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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 907- Hobgoblins

Movie: (1987) Some not-too-bright teens pursue aliens — who make people’s dreams come true, then murder them — who have escaped from confinement.

First shown: 6/27/98
Opening: On the SOL, there’s a rash of unintentional on-turning
Intro: M&tB mistreat Pearl’s new couch, and soon regret it
Host segment 1: Crow presents: “Let’s Talk Women!”
Host segment 2: Bobo calls Crow’s crisis hotline
Host segment 3: Pearl is only briefly fooled by Mike’s cutouts
End: Servo has solved the Rick Sloane problem…or has he?; Pearl expresses her disappointment
Stinger: The hobgoblins enjoy a ride
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (345 votes, average: 4.65 out of 5)

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• Wow. Well, there are bad movies, there are really bad movies, and then there are bad movies like “Hobgoblins.” It’s one of those movies where somebody is sure to say “even the riffing couldn’t save it.” If nothing else, it’s memorable. The riffing is as good as it’s been all season and the segments are all pretty strong, and all that adds up to a great episode.
• Paul, who was doing these a lot at this point, offers thoughts here.
References.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 8.
• Producer Rick Sloan famously lobbied to get this movie on the show, something that didn’t happen often.
• Sloan revisits the movie in this video.
• The whole “on-turning” thing is brilliant.
• The intro is also a gem. We can’t have nice things.
• Crow, it’s pronounced “cerberus,” not “cerebus.”
• Among the more memorable credit sequences is the opening credit sequence, in which Mike is forced to corral the bots as they understandably attempt to flee the movie.
• In segment one, Mike is reading Dickens’ “Bleak House” as the scene opens, while Tom is reading Richard Scary’s equally gripping “What Do People Do All Day.”
• That’s Beez in the grainy photo Crow shows during segment 1.
• I like that the TV says “Stony.”
• Once funny, now dead references: JFK Jr.; Hunter Thompson.
• I was completely taken in by segment 2. Never saw the twist coming.
• Is my disk defective or does the sound cut out during the door sequence after segment 2?
• Naughty riff: “You’re the expert on that.”
• The run of “parking” riffs just gets funnier and funnier.
• Segment 3 is particularly funny to me because of the the three complete different reactions of Brain Guy, Pearl and Bobo. Reminds me a bit of some comment threads… :roll:
• I wonder if Rick Sloane began to regret offering this movie, after the infamous “interview” at the end of the movie.
• The closing bit is probably the weakest of all the segments, but even that one is pretty funny.
• No roundup this week: Nobody who worked on this movie did any other MSTed movies.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. After this episode, Mary Jo took then next two episodes off from the writing room–I’m guessing that was so she could head to the coast to do the “Gorgo” segments.
• Fave riff: “Aha! And what brisk witticism will this chappie have to offer?” Honorable mention: “o/` It’s the 80s… do a lotta coke and vote for Ronald Reagan…” o/`”

218 Replies to “Episode guide: 907- Hobgoblins”

  1. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    thecorman:
    Sure Rick Sloane is comically incompetant, but is this movie really any less competent than “Castle Of Fu Manchu” or “Double 007”?He seems like just a harmless goofball who wants to make movies, and he obviously knows he sucks at it.

    But that’s just it, he knows he sucks at it and he’s doing it ANYWAY. Fine for him, livin’ the dream and all, but what about us? At least Ed Wood and Ray Dennis Steckler and even Coleman Francis had SINCERITY going for them. They gave us their best efforts, darn it, and that’s the tragedy of it all…

    Steve K:
    And I find it very hard to watch this one because it’s obvious to me that the makers of this movie knew they were just making a cheesy movie. For me, that makes the movie itself harder to watch, and the riffs tend to ring hollow. Contrast this with Time Chasers, where they truly thought they were making a masterpiece.

    Now, see, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. David Giancola was SINCERE and it SHOWED…

       3 likes

  2. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    Savvy:
    The whole opening is brilliant!-Mike and the bots have some SERIOUS footy pajamas.

    Servo doesn’t. What with having no footies.

    Savvy:
    Crow: “Look at nothing, look at the nothing down there!”

    Like we were doin’…

    Savvy:
    -And, Amy has a tattoo above her breast. And she’s supposed to be pure. They could’ve at least covered it up for the movie.

    Oh, for the love of…

    People can be a lot more complicated than some folks in here seem to presume. What does “pure” even mean in this context and how does it apply to something as, literally, skin-deep as a tattoo? 1986’s “Breeders” (directed by Tim “Robot Holocaust” Kincaid), a film that might make for good riffing if not for all the alien rape, asked audiences to believe that a woman who posed nude & used cocaine was still a virgin and I for one rolled with that quite easily. Because, if nothing else, virginity, strictly speaking, involves the inviolability of only one out of at least three…well, there are so many euphemisms…

    Maybe Amy got the tattoo on a dare. Maybe she and Daphne have MATCHING tattoos to mark them as BFF. Maybe she dated a tattoo enthusiast before she started dating Kevin. Maybe she just plain got drunk ONE time and has a tattoo to forever show for it.

    Seriously, I’m genuinely mildly perplexed at the level of anti-virgin sentiment that this episode provoked, both from the Brains and in the forum. Oh well.

       1 likes

  3. Sitting Duck
    Ignored
    says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: Name dropper. ;-)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_of_Athos

    Turning it back to MST3K, Bujold wrote Ethan of Athos as a sort of response to Planet of Women films like Fire Maidens of Outer Space.

       1 likes

  4. Scott Peterson
    Ignored
    says:

    L

    The Original EricJ: …

    That said, the guys’ invisible delayed reaction to the scene where it takes us a full minute or two to realize the woman on the phone is doing the director’s “wacky” parody of phone-sex fantasies (“Mike, why are we listening to an insane woman?”) is one of the riffs that puts this on my (very) shortlist of watchable Mike-era episodes.:)

    Well it only took a creepy phone sex scene to get EricJ to like one of Mike’s episodes.

    That actually sounds perfectly reasonable.

       8 likes

  5. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    My shirt was close. I could smell it.

       0 likes

  6. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    Just curious, what’s the objective distinction between the two EricJs, anyway? I remember that one of them kept griping about Sitting Duck’s two-line Bechdel Test reports while simultaneously submitting paragraphs on how Mike episodes suck — OSLT — but that’s all. Anyone? Thanks.

       3 likes

  7. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    On another note regarding the characters’ near-constant bickering (yet another way that they could easily fill the roles in a slasher film), remember that Nick was an “intrusion” one whatever group dynamic had been built over the past two months or so.

    Before that, Daphne was only present in her capacity as Amy’s friend who in turn linked directly to Kevin who in turn linked directly to Kyle. Kyle had yet to have sex, Daphne was in no situation to have sex with the guy she liked the most (whether or not she had sex with other guys is kind of irrelevant since it seems safe to presume that she didn’t introduce them to Amy et cetera), and Kevin and Amy were trying to deal with each other’s conflicting expectations about sex (and IMHO Kevin was RELATIVELY understanding about Amy’s reservations; it’s not as though he spent the entire film bugging her about it).

    It was Nick who humiliated Kevin and as a result created a rift between him and Amy. It was Nick who took up almost all of Daphne’s attention, creating a rift between her and Amy. And Kyle probably just considered Nick (a guy who, unlike Kyle or Kevin, was in a position to get as much sex as he wanted) inherently intimidating.

    Plus there was all the alien hellbeast-induced stress, that probably played its own role in getting everyone so tense.

    Do I think that Rick Sloane put as much thought into characterization as I’ve given it in the past three or four minutes? Of course not. But my interpretation SORT OF covers the bases, anyway. ;-)

       1 likes

  8. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    You know what it just this minute struck me is conspicuous in its absence from this episode’s riffing? One or more callbacks to The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies during the bizarre musical interlude with the dancing big-haired woman.

    Fish Schick Out of Shape!

       1 likes

  9. thunderclancat
    Ignored
    says:

    I really like this episode. Kevin seems like a decent sort, and the movie despite it’s many and myriad faults actually has a plot. A convoluted plot, yes, but a plot nonetheless. The riffing is sharp, some of the best in season 9 in my opinion, and the host segments, from the accidental on-turning, to Crow’s presentation on women, to the hotline, to the ending where (spoiler alert) Servo turns out to be responsible for the making of Hobgoblins. As for Rick Sloane, I’m glad that he doesn’t take the rather pointed barbs thrown his way personally, and i’ll Say having just seen this movie that while he made a terrible movie, in this instance he did not make a pretentious movie. Pretentiousness can in my opinion, be worse than lousy acting or effects, in that it talks down to the audience.
    Favorite Riffs

    “So, does Hardware Hank have a defense contract?”-Crow

    “The cameraman just can’t get up te energy to go over there.” Mike

    “What is he going to get mauled by $100 bills? Do something!” Servo

    “Oh! It just happened the hose outacted him.” Mike

    “Oh, what do I put put on my time sheet for this?” Mike

    “Well, we paid for this wing with the profits from D.C. Cab.”-Servo

    “Sometimes Katherine Hepburn shows up we have to chase her outta here.” -Mike

    “Ironically, no one in the band Wang Chung had sex that night.” -Crow

    “Ivan Lendl look a like night?” Servo

    “How do you read a record?” Servo

    “Lief Garret in The Rose.”-Crow

    “Ladies and gentlemen, Flatbutt.” Mike

    “Oh, just song the St. Elmo’s Fire theme song and get it over with!” Crow

    “This is a really cheap biopic of Jim Morrison.” Mike

       0 likes

  10. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    Seriously, I’m genuinely mildly perplexed at the level of anti-virgin sentiment that this episode provoked, both from the Brains and in the forum. Oh well.

    The Mike-era Brains tend to sympathize….a little too MUCH with high-school targeted movies, especially where such movies pass demographically implied judgment on The Chicks. Squeaky hips or not.
    Still, analyzing her Cabin in the Woods Test role, it’s nothing like “Student Bodies”‘s parody, where the Designated Virgin heroine spends her onscreen time in a t-shirt reading “I Said No, and I Meant No!”

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: Now, see, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. David Giancola was SINCERE and it SHOWED…

    That’s the key: There’s a cheery pathos that makes a director’s lil’ movie watchable, where you don’t mind laughing at it too much, and if, like Tommy Wiseau, he is trying to be ponderously artsy about it, that’s even funnier.
    OTOH, there’s no one more That Guy In the Room than the director who goofs off his own material thinking he’ll dive into “instant camp” if he tempers it with stale self-aware Hoot Goofball humor…Which is why, thank the lord, the Brains have never done a Troma film, Killer Tomatoes, Galaxina, or a Sharknado sequel under MST3K’s label. And Batwoman was that much more painful for thinking it was trying to be Adam West spoof.

    I remember when every goofball C-list director who just didn’t try thought he could sell himself on “It’s the new Rocky Horror!”, thinking heterosexual audiences everywhere would rush to his movies just to laugh and cult-enshrine it, until that became “The MST3K Guys would love it!” Which would earn “Oh, friend, could you be any more asking for it?…” grumbles from both MSTies and/or Rockies, and in the former case, at least Sloan got his at the end.

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    Just curious, what’s the objective distinction between the two EricJs, anyway? I remember that one of them kept griping about Sitting Duck’s two-line Bechdel Test reports while simultaneously submitting paragraphs on how Mike episodes suck — OSLT — but that’s all. Anyone?

    The original EricJ so named himself, on the day of the Great Naming, the one with the Bechdel Test gripe (although I wasn’t crazy about them either), who’s not allowed to use the brandname, made the great sacrifice of giving up his own online identity once and for all, just to pursue the Original past perdition’s flames, hoping it would ultimately make him run away crying like in high school. Go figure age, I…guess.
    I mean, if you can’t tell them apart by writing style, well…(shakes head sadly).

       1 likes

  11. Jason
    Ignored
    says:

    A legendary episode for me. I mentioned it in a recent thread, but there’s a great moment around the middle of the movie where Servo desperately tries to be positive by “jumping” on the on-screen couch, insisting that it’s fun, only to quickly have one of his weeping breakdowns, crying “It’s not fun” after all.

    Mike soothes him paternally: “It’s all right. I knew it wouldn’t be.”

       2 likes

  12. docskippy
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ: The original EricJ so named himself, on the day of the Great Naming, the one with the Bechdel Test gripe (although I wasn’t crazy about them either), who’s not allowed to use the brandname, made the great sacrifice of giving up his own online identity once and for all, just to pursue the Original past perdition’s flames, hoping it would ultimately make him run away crying like in high school. Go figure age, I…guess.
    I mean, if you can’t tell them apart by writing style, well…(shakes head sadly).

    And what brisk witticism will THIS chappie have to offer?

       4 likes

  13. GareChicago
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ: …Oh, there’s so much to work with here, if you HAVE to scribble over Riding With Death’s “70’s jokes” script and do “80’s jokes”, you’re just riffing blindfolded.

    Delete your account.

       5 likes

  14. GareChicago
    Ignored
    says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    Just curious, what’s the objective distinction between the two EricJs, anyway? I remember that one of them kept griping about Sitting Duck’s two-line Bechdel Test reports while simultaneously submitting paragraphs on how Mike episodes suck — OSLT — but that’s all. Anyone? Thanks.

    Well, one of them *isn’t* a pretentious, Mike-hating, condescending d-bag, and then there’s the other one.

    Gare

       7 likes

  15. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ:
    where the Designated Virgin heroine spends her onscreen time in a t-shirt reading “I Said No, and I Meant No!”

    Couldn’t that just as easily have been about drugs, though?

    (I have *knowledge* about slasher films from multiple review sites but I’ve watched very few of them myself and thus rarely come across details like that. Shrug.)

    The Original EricJ:
    The original EricJ so named himself, on the day of the Great Naming, the one with the Bechdel Test gripe (although I wasn’t crazy about them either), who’s not allowed to use the brandname, made the great sacrifice of giving up his own online identity once and for all, just to pursue the Original past perdition’s flames, hoping it would ultimately make him run away crying like in high school.Go figure age, I…guess.
    I mean, if you can’t tell them apart by writing style, well…(shakes head sadly).

    Well, the only thing I can say about the other one is that I don’t remember a thing about him, which encompasses his writing style. Thanks, though. :-)

       1 likes

  16. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ: The Mike-era Brains tend to sympathize….a little too MUCH with high-school targeted movies, especially where such movies pass demographically implied judgment on The Chicks.Squeaky hips or not.
    Still, analyzing her Cabin in the Woods Test role, it’s nothing like “Student Bodies”‘s parody, where the Designated Virgin heroine spends her onscreen time in a t-shirt reading “I Said No, and I Meant No!”

    That’s the key:There’s a cheery pathos that makes a director’s lil’ movie watchable, where you don’t mind laughing at it too much, and if, like Tommy Wiseau, he is trying to be ponderously artsy about it, that’s even funnier.
    OTOH, there’s no one more That Guy In the Room than the director who goofs off his own material thinking he’ll dive into “instant camp” if he tempers it with stale self-aware Hoot Goofball humor…Which is why, thank the lord, the Brains have never done a Troma film, Killer Tomatoes, Galaxina, or a Sharknado sequel under MST3K’s label.And Batwoman was that much more painful for thinking it was trying to be Adam West spoof.

    I remember when every goofball C-list director who just didn’t try thought he could sell himself on “It’s the new Rocky Horror!”, thinking heterosexual audiences everywhere would rush to his movies just to laugh and cult-enshrine it, until that became “The MST3K Guys would love it!”Which would earn “Oh, friend, could you be any more asking for it?…” grumbles from both MSTies and/or Rockies, and in the former case, at least Sloan got his at the end.

    The original EricJ so named himself, on the day of the Great Naming, the one with the Bechdel Test gripe (although I wasn’t crazy about them either), who’s not allowed to use the brandname, made the great sacrifice of giving up his own online identity once and for all, just to pursue the Original past perdition’s flames, hoping it would ultimately make him run away crying like in high school.Go figure age, I…guess.
    I mean, if you can’t tell them apart by writing style, well…(shakes head sadly).

    Wait a minute. I just looked twice at your name (more often than not I glance and at times forget immediately) and realized that YOU’RE the other OriginalEricJ. Which makes this exchange really embarrassing to me. Bad me. Bad me. :-| Saying that I remember nothing about you probably constituted an insult. If so, I sincerely apologize.

       1 likes

  17. GareChicago
    Ignored
    says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: Wait a minute. I just looked twice at your name (more often than not I glance and at times forget immediately) and realized that YOU’RE the other OriginalEricJ. Which makes this exchange really embarrassing to me. Bad me. Bad me. :-| Saying that I remember nothing about you probably constituted an insult. If so, I sincerely apologize.

    No, no – feel free to keep insulting. He’s used to it – he does it to everyone else all the time.

    Gare

       2 likes

  18. Brad Filippone
    Ignored
    says:

    Part of me is wondering if this film was intended as a comedy (which fails badly, of course). I wasn’t thinking along those lines until the van-shaking scene which surely wouldn’t be done in a movie intended as serious (well, at least a competent director wouldn’t do it, which might be the key here).

       0 likes

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