It's been awhile since I reviewed a shot-on-video horror film. I can't imagine why. For better or worse, I am rectifying my tactless neglect as it relates to handheld b-movies. When it comes to this underground estuary of cinematic mildew, there is no middle ground. Titles can range from the totally tubular (Video Violence, Cannibal Campout) to the radically rancid (Shatter Dead, Five Dead on the Crimson Canvas). While I don't intend on sticking with surfer slang, I will say that 1993's Goblin is a bummer, man. I wanted the movie on the front of the box. Instead, I had to settle for the movie inside of the box.

Ever heard of Todd Sheets? Apparently, he is the king of shot-on-video splatter flicks. Goblin is just one of twenty-eight feature-length SOV (yeah, I'm abbreviating now) cheapies that he has sired. I like to think of him as the third Polonia brother. His passion for the genre could be sluiced through every pore of this no-budget grandstand. Miners use sluicegates to wash ore. You see, a sluice is an inclined trough with riffles on the bottom to trap heavy particles. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China, you ask? Don't change the subject. Anyway, Goblin was a labor of love, and it certainly has its heart in the right place.

That's the only positive thing that I can bring myself to type about it. Sheets proves that you don't need money to craft an engaging motion picture; you need all of the other stuff that he lacks. A sense of pacing, believable dialogue, a coherent plot, well-rounded characters, a basic understanding of editing (what it is, how it works, etc.)...when you buy Goblin, they don't tell you that these vital habiliments are sold separately. I haven't bothered with a synopsis yet because there isn't much of a story to impart. A couple moves into a house. A monster kills their friends. The couple seeks help from their new nextdoor neighbor. The neighbor - without flinching - explains, "Yeah, it's a goblin."

Literally! That's what happens! The mentally handicapped script wouldn't be an issue if Goblin was the least bit entertaining. Apart from a couple of amusing death sequences (the kills are shot in the style of Violent Shit...yippee?), I found the final product to be gut-fuckingly boring. The film comes to a screeching halt at the halfway mark to follow a soon-to-be corpse that we haven't had the (dis)pleasure of meeting as he walks around in the dark for ten minutes. Good grief. To add insult to injury, the "creature" effects are risible at best. Look, it's obvious that the cast and crew had a blast on the set of this mishap, so I'm being somewhat generous with my rating.

PS-It would be two full Z'Dar's if the trashy blonde took her top off.

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