I don’t think a single person has ever discovered this movie by any other means than Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Hobgolins is probably the best episode of the Mike era and maybe one of the best episodes of the series. As with all great episodes, it’s more the movie that makes it work. I’m a lifetime Mike devotee (Yes, I know Joel is nicer and more reverent but he has the screen presence of a halibut) but if the movie that’s being riffed is genuinely shit then the episodes tend to drag. Hobgoblins is a third-rate Gremlins rip-off that, like Gremlins 2, is totally misunderstood.
Writer/Director Rick Sloane is actually the person who submitted it to MST3K and he loved the episode. Hobgoblins is only bad if you take it at face value, it’s a mock-up of a bad sci-fi horror film. Sure the actors are genuinely bad but the set-ups and set-pieces are all clear surrealist absurdity and nothing is meant to be taken seriously. Hobgoblins is less Munchies and more something along the lines of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra or The Video Dead. It’s wonderful even without Mike and the bots doing a running commentary.
Hobgoblins 2 is both a remake and sequel. All the roles from the original have been recast but there is a mention of the end of the first movie where Old Man McCreedy (Roland Esquivel here, Jeffrey Culver in the original) blew up the abandoned film studio where the hobgoblins lived. This time McCreedy is a patient at an insane asylum and our five “kids” are psych students doing a job shadow experience. Instead of being crash landed aliens, the hobgoblins are now summoned by saying “hobgoblins” three times. As before, the Hobgoblins attack people and snarl with no visible harm being done and they cause people to experience hallucinations, though this time it’s their greatest fear rather than their heart’s desire.
Does It Hold Up?
Nope. Hobgoblins 2 has the same sense of humor as the first one but it doesn’t work. Hobgoblins felt like a pitch-perfect satire of weird old fifties movies like Little Shop of Horrors and Plan Nine From Outer Space, but Hobgoblins 2 just feels like a winking tone-deaf parody of the first movie. The performances are bad and the film looks shoddy but that was true of the first film as well. Hobgoblins 2 just has that lazy direct-to-DVD feel that a lot of modern low-budget movies have, it feels like a late period Full Moon movie. Of course the 21-year gap between movies is probably a lot of the problem. Even worse, the film is strangely earnest. There seems to be a legitimate attempt to try and say something with this movie and that’s easily the most cringe-worthy thing about it.
See the original Hobgoblins, skip this one.
Watch, Toss, Or Buy?
Toss it, just buy the original on Blu-Ray/DVD.
Where Can I Find It?
There’s a DVD but it’s out of print and crazy expensive so just get it on Amazon Instant.