Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

A while back, the wacky little town of Hallowglenn Wisconsin had this crazy ritual they liked to do. I don’t really know what state Hallowglenn is in, but Wisconsin doesn’t get a lot of play in these movies, so why not just put it there? Anyway, to cleanse their town, the good people of Hallowglenn would build a bonfire and toss stuff in this bonfire. Rotten apples, withering corn, some mis-stitched darning some wench messed up, the occasional baby… say what? Yup, on this particular Halloween some poor woman gave birth to a deformed baby and the nutty town leader tossed that kid in the bonfire. That would’ve been cool and all if the baby’s momma wasn’t a witch and she put the spell of the Goblin on this town and decreed that no baby would ever be safe in Hallowglenn. Time to move, right? Damn near 200 years later, apparently not. Time to build luxury condos baby. And that’s where we pick this movie ‘Goblin’ up.

Say hello to real estate developer Neil Perkins (Gil Bellows), his lovely wife Kate (Camille Sullivan) and Neil’s incredibly annoying daughter Nikki (Tracy Spiridakos). Also along for this ride to Hallowglenn is Nikki’s slightly less annoying best friend Cammy (Erin Boyes). I think Cammy’s along to keep the body count high. Neil has just brokered a deal with the town of Hallowglenn to build a bunch of luxury condos. To the untrained eye, that being the eyes of everybody on the planet except Neil and his smarmy partner Owen (Colin Cunningham), this looks like a crap location, but we’re not big time real estate developers, so what do we know?

Neil and Kate, his second wife considering his first tragically passed away, also have a little baby in Nathan. The Goblin likes babies, but we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. You see we have to deal with Nikki and her numerous teen angst issues. She hates her stepmom, her dad and her baby brother because… hell if I know, but we do know that if she didn’t hate them, then she wouldn’t whine incessantly and apparently this was required for the role. Even her best friend Cammy wishes she’d shut up. Too bad Cammy’s the one that has to die.

Anyway, today is Halloween and thus it’s time for the Goblin to reappear and rein hell on Hallowglenn. Charlie (Donnelly Rhodes), the town lunatic who nobody ever listens too, has a plan to stop the stinky beast who is seriously killing up some folks, Nikki and Cammy have made the acquaintance of a couple hunky locals who just want to have fun, just so you know… those boys aren’t going to be having any fun when this movie is over… and one these guys has a freaky goth sister who tells that always inappropriately weird story about the ‘legend of the goblin’ at inappropriate times and the worst thing is that little baby Nathan is missing. On Nikki’s watch no less. The Goblin done got him! Or maybe not. Maybe something else is going on in the town of Hallowglenn Wisconsin. Something sinister… because who in the hell would sanction luxury condos in this Goblin infested, infant disappearing hellhole? Nobody, that’s who.

Though ‘Goblin’ started out life as a Sci-Fi Channel original, I had the privilege of watching the DVD release version, though I don’t know if the DVD added anything that the TV version didn’t already have. Cammy mentioned something about ‘liking wood’… that Cammy, I tell you… but other than that there was nothing extra that I could see that the DVD brought to the party. No profanity, no titties, no nothing. What a disappointment. In fact, if they had scaled back just a little bit of the intestinal entrails bloodletting that the Goblin put down on a couple of teenagers, this movie would’ve been just fine on Nick at Nite with Nikki and her incessant teen angst whining.

But despite Nikki’s whining and the severe lack of frights, I have to say that I did find ‘Goblin’ a strangely tolerable movie watching experience. For starters, we liked the Goblin, we liked his design, we liked the fact that he was wildly inconsistent in who he chose to kill since we thought he only pursued babies and toddlers, but he would basically kill anybody who might’ve brushed up against a baby. Or kill anybody who happened to be nearby who has come nowhere near a baby. Wildly inconsistent. The acting in this movie was also above average for this kind of movie. Say what you want about actor Gil Bellows, but like Tony Todd before him, no matter how crappy the movie or how low the pay he might’ve received, he always seems to give his best effort, and for that we are thankful. Donnelly Rhodes stays employed late in his long career playing crazy old dudes, needless to say he’s mastered the art of the old crazy dude, and Tracy Spiridakos character of Nikki made me thankful that I’m in possession of a teenage boy and not a teenage girl. We will say that Camille Sullivan seemed oddly out of place in this movie, like she should be in something a little more upscale than a Sci-Fi original shunted off to DVD, but I’m sure that money spends just the same.

Of course ‘tolerable’ doesn’t make a movie good. It’s still run of the mill, it’s still painfully predictable, there was way more lame dialog than preferred murderous Goblin action, and the Goblin did look fine, except when he turned into bad CGI. But considering the amount of Sci-Fi originals that we’ve all watched, yes… that includes you, ‘Tolerable’ is something we can deal with, in relation to the Sci-Fi Original, just about any day of the week.

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