It's the '80s!

Do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan!

  — Mike (singing along to generic '80s synth music)

The Movie


The hobgoblins in Hobgoblins

The film opens with a security guard named Dennis investigating a deserted film vault at an old movie studio. While inside, his fantasy of being a rock star comes to life, but he dies while performing on stage. His supervisor, Mr. McCreedy (Jeffrey Culver), closes the door upon discovering the body.

A young man named Kevin (Tom Bartlett) takes the now-vacant security guard job at the movie studio so that he can impress his girlfriend Amy (Paige Sullivan). After his first shift, he drives home to Amy and two of his other friends, the sex-crazed Daphne (Kelley Palmer) and the dorky Kyle (Steven Boggs). Daphne's Army boyfriend Nick (Billy Frank) arrives, and Nick and Kevin spar with rakes in a long, protracted, repetitive scene. After Kevin loses, Amy berates him for his weaknesses while Daphne and Nick have sex in Nick's van. While in pursuit of a burglar the next evening, Kevin stumbles across the vault, which contains a small group of hairy, demonic little aliens — the hobgoblins. They escape, leaving Kevin stunned. Mr. McCreedy explains that the hobgoblins landed on the studio lot decades earlier, and he has been closely guarding them ever since. The hobgoblins have the hypnotic power to make a person's wildest fantasies come true; however, they also kill their victims in the process when people's fantasies turn against them.

Daphne (Kelley Palmer) in Hobgoblins

The hobgoblins go straight to Kevin's house, where his friends are partying, as they are attracted by the bright lights. The hobgoblins quickly make their fantasies come true, but with dire consequences. The quiet, prudish Amy's fantasy leads her to the sleazy nightclub Club Scum. Kevin and the others follow her there. It turns out that Amy's deepest fantasy is to lose her sexual inhibitions and be a stripper.

The nightclub erupts into chaos while Kevin and his friends try to kill the rampaging hobgoblins. Nick is given a fantasy in which he leads a commando raid. In the melee, Nick is set on fire by a hand grenade thrown by his commanding officer and is apparently killed (again, his fantasy goes to extremes and turns against him), though he returns later in the movie, bandaged and on crutches, but otherwise unharmed. Kevin kills the hobgoblin in control of Amy before she can have sex with the scruffy bouncer Roadrash (Duane Whitaker). Although Amy is restored to her original personality, her experience leaves her less sexually repressed than she was before.

"It's a bonsai Bigfoot"

Thinking that all the hobgoblins are dead, Kevin, Amy, Kyle, and Daphne return to the lot to report back to Mr. McCreedy. Kevin is confronted by the burglar from earlier that night and beats him in a fight, finally proving his bravery to Amy. Kevin's victory is short lived as the burglar (yet another phantom created by the hobgoblins) pulls a gun from an ankle holster and aims it at Kevin. Just as the burglar is about to fire, McCreedy shoots the alien, thus saving Kevin's life. The remaining hobgoblins run back into the vault, which McCreedy has filled with explosives. The hobgoblins are then blown to pieces. Amy promises to have sex with Kevin, Nick returns to have sex with Daphne, and Kyle, odd man out, asks to use McCreedy's phone, presumably for more phone sex.


  • Duane Whitaker, the character actor who plays Roadrash, was later cast as the pawn shop owner in the 1994 hit film Pulp Fiction. This happened after filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who worked at a video store at the time, saw Duane's appearance in Hobgoblins.
  • The band playing at Club Scum are The Fontanelles, a relatively well-known punk rock group in the Los Angeles underground music scene at one time. The song they are performing is one of their better known releases, Kiss Kicker '99.  The studio version can be heard here.
  • During the flashback where Mr. McCreedy describes how he first encountered the hobgoblins, he can be seen holding a promotional flyer for The Visitants, one of Rick Sloane's previous films.
  • Steven Boggs wore his own pink shorts in the movie.
  • Rick Sloane specifically wrote the role of McCreedy for Jeffrey Culver.
  • Daran Norris’s first credited film role. The Club Scum M.C. was originally a smaller part, but Rick Sloane was so impressed by Norris' reading in which Norris did a number of different voices that Sloane wrote more scenes for the character.
  • Actresses Angelyne and Sybil Danning were reportedly both considered for the role of Fantazia. Angelyne wasn't cast because she refused to memorize dialogue and only wanted to play herself. Rick Sloane had to pass on Danning because there wasn't enough money in the budget to afford her.
  • John Carradine was approached to play the old man who owns the movie studio, but his agent asked for too much money.
  • In 2007, Sloane announced his plans to make Hobgoblins 2. The film was released on DVD by Shout! Factory on June 23, 2009. The sequel was made to look identical to the original film, and utilized 35mm film and composite effects, look-alike actors, some of the original costumes, and the same puppets.
  • Hobgoblins was one of the films selected to be part of the Hulu series 13 Nights of Elvira in 2014. Rick Sloane operated a Hobgoblin puppet in the closing segment.
  • In 2020, it was announced that Hobgoblins would be one of the films used in a summer production of RiffTrax Live!. This plan was eventually delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Episode

Host Segments

Pearl sends...the movie

Prologue: Due to the Robert Palmer version of the song "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On", the SOL crew have been exposed to the concept of accidental and involutary turn-ons, with even the slightest gesture being construed as a attempt to turn each other on.

Mike, Crow, and Servo regret jumping on Pearl's couch.

Segment One: The on-turning has reached a stage of increasing malice with intentional turning on. Meanwhile Pearl is remodelling Castle Forrester, and her new couch has turned up early, having Brain Guy send it up to SOL for storage. However, Mike and the Bots jump up and down on it, with all manner of 'stainable liquids.' Pearl threatens swift retribution if they don't stop, but her words fall on deaf ears. So she sends them The Movie.

Segment Two: Due to the questionable stereotypes in the movie, Crow decides to create a film called Let's Talk Women!, but his limited exposure to women outside of movies causes him to proclaim them to be mythical creatures. Mike reminds him of Pearl, but chokes when Crow demands that Mike name one other woman.

Mike and the Bots place dummy versions of themselves in an ill-conceived attempt to escape both the movie & the SOL.

Segment Three: Crow sets up a 'crisis hotline' to help people who have seen the film Hobgoblins, but Bobo abuses Crow's goodwill to discuss another less savory crisis...

Segment Four: Continuing to use cardboard cut-outs, Mike and the Bots unsuccessfully try to flee, with Brain Guy spending fruitless minutes trying to point out to Pearl and Bobo the ruse.

Segment Five: Servo is The Terminator, having traveled back in time to "take care of" Rick Sloane. Crow's film research points out he may have had opposite effect however. With a heavy heart, Pearl takes back the couch from the immature SOL crew, but the couch is no more safe from her minions either.

Stinger: The Hobgoblins ride around in a golf cart.

MST3K cast


  • It's a common misconception that writer/director Rick Sloane personally suggested the movie to Best Brains as a candidate for the MST treatment. Sloane has said that he sent another one of his movies (The Visitants) to Best Brains, which they rejected because it was too intentionally cheesy. The Brains asked him what else he had available so he sent them Hobgoblins.
  • Michael J. Nelson has been quoted as saying that in his opinion, Hobgoblins is even worse than "Manos" The Hands of Fate.
  • Beez McKeever is in the grainy photo Crow shows during segment 2.
  • In Experiment #1008 Final Justice, Servo identifies Greydon Clark as "...The producer of Hobgoblins! We're doomed!". Mr. Clark is not listed anywhere in the credits of Hobgoblins. If Clark was involved with the production of Hobgoblins, it has not been widely publicized. It is possible that Servo (or the writers) were misremembering.
  • Ranked 16th in the Top 100 Episodes as chosen by backers of the Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 campaign.

Quotes & References

  • "The true story of Neil Peart."
Neil Peart was a rock drummer best known for his work in the Canadian progressive rock band Rush. Crow mispronounces his last name as "Pert", rather than "Peert".
  • "Ah, Burgess Meredith's in there reading."
In the Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough at Last", actor Burgess Meredith plays a bank teller who read books in a bank vault during his lunch break. Subsequently, this protects him from a nuclear blast which leaves him the sole survivor of the incident.
  • "I mean besides you, Cer-ebus!!"
Cerberus is the three-headed guard dog of the Underworld in Greek Mythology. Crow’s pronunciation matches the name of an anthropomorphic aardvark.
  • "Wow, David Crosby's eating in there!"
David Crosby, band member and co-founder of Crosby Stills Nash & Young, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes due to excessive eating and rampant alcoholism. The riff here is on how overweight he was as a consequence, though he has thinned a bit since this episode aired.
  • "You know he's already got Loverboy beat as a live act!"
Loverboy is a Canadian rock group from the early 80's best known for their song "Working for the Weekend".
  • "This is a really cheap bio-pic on Jim Morrison..."
Jim Morrison was the lead singer of the 1960s–70s band the Doors.
  • "We're on the road to nowhere... come on inside!"
While Dennis is living his fantasy of being a rock star, Crow sings the song "Road to Nowhere" by Talking Heads.
  • "Paige Sullivan..."
Servo is singing the name to the tune of "Ed Sullivan" from the musical Bye Bye Birdie.
  • As the name "TAMI BAKKE" appears: "Is she related to Wacky T. Bakke?"
"Wacky Tobacky" is facetious slang for marijuana, derived from the fact that it is often smoked like tobacco, but renders the user "wacky".
  • "We paid for this wing with the profits from D.C. Cab!"
D.C. Cab is a 1983 comedy movie starring Adam Baldwin, Mr. T, Gary Busey, and Whitman Mayo.
  • "Used it to kill Archduke Ferdinand!"
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the heir presumptive to the throne of Austria-Hungary. His assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 is considered the most immediate cause of World War I.
  • "Look what they did to Casey Martin!"
Casey Martin is a professional golfer. Due to a birth defect in his left leg, he sued for, and won, the right to use a golf cart in PGA Tour events.
  • "This movie is making me nostalgic for the film Gymkata."
Gymkata is a 1985 gymnastics/martial arts film, usually regarded as being of similar quality to movies used by MST3K. It later became a RiffTrax Just the Jokes feature.
  • "They made love in their Chevy van, and that's NOT all right with me!"
“We made love in my Chevy van/And that's alright with me” is from the 1973 song "Chevy Van" by Sammy Johns. The van featured in the movie is actually a Dodge rather than a Chevrolet.
  • "Call me Ishmael."
Herman Melville's Moby-Dick opens with the line, "Call me Ishmael."
  • "Take on me... take me on!"
Lyrics from the a-ha song "Take On Me". The video takes place inside of a newspaper comic, which the black and white security cam footage resembles.
  • "Invest in arbitrage and read Jay McInerney!"
The term arbitrage is mainly applied to trading in financial instruments, such as bonds, stocks, derivatives, commodities, and currencies. Jay McInerney is best known for his 1984 novel Bright Lights, Big City, which was adapted into a movie starring Michael J. Fox.
  • "I think we've stumbled onto Mel's Rock Pile!"
"Mel's Rock Pile" is a recurring SCTV sketch in which the nebbishy Mel (portrayed by Eugene Levy) plays music while his teenage audience dances around him (and often makes fun of him).
  • "Hey, don't scratch the Quarterflash!"
Quarterflash is a 80's band best known for their 1981 song "Harden My Heart".
  • "The historic first meeting of Luke and Laura!"
One of the most well-known storylines in soap opera history is that of Luke Spencer and Laura Webber from General Hospital, in which the two fell in love and got married despite Luke having drunkenly raped Laura when they first met.
  • "Can't you see what I'm trying to tell you—I love you."
Groucho Marx says this line in the 1933 film Duck Soup.
  • "Koala bears are attacking! We hate QANTAS! Grrrrr!"
The bots point out the hobgoblins' resemblance to koalas, making reference to the fact that QANTAS is the national airline for Australia, the animal's native country.
  • "I don't like Shari Lewis' new show."
Shari Lewis was the creator and host of the educational TV show Lamb Chop's Play-Along, whose title character was a hand puppet like the hobgoblins.
  • "This guy gets his kicks calling about used Vegas!"
The Chevrolet Vega is a compact car built during the 1970s.
  • "That is not a woman, that's David Lee Roth!"
David Lee Roth is a heavy metal/hard rock vocalist and known for wearing spandex clothing and having long blond hair. Crow mentions David Lee Roth while Fantasia is trying to push the car down the hill, during which her spandex pants are visible.
  • "Wow, this makes me want to take out my extensive Adam Ant collection."
Adam Ant is the alias of British punk/rock musician Stuart Leslie Goddard. He was lead singer of the new wave band Adam and the Ants in the late 70s and early 80s before going solo.
  • "Wilkommen, bienvenue..."
A reference to "Wilkommen", a song from the Broadway musical Cabaret (which is sung by the MC, typically an effete character).
  • "Hobgoblins is usually shown on a double bill with The Harder They Come."
The Harder They Come is a 1972 film starring reggae musician Jimmy Cliff. The implication is that being stoned will make Hobgoblins more watchable.
  • "Just as long as Demi Moore doesn't come out shaking her saline bags."
Actress Demi Moore (also from Master Ninja I) starred in the critically panned movie Striptease in which she plays an exotic dancer. She also allegedly had breast augmentation surgery, which often involves the use of saline implants.
  • "Pinky! Brain!"
The characters Pinky and the Brain first appeared in 1993 in a recurring skit on Animaniacs. It was later spun off as a series in in 1995 due to its popularity.
  • "Fresh Fish!"
A reference to the Laurel and Hardy short Towed in a Hole in which they sell fish out of a truck.
  • "He found Ben Stein's money!"
Win Ben Stein's Money is a game show that aired on Comedy Central during the late 1990's. The prize money (which was shown to be kept in a vault) was actually put up by the show's sponsors.
  • "Hey, it's a common man with a common van!"
"I'm just a common man, drive a common van" is from the 1986 song "Common Man" by Sammy Johns, who is best known for his hit single, "Chevy Van".
  • "And sometimes when we touch, the honesty's too much."
Lyrics from "Sometimes When We Touch", a 1977 ballad written by Dan Hill and Barry Mann.

Memorable Quotes

Servo: Can you catch a venereal disease from a movie?
Pearl: Bobo? Brain Guy? Get... the movie.
Brain Guy: (gasp) No!
Bobo: AAAHH!!!!
[A man in a gray uniform walks along with a loud crunching.]
Mike: What, has he got Pringles in his shoes?
Servo: Proof that janitors walk upright!
[Dennis opens the vault door.]
Mike: Burgess Meredith is inside reading.
[McCreedy closes the bank-like vault door after Dennis is killed inside.]
Servo [as Announcer]: Member, FDI-Murder!
Crow [as Announcer]: Death guaranteed for up to 50,000 die!
[The pre-credits sequence ends and the titles begin.]
Servo: Hey, the end credits! Well, it was a terrible movie. At least it was short!
Mike: These are the beginning credits!
Servo: Oh, well, then kill me, please?
A surveillance monitor shows black-and-white footage of a slow-moving robber.]
Mike: It's some guy sneaking around like a silent film villain!
Servo[singing] Take on me...
Daphne[singing to "Everybody Have Fun Tonight"] Everybody have sex tonight!
Servo: Everybody throw up tonight.
Crow: Ironically, no one in the band Wang Chung had sex that night.
McCreedy: But... I warned... Those creatures... The vault... I tried...
Servo: Sentence fragments... Just phrases...
[Army-trained Nick shows wimpy Kevin how to fight with garden tools, ruthlessly beating him.]
Crow: So, does Hardware Hank have a major defense contract, or…?
. . .
[Nick begins repeatedly swinging his rake over his head at Kevin.]
Mike: He's also a black belt in Whac-A-Mole.
. . .
[Nick and Kevin continue to fight with their rakes, strafing past a coiled garden hose.]
Mike: Oh! There! Right there! Did you see it? The hose just out-acted them.
Crow: Can we make it a rule that, in the future, films have to be made by filmmakers?
Mike[singing along to generic '80s synth music]
It's the '80s!
Do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan!
[As the Hobgoblins form up together]
Servo: Meet the Hobgoblins: Frankie, Sniffles, Bounce-Bounce, and the Claw.
[Daphne and Nick step out of his van after having conspicuous sex in it.]
Servo: Ugh! They made love in their Chevy van and that is not alright with me!
[Mild-mannered assistant security guard Kevin goes looking for a would-be robber.]
Crow: So, did the ad for the job read, "Wanted: whiny, halfwit coward"?
[Kyle's big-haired, leopard-and-lamé-clad floozy date pushes his car toward a cliff.]
Crow: That is not a woman! That's David Lee Roth!
. . .
[Later in that scene, the car begins to roll off the cliff after Kevin's friend gets out.]
Servo: The car will do anything to get out of this movie!
[The car rolls down the cliff and explodes.]
Crow: In an unforeseen tragedy, the two actors were not in the car at the time of the crash!
[Kevin and his friend watch the "flames" from the explosion.]
Mike [as Kevin]: Look at that guy wave the gel in front of the light!
[Kevin shoots a gun into the air]
Crow: Oh, great! You just shot down Air Force One, you dope!
[The screen shows the name of star Tom Bartlet]
Servo: The king of the Wisconsin Dells finally gets a movie.
[Mike and the bots have made cardboard cutouts of themselves and equipped them with a tape recorder to fool Pearl.]
Mike Cutout: This sure is a bad movie, won't you?
Servo Cutout: It sure is, you know!
Crow Cutout: Say, fellas. Here's a little song about that movie, "Hobgoblins."
Mike Cutout: Are you kidding me?
Servo Cutout: Then let's go!
All [singing]: Hobgoblins, hobgoblins, what do you do with those hobgoblins? They're over here, they're over there, those darn hobgoblins are everywhere! Yay! Woo!
. . .
Mike Cutout: Watch out, here comes one now!
Crow Cutout: Look out, you little doodad!
Servo Cutout: Something's sure going to happen!
[The Mike cutout falls over and the tape recorder starts to wind down.]
Mike Cutout: Well, I think we all learned a valuable lesson about hobgoblins today... [Speech fades out.]
McCreedy: Did I ever tell you what I did during the war?
Kevin: No, what?
Crow [as McCreedy]: Shot off my toe and got out!
Club Scum MC: Well, folks, what do you think, is she a hit or a miss?
(The bouncer holds up a sign reading "HIT")
Crow: They should really add a "S" to that.
Servo: Hits?
Crow: Yeah.

Video Release

External links

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