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In 1831, on the eve of Halloween, the villagers of Hollow Glen engage in an annual festival where they toss their diseased crops into a blazing fire, in hopes of blessing them with an abundant field for the next year. But when one couple takes the ritual too far and throws their sickly, deformed child into the inferno, their murderous action results in something far more horrific than they could have imagined. Out of the ashes and smoke rises something so evil, so monstrous, that the town is forever cursed. This creature is known as THE GOBLIN…and he waits for the moments when he can seek his revenge!
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Unlike joke-horror films like "Cabin Fever", "Goblin" takes the material totally serious with zero camp or goofiness. This is the way monster movies should be done. After all, once an element of goofiness is introduced it's no longer possible to take the film serious and therefore impossible to be horrified by the events, which is one of the main purposes of horror movies.
I was impressed with the quality of the acting & writing, particularly for a low-budget TV movie. The characters are not one-dimensional; they're written as believable human beings and the actors, professionals that they are, are able to follow suit.
This one has all the mandatory staples of a deep woods horror flick -- gorgeous babes, gorgeous babes fleeing in terror, gorgeous babes fleeing in terror with titillating clothing (I'm just having fun so don't take me too seriously, lol), youthful romantic liaisons, creepy malicious monster, good characters to root for, particularly the father (Gil Bellows) and his family/friends.
The "gorgeous babes" include the main protagonist Tracy Spiridakos, blond cutie Erin Boyes and Julia Maxwell, the latter clad in a hot-goth-girl costume with sexy stockings & high heels (no wonder the Goblin goes after her!). Bellow's wife in the story, Camille Sullivan, also deserves an honorable mention.
Speaking of the monster, aren't goblins supposed to be small-ish creatures? Not so here. The goblin in this movie is close to 7' tall and has the ability to teleport. When he's fully revealed in the final ten minutes he looks too-obviously CGI and Grade-B Pumpkinhead, but throughout most of the film he appears in a cool black hooded robe, which makes him somehow more mysterious, gothic and eerie. The fact that he emits a horrible stench is an excellent touch.
One critic on the internet criticized the film on the grounds of "the reasoning behind the random killings is terrible. If the thing hunts babies why's it laying waste to random people with no babies? Totally retarded." My response: The goblin's prime directive is to kill babies in light of the curse and because infants represent undefiled new life and potential. As for laying waste to random people, the old man clearly points out near the end that, because the goblin hunts babies, it sniffs out the scent of infants on any person who's been near one; hence, his attraction to the girls who were babysitting the baby Nathan. The goblin is obviously a demon, a minion of the devil, do you think a demon is going to spare the life of anyone who gets in its way? What's the pupose of demons anyway? To "kill, steal and destroy". Hence, the goblin was excited at the prospect of extra people to terrify and kill.
On the downside: Although the story takes place during Halloween, it's obviously summertime (look at the kid's clothes and the foliage, etc.). Also, the climax with the car and spear is rather roll-your-eyes. But these negatives are minor in view of the entire film.
FINAL WORD: Make no mistake, despite being a TV film, "Goblin" is a standout deep woods monster flick. The goblin is actually frightning and the protagonists are so believable and three-dimensional that you care about them, and are literally shocked when the monster tears them to pieces.
ENDNOTE: On another site a reviewer accused me of somehow being involved in the production of "Goblin" since I gave it a "glowing review." The truth is I had nothing to do with this production or any other film production. I'm not in the business. I write amateur reviews simply because I like to write and share my views. Secondly, I had no qualms about pointing out the film's (minor) flaws. Regardless, I stand by my review. I evaluate films according to what they are and aspire to be. No genre is beyond redemption or beneath contempt. In this case "Goblin" is low-budget TV monster flick and I rated it accordingly.
Except for some unfortunate casting problems and the aforementioned mishap while trying to design a believable (never mind scary) goblin, not a bad little effort. It was dopey. I liked it. Naturally, I was rooting for the baby.