Some Curses Should be Avoided at All Costs, 'Goblin' Is One of Them

A trip to the woods goes horribly wrong when a family encounters a vengeance-minded goblin with a penchant for stealing babies.


Director: Jeffrey Lando
Cast: Gil Bellows, Tracy Spiridakos, Camille Sullivan, Donnelly Rhodes
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated: NR
Release date: 2011-07-26

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.


In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.