Tag Archives: Tom Bartlett

Hobgoblins (1988)


By Richard Winters

My Rating: 1 out of 10

4-Word Review: Avoid the furry creatures.

Kevin (Tom Bartlett) gets a job as a night security guard at a local factory. During his training he is told by his supervisor McCreedy (Jeffrey Culver) not to unlock the vault, but he does so anyways, which releases all these small furry creatures that apparently landed on earth 30 years ago. These aliens, which are called hobgolbins, are a nefarious bunch as they are able to delve into the thoughts and fantasies of the people around them. When a person starts thinking about their secret fantasy they are actually being controlled by the aliens, which will lead them to an ultimate death. It is now up to Kevin to try and stop these creatures before they attack his friends.

This film has attained a notorious reputation of being one of the worst ones ever made and its director Rick Sloane has become this generation’s Ed Wood. With all this considered I was actually surprised that it wasn’t quite as bad as I was expecting. In fact there have been films that I’ve seen which have been worse, which isn’t to say that it’s a good one either. The movie does take some stabs at humor and while most of it is lame the segment regarding the bouncing van, which is supposed to simulate the lovemaking actions of the couple inside, is mildly amusing.

The film’s biggest fault is its limited locations. The factory setting isn’t visually interesting and the fact that Sloane constantly goes back to shooting scenes in the same drab hallway of the place doesn’t help. The bar known as Club Scum, which is the setting for the second half of the story, has an equally bland interior. There is also the issue of the factory owner’s office being quite obviously the exact same room that is later used in another scene by a 1-900 sex operator (Tamara Clatterbuck).

The cast is made up of Rick Sloane regulars who’ve appeared in his other productions and pretty much nowhere else. Bartlett is quite weak in the lead and Culver’s old man routine especially having to watch his pathetic attempts at running are annoying and the shots showing Bartlett and Culver running in tandem side-by-side make no sense as Bartlett is much younger and could easily out run the old timer as could just about anybody else.

The plot is full of holes and the fantasies that the characters go through are generic to the extreme. The scenes inside the bar become overly extended and bog the already slow pace down until it comes to a complete standstill. The creatures are clearly just stuffed animals whose facial expressions never change and the attempts to make them look like they can move their bodies are pathetic.

The humor shifts from double-entendres to silly stuff aimed at the kids making me wonder what the intended audience was, or if they had even thought of that. About the only thing that it does accomplish is making me want to watch Gremlins again, which this tries to rip-off, since it is far better.

My Rating: 1 out of 10

Released: July 14, 1988

Runtime: 1Hour 28Minutes

Rated R

Director: Rick Sloane

Studio: American Cinema Marketing

Available: DVD (MST 3000 Vol. 8), Amazon Instant Video