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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 (310 votes, average: 4.64 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/`”

182 Replies to “Episode guide: 907- Hobgoblins”

  1. Hey Cabot! says:

    This is the perfect movie for MST3K: a director’s shameless plagiarism of a superior film, only with miserable attempts at both humor and horror, clumsy effects and amateur actors portraying loathsome characters. There’s such a wealth of ineptitude on display here that it’s almost more humiliation than three guys can muster- yet the MST3K crew pull it off with such effortlessness that this movie becomes a delight.

    This might be the best introductory episode of the show: a straightforward opening skit leading into an extraordinarily silly, poorly executed movie with an endless supply of mean-spirited jokes at its expense.

    “There’s been an accident at the studio.” “We made Hobgoblins.”

       4 likes

  2. Dan in WI says:

    Hey Cabot #151> I’ll agree the host intro segment in this episode is the perfect intro segment for a newbie. I do go back and forth if this love it or hate it movie is good for a newbie though.

       0 likes

  3. Hey Cabot! says:

    Dan in WI: Some bad movies featured on MST3K are an acquired taste, like the Coleman Francis trilogy and Monster a Go-Go. Those movies are both bad and deadly dull, but their unintentional humor is brought about through the witty remarks of the MST3K crew. Hobgoblins, however is both bad and entertaining in its badness. The witty remarks aren’t even necessary but make the movie that much more entertaining. I could see a group of friends getting together to watch and laugh at Hobgoblins on a cheesy monster movie night, but no one would ever gather their friends to watch Red Zone Cuba unless it’s the MST3K episode.

    I can understand the love-it-or-hate-it mentality for bad, boring movies, but why for something as entertaining as Hobgoblins? Is it because Rick Sloane was obviously going for camp value? If so, I don’t think that necessarily detracts from the movie. A good director attempting a bad movie would not be able to contain his talent and the camp value of the movie would suffer. However, Rick Sloane is still a bad director and whether or not he was going for camp value with Hobgoblins his directorial ineptitude is still obvious and amusing.

       3 likes

  4. Cheapskate Crow says:

    Fantastic episode, definitely a top 5 of the Sci-Fi era. This movie is so inept and sleazy it demands to be torn apart, even if you can tell the director wanted it to be campy, I think this is kind of like Catalina Caper in that way where the execution is terrible. I love the line “Can you catch a venereal disease from a movie?” and Crow’s interview with Rick Sloan at the end had me genuinely ROFL. I think this would make a great introductory episode to the show but I have already introduced the show to everyone I know.

       1 likes

  5. fish eye no miko says:

    Tom is reading Richard Scary’s equally gripping “What Do People Do All Day.”

    So, I’m gonna be That Guy: It’s Richard Scarry, with two “r”s.

    God, this movie… it’s a good example of how movies that try to be camp so rarely work.

    And, ya know, I realize it’s a minor point, but it bugs me the Daphne is all, “Oh sex! I love sex! Sex, sex sex!” but then why they ask her about the local make-out place, she suddenly acts all coy about it. The hell?

       1 likes

  6. Sitting Duck says:

    Regarding the crack about Nick being in the French army, I’m reminded of a time when I was explaining Girls und Panzer to someone. For those unfamiliar, it’s an anime series that takes place on an alternate Earth much like our own, except that simulated combat in WWII-era tanks is a competitive sport. Specifically one for girls, with the impression being given that boys showing an interest in it are regarded in the same light as if they play with Barbie dolls. Just roll with it. Anyway, I got to the part where I explained how each of the schools the protagonist school competes against are themed after WWII nations (with the protagonist school being a ragtag bunch of misfits with no unified theme in their tanks). There’s a British themed school, an American themed school, a Soviet themed school, and a German themed school. I was then asked if there was a French themed school which surrenders at the start of the match.

       1 likes

  7. Of no Account says:

    Ah, Hobgoblins. One of the few movies MST3k did that makes me want to take a shower after watching it. If you ever believed that humankind has some inherent dignity, watching Hobgoblins will remove that silly notion from your head.

    That said, it’s a really funny episode.

    As someone mentions above, the ‘Stony’ TV does indeed appear in the ‘Where o Werewolf’ host segment from ‘Werewolf’, and I believe it was also used during Crow’s documentary on the War Civil (can’t remember which episode that was at the moment).

    I will also cast my vote for Amy being far more attractive before being slut-ified.

    The 80s really did have some positive aspects…. I can’t name any at the moment, but I’m sure they did!!

       2 likes

  8. Duane Zykov says:

    Hate to be the one who crashes the party, but this episode is only average in my book. The riffing’s decent, but it delves too often into “this movie sucks” and “oh that’s disgusting” for my taste. The fact that the movie tries to be funny bogs the riffing down in place. The host segments are pretty good, but I don’t return to this one often.

    Also, the guys’ vitriol here feels undeserved. I think this movie is far from the worst they ever did. It’s bad, obviously, but it’s in color, is easy to follow, and isn’t nearly as grimy as “Girl in Gold Boots” I’m actually kind of surprised it got on an episode; it’s an awful movie, but it’s obviously a “nudge nudge wink wink” one.

       3 likes

  9. Shrike says:

    Another great episode. The movie is so bad that it’s perfectly described in the theater:

    Old security guard – There’s been an accident at the studio.
    Crow – We made Hobgoblins.

       1 likes

  10. JohnnyRyde says:

    “Hobgoblins fails the Bechdel Test.” Was there ever any doubt?! That’s one of the funniest observations about this film I’ve ever seen. :)

    I still watch this one on a regular basis. Funny as all get out. I’m frankly surprised to see that so many people ranking this film on the level of a Manos. Yes, it’s awful, but the pacing is decent. The scenes are bad, but at least they’re short. I can tolerate a bad movie like this over an endless sequence of Torgo walking back and forth between a car and a shack carrying luggage.

    When I watched it this last weekend, I thought of a question I wanted to ask, and now realize that I asked back during the March 2010 viewing (see above):

    “Is the army superior real or a hallucination? I’ve never been able to figure that out…”

    He’s the only character who doesn’t fade into the air when a Hobgoblin has been killed. Is Daphne’s life long dream really to have exploded another human being.

    And I’ll say again that the central premise of the film (what you want will be your undoing) is pretty decent… It’s just totally incompetently implemented…

       6 likes

  11. pondoscp says:

    This one’s ok

       0 likes

  12. millej89 says:

    “What just crunched!?!?”

    Easily my favorite riff. Similar to the “did he just honk?” from Werewolf. Painful episode. Painful and wacky.

       0 likes

  13. trickymutha says:

    Duane Whitaker- the man who was arguably in the worst and best movies ever made.

       3 likes

  14. unsung zero says:

    There’s a woman in #1001-Soultaker that looks just like the woman who plays Amy (Paige Sullivan) and I’m almost certain it’s her. She is very briefly seen in one of the festival scenes early on.

       0 likes

  15. HippieGeekGirl says:

    This is one of the rare episodes where the movie is just SO loathsome that it’s hard for me to get through it. Still, the riffing and host segments are great and I do usually manage to enjoy it.

    Darran Norris, the Club Scum MC, is a fairly prolific voice actor these days. The source of many a double take when I watch this one.

       1 likes

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

    Should that have been “Do a lot of coke THEN vote for Ronald Reagan”? Well, it’s subjective, I guess.

    It remains unclear (at least to me) whether the Hobgoblins were *purposely* killing people with their fantasies, so I think it might be premature to claim that they “murdered” anyone. Murder requires intent.

    If the stuff that people keep locked up inside their heads (hey, a metaphor for the Hobgoblins themselves) turns against them and kills them, well, it’s not the *Hobgoblins’* fault that human beings have stuff like that inside their heads.

    I just realized, nobody but McCreedy ever actually refers to the aliens as “Hobgoblins” in the movie itself. Shrug.

    They overlooked a potential riff on the similarity between the names “Mr. McCreedy” and “Mr. McFeeley” (whom they later cite in “The Screaming Skull.”

    “Shooting burglars, unleashing unholy abominations…Busy day! Busy day!”

    OSLT.

    The name’s also similar to “Mr. McBeevee” from that one episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” but that might be too obscure even for the Brains.

    Another potential riff that just occurred to me: “Don’t these five have a slasher film to get to?”

    To use the archetype terms from “Cabin in the Woods”:

    The Whore (that seems a TAD harsh): Daphne
    The Athlete: Nick
    The Scholar: Kevin (well, closest thing, anyway)
    The Fool: Kyle
    The Virgin: Amy

    Fits almost perfectly. I wonder if Rick Sloane even realizes that he did that.

    Hey, that sort of almost kind of works for “Zombie Nightmare”, too:

    The Whore (again, not the term I’d choose): Suzie (hot tub girl)
    The Athlete: Peter (hot tub guy)
    The Scholar: Bob (well, he lasted longer than the other two guys, anyway; close enough)
    The Fool: Jim (not so much The Fool as The Jerk, but still)
    The Virgin: Amy (hey, another one!) (okay, the movie doesn’t state that she’s a virgin, but we SEE Suzie having implied sex with Peter, so by process of elimination…)

    #146: I thought Crow’s favorite movie was “Mannequin.”

    #155: Daphne’s all “I love sex…WITH NICK.” Maybe she’s never been to the make-out place…WITH NICK. And I suspect that Nick likes to fool himself by thinking that Daphne’s never slept with anyone but him. It’s not as if Nick strikes one as a guy who’s hard to fool…

    #158: Well, they hadn’t yet SEEN “Girl with Gold Boots” at this point, so they were in no position to know how bad IT was. That one’s really a clash of movie-badness giants, it is.

       5 likes

  17. Sitting Duck says:

    @ # 157: IIRC Crow’s Civil War documentary occurs in The Thing That Wouldn’t Die.

    @ #166: Crow declared Roadhouse as his favorite movie in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

       1 likes

  18. Pretty much agree with what I said up at post #120 from a few years back. This is a great episode. One of the best of the Sci-Fi era.

    This movie is terrible, sure, but as far as Sci-Fi era MST goes, is it any worse than TISCWSLABMUZ? Not really, in my opinion….

    Um..not much else to add… so here’s some riffs.


    RIFFS:

    Crow: “The true story of Neal Peart.”

    Crow: “I wonder if he knows his face looks like that?”

    Servo: “My sunken chest and string beany arms!”

    Mike: “Ladies and gentlemen: Flat Butt.”

    Crow: “Their garden tools make little Casio sounds.”

    Mike: “Some guy is sneaking around like a silent movie villain.”
    Servo: “Looks like Dana Gould.”

    Kevin looks at gun,
    Servo: “If found please return to Hunter Thompson.”

    Mike: “It’s the 80s / Do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan!”

    Crow: “Someone’s rubbing puppets on us!”

    Servo: “HA! We drank your bong water!”

    Servo: “Their car turned into a Lincoln and crashed!”

    Mike: “Look at that guy wave that gel in front of the light.”

    Mike: “My fajita plate was really hot and I touched it!”


    Hobgoblins.

    That sure is a bad movie, won’t you?

    Classic episode of MST3k,

    I give it 5 out of 5.

       2 likes

  19. Depressing Aunt says:

    Crow is on fire in this episode.

    Crow 1: And then, uh, this woman–well I think it was a woman–she, uh, married me.

    Crow 2: Did you have any children, sir?

    Crow 1: (hollowly)I don’t remember.

    It’s sad that Crow can’t even remember as far back as Flavia.

    Hey, I didn’t know Duane Whitaker was that guy in “Pulp Fiction”! That’s pretty cool.

    Everyone has covered everything about this episode, and I do think it’s one of the best of the Sci-Fi ones. It may be in my top 10. But there is ONE THING I must remark upon!

    Has anyone ever noticed this in the movie’s end credits: “Creatures Celebrity Voices Impersonated”

    Tell me, anyone who watched the original version of this movie. Tell me whether the creatures ever used celebrity voices. Did one of the Hobgoblins do a mean version of Joan Rivers? Did another do Howard Cosell? WTF! How horrible!

       2 likes

  20. Ian L. says:

    I’m really disappointed that this episode hasn’t been re-released since the OOP eighth volume. No standalone DVD, no iTunes download, nothing. Did Shout lose the rights to it?

    Favorite riff:
    Daphne: “Everybody have sex tonight!”
    Crow: “Everybody throw up tonight!”

       1 likes

  21. Cornjob says:

    My old comments can be seen at #97. I may have been using a little hyperbole then, but I was hurting and I needed to lash out. This movie is just awful in a way that makes me ashamed to be a member of the human race. If an alien race ever picks up a transmission of this expect them to destroy us. This movie doesn’t just fail the Bechdel test, it fails every test. Speaking of which: nice “Cabin in the Woods” analysis #166. Maybe we can add The Cabin in the Woods test to the Bechdel test where applicable.

       3 likes

  22. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    Cornjob, I thought your remarks were spot on, with very little hyperbole. Hobgoblins does indeed hate all of us, and it’s definitely personal. The only thing that saves this for me is the riffing and host segments; it’s a case where the Brains took something horrible and campy, and made it tolerable by mocking it and snagging on it and pantsing it. In other words, I hate the movie, but I like the MST episode.

    And I also agree that touches no one’s life then leaves, @166, has an interesting premise there. I’ll have to see how many MSTied movies I can apply that to.

       2 likes

  23. thequietman says:

    I can’t speak to the visceral reaction some here have had to this film, though it sounds like it would have been ripe for a Manos callback; there’s a buffet of loathsomeness in this movie!

    But one joke that is almost a ‘blink and you miss it’ one is at the end of Crow’s women documentary. Mike mentions that Crow knows women, and mentions Pearl. Crow counters that one woman’s existence doesn’t prove the existence of ALL women. He then challenges Mike to name one other actual woman.

    The kicker is Mike has to stop and think before he answers and gets a befuddled look just as the commercial cuts in!

       2 likes

  24. Droppo says:

    Watching it again now….an MST3K masterpiece. The CC era is my favorite but Hobgoblins is one of the very best eps of the entire series. Great host segments, loathsome movie and Hall of Fame riffing. I love Werewolf and Final Sacrifice but I think Hobgoblins is the best of Season 9.

    Some hilarious riffs I haven’t seen listed here as often:

    “The ZZ Top version of sexuality.”
    “Like the overacting extra over there.”
    “Oh Road!”
    “Ivan Lendyl Look-a-like Night!”
    “That’s my act…goodnight”

       5 likes

  25. JC says:

    Something’s sure going to happen!

       2 likes

  26. Depressing Aunt says:

    The celebrity voices that the Hobgoblins would’ve used? I now think that that was an idea the filmmakers rightly scrapped, and they didn’t bother to remove the credit about it.

    Well, I think we learned a big lesson about Hobgoblins today!

       0 likes

  27. SOLDaria says:

    @166 McCreedy did speculate that maybe they thought they were doing good. “So I married one to find out!”

       1 likes

  28. the other Joel, there's two of us says:

    #174, I’m glad someone mentioned the ZZ Top riff because it’s right on the money. A girl walks by made up eight ways from Sunday, and all the guy can do is go, “DDAMMNN!!!” Women don’t have feelings or anything else interesting going on except to be used as sexual conquests, right? All Kyle wants to do is get laid and he doesn’t care who he does it with, as long as she’s female and worth bragging about.

    For anyone interested in the parking tally (I’m looking at you, #146), I’ve put one up here. You’re all welcome.

    I love just about any episode of this show but this one is definitely one of my favorites. Ever since the first time I watched it I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I really still don’t, when I think about it.

    Whose house is that in the film? The fact that the walls are completely barren says “bachelor pad”. Kevin couldn’t afford it after just a couple of days as a security guard, yet he pulls up in the driveway like it’s his place. (He apparently can afford a decent Camaro, though.) Kyle and Nick both park in the street out front, and some of the characters just hang out there while Kevin’s at work, so maybe it is one of the girls’? It’s not Daphne’s house because she could have kicked everyone else out when Nick came by to have sex, instead of having to use the van all the time. If it’s Amy’s house, then she’s a homeowner in her 20’s, but still afraid to lose her virginity? Also, she wouldn’t laugh while saying, “what do you call that?” when Nick is about to throw a grenade into her own living room. She would have said, “are you crazy? Blow up my house? I don’t think so!”

    I too find it hilarious that the robber shows up again out of nowhere at the end, calls Kevin out, and then tosses him a pair of nunchuks to make it an even match. It’s like an old-fashioned gentleman’s duel, with nunchuks.

       3 likes

  29. Sitting Duck says:

    the other Joel, there’s two of us #178: He apparently can afford a decent Camaro, though.

    But it’s prune colored, which likely knocked down the price significantly.

       0 likes

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

    #178:

    “All Kyle wants to do is get laid and he doesn’t care who he does it with, as long as she’s female and worth bragging about.”

    Yes, and?
    Depending on how old he’s supposed to be, that arguably makes Kyle the most realistic character in the movie (which is admittedly kind of like saying I’m a nicer guy than Stalin, but still). ;-)

    “It’s like an old-fashioned gentleman’s duel, with nunchuks.”

    Yet despite its oddness, it doesn’t seem to occur to Kevin that it’s the Hobgoblins again, even though it’s EXACTLY what he’s craved throughout most of the movie, a chance to impress Amy. Like I said, “scholar” can be a very subjective term…

       1 likes

  31. GRL says:

    #169-

    There’s a whole character (Comstock, the studio boss) who was cut out of the film as aired on MST3K- my guess is that the voices would have been present in scenes involving that character.

       0 likes

  32. Savvy says:

    Okay. Here we go.

    I hate this movie, love this episode.

    -Pearl’s “turn on” expression is absolutely great. The whole opening is brilliant!
    -Mike and the bots have some SERIOUS footy pajamas. Those have become increasingly popular again, believe it or not.
    -Bobo’s monkey “huh?” as he responds to Pearl and his horrified screams at the camera are so cute.
    -“The true story of Neil Peart.” Yeah, right.
    -That’s a really nice Season 1 reference of the ‘bots trying to escape from the theater.
    -Crow: “Paint my muscle car prune-color, please!”
    -That whole first scene with that Nick guy returning is so weird, and I love Tom’s sound-effects.
    -Those random synth noises.
    -Mike REALLY enjoys sandwiches, I guess. Hey, who doesn’t?
    -Mike: “I just wanna be brave for my horribly frigid, non-supportive girlfriend!”
    -They didn’t close the door before running after those few hobgoblins. These security guards aren’t very effective.
    -“The vault! I tried to warn you! Those creatures! The vault!”
    Crow: “Sentence fragments! Just phrases!”
    -“Just take this stupid jacket!”
    Mike: “You and your stupid thoughtfulness can go to hell!”
    Tom: “If you just let go of them, they’ll hit the floor!” Ah, such true words.
    Crow: “Look at nothing, look at the nothing down there!”
    -Cute segment with the “Hobgoblins Crisis Hotline.”
    -Tom’s comment in the theater, “Man, that looks like a good jumping couch!”
    -“Hey! It’s my mom!” It’s cute how Tom just comments on the gumball machine, of all things.
    -Tom: “She’s the kind of girl you bring home to mom if mom’s a cigaretty, retired hooker.”
    -Crow: “In an unforeseen tragedy, the two actors were NOT in the car during the crash.”
    -Yeah, Amy went to Club Scum, alright. Blech!
    -Mike: “Bawk bawk bawk bawk baaawk, bawk bawk.”
    -“Pig Sticker”, “Pig Licker”/ “Pig Liquor”, “Kids Snickers”, “Iced Chicken”, “Swiss Knickers”, “Lint Kicker”, “Fish Picker”, “Kiss Kicker”, it stinks!
    -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.
    -“HIT”. You know they really should add an “S”. “HITS”.
    -The “Hobgoblins” song is gonna be in my head for a while.
    -What the heck is with those sound-effects of the big-haired chick hitting the dude with a beer bottle?
    -Crow: “Scour my neck with your beard!”
    -War sergeant’s pretty stupid.
    -Mike: “My fajita plate was really hot and I touched it!”
    -And, we’re back with the cheesy synth-noises. Okay!
    -Tom’s “Wah wah WAAH wah” as that guy shows some leg kills me.
    -Crow: “Slutting is fun, isn’t it?”
    -So, Nick has only minor redness and irritation, I guess.
    -They should’ve moved Rick Sloane over so you could see him better.
    -Bobo and Brain Guy jumping on the couch was a nice touch!

       2 likes

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