Monday, June 20

Movie Review - Hobgoblins

    Ah, Hobgoblins. I've been planning a while to review this one. It's supposedly similar to Troll 2 as it's a hilariously bad horror movie that isn't even close to scary. Originally released in 1988, the movie stars a bunch of no-name actors that have hardly shown up in anything since. Yup, sounds like Troll 2 to me, but is it as good/bad?

    The movie starts with a grainy outdoors shot of an old security guard walking beside his workplace. He heads toward a teenaged security guard sitting at the building's gate and listening to music. The older guard starts telling the teen off for listening to music when he should be working. The phone suddenly rings, but when the old man picks it up, he gets nothing.

    "Didn't you hear the phone ringing?" the older guard asks

    "No I didn't," the younger guard replies. Of course you didn't, it wasn't even ringing. Great way to start the movie off, by showing us how poor the sound editing is.

    Eventually, they start their rounds. They walk through what seems to be an abandoned building and into the vault area. The old man starts telling the teen about how the building used to be a great studio of some kind. He also tells the teen not to wander into the vault. The old man leaves to talk with their boss, and guess what the teen does...he goes straight for the vault. So utterly predictable.

    The boss seems like the stereotypical dick boss taken to the extreme, berating the older security guard for taking a while to get to his office, despite it only taking 20 seconds of movie time. He then complains that nobody answered the phone earlier. OK you douche-bag, if both of you had a 2-way radio, why bother with the phone if the guards can't always be at the gate?

    Cut back to the teen, who's now opening the vault and walking in, complete with sinister music. He hears some sort of non-human growling and asks,

    "Is somebody there?"

    Cut back to the other two in the office. The older guard hears static on his radio and barges out, looking mildly concerned. The acting is more wooden than an 30-year-old skid.

    The teen is now on stage with a micro...what? Wasn't he just in a vault? How is he on stage now? The lights turn on, music starts, and he starts dancing at the mic. He mouths a few words at the mic, but we hear nothing. What the frick is this? He falls off the stage, and we cut back to the older guard running toward the vault. He finds the teen dead on the floor and closes the vault. It's odd that he doesn't lock it, but only closes it and looks mildly tired.

    Now we see the title card and the opening credits. OK, what just happened? The movie's unintentionally funny so far, but what just happened?

    After the opening credits the older guard is explaining to his boss that the new guard quit.

    "Another one quit?" He asks. Good question, why do all these young guards keep quitting after several weeks? A better question though, is why doesn't he lock the vault so that nobody can open it? If he knows it's dangerous, he should just lock it. It's not like there's anything of real value in there. Also, wouldn't the boss have to explain to the kid's family and/or friends why he disappeared during a shift at work? Enough questions though, let's move on.

    They continue to bicker about how there has to be a second security guard in case the old man can't make it to work. A fair point, but then it's explained that the building has been deserted for 30 years. Wait, what? They've been paying security guards to patrol a building that's been deserted for 30 years? What’s the point? So their insurance won't be void? Wouldn't it be cheaper to stop paying insurance and either sell the building or let it rot? How expensive is it to pay for property tax, electricity, building maintenance? The building is still in fairly good shape despite being deserted so they must be preserving it somehow. We're only 10 minutes in and any hope of logic throughout this movie is thrown clean out the window. This is AWESOME!

    Next scene starts with the guard introducing the new security guard, Kevin, to the job. So where does he take him first on the tour? The vault nobody's never supposed to open, but won't lock. Genius! How does he explain it? By telling him that there's some dangerous machinery. Right...because all teenagers are afraid of "dangerous" machines that aren't even running.

    Kevin goes home to his girlfriend's house, and another boy and girl are in the house as well. Kevin brought home a VHS rental to watch, but rather than telling us what it is, the girl that isn't Kevin's girlfriend complains that it's not from the adult section, and that her boyfriend would never rent anything without at least one X. Is this her character trait? That she's obsessed with adult movies? Kevin's girlfriend says that Kevin's not like that.

    Enough of that conversation though, time to listen to the strangest car horn ever. Seriously, the car horn sounds like the first four notes to a circus tune. The girl says,

    "That's my Nick, back from two months of army training." She says that there's only one thing Nick could possibly want. Kevin's girlfriend asks what that is. I guess the movie's painting her as a prude, but there's a difference between a prude and someone who refuses to support an industry that's sole profit comes from sexual exploitation...and for that matter, someone who doesn't know what sex is. The movie cuts to Nick waving his hips forward and backwards. Ah, that's what he wants - to watch Mr. Bean trying to dance with his girlfriend. The girl steps outside and waves her hips too, and then they run at each other. Until they get names, I'll call Nick's girl "horny girl" and Kevin's girl "miss prude".

    Apparently, Nick enjoyed everything about army training. Really? He enjoys waking up at 4 a.m., drill sergeants yelling in his face, and all that crap? Army training is supposed to suck, why? To train you for the battlefield, which also sucks. Something tells me that this movie is somewhat stupid.

    The other boy then leaves to call his girlfriend, and horny girl asks when they're ever going to meet this girlfriend. I'll assume that he doesn't actually have a girlfriend and is interested in one of the other two girls, let's see if I'm right later. Until I'm proven wrong, I'll call him single guy. So single guy calls a call girl hotline. The girl starts talking about how she's going to see a PG movie and wants the caller to make it rated X. Kevin walks in on him and complains about how he constantly has sex hotline charges on his phone bill. After that conversation ends, the sex hotline person hangs up. That's all it was, a short adventure with no interaction? And somehow that's enough for this loser? What kind of sexy hotline would have a two minute story with no interaction? Logic wasn't just thrown out the window; it was tossed onto the street and run over by a truck.

    Nick offers to teach Kevin some combat techniques. So what kind of techniques does Nick teach him? Using rakes as staffs in a staff fight, complete with fake organ noises every time they impact. This is fricken hilarious. After 20 impacts or so, Nick spins around and elbows Kevin's side, knocking him down. Kevin stands back up, and repeats this.  This is what I've been missing for a while, a hilariously bad movie. Nick knocks Kevin down a third time and Kevin gives up. Kevin's girlfriend then complains that Kevin just humiliated her. How? Nick has military training, Kevin doesn't? It would only be humiliating if Kevin won. Oh, and while they're arguing, Nick and horny girl are inside Nick's van. The van bounces back and forth, complete with cartoon bouncing sound effects. This is so far beyond campy that it's almost transcendent.

    That night, Kevin's back at his new job. Does he ever sleep? Anyway, he asks the old guard advice on how to make miss prude happy. Their conversation is interrupted by a quiet alarm sounding. Apparently they have an intruder, and on camera too. Why would a long abandoned building have an intruder? Anyway, the old man drives a golf cart out to intercept the intruder, who grabs the man from behind soon after he steps off the cart. Kevin sees this on the security monitor and grabs the revolver. He soon reaches them and orders the intruder to release his superior.

    "You don't know how to use that," the intruder taunts.

    Kevin replies by aiming in the air and firing off a shot. The intruder immediately runs off. I'm not sure why though, this revolver is obviously just a starter pistol. Kevin chases after him while the old man calls the police. Kevin searches the building and wanders toward the vault. He informs the old guard this. The old man pauses for ten seconds before saying,

    "The vault!" He then says in the radio, "Stop whatever you're doing!" Must not be that urgent if he waited that long to say anything.

    Kevin walks up to the vault and, guess what...he opens it! Of course, we know Kevin's not going to die yet because he has the power of main character. Instead, he lets the growling creatures out. Why didn't they run out when the previous guard opened the vault? Anyway, the old guard asks why Kevin let them out, and then we cut to...this.

    Yup, that's the first time we ever see these...hobgoblins? They chase the guards down the street the two guards dodge them, and the hobgoblins just leave the golf cart. The old man explains that he's only worked there so long to keep those creatures in the vault. If that's the case, then why the frick didn't you ever lock the fricken vault? Anyway, time for a back-story, narrated by the old security guard.

    Back when the guard first started working there, the studio was busy and fun. Some space shuttle thing landed on the lot in front of him, opened up, and there were two hobgoblins inside. He then explained that he let the creatures live on the lot, and that they had the power to give people hallucinations. Hallucinations of their deepest desires, and somehow this destroys people. Yeah, that's what this movie is about, creatures that hallucinate people to death. Creatures that have the same superpower as Fantomex from Uncanny X-Force. He also explains that the hobgoblins are attracted to bright lights, and sends Kevin to find them. He has until daylight to find them, because then it'll be too late.

    Cut to Kevin's friends, except for Nick, dancing with lame music and some flashing disco light. The hobgoblins show up outside and...fake Nick's horn. Horny girl quickly flashes her panties and runs outside while the other two keep dancing. She sees nothing outside, and then miss prude joins her. They have a stupid and pointless argument, and miss prude goes back inside. One of the hobgoblins then jumps at horny girl. They struggle on the ground for a bit as the hobgoblin keeps growling. It's obviously a stuffed animal that horny girl is just holding up in the air. She eventually throws the stuffed animal off, grabs one of the rakes from earlier, and attacks the hobgoblin, complete with the same sound effects as the rake fight from earlier.

    Horny girl steps back inside and all three of them are attacked by more hobgoblins. Again, they're clearly stuffed animals. Nick arrives and sees them struggling through the window. He thinks it's some kinky new dance and walks in excited. Four hobgoblins pop up from behind the couch, and the four of them scream. Really army boy? Can't you use some of your fight training to beat the living crap out of them? They're what? One foot tall each? You can take these miniature monsters. Instead, he runs into his van and grabs a grenade. Seriously? How did he get that? He's not even done army training yet. Kevin shows up and flips a light switch by the outside door, which somehow shuts off both the music and the lights. What? Does any household anywhere have a master power switch in the form of a light switch right outside the front door? Seriously, what the frick am I watching? The hobgoblins invade Nicks' van.

    Kevin explains to his friends that the monsters are hobgoblins and that they can do something to your mind. That's literally all he says, he doesn't say that they can cause hallucinations. How long would it take to explain that? Mere seconds; Kevin’s really lazy if he can't explain that these freaks cause hallucinations or that they're attracted to lights. So in this time of emergency, what does the single guy do? He asks to use the phone to call his "girlfriend" again. As funny as this movie is, this running gag is just pathetic. Kevin's other three friends crash onto the couch, looking tired, while Kevin just stands there.

    While single guy is calling the sex line, a hobgoblin watches. The hobgoblin causes him to think that the girl on the hotline is right outside, and he wonders out the front door to a hot girl and red lights. Kevin asks the other three where Kyle is, and they don't know even though he just walked right in front of them. Meanwhile, the single guy's talking right outside with the door open. HOW CAN KEVIN NOT HEAR HIM? The hallucination convinces the single guy to drive to Reputation Road.

    Kevin walks outside to see single guy drive away, and he barges back in to ask where Reputation Road is. Here, we finally learn the girls' names. Miss prude is Amy and horny girl is Daphne. Since we're more than half way through the movie, I think I'll just keep calling them miss prude and horny girl anyway.

    Kevin grabs one of the rakes and chases after single guy in his car. Meanwhile, miss prude finds an ad for "Club Scum," and smiles.

    Single guy is driving along and proposes to his hallucination. The hallucination suggests they skip the ceremony and go straight to the honeymoon. OK, I know he's hallucinating, but this guy has serious problems if he proposes to a girl on the first actual date and needs to use other people's phones to call hotlines. Kevin follows behind, violently moving the steering wheel with no effect to prove that he's not actually driving - genius! They soon arrive at Reputation Road, marked with a wooden sign and letters painted in white - you know you're watching a low-budget movie when...

    Single guy parks in the middle of the road, which is stupid enough. The hallucination suggests that he parks near the edge if he wants to go all the way. In the next shot, we see another painted wooden sign that says "all the way." This is a rather strange movie; all its jokes fall flat, but everything else is hilarious. The hallucination then exits the car and starts pushing it toward the edge of the road, and there’s a hill nearby. Kevin arrives shortly and charges with his rake. He hits the hobgoblin and the hallucination disappears. He pulls the single guy out of the car just before it rolls down the hill and explodes.

    Kevin and single guy arrive back at the house to find out that miss prude has left for Club Scum. Only now does Kevin tell them that the hobgoblins cause hallucinations and kill people. Why didn't you tell everyone that the first time? Oh right, because according to this movie's universe, logic is stupid. The four of them head toward Club Scum to save miss prude.

    There's a three minute scene where the three guys try to convince the bouncer to let them into the bar. It includes several unfunny jokes and lots of padding, nothing else. Why did it have to be in the movie? I'd rather see more people roll on the floor while holding one of the stuffed hobgoblins again. Anyway, horny girl pops up from behind the three guys and right away the bouncer lets the group in. If your presence alone would have let them in, WHY DIDN'T YOU SHOW YOURSELF IN THE FIRST PLACE?

    For a place called club scum, this place looks pretty lame. It looks like a cheap family restaurant with cheap furniture and a concrete floor. Even though we saw a number of people walking in, hardly anyone is inside this dump. They walk by some weirdo in red talking about how there's both a wet t-shirt contest and mud wrestling that night. What? How can you have both in such a small family restaurant? In this shot, Nick and single guy walk on ahead of Kevin and horny girl, yet in the next shot, Kevin is leading the group and they're all in a single line. Was there anyone in charge of continuity between shots?

    Some of the patrons greet horny girl, and Nick starts arguing with her like a 5-year-old; guess basic training forgot to teach him discipline. The movie decides that this argument is pointless and interrupts it with the weirdo in red from earlier.

    "Welcome lowlifes," he says.

    OK some of the club regulars might be lowlifes, but calling everyone in the bar a lowlife is bound to cause some problems if any of them are already drunk. The bouncer immediately throws a beer can at the weirdo and orders him offstage. Good for him.

    An unnamed music band starts playing onstage, and the next three minutes are filled with bad rock music and weird dancing. After the rock song, one of the waitresses asks what Kevin's group wants to drink. Kevin tells them that they're all underage. The waitress calls over the bouncer and he gives them all fake IDs. Maybe this bar is scummy, freely giving fake IDs to underage patrons so that they can buy booze. If this club does this regularly, then how does it still exist? I'm sure the cops would have eventually shown up to shut the place down.

    After...that, miss prude takes the stage and starts a mildly seductive dance. So this is how the hobgoblins are going to kill her? By making her dance onstage in a bar called club scum? Pretty lame if you ask me. The dance is so lame that Kevin barges on stage and tries to stop her. Miss prude pushes him offstage and the bouncer forces Kevin back in his seat. Wouldn't he immediately kick him out? He's already underage after all. It would be easy...just saying.

    Miss prude wanders off the stage and pulls the bouncer aside. Kevin and single guy chase after them. When we cut back to Nick and horny girl, Nick's commanding officer shows up out of nowhere, in uniform, because some girl named Dixie is performing that night. Who's Dixie? No fricken idea. Even though he's on a weekend pass, this officer is still acting all military.

    Nick, while standing at attention, tells the officer about the hobgoblins, and the guy believes it without hesitation. In the background we see Kevin and single guy wandering back and forth while we hear the fake growling. The officer then gives Nick an ammo belt, a grenade, and a bunch of other stuff we don't see clearly.

    Meanwhile, Kevin is chasing the hobgoblins all over the bar, stumbling around and knocking over empty tables.

    One hobgoblin causes the weirdo in red and the waitress to think they’re in love, and they lie down on the floor together. Single guy whacks the hobgoblin with a beer bottle, and the two immediately snap out of their little, um...was that a hallucination or drug-like mood alteration? The waitress grabs a bottle and starts swinging it toward the weirdo in red. The bottle comes no-where near the weirdo, and yet we hear all sorts of wacky cartoon sound effects that make absolutely no sense here. It's happening, the movie's going all out with its stupidity, and I'm having trouble breathing it's so funny.

    Nick starts throwing grenades around and acting like Rambo. Nobody seems to notice the grenades unless they explode right beside them. How many grenades did the officer give him? The bouncer pops in, and suddenly everyone else runs out of the bar. Miss prude then snaps out of her "hallucination" and is disgusted by the bouncer.

    Nick's officer throws a grenade, and Nick jumps on top of it. Nick runs around on fire. Horny girl then stuffs a grenade down the officer's shirt and runs off. The officer struggles for a bit and explodes. When I say the officer explodes, I mean an explosion occurs half-way across the screen and somehow that disintegrates everything but the man's boots.

    After a quick conversation, Kevin, single guy, horny girl and miss prude enter the van to drive back to Kevin's workplace. Two hobgoblins pop out from behind, and we pop back to the old security guard in his boss's office. Ah, these two guys are always good for a laugh, what will it be this time?

    The old guard brings up the hobgoblins, and his boss immediately writes him off as crazy. The old guard tells him that Kevin is out looking for the creatures. What? If he doesn't believe they exist, why would he believe that the young guard needs help finding them in the city? Meanwhile, nobody's guarding the front gate of the abandoned building that they're only keeping because of insurance...or something.

    "You are not going to leave your job to chase after some foolishness," the boss says. "If you leave your job, you are fired."

    "Good," the guard replies. "Saves me the trouble of quitting." Isn't this the most well-written script of all time?

    Kevin soon arrives with his friends - you'd think the hobgoblins would have killed them already, but whatever. The man who invaded the abandoned building shows up with two nun chucks and throws Kevin one, challenging him to a fight to "settle the score."

    They start fighting, complete with the same organ sounds whenever either of them hit each other. The nun chucks seem to disappear in the middle of the fight, not sure where they went. Kevin actually starts winning the fight, until the man pulls out a gun. A gunshot sounds, and the invader disappears. It was just a hallucination, and the old guard shot the hobgoblin causing it.

    The old guard and Kevin wander back inside the building and find the remaining hobgoblins. For some reason, they went back into the vault. Rather than locking up the vault though, the two security guards head back outside and blow up the building. Apparently the old security guard was an explosives expert in the war.

    Miss prude says that Kevin is her hero, and they embrace. Single guy then gives horny girl a flower, and she smiles. Didn't she just lose her boyfriend to a grenade earlier? Isn't it a bit too soon to be hitting on her?

    Nick suddenly shows up in crutches and bandages. He and horny girl hug each other, and run into the van. Yes, Nick drops his crutches and runs into the van. Why did he have them in the first place? Anyway, the van bounces back and forth again with cartoon sound effects.

    The old guard then calls his boss and tells him that the building exploded when nobody was on duty. Single guy then asks if he can use the phone, and then the credits roll.

    This was easily among the funnier bad movies I've reviewed on this blog. Despite all the suggestive material, it's impossible to take seriously and nothing revealing is shown. This movie is easy to recommend to anyone who’s interested in hilariously bad movies. It's not quite as funny bad as Troll 2, but it's at least in the same league.

Two word review - Awesomely Bad

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