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IMDb Bottom 100: The Wild World of Batwoman

The Wild World of Batwoman

The Wild World of Bat Woman One Sheet

“The Wild World of Batwoman”, in case you couldn’t have guessed, has no relation to The Dark Knight or DC Comics. That said, the movie is a clear attempt to capitalize off of the popularity of the Adam West “Batman” television show (enough so to get sued): yet the hammy style and the bat aesthetic was about as far as the similarities went content-wise, however. The majority of the film consists of dancing sequences, clips from unrelated movies, and inexplicable vampirism (yeah, Batwoman is a vampire). Who needs crime-fighting and bat-related gadgets/shenanigans when you have vampires who occasionally dance?

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There are a lot of phone conversations too. Not even exciting ones.

The plot centers around a near-magical piece of spying equipment: a newly-developed listening device that can hear anything that is spoken (or something to that effect). A mysterious villain named Ratfink is dedicated to stealing the device, and through kidnapping and blackmail attempts to have Batwoman (an apparently famous vigilante leader) do the deed for him. It all gets needlessly complex and nonsensical from there, with a few shots of mole people pulled from a different movie, but ultimately Ratfink is defeated and unmasked. He then confesses that he only wanted the device because he is a voyeur, which means that the sinister plan and super-villainy was all way overboard.

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Ratfink is the one who is dressed like a villain.

The acting is “Batwoman”, if you can call it that, is very bad. It wouldn’t have made much of a difference considering the writing, but it is very clear throughout the movie that the majority of the cast was not there for their acting abilities. The villain characters, as you would expect from the time, are either buffoons, racist stereotypes, or mustache-twirlers. Again, no actor could have made the characters passable, but that doesn’t change the end result on the screen. Outside of Batwoman herself, there isn’t an adequate performance in the movie.

I can’t think of any reason to recommend this movie. There is a lot of dancing, the plot is old-school silly, but the pacing and editing is so abysmal that the movie is nearly unwatchable. You can check out the MST3k version of the film, because there are a few laughs to be had in there, but outside of that frame the movie is absolutely skippable.  The movie could  have actually been a fun “Batman” rip-off with better writing beneath it, but that just isn’t the case here. It reminded me a lot of “Horrors of Spider Island”: there is a large cast of non-actors who are essentially there to dance, and the writing is a step below amateurish. “Spider Island” at least had some effects in it though, whereas “Batwoman” doesn’t really go anywhere or do much of anything. This was a movie designed to make a trailer out of, and trick audiences into a theater.

Here are the MST3k highlights of “Batwoman”, which is going to be more worth your time to watch than sitting through the whole damned movie.

IMDb Bottom 100: The Beast of Yucca Flats

The Beast of Yucca Flats

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What happens when you put “Red Zone Cuba” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space” into the blast zone of an atomic bomb? Ideally, both movies would be destroyed. Alternatively, they could synthesize into a mindless creature of a movie called “The Beast of Yucca Flats”.

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Starring the hulking Tor Johnson of “Plan 9 From Outer Space” infamy, and directed/written by “Red Zone Cuba” visionary Coleman Francis, “The Beast of Yucca Flats” is exactly the quality of movie you should expect: it is absolute garbage. The only saving grace of “Yucca Flats” is the curious charm that is occasionally the side effect of absolute incompetence.

Pictured: charm
Pictured: charm

First off, eponymous “Beast” (Tor Johnson) cannot act. He spent most of his career in the background of movies as a muscle-man, but he never really had the chops for acting. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) for him, in “The Beast of Yucca Flats”, he doesn’t really have to act. Due to some of the most baffling sound work in cinema history, all of the dialogue in the film is spoken from off-screen. This means that Tor’s lead role is more or less relegated to a silent beast (I don’t recall if he even got a line before his transformation). This mechanical issue also leads to some awkward off-screen conversations set against still images, and numerous disembodied voices with unclear sources moving the plot along. Clearly in an attempt to cover this horrific sound work, the movie also has narration throughout. Unfortunately, the narrator rarely speaks in complete sentences, and never quite makes any sense. Ultimately, all of the film’s problems mentioned here (and many more) boil down to the same fellow at the rotten core of this attempted film: Coleman Francis.

Coleman Francis is the writer who cooked up all of the horrendously stilted dialogue. Coleman Francis is the narrator who rambles incoherently throughout the movie. Coleman Francis is the director who allowed the astoundingly horrible sound and cinematography decisions to made. “The Beast of Yucca Flats” is entirely and unequivocally the fault of Coleman Francis.  Even the perplexing opening scene that has no connection to the rest of the film was reportedly inserted after-the-fact because Francis “liked nude scenes”.

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The kind-of touching final shot had nothing to do with Francis. The rabbit just showed up.

Yet, despite the countless issues with the film (or maybe because of them), “The Beast of Yucca Flats” is almost certainly the most entertaining and best remembered of the Coleman Francis movies. As mentioned before, there is a certain intangible charm that certain movies have that can only come from the honest incompetence of the filmmaker, and “The Beast of Yucca Flats” has it. The movie is rightfully considered to be one of the classic considerations for “worst film of all time”, right alongside “Manos: The Hands of Fate” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode on the movie is also considered to be one of their finest:

It is mind-boggling to compare “Beast of Yucca Flats” to Coleman Francis’s other IMDb Bottom 100 movie, “Red Zone Cuba”. Both movies are arguably of equal incompetence, but “Yucca Flats” is far and away more entertaining to watch. Watching them back-to-back illustrates the hazy boundary between an entertaining bad movie and an unwatchably bad movie, at least in my opinion. In any case, I can recommend checking out the MST3K of “The Beast of Yucca Flats”. but I certainly wouldn’t say the same about “Red Zone Cuba”.

However, “Yucca Flats” doesn’t have nearly as catchy of a theme song:

“The Beast of Yucca Flats” isn’t going to be as much fun for a casual group today as “The Room” or “Birdemic”, but it rightfully has a place among the classic bad movies of yesteryear. If you can enjoy “Plan 9”, “Manos”, and other bad flicks from back in the day, then you don’t want to overlook “Yucca Flats”.

IMDb Bottom 100: Horrors of Spider Island

Horrors of Spider Island / Body in the Web

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Here’s another IMDb Bottom 100 entry with a whole lot of alternate titles. Most commonly called “Horrors of Spider Island”, it also shows up under anglicized versions of the original German title (“Body in the Web” usually). The movie was re-released as “It’s Hot in Paradise” in an attempt to capitalize on a different marketing approach, but I have rarely seen it labeled under that title in the secondary market nowadays.

The plot of “Horrors of Spider Island” is pretty straight-forward: a plane full of dancers, accompanied by their manager, crashes into the ocean en rout to an overseas gig. All of the survivors wash up on an uninhabited island, which they learn contains a giant spider. The manager is ultimately bitten by the spider, after which he turns into a sort of were-spider-creature and starts hunting down the other survivors.

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The eponymous “body in the web”

Once again, the basic plot-points here could make for a pretty decent movie. I would rather have seen the spider as the primary monster than a poorly designed man-spider, but in general the setting and set-up work for a monster movie. Unfortunately, the potential is absolutely squandered.

As mentioned, the monster design is less than inspiring to say the least. The movie is kept pretty dark to cover up the shoddy work, but there a few instances where it really stands out in a bad way. Particularly, the monster’s death is a moment where it appears prominently on screen. Speaking of which, the monster dies by wandering into quicksand and drowning, which is one of the worst anticlimaxes I’ve seen so far among the IMDb Bottom 100.

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I’m not sure if the blame should lie more with the writing, the acting, or on equal shares of both, but absolutely none of the characters in this movie are interesting, and most of them are utterly indistinguishable. Part of this is just due to the cast being far too large and filled with too many similar characters (all of the dancers), but there were certainly no compelling personality traits or performances to make any of them stand out either. The movie tries to balance out the horror with some light-hearted romance, but none of the characters are strong enough for it to work, so those segments ultimately just drag the whole movie to a screeching halt.

This movie strangely reminded me of a very unrelated fellow IMDb Bottom 100 feature: “Miss Castaway and the Island Girls”. Despite the films being from different eras and made in different genres, there are some really distinct similarities. “Miss Castaway” features a group of models who are stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash, only to discover that there is a monster inhabitant that starts to pick them off. “Miss Castaway” came by that plot by combining “Miss Congeniality”, “Castaway”, and “Jurassic Park”, so I am pretty sure it is pure coincidence that the plots have so many similarities. Still, it was an unexpected find that was interesting to note.

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“Horrors of Spider Island” might have been better with a Michael Jackson cameo

There aren’t enough genuinely enjoyable moments in “Horrors of Spider Island” for me to recommend it, but it does have a pretty solid episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It is considered a classic B-movie, and it isn’t quite a painful watch, so I wouldn’t specifically advise against watching it either.

 

IMDb Bottom 100: Invasion of the Neptune Men

Invasion of the Neptune Men

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I honestly can’t tell the difference between “Invasion of the Neptune Men” and fellow IMDb Bottom 100 and Mystery Science Theater 3000 feature “Prince of Space”. They are so similar that I bet you could cut them together into a half-coherent movie. I initially made the mistake of watching these two back-to-back, not realizing how similar they were. You can even tell back in my “Prince of Space” review how difficult it was for me to distinguish between the two flicks. If it weren’t for the distinctive tones of Krankor, I wouldn’t have had a chance.

Given the similarities between these movies, most of the points I made in the “Prince of Space” review still stand here. There is a certain bizarre charm to these Japanese import movies, with all of the bad dubbing and dialogue. However, “Neptune Men” lacks a distinct, entertaining villain; which I saw as a big boon for “Prince of Space”. That being said, Sonny Chiba’s Space Chief is a little more interesting than his doppelganger, the eponymous Prince of Space. And I don’t use doppelganger lightly here, just check out how similar these characters look:

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I am sure you can understand my confusion here. In addition to the near-identical heroes, the movies also have similar invasion plots, and both prominently feature a gang of poorly-dubbed children (which is to be expected from the genre). One of the key differences that helped me distinguish between the features were the alien designs. Both look horrendous, but they at least don’t look identically horrendous. “Prince of Space” featured chicken-like humanoids, whereas the Neptune Men wear stylized, conical spacesuits. I give the advantage to “Invasion of the Neptune Men” here, mostly because I could imagine these suits showing up in early “Doctor Who” serials or a weaker episode of “The Twilight Zone”. That’s not saying much though.

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Overall, “Invasion of the Neptune Men” is a more forgettable flick than “Prince of Space”. Apart from the destruction of the Hitler building, there isn’t much that makes this movie stand out from the pack. It is a very long way from being good, but I don’t think it is distinctive or genuinely poor enough to be one of the worst movies of all time. Just like “The Starfighters”, I’m sure there were hordes of movies like this of similar quality that have been forgotten to time.

I can only recommend this movie in conjunction with “Prince of Space”, and with the MST3K treatment. The riffs are pretty good, and the similarities will throw you into confusion pretty fast once you get into the second of the films. As you would expect, you can find both films quite readily on YouTube with a little digging.

IMDb Bottom 100: Zombie Nightmare

Zombie Nightmare

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“Zombie Nightmare” is a very boring movie. Outside of the near-indistinguishable “Prince of Space” and “Invasion of the Neptune Men”, I haven’t had to rewatch any IMDb Bottom 100 movies as many times as this snoozer. I don’t know what it is about this movie, but the details of it vanish from my memory as soon as I watch it.

After the first time I watched “Zombie Nightmare”, the only memories I retained were disturbing images of Adam West in a creepy mustache, and the sound of a poorly dubbed voice that sounded vaguely like The Penguin.  I tried reviewing it based on those recollections alone, but that wasn’t going to do.

zombienightmare1When I watched the movie for the second time, a few more things stuck with me: really bad 80s fashion everywhere, the zombie’s revenge plot against the unrealistically shitty hit-and-run high schoolers, the origin story of the zombie (and his father’s death in the opening sequence), and one of the slowest chase sequences of all time through what looks to be a YMCA. I half-expected the Toxic Avenger to show up at some point during the pursuit. Anyway, I was pleased to retain details that time around!

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Would I rather watch “The Toxic Avenger”? Sadly, yes.

Then, before I wrote this review, I went on a brief hiatus from the blog. And, of course, I forgot most of those details again. Thus, I watched the damned movie again. This time, things stuck out differently. All of the previously mentioned details were rattled out of my memory, but I caught a few more that didn’t stick with me previously: I’m crediting this to the fact that I had myself glued to my computer for this viewing. Believe me, there is little I want to do less than watch this movie for a fourth time. Anyway, this time I particularly noticed the horrendous overacting  by the voodoo priestess who resurrects the zombie, and caught a lot more details about the subplot of police corruption in the film. The movie almost takes a “Touch of Evil” turn to focus more on the shady police practices by Adam West and the other senior officers than the giant zombie wandering around the town tearing people apart.

Oh yeah, and the zombie drags Adam West to Hell via an open grave. That was actually pretty awesome.

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They used it for the soundtrack cover. Also, “Batman Goes To Hell” has a nice ring to it.

So, do I recommend “Zombie Nightmare”? Honestly, despite the fact it is incredibly boring, it isn’t nearly as bad as a lot of the flicks on the list. In this case, that is kind of a weakness? It isn’t consistently bad enough to be a whole lot of fun. It is certainly incompetently thrown together, but not in a charming or entertaining way. I enjoyed little pieces of it, so I can maybe recommend the MST3K highlights. I certainly can’t recommend sitting through the whole thing, unless you just want background noise of low-quality rock songs. Speaking of which, for a movie that sells itself on the soundtrack, the audio quality is really bad. Seems like a bit of a squandered opportunity, but what isn’t in this movie?

Honestly, I felt like this was a stone’s throw from being a “Maniac Cop” movie. Speaking of which: just watch “Maniac Cop”. You get police corruption, a giant revenge-seeking zombie, better deaths, better writing, and Bruce Campbell. And, if you stick it out to “Maniac Cop 3”, you will even get an overacting voodoo priest. If for no other reason, watch it for Robert Z’Dar’s chin.

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IMDb Bottom 100: Mitchell

Mitchell

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I genuinely feel like there is a good, entertaining movie hidden inside of “Mitchell” somewhere. The idea of an eccentric, schlubby cop with curious and unclear ethical boundaries solving a major crime sounds pretty great to me. Unfortunately, “Mitchell” doesn’t live up to its potential, which is a real shame.

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In the hilarious MST3K riff of “Mitchell”, Joel and the bots have a lot of fun poking at the acting and physique of star Joe Don Baker. For the record, I didn’t think he was all that bad in this movie. I personally feel like he did the best he could with the writing, but it just wasn’t a good enough foundation for the movie.  None of the banter works, particularly the brief interaction between Joe Don and a young child which plays out in an incredibly grating fashion.  Also, there is a serious problem with the tone of the film: it seems like it wants to be an action movie and a comedy movie, but somehow does neither well enough to be an action-comedy. I’m still not sure how the audience is supposed to feel in the infamous sex scene, which features the song “My My My My Mitchell”: a tune as silly as it is catchy.

I think that the MST3K treatment of “Mitchell”, while perhaps unfair at times, is one of their best. It also holds a important place in the series, as it is the last episode to star creator Joel Hodgson.  I recommend the episode highly, though I can’t necessarily say the same for the film on its own. The pacing and editing are almost as bad as the writing, which makes it pretty dull to sit through. Even the ending is anticlimactic, which means there isn’t really any payoff to the wait. There are a few clips, like the sex scene, that are absolutely worth catching, but not much else.

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“Mitchell” has a pretty firm placement in the IMDb Bottom 100, though not as highly as another Joe Don Baker movie: “Final Justice”. Truthfully, it is hard for me to pick between the two of them.  “Final Justice” is probably objectively worse, but “Mitchell” irks me in a unique way in how it squanders what I see as a promising premise. Then again, I might be biased: some of my friends have claimed that my destiny is to successfully remake “Mitchell” into an awesome movie. Maybe I will get to that some day.

IMDb Bottom 100: The Creeping Terror

The Creeping Terror

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Ah, “The Creeping Terror”. This movie has to have one of the worst monsters in cinema history, and that is really saying something.

I’ve already mentioned this flick briefly when I covered the upcoming movie “The Creep Behind the Camera”, based on the bizarre story of how “The Creeping Terror” was made. To be honest, this is one of those rare cases where the story of how the film was made is far more fascinating and entertaining than the film itself. There are some that swear by “The Creeping Terror”, but before I started reading into the back story, I just found it to be another boring, repetitive Corman-esque monster movie. The only things that stood out for me on the first watch were the silly monster design and the inconsistent and perplexing use of narration. However, after learning some more about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that spawned this film, I am way more intrigued by it. I still think the movie is crushingly boring, but there is at least a fraction  of intrigue as well.

First off, take a good, long look at the star of “The Creeping Terror”:

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Yeah, that’s the first problem. Carpets are not very scary, and this thing is about as far from intimidating as you can get. However, I believe that you can make a decent monster movie without a decent monster. You just have to be creative with the shots, build tension with the writing and music, and keep the embarrassing rubber suit off-screen as much as possible. Financial limitations can force artists to be creative to make their film work, and some directors actually work best under those limitations (Robert Rodriguez pops to mind). Or, y’know, they can do none of that at all, and make their film as boring as possible. Just like “The Creeping Terror”.

I would be hard pressed to find anything that was genuinely done well in this movie. I guess the infamous dance hall scene is sort of ok…except for the damn music.

…and, of course, it all goes wrong when the monster shows up.

I am not personally a big fan of “The Creeping Terror” as a bad movie, and don’t recommend it for group viewing. However, if you are interested in the machinations behind the scenes that produce crap movies, then there is perhaps no better tale than the spotty information available about star/director Vic Savage and “The Creeping Terror”. It sounds like a delightful brew of fraud, addiction, sex, bribery, and madness went into the making of this atrocious feature. Seriously, I am incredibly excited to hear what was put together for “The Creep Behind the Camera”. It is sure to be a blast, and I bet the trailer can sell you on it if you aren’t already intrigued.

 

IMDb Bottom 100: Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders

Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders

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“Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders” is barely a movie. A lot of people throw that claim around whenever a movie is really poor in quality, but in the case of “Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders”, the claim is absolutely true. This perplexing film is a loose stitch-job conjoining a failed television pilot with a previously existing film by the same director (“The Devil’s Gift”). Aside from some lazily added shots of Merlin aimlessly wandering around on a street, there is nothing tying the two halves together. The resulting “movie” is a powerful testament to film-making laziness, but at least it comes out as an entertaining sort of mess.

Most of the acting in “Merlin’s” is astoundingly forgettable, with a couple of exceptions. First off, the opening segment features an amazingly dickish skeptic who threatens to bury Merlin for being a charlatan. The actor has an absolute ball with the role, and is about the only reason that the first half of the movie is watchable at all. Almost all of his lines are pure gold, and his comeuppance is thoroughly satisfying (despite the really crappy effects along the way: including the fakest fire-breathing I have ever seen, and some really embarrassingly bad age makeup ).

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In age makeup, breathing fire onto a possessed cat puppet. Gold.

The only other performance of note is the child actor in the second segment, who is straight-up atrocious. However, he does get the best line in the movie:

I really hope that wasn’t scripted.

One particularly interesting aspect of “Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders” is that it changes the original ending to “The Devil’s Gift” (again, that’s the original movie where all of the monkey plot line footage came from). “The Devil’s Gift” ends in a very dark manner, with the implication that the family is all killed by the cursed monkey toy. In “Merlin’s”, it seems that writer/director Kenneth J. Berton is correcting his lackluster ending. Instead of the evil monkey ending victorious, Merlin shows up at the last moment to save the day (in footage filmed explicitly to die this jumbled mess of a movie together). It definitely feels strange and tacked-on when Merlin shows up at just the right time, and it certainly doesn’t do the movie any favors from a quality standpoint. Then again, neither does anything else about the movie.

Overall, “Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders” is surprisingly watchable, despite the confusingly edited together plot(s). There are actually a handful of genuinely good shots interspersed throughout the madness, and plenty of moments of ridiculous fun that make this a great choice for a bad movie night.

IMDb Bottom 100: Red Zone Cuba

Red Zone Cuba

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“Red Zone Cuba” (or “Night Train to Mundo Fine”) is a devastatingly boring movie. I have had a more pleasant and entertaining time waiting in line at the DMV. Coleman Francis, the star/writer/director of this fine mess, is lauded as one of the worst fim-makers in history. Aside from “Red Zone Cuba”, he is also responsible for fellow IMDb Bottom 100 movie “The Beast of Yucca Flats”. Francis’s work is often justifiably compared in quality to Ed Wood’s features, though Francis doesn’t have nearly the same cult following as the “Plan 9 From Outer Space” auteur. Personally, I find Wood’s films far easier to suffer through, which gives them the upper hand if you ask me.

redzone1“Red Zone Cuba” follows a band of criminals as they elude the law, get wrapped up in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and get up to general criminal shenanigans. Even that brief synopsis makes this movie sound more interesting than it actually is. The premise actually seems promising at first glance (and might have made for a good movie in other hands), but the execution of this film is beyond disappointing. This is one of those cases where there is no ambiguity as to who is at fault for the miserable end product, because Coleman Francis did damn near everything on screen and behind the scenes of this mess. Predictably, his writing, directing, and acting are all massive weak spots in the film, which doesn’t leave a whole lot to be decent. More than anything, the pacing of the film is truly abysmal. Plot points don’t come quick enough, and there isn’t much sense of motion or urgency for a movie that features a prison break, a shootout, and outlaws generally tearing their way across the country.

redzone2There is no reason at all to sit through “Red Zone Cuba”. Even the MST3k riff doesn’t liven up the experience much. Surprisingly, this movie has recently fallen out of the IMDb Bottom 100, despite it being one of the worst (quality-wise) movies I have watched so far. The will of the internet masses is perplexing and strange.

The only thing about this film I can recommend is the theme song. It has been stuck in my head ever since I watched the movie, and is gleefully one of the few things I can honestly recall about it. Listen if you dare.

 

IMDb Bottom 100: Hobgoblins

Hobgoblins

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“Hobgoblins” is almost certainly the lowest of the low-budget “Gremlins” knockoffs. The cult-classic status it has now can mostly be attributed to Mystery Science Theater 3000, but I actually thought it was one of the better movies they covered on the show. It is clearly an amateur movie, with scenes going on longer than they should and the low budget making itself known at every opportunity. However, it is pretty far from unwatchable given the circumstances. Considering how cheaply this movie was made, it is hard to hold most of the big issues against it. Even then, there is still plenty to justifiably complain about here.

First off, the monsters themselves look horrible. They are clearly mediocre hand puppets, but that is probably the best they could put together with no money. There are some great hammy moments when the Hobgoblins are attacking or being attacked, but they look so goofy that there is no way to be afraid of them. In “Gremlins”, the gremlins at least looked disturbing and vile, and could be bought as evil creatures. The hobgoblins just aren’t convincing enough or treated with significant gravity by the characters for them to be frightening. Consistently, the hobgoblins fail to put up any kind of fight once they are discovered. The only thing they have going for them in the movie is that they are good at hiding, and can disappear(?) when it is convenient for the plot.

Yep.
Yep.

Speaking of which, the plot actually has some promise in this movie. If there had been a better director on board and some money attached, there are the makings for a mediocre movie here. I like the idea of monsters that can manipulate their victims’ perceptions, but the concept is poorly executed here. Something that doesn’t make sense in this movie is why the victims always die at some point in the fantasy. In the beginning of the movie, the first victim appears to die due to tripping(?) while in his fantasy. It is later explained that the victims just sort of mysteriously and coincidentally die while in their fantasies, but there is never any clear connection made as to why the hobgoblins are killing the people (always by proxy). Do the fantasies power them? If so, why kill the people? Are they predators? Then why don’t they eat the victims? Are they just sort of sadistic? Why? In an episode of the show “Supernatural”, the protagonists run into Djinn on a handful of occasions, who induce hallucinations / dream states to lull their victims, during which they are leeched of their blood. They do a much better job in the show of explaining why the monsters are inducing hallucinations (to steal blood), showing how the monsters create the hallucinations (a toxin), and showing how the victims are ultimately killed (exsanguination). Those things are all important for the audience to know, and are all missing from this movie. I think that was a pretty serious error for this movie that shouldn’t be excused as a rookie mistake or a result of the low budget, it was just short-sightedness or laziness on the part of writer/director Rick Sloane.

The Djinn also look pretty damn creepy
The Djinn also look pretty damn creepy.

I’ve already mentioned that there are a handful of scenes that drag on for too long in this movie, but apart from those (Club Scum and the Rake Fight, for instance), I didn’t think the shots were too horrible in general. There was a little bit of creative framing to fit in the hand-puppet monsters at times, but they didn’t exactly have any other options on the table. I do think the director made plenty of errors and failed to make a good movie here, but it did come out more or less watchable. I think the really shallow writing and thin plot were bigger issues (not to mention the budget/monsters), but since the writer was also the director here, all fault goes to Sloane. I am curious as to why there were so many attempts to inject humor into the movie (they all failed), and if that was initially in the script or added in as an audible after the monsters turned out so badly. All of the “funny” moments felt tacked-on / forced, so that would make sense to me. I’m not sure whether that’s worth applauding for trying to make lemonade from lemons, or criticizing for doing so poorly. If the humor was intended that way to start with though, then that is just jarring, crappy writing.

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The rake fight in this movie makes the Kirk/Spock fight look like “Crouching Tiger”

Speaking of crappy writing, the dialogue in this movie is miserable. All of the characters are unlikable and sound like they were written by a 13-year-old, all with juvenile motivations and the collective depth of a kiddie pool. Characters in this movie can be described as stereotypes straight out of “Cabin in the Woods”, which might be status quo for this kind of movie, but it lazy none-the-less. The actors are definitely not good, but turning any of these lines into something passable would be squeezing blood from a stone.

No actor in the world can make this look believable.
No actor in the world can make this look believable.

“Hobgoblins” may not be the worst of the MST3k features, but it is definitely bad. I’m tempted to say that it isn’t so bad as to justify a Bottom 100 spot in the IMDb rankings, but I think it cuts pretty close. The crappy monsters, bad dialogue, and generally lazy writing/filmmaking are all worthy of it, but I am tempted to give it the same lenience I would afford a Troma movie, just because it clearly doesn’t take itself seriously. That doesn’t excuse the flaws, but it might give it a reasonable pass as far as Bottom 100 consideration. Given that there are no Troma pictures in the Bottom 100, I’m tempted to think that the IMDb masses would agree. However, the MST3k label is guaranteed to take the rankings for any movie, so I think this one is primarily a victim of that stamp of disapproval.