BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Reputation Road, here we come! With that sentence, a young man’s wildest sexual fantasies come true. Overlooking Los Angeles from high in the hills, Kyle’s (Steven Boggs) attempts to get laid finally come to fruition thanks to the support of those zany fantasy-fulfilling hand puppets known as Hobgoblins. Well, sort of. Kyle doesn’t understand one thing about these cute and furry creatures: they kill without prejudice and, apparently, switch out your vehicle’s make and model without you even knowing it, too.
Welcome to the weird and often wild world of no-budget filmmaking! Hobgoblins, written, directed, and edited by Rick Sloane (Bikini Academy and six Vice Academy movies), has a hefty amount of cheese dripping from the corner of its mouth. It practically smears the nuclear-yellow processed goo across its own lips with grubby hands. And why not? The VHS boom that launched movies like this one meant distribution deals were being made left and right. I mean when your movie opens with a fatal slip off of a stage as one security guard fancies himself a rock-n-roll star, where else do you have to go?
The Fontanelles provide the tunes in this mad tale of flammable materials and little hairy creatures and the actors provide the tools for the front-yard fight. Hobgoblins is insanity times three.
Fortunately, the movie is often entertaining – even if it could benefit from more on-screen Hobgoblin mayhem – and really does have a sweet tooth. The sticky, icky candy stuck in its teeth begins with a cast of young adults that are as empty as grocery bags drifting aimlessly down the street. The kids never once realize the danger they are in when it comes to the creatures the B-movie is named after. They say stupid things, get to boinking each other in a big ol’ blue van, and wish every movie made – including the one they are in – was, at the very least, rated X.
The situations in Hobogoblins are only a bit similar to those in Joe Dante’s Gremlins, but they often go the exploitative route in an “anywhere but here” progression. If Dante’s creature feature was a nod to a simpler time in genre moviemaking, then Sloane’s film is C-rated grindhouse gyrations through and through. Nothing is understated as even the designs of the monsters are ripped from Gremlins. In one scene, a bar maid and an emcee – both suddenly attracted to each other – simply collapse on the floor of the club and get at some G-rated heavy-petting. It’s completely bonkers.
And, since there’s not much to operating these hand puppets (that have been sealed behind a film vault in a now-defunct film studio), there’s a limit to their on-screen presence. I know, sad face, right? This absence doesn’t serve the movie well as Kevin (Tom Bartlett), his girlfriend Amy (Paige Sullivan), Daphne (Kelley Palmer), Kyle, and Nick (Billy Frank) just insert themselves into one unfunny situation after another.
The Hobgoblins do save the picture, though. After breaking loose, they simply go mad in the city, defying the guards who are trying to wrangle them back into the vault. The have one expression. Their mustard-colored eyes don’t move, but they do have the ability to make fantasies come to life. That’s how they lure humans to them. No one need be put at risk by these small creatures either; that’s why the security guards are so important.
Turns out, it’s the unfunny humans we need to watch out for. Since Hobgoblins is a product of the late 1980s, the humans give us ninja action scenes, really bad (and really BIG) hair, and fluorescent fashion designs that have seen better days. One man is set on fire. Another is blown up. Yet, nothing of much consequence – other than getting laid – happens to the four central characters.
Hobgoblins – regardless of your feelings about the creature feature genre and the flick itself – has a very strong cult following. The Force is strong in this one, okay? Stop whatever you are doing. It is seriously one of the last no budget movies that desperately needs your attention RIGHT NOW.
Full of explosions, spring boards, and flashbacks galore, Hobgoblins is a goofy romp through trash cinema. Scoop it up before it gets its claws IN you.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 88 mins
Director: Rick Sloane
Writer: Rick Sloane
Cast: Tom Bartlett, Paige Sullivan, Steven Boggs
Tagline: Be careful what you wish for... You just might get it!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Must have been a rowdy crowd tonight."
Theatrical Distributor: American Cinema Marketing
Release Date: July 14, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 25, 2016
Synopsis: A young security guard must track down diminutive aliens who kill people even as they make their fantasies come true.
Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray - October 25, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
For its debut on blu-ray, Vinegar Syndrome has scanned and restored the film in 2k from the original 35mm original camera negative. The results, presented here in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, are perfect. Even the white-on-white interior shots are ripple with new detail. Black levels could be stronger, but their overall weakness has more to do with the original VHS sourcing than anything else. Colors are good. Flesh tones are not as pink as they used to be and, thankfully, the whole tape-sourced problems that long plagued its VHS edition are forgotten. The sound is presented in a dynamic DTS-HD mono track.
There is an archival commentary track with director Rick Sloane that has been ported over. Sloane is both hilarious and informative with his comments.
The release has two discs inside: one blu and one DVD. Identical content is found on each. There’s a NEW making-of featurette and a NEW interviews with the man responsible for the design of the creatures, Kenneth J. Hall. There’s a look at the film’s presence at Comic-Con, too.
- Hobgoblins Revisited
- Kenneth J. Hall Interview
- Hobgoblins: The Making of a Disasterpiece
- Hobgoblins Invade Comic-Con