probably not the worst movie to ever be screened on Mystery Science Theater 3000, it is one of them, and possibly the sleaziest.

Though director Rick Sloane requested that his film be featured on the show, it suffered some of the harshest riffing ever. The Mads removed the film case from the Ark of the Covenant. The bots tried to flee the theater during the opening credits. Crow set up a hotline for people traumatized by the movie. Mike and the 'bots tried to escape again by replacing themselves with cardboard cutouts in the theater and the bridge (it nearly worked, too). Crow impersonated Sloane during the end credits claiming he was "high on crack" and had "[his] brain replaced with rat droppings". Servo tried, and failed, to go back in time to prevent the movie from being made.


The episode can be streamed here.

The Segments:

  • Mike and the 'Bots find themselves getting accidentally turned on from each other. They blame Robert Palmer.

Segment 1

  • Pearl is remodeling Castle Forrester and sends up a couch to the SOL for storage, with explicit instructions to NOT jump on it. Naturally, Mike, Crow, and Servo jump on it, so Pearl punishes them with an especially-bad movie: Hobgoblins!note 

Segment 2

  • Crow puts together an educational film about how to treat women with respect... just as soon as he can find some.

Segment 3

  • Crow sets up the Hobgoblins Crisis Hotline for people traumatized by watching such a horrible movie. His lone caller is not what he expects.

Segment 4

  • Mike and the 'Bots make a break for it and leave cardboard decoys of themselves to fool Pearl. It almost works until Brain Guy sees through the trick.

Segment 5

  • In a last act of desperation, Servo goes back in time to prevent Hobgoblins from ever being made. It doesn't quite pan out. Pearl reaffirms her rule to NOT jump on her couch when Bobo and Brain Guy decide to try it themselves.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode of this movie contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Rick Sloane, the director of Hobgoblins, loved MST3K's riffing of the film. He even submitted the film to them.
    • Sometimes the cast of the movie actually does some good lines. When Nick grabs a grenade from his van and is about to throw it inside the home to kill the hobgoblins:
      Amy: "Oh my God, what do you call that?!"
      Daphne: "Urban renewal!"
      Crow: (as a car is pulling up) Aha! And what brisk witticism will this chappie have to offer?
    • Also, while being given fake IDs by the bouncer:
      Kyle: "Hey, this says I'm 40 and handicapped!"
      Roadrash: "What's the matter? You got a problem with that, Junior?"
      Kyle: "No... I'll limp."
      Crow: (halfheartedly) Ha, ha, funny.
  • Advertisement:
  • Artistic License – Military: Lampshaded. After army reservist Nick, fresh out of basic training, grabs a grenade out of his van:
    Servo: So, the army just hands out grenades, huh?
  • Bad Butt: The intended effect of the Club Scum scenes is quite muted by the lack of payoff for any of the implied threats and promised nudity.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: One that looks suspiciously like a school gym or cafeteria dressed up to resemble a bar, at that.
    Servo: "Club Scum", eh? So why are there lunch ladies back there serving tater tots?
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • During one of the host segments, Bobo calls Crow's newly-created "Hobgoblins Crisis Hotline" to ask for advice about his crush on "a woman very close to me— a woman not of my species", with whom he is obsessed despite the fact that she abuses him. This is coupled with sneaky looks at an oblivious Pearl in the background. It turns out he's talking about a chimpanzee named Emily.
    • Tom, while dressed in a leather jacket and sunglasses while holding a machinegun, explains to a suitably horrified Mike that he just finished going back in time to track down Hobgoblins director Rick Sloane and k...ick him in the shins. Mike is relieved; he thought Tom was going to say he "terminated" Sloane.
      Tom: T-t-terminate? Are you nuts! I hate guns! I hate 'em! How could you ever get that idea?
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: The takeaway from the movie: Amy wasn't any fun until she put on a literal strip show and started giving it up like her friend Daphne. The crew Lampshade the Unfortunate Implications.
    Crow: (Sarcasm Mode) Yes, girls, this is the only way to make your boyfriends like you.
  • Bookworm: At the beginning of Crow's "where are women?" video host segment, Mike (an avid reader, as seen in previous episodes) is reading again. This time it's Bleak House.
  • Cardboard Pal:
    • Mike and the 'bots try to trick the Mads by placing cardboard cut outs of themselves in the theater, along with a tape recorder playing some poorly acted generic riffs ("That's stupid") and escaping. In the host segment, we see they did the same on the bridge. Only Observer wasn't fooled. The cut-outs are based on the silhouettes of Mike and the bots that appeared on the back of Rhino VHS releases of Mystery Science Theater 3000 at the time (the "Pointing Mike" cut-out being the most obvious).
    • During the movie's closing credits, they used another cutout (hastily sawed out of wood) for their faux interview with Rick Sloane.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Pearl uses a pair to blow up Bobo and Brain Guy at the end of the episode. She really doesn't want anyone jumping on the couch.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Much is made of Nick's military service. Naturally, when Nick runs away from the hobgoblins the second he realizes they're dangerous, Crow riffs "Oh, Nick's in the French army, I see."
  • Chekhov's Gun: M&TB initially complain over the seemingly pointless "rake fight" scene early in the film, but then Crow notices that the scene may have actually had a purpose when Kevin grabs the same rake to fend off one of the Hobgoblins.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Crow and Tom in response to Roadrash's sudden pull out of a sign to indicate his approval of Amy's "stripping".
    MC: Well, what do you think folks? Is she a Hit or a Miss?
    Roadrash: (Pulls out large premade sign that says "Hit")
    Crow:You know they should really add an "S" to that.
    Tom: "Hits"?
    Crow: Yeah.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Crow makes a documentary, Let's Talk Women!, that initially is supposed to counter the movie's portrayal of women and show how to treat the fairer sex with respect. Because Crow couldn't actually find any women, though, it turns into a conspiracy video.
    Crow: We begin to ask ourselves: "Where are all the women?" The overheated references in poetry, the images that dominate our media — is it all an elaborate fraud?
    • Complete with a grainy black & white photo of a woman in a fur coat that looks an awful lot like a screencap from the famous "Patterson Bigfoot Film". Here's "Patterson's Bigfoot" and "Crow's Woman" for comparison.
    • One person (who suspiciously looks and sounds like Crow with a fake handlebar mustache) claims he met a woman. Then married her.
      Crow: Did you have any children?
      Crow!"Man": I DON'T REMEMBER!
    • Mike points out that Pearl is a woman.
      Crow: ...Okay, so one woman exists! Does that mean all women exist?!
    • Crow then demands Mike name one other woman; Mike being Mike, he can't do it.
  • Cool Car: Subverted with Kevin's car.
    Crow: Paint my muscle car prune color, please!
  • Developing Doomed Characters: It sure does take a while for the title creatures to show up on-screen.
    Mike: Ah, hobgoblins, four hours in.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
  • Dull Surprise: The patrons at Club Scum aren't exactly frightened of the hobgoblins suddenly popping up.
    Servo: (dully) Ah, hah, oh no.
  • Educational Short: Shot in black and white with magazine-cutout props and Crow doing his best overly cheerful '50s Narrator voice, Crow's film about women starts out as a lesson on how to treat the opposite sex with respect before turning into a paranormal documentary (about whether or not women are even real) instead.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Both Bobo and Brain Guy are horrified by the prospect of forcing Mike and the bots to watch Hobgoblins. Bobo Screams Like a Little Girl every time "The Movie" is even mentioned.
  • Excited Show Title!: Let's Talk Women!, Crow's documentary about how to treat women with respect... if they're not just an Urban Legend, that is.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend:
    Crow: Nick's a smoking husk right now, he wouldn't mind if we take his van!
  • Funny Background Event: Kyle keeps dancing inside the house while Amy and Daphne argue outside. Crow supplies Jerry Lewis noises.
  • A Handful for an Eye: During the rake fight, Crow suggests "Throw some Miracle-Gro in his eyes!"
  • Insecurity System:
    Mike: Tell me again why they have an elaborate security system but they don't lock anything?!
  • Logic Bomb: "Okay, so one woman exists. Does that mean all women exist?" Hilariously, Mike is utterly stumped when Crow challenges him to name one other woman aside from Pearl.
  • Made of Iron: After Nick's Unexplained Recovery after being blown up earlier in the movie:
    Crow: So the only side effect of his complete immolation is... mild redness and irritation?
  • Makeout Point: Upon witnessing the movie's depiction of this, a scenic overlook with ample parking, Servo thinks they must have public funding.
  • Mickey Mousing: The musical stings during the rake fight:
    Crow: Their garden tools make little Casio sounds.
  • Mondegreen: Used mercilessly during "Kiss Kicker", with the SOL crew coming up with, among others, Swiss Knickers, Fish Picker and Pig Licker/Pig Liquor.
  • Mood Whiplash: Crow's Educational Short about treating women right downshifts when Crow, suddenly serious, reveals the deep uncertainty over whether or not women even exist at all.
    Crow: For you young fellows fresh on the cusp of a blooming manhood, the questions abound! What are women like? What do women want? How should I treat a woman? Perhaps the thorniest problem facing any young man is finding a woman in the first place. It turns out to be... nearly impossible.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When Pearl and Bobo Failed a Spot Check on the Cardboard Pals, a frustrated Brain Guy corrects himself using the complimentary version of this trope. Mostly out of fear of Pearl's wrath.
    Brain Guy: Listen, you idiots!
    Pearl: (gives him a Death Glare)
    Brain Guy: ...and Pearl, you, of course, too.
  • My Girl Is a Slut:
    Crow: So, Mike, I learned from today's movie that Daphne was a slut, and Amy wasn't fun until she became a slut.
    Mike Nelson: Well, that's the fun message of today's movie!
  • Nausea Fuel: Invoked. Mike and the bots get audibly disgusted whenever Daphne starts talking about her busy sex life with meathead army recruit Nick.
    Daphne: (singing) Everybody have sex tonight!
    Tom: Everybody throw up tonight.
  • Parody Assistance: Hobgoblins director Rick Sloane personally submitted the film to MST3K.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whimpering whenever the young security guard is on the screen.
    • During the second half, Mike and the bots claiming the movie is actually pretty good, citing multiple "car pulling into the driveway" shots as inspired.
    • M&TB repeatedly getting the name of the Club Scum bouncer wrong. For what it's worth, it's "Road Rash".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • During the opening credits, Servo and Crow repeatedly try to make a run for it, with Mike chasing them down to bring them back to their seats.
    • Just before the fourth host segment, the movie is getting so bad that Mike resorts to an offscreen plan: distract the Mads with cheap Cardboard Pals and poorly done pre-recorded riffs and banter. By the time Observer has halfway convinced Pearl that these are in fact obviously fake, we see that he and the 'bots had changed into Hawaiian shirts and instantly packed their luggage for their vacation/escape.
  • Ship Tease: When Bobo calls Tom & Crow's "Hobgoblins Crisis Hotline" for advice about the crush he had on "a woman... (looks at Pearl behind him) a woman not of my species", squicking the 'Bots out horribly. Turns out it's actually a chimpanzee named Emily.
  • Shout-Out: Pearl refers to Bobo and Brain Guy as "Pinky" and "Brain".
  • Stable Time Loop: Servo's attempt to erase the existence of Hobgoblins by going back in time and kicking Rick Sloane in the shins ends up being the latter's inspiration for the movie.
    • Appropriately enough, Rick Sloane's admiration for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of Hobgoblins inspired him to create the sequel. According to an interview with Rick Sloane, he enjoyed the riffing until he got to the part with the faux-interview attacking him personally at the end: "I had never seen them rip apart any other director before on the show." Sloane had clearly not seen episodes like Mitchell or the three-movie ouevre of Coleman Francis, where creators involved with the original movies were savaged.
  • Stylistic Suck: The prerecorded riffs that accompany the Cardboard Pals in the theater are very stilted and generic when compared to the gang's usual quips. This carries out into the following host segment, where they sing an equally uninspired song.
    Cardboard Mike and the 'Bots: Hobgoblins, hobgoblins / What do you do with those hobgoblins?
    They're over here / They're over there / Those darn hobgoblins are everywhere!
  • Team Dad: Mike shows shades of this. For example, in the middle of the film, Servo pretends to bounce on the sofa that a couple of the characters have fallen asleep on, just like in the first host segment, and goes "Whee, this is fun, this is fun! (sobbing) No, it's not, no, it's not" and Mike consoles him.
  • Technical Pacifist: Parodied. Tom has no problem kicking someone in the shins, but protests that he hates guns and would never have 'terminated' Rick Sloane... while holding a machine gun and wearing a black leather jacket and sunglasses. Then he finds out Rick Sloane called him "stout" and says he's going to go back and kill him.
  • Time Travel: Tom uses their station's time machine, as seen in earlier episodes, to travel back in time, hunt down Rick Sloane, and... kick him in the shins, to stop him from ever making Hobgoblins. It results in a Stable Time Loop, as it turns out this incident was what inspired Sloane to make Hobgoblins in the first place.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: "Pig Licker", the song at Club Scum. Mocked by Crow.
    Crow: Chord, chord, chord, chord, chord, other chord.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Pearl's reaction when she sees Mike and the 'bots bouncing around on the couch and squirting juice boxes.
  • With Lyrics: "It's The '80s! Do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan!"
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: And the rest of it, too. The guys don't think very highly of Amy's hobgoblin-inspired striptease.


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