Hobgoblins is a 1988 American low-budget independent comedy horror film directed, written, and produced by Rick Sloane, who also served as cinematographer and editor. The plot concerns small, often considered cheaply designed and made hobgoblins (small demon like mythical and goblin-like creatures).
Often seen as a rip-off of "every small monster movie," but mainly Gremlins, the film is generally considered to be of exceptionally poor quality, and has come to be regarded as one of the worst films ever made. It has become a cult film because of its poor quality, and earned infamy after it was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The film opens with a security guard named Dennis investigating a deserted film vault at an old movie studio. While inside, his fantasy of being a rock star comes to life, but he dies while performing on stage. His boss, Mr. McCreedy (Jeffrey Culver), closes the door upon discovering the body.
A young man named Kevin (Tom Bartlett) takes the vacant job so that he can impress his girlfriend Amy (Paige Sullivan). After his first shift, he drives home to Amy. He finds that his two friends are waiting for him. They are the sex-crazed Daphne (Kelley Palmer) and the dorky Kyle (Steven Boggs), waiting for him. Daphne's Army boyfriend Nick (Billy Frank) also arrives. Nick and Kevin spar with rakes in a long, protracted, repetitive scene. After Kevin loses horribly, Amy berates him for his weaknesses while Daphne and Nick have sex in Nick's van in the background of the scene.
While in pursuit of a burglar the next evening, Kevin stumbles across the vault, which contains a small group of hairy, demonic little aliens — the hobgoblins. They escape, leaving Kevin stunned. His boss, the elderly Mr. McCreedy, explains that the hobgoblins crash landed on the studio lot decades earlier, and he has been closely guarding them ever since. The hobgoblins have the hypnotic power to make a person's wildest fantasies come true; however, they also kill their victims in the process when people's fantasies turn against them.
The hobgoblins go straight to Kevin's house, where his friends are partying, as they are attracted by the bright lights. The hobgoblins quickly make their fantasies come true, but with dire consequences. The quiet, prudish Amy's fantasy leads her to the sleazy nightclub, Club Scum. Kevin and the others follow her there. It turns out that Amy's deepest fantasy is to lose her sexual inhibitions and be a stripper.
The nightclub erupts into chaos while Kevin and his friends try to kill the rampaging hobgoblins. Nick is given a fantasy in which he leads a commando raid. In the melee, Nick is set on fire by a hand grenade thrown by his commanding officer and is apparently killed (again, his fantasy goes to extremes and turns against him), though he returns later in the movie, bandaged and on crutches, but otherwise unharmed. Kevin kills the hobgoblin in control of Amy before she can have sex with the scruffy bouncer Roadrash (Duane Whitaker). Although Amy is restored to her original personality, her experience leaves her less sexually repressed than she was before.
Thinking that all the hobgoblins are dead, Kevin, Amy, Kyle, and Daphne return to the lot to report back to Mr. McCreedy. Kevin is confronted by the burglar from earlier that night and beats him in a fight, finally proving his bravery to Amy. Kevin's victory is short lived as the burglar (yet another phantom created by the hobgoblins) pulls a gun from an ankle holster and aims it at Kevin. Just as the burglar is about to fire, McCreedy shoots the alien, thus saving Kevin's life. The remaining hobgoblins run back into the vault, which McCreedy has filled with explosives. The hobgoblins are then blown to pieces. Amy promises to have sex with Kevin, Nick returns to have sex with Daphne, and Kyle, odd man out, asks to use McCreedy's phone, presumably for more phone sex.Tom Bartlett as Kevin
Paige Sullivan as Amy
Steven Boggs as Kyle
Kelley Palmer as Daphne
Billy Frank as Nick
Tamara Clatterbuck as Fantazia
Duane Whitaker as Roadrash
Jeffrey Culver as McCreedy
Kevin Kildow as Dennis
Kari French as Pixie
Daran Norris as Club Scum M.C
James Mayberry as Sergeant Parker
Ken Abraham as Thug
Don Barrett as Comstock
First released on VHS in early 1988.
The MST3K version of the film was released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Collection, Volume 8 DVD set.
The original Hobgoblins cast members reunited for the MicroWerks DVD of Hobgoblins and Hobgoblins 2, released June 23, 2009. The 20th Anniversary interviews are given by Tom Bartlett (Kevin), Kelley Palmer (Daphne), Steven Boggs (Kyle), Billy Frank (Nick), Tami Clatterbuck (Fantazia), Daran Norris (Club Scum MC), Kenneth J. Hall (creator of the original Hobgoblin puppets), and Rick Sloane (writer/director).
Hobgoblins was also hosted by Elvira in 2014, as part of 13 Nights of Elvira, an all-new series produced for Hulu by Brainstorm Media.
Hobgoblins is perhaps best known for being shown on episode #907 of Mystery Science Theater 3000. MST3K writer Paul Chaplin later commented on Hobgoblins, saying, "It shoots right to the top of the list of the worst movies we've ever done." Rick Sloane in fact submitted Hobgoblins to the MST3K team himself, and enjoyed the episode enough that he based the theme song to Hobgoblins 2 on a song Mike and the Bots sing during the episode.