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  • Writer's pictureAbby Brenker

The Best and Worst Goblin Films

Currently on the Lunatics Radio Hour podcast we are exploring the folklore and history behind Goblins. As we love to do, Alan and I have been binging Goblin themed movies and media. And wow, Goblin movies are so hit and miss. Here are some of our favorites…and least favorites.

The Hole in The Ground (2023) is an Irish film from A24 that is a really good and scary depiction of Irish folklore. Similar to The Gate from 1987, the film centers around a sinkhole, a link to the subterranean terrors below. It’s scary and brooding.

The Gate (1987) is totally different from The Hole in The Ground. The Gate is a campy, 80s B horror movie that feels very similar to Gremlins. This was one of Alan’s favorites from this topic. And it shows some of the elements of Goblin folklore very well. For example, the shapeshifting elements of the creatures and the mischievous energy often associated with them.

Troll 2 (1990) I keep describing this film as “the room of goblin movies.” It’s so bad…it’s almost good. Welcome to the world of Nilbog (goblin backwards). The goblins of Nilbog are all vegetarian, so in order to eat people they first must get you to drink a green sludge that turns you into plant matter.

The Lord of The Rings We talk about this a bit in the episode, but the interesting thing about Lord of the Rings is that Tolkien intended goblins and orcs to be one in the same. Two words to describe one race. Peter Jackson actually breaks this canon by showing goblins in the mines of Moria as totally different creatures than orcs.

Spider-Man Of course, an infamous villain is The Green Goblin from Spider-Man. Famously played by Willem Dafoe on screen, but first created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The character first appeared in July 1964, The Amazing Spider-Man #14.

Goblin (2020) Wow, one of the worst out there. We were tricked by the somewhat favorable reviews online, but I guess it all circles back to that trickster goblin energy. Avoid!

We see goblins in fantasy more than we do in horror, though of course the line between genres is often blurred. Goblins are a staple in folklore and a bit less prolific in film. Though we all have extensive exposure to them through major franchises like The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter.

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