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Hobgoblins 2 (DVD)




Hobgoblins 2Reviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Josh Mills, Sabrina Bolin, Jason Buuck, Jordana Berliner, Josh Green, Roland Esquivel, Chanel Ryan

Written & Directed by Rick Sloane

Distributed by Micro Werks

Hobgoblins 2 is exactly what you’d expect from a Hobgoblins sequel. Whether or not you consider that a good thing or a bad thing depends on whether or not you derive any entertainment value from watching the original Hobgoblins minus the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” crew at the bottom of the screen heckling the unapologetic awfulness of it all. A bad joke you didn’t find funny the first time isn’t going to be funny the second time around.

I remember viewing the 1988 original long before “MST3K” got their hands on it and found it to be nearly unwatchable. Even writer-director Rick Sloane admitted in my interview with him that the film would probably be long since forgotten had it not been used as cannon fodder on “MST3K” years ago. A fast fade into obscurity is the fate I strongly suspect awaits this bad but less memorably so sequel. Can’t say they didn’t warn me. That is the Hobgoblins 2 tagline, after all.

Sloane has gone to great lengths to recreate the pastel visual style of his 20-year old original giving the movie an interesting look. He also follows the same cast of characters from the original now portrayed by different actors that I presume are existing in present day despite being roughly the same age as they were in the original and possess no recollection of their previous hobgoblin encounter. It’s like a sequel and a re-imagining all in one. Though I’m afraid the term “new and improved” does not apply here.

Written with all the wit of a “USA Up All Night” teen sex comedy with just a dash of John Waters tackiness thrown in: every character a caricature; every performance broad; every punchline moronic. Writing a negative review of a movie meant to be bad in the first place almost seems like a moot point. Some may argue intentionally setting out to make a bad movie in the first place is also rather self-defeating.

There’s mild-mannered Kevin, his sexually repressed girlfriend Amy, imbecilic Vinnie Barbarino sound-a-like soldier Nick, his trampy carrot-topped girlfriend Daphne, and horny computer nerd Kyle. Except for Kyle who spends every waking moment maxing out his credit cards on an internet sex site run by a busty blonde named Fantazia, the others attend a college class that has them visiting a mental institution where crazy old man McCreedy tells them of the hobgoblins. They go to the mental hospital. They go home. They go back to the hospital. They go back home. They watch some bad horror movies. The hobgoblins return and cause more minor mischief than havoc. Kevin still busts McCreedy out of the hospital to help save his friends by teaching them how to conquer their fears in order to defeat the hobgoblins.

Last time, the hobgoblins were freed from a film vault that had been their prison. This time one need only utter the word “hobgoblins” three times and they magically appear ala Candyman. The hobgoblins don’t appear often and don’t do a whole lot when they do – much like the first film. Watching an actor wrestle with what amounts to an articulated angora throw pillow is laughable the first time, far less laughable the second time, and third, fourth, and fifth time is not the charm.

Instead of preying on your fantasies and bringing them to life as a precursor to killing you, this time the hobgoblins bring your worst fears to life before not killing you. I don’t think anyone actually gets killed this time around save for one minor supporting character and I’m not even sure his death was confirmed.

Other times the pay-off wasn’t even filmed to satisfaction. Soldier boy Nick is being chased by a hobgoblin on a riding lawnmower. The attack ends with Nick grabbing a chainsaw; a very quick close-up of Nick thrusting forward is all we get before he’s back inside being congratulated for having defeated a hobgoblin. Sorry, but that’s lame even by Hobgoblins movie standards.

You know your characters are as lame as they are lame-brained when a lobotomized patient that appears in only a handful of scenes and a rude Girl Scout that appears in only one both manage to outshine the entire cast comedically. The fake trailers for “Amputee Hookers” and “Chainsaw Chicks” (shot by Sloane back in 1981) they watch on bad movie night are funnier than anything in the movie itself.

I got together with a friend to view this sequel figuring worst case scenario we could have fun heckling it. Frankly, I’m not even sure the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” crowd could do much with this one because there’s more talk than action and it’s so jokey it practically comes pre-riffed. The best so-bad-it’s-good movies happen naturally. Trying to force it is darn near impossible. You have to be really clever or really out there to manufacture that vibe. Hobgoblins 2 is neither.

My experience watching Hobgoblins 2 went a little something like this: the first 20-minutes I was thinking it wasn’t that bad, then the bottom drops out and interest rapidly began to wane, and by the last half hour I was ready to yell “Hobgoblins! Hobgoblins! Hobgoblins!” hoping they’d appear and put me out of my misery.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by director Rick Sloane
  • Making-of featurette with cast interviews
  • Deleted scenes
  • Still gallery
  • 35mm theatrical trailer


    1 out of 5

    Special Features:

    2 1/2 out of 5

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 152 – Cloverfield Paradox & The Ritual



    Last week Netflix shocked the world by not only releasing a new trailer for Cloverfield Paradox during the Superbowl, but announcing the film would be available to stream right after the game. In a move no one saw coming, Netflix shook the film industry to it’s very core. A few days later, Netflix quietly released horror festival darling: The Ritual.

    Hold on to your Higgs Boson, because this week we’ve got a double header for ya, and we’re not talking about that “world’s largest gummy worm” in your mom’s nightstand. Why was one film marketed during the biggest sporting event of the year, and why was one quietly snuck in like a pinky in your pooper? Tune in a find out!

    Meet me at the waterfront after the social for the Who Goes There Podcast episode 152!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.


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    The Housemaid Review – Love Makes the Ghost Grow Stronger



    Starring Nhung Kate, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan

    Written and directed by Derek Nguyen

    Vietnamese horror films are something of a rarity due largely to pressure from the country’s law enforcement agencies that have warned filmmakers to steer clear of the genre in recent years. The country’s exposure to the industry is limited, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a handful of filmmakers out there that are passionate and determined to get their art out into the world. IFC Midnight has stepped up to the plate to shepherd writer/director Derek Nguyen’s period ghost thriller The Housemaid in hopes of getting it in front of American horror fans.

    Aside from a few moments that delve into soap opera territory, Nguyen’s film is full of well-crafted scares and some surprisingly memorable scenes that sneak up at just the right times. For history buffs there’s also a lot of material to sink your teeth into dealing with French Colonial rule and mistreatment of the Vietnamese during the 1950’s. Abuse that, if you’re not careful, could lead to a vengeful spirit seeking atonement.

    Desperate and exhausted after walking for miles, an orphaned woman named Linh (Kate) seeks refuge and employment as a housemaid at a large rubber plantation in 1953 French Indochina. Once hired, she learns of the dark history surrounding the property and how her mere presence has awakened an accursed spirit that wanders the surrounding woods and dark corners of the estate. Injured in battle, French officer Sebastien Laurent (Richaud) returns to preside over the manor and, unexpectedly, begins a dangerous love affair with Linh that stirs up an even darker evil.

    Told in flashbacks, the abuse of workers reveals a long history of mistreatment that enshrouds the surrounding land in darkness and despair, providing ripe ground for a sinister spirit that continues to grow stronger. Once it’s revealed that the ghost has a long history with Laurent before her death, the reasons she begins to kill become more and more obvious as the death toll piles up. Using the real life history of indentured servants during Colonial rule, The Housemaid becomes more than just a self-contained ghost story, adding a good deal of depth to a story that could have just centered around a love triangle among Laurent, Linh, and the specter of Laurent’s dead wife.

    Powered by desire to avenge tortured workers of the past and the anger fueled by seeing her husband in the embrace of a peasant girl, the apparition is frightening and eerily beautiful as she stalks her victims. One scene in particular showing her wielding an axe is the most indelible image to take away from the film, and other moments like it are what make The Housemaid a standout. The twisted sense of romance found in a suffering spirit scorned in death is the heart of the story even if the romance between the two living lovers winds up having more screen time.

    The melodrama and underwhelming love scenes between Linh and Laurent are the least effective part of The Housemaid, revealing some of Nguyen’s limitations in providing dialogue and character moments that make us connect with these two characters as much as we do when the ghost is lurking around the frame. What does help to save the story is a well kept secret revealing a connection with the housemaid and the apparition.

    Honestly, if this was an American genre film, the limitations seen in The Housemaid might cause more criticism, but seeing an emerging artist and his team out of Vietnam turn out a solid product like this leads me to highlight the good and champion the effort in hopes of encouraging more filmmakers to carry the flag. Ironically, the film is set for a U.S. remake in the near future.

    The Housemaid hits select theaters, VOD, and digital platforms TODAY, February 16th.

    • Film


    Using the real life history of indentured servants during Colonial rule, The Housemaid becomes more than just a self-contained ghost story, adding a good deal of depth to a story that could have just centered around a love triangle.

    User Rating 0 (0 votes)


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    Scorched Earth Review – Gina Carano Making Motherf**kers Pay In The Apocalypse



    Starring Gina Carano, John Hannah, Ryan Robbins

    Written by Bobby Mort and Kevin Leeson

    Directed by Peter Howitt

    Let me preface this review by stating right off the bat that I’m a huge Gina Carano fan, and will pretty much accept her in any role that she’s put in (are you going to tell her no), regardless of the structure and plausibility behind it, and while that might make me a tad-bit biased in my opinions, just accept it as that and nothing more. Now that I’ve professed my cinematic devotion to the woman, let’s dive headlong into her latest film, Scorched Earth.

    Directed by Peter Howitt, the backdrop is an apocalyptic world brought on by the imminent disaster known as global warming, and the air has become toxic to intake, generally leaving inhabitants yacking up blood and other viscous liquids after a prolonged exposure, unless you’re one of the privileged that possesses a filter lined with powdered silver. Filters of water and the precious metal are in high demand, and only true offenders in this world still drive automobiles, effectively speeding up the destruction of what’s left of the planet. Carano plays Atticus Gage, a seriously stoic and tough-as-nails bounty hunter who is responsible for taking these “criminals” down, and her travels lead her to a compound jam-packed with bounties that will have her collecting riches until the end of time…but aren’t we at the end of time already? Anyway, Gage’s main opponent here is a man by the name of Thomas Jackson (Robbins) – acting as the leader of sorts to these futuristic baddies, the situation of Gage just stepping in and taking him out becomes a bit complicated when…oh, I’m not going to pork this one up for you all – you’ve got to invest the time into it just as I did, and trust me when I tell you that the film is pretty entertaining to peep.

    While Carano’s acting still needs some refining, let there be no ever-loving mistake that this woman knows how to beat the shit out of people, and for all intents and purposes this will be the thing that carries her through many a picture. There are much larger roles in the future for Gina, and she’ll more than likely take over as a very big player in the industry – hey, I’m a gambling man, and I’ve done pretty well with my powers of prognostication. With that being said, the thing that does hold this picture back is the plot itself- it’s a bit stale and not overly showy, and when I look for a villain to oppose the hero, I’m wanting someone with at least a shred of a magnetic iota, and I just couldn’t latch onto anything with Robbins’ performance – his character desperately needed an injection of “bad-assness” and it hurt in that particular instance.

    In the end of it all, I’d recommend Scorched Earth to fans of directionless, slam-bang wasteland pics with a touch of unrestrained violence…plus, Gina Carano is in it, so you can’t go wrong. If you’re not a fan of any of the above, feel free to skate on along to another piece of barren territory.

    • Scorched Earth


    Looking to get your butt kicked in the apocalypse with extreme prejudice? Drive on up, and allow me to introduce you to someone who’ll be more than happy to oblige.

    User Rating 4 (1 vote)


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