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Goblin

Director: Jeffrey Lando
Cast: Gil Bellows, Tracy Spiridakos, Camille Sullivan, Donnelly Rhodes

(US DVD: 26 Jul 2011)

If only old-timey folks had the wisdom that later generations have gleaned from horror movies, things would be a lot better for everyone in the present day. Take the simple towns people from Goblin, for example. When, one Halloween night, the citizens of Glenhollow have a sacred bonfire in which they burn all of their diseased crops, thus ridding themselves of anything that is unclean, they should stop right there. Just because one lady has an ugly, malformed, disease-ridden baby, doesn’t mean you should toss it into the fire. Because she may just be a witch, and she may just decide to put a curse on the whole village, and this curse may just call up some sort of foul-smelling, vengeance-minded fire-goblin who shows up every Halloween to steal your babies.


You see how that could be a problem.


But alas, the citizens of Glenhollow went right ahead and chucked that witch’s baby into the flames, and screwed themselves in the process. Now, every year when 31st of October rolls around, the goblin shows up and absconds with their young.


This is where you meet up with the Perkins family. Patriarch Neil (Gil Bellows sporting a handsome mustache), a real estate developer, and his family—new wife Kate (Camille Sullivan), old daughter Nikki (Tracy Spiradakos), and Cammy (Erin Boyes), Nikki’s horny bff—head up to ol’ Glenhollow to convince the locals to buy into some business deal Neil and his testosterone-pumping business partner (Colin Cunningham) have cooked up. But there are two big problems with this scenario—it’s Halloween, and Neil and Kate have a new baby, a fact that not only creates a great deal of tension between Kate and Nikki, but something that is bound to attract a certain baby-thieving goblin.


As you can imagine, Goblin is just awful. Really unfortunate. Bellows plays Neil as a breezy, new age parent. Everything is all about love and second chances, man. Nikki and Cammy are incredible brats, the worst kind of TV-movie spoiled, and Kate is only concerned with her baby, and couldn’t care less about her new daughter-in-law.


And that’s just the characters as written. This isn’t even taking into account the spectacularly bad performances. It’s like the actors don’t know what punctuation is, and deliver their lines without pause, in long, strung together run-ons.


Plot holes blow open throughout, like when Nikki and Cammy run into a pair of hot boys. Nikki has some ambiguous past with one of them, despite never having been to Glenhollow before. Their connection is never explained, and seems to exist solely so Cammy can turn everything into blatant sexual innuendo, like telling one hunky stud, “I’m good at finding wood”, when searching for firewood.


And if all the babies keep disappearing, how is there still anyone alive in this town? You’d think that the population would eventually dwindle down to nothing since every new child is taken by the goblin. People certainly aren’t moving to Glenhollow for the creepy ambience, which includes the local drunk, Charlie (Donnelly Rhodes), who keeps barging in to scenes, spouting off about the curse, and pouring whiskey into his coffee. It turns out Charlie knows some things about some stuff, and has the means to help Neil and his clan defeat the dreaded curse.


As you can clearly see, Goblin takes every hackneyed horror cliché in the book and crams it into one dismal package—suffices to say there’s a lot of running through the woods in high heels. The attempts at subtlety and tension are misguided and not even laughable, and the monster, oh, the monster. You should know that when you have a crappy CGI movie monster, it looks so much crappier when all of the action happens in broad daylight. The goblin looks like something a bored high school kid cooked up sitting at his Mac.


At least the filmmakers could have had the common courtesy to make the story take place at night. Aren’t horror movies supposed to happen in the dark? Isn’t that written somewhere in the bylaws? Maybe think about hiding the monster some. Creatures are so much scarier when you can’t see them clearly.


Were they not even trying? It doesn’t appear that they were. Goblin is so bad that it’s not even worth watching to mock and make fun of. It’s not even cheesy; it’s just abysmal. Sure, this movie first aired on SyFy, so no one expects much, but at least some of those made for TV flicks provide a cheap, tacky thrill. But not Goblin.


Like the actual movie, the DVD release also reeks of lack of effort. Unless you want to work on your language skills by watching Goblin subtitled in Spanish, there is nothing, literally nothing else to this package.

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Brent McKnight lives in Seattle, and is working feverishly to finish his degree in creative writing through the University of New Orleans Low-Residency MFA Program. His thesis is a post-apocalyptic, zombie, spaghetti western, much to the chagrin of most of his advisors. He likes dogs, beards, and Steven Seagal, and rants about movies at thelastthingisee.blogspot.com and BeyondHollywood.com. Recently he fulfilled a lifelong goal, appearing as an extra in a zombie movie.


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