“Hobgoblins” (1988) is not so much a movie as it has survived. This direct-to-video horror comedy was one of many “little monsters” films that clung to Joe Dante’s “Gremlins”, though the titular hobgoblins appear to be simply unarticulated, expressionless hand puppets.
A security guard named Kevin (Tom Bartlett) is eager to prove his manhood after losing a rake fight on his lawn to his soldier pal Nick (Billy Frank). While searching for a burglar, Kevin opens a safe (suspected unlocked) and frees the hobgoblins. Elderly guard McCreedy (Jeffrey Culver) explains that Hobgoblins are aliens who can bring a person’s wildest fantasies to life, although the fantasies always turn deadly. The Hobgoblins hunt down Kevin’s horny friends, leading to several squirming sex encounters and an explosive finale at seedy Scum Dive Club.
“Hobgoblins” is a poisoned mix of side ponytails, cheesy effects, shrill characters, and nauseating sexual policies. At one point, Mike, Tom, and Crow attempt to flee the theater, replacing their silhouettes with cardboard cutouts. Their contempt for the film was so deep that they released another cutout to play “Hobgoblins” director Rick Sloane, digging into him so much that the real Rick Sloane was stunned. Still, Sloane had the last laugh – he directed “Hobgoblins 2” in 2009.