Depending when you were born, you might be familiar with the trading cards known as ‘The Garbage Pail Kids.’ They were a product of the 80’s. If you’re too young, don’t feel bad, you aren’t missing much. At one point in time, it was deemed necessary to make a movie out of this minor phenomenon. Few lived to tell about it.

A garbage can shaped spaceship lands on Earth, only to end up in an antique shop. Captain Manzini (Anthony Newly) owns this shop and he employs a young boy named Dodger (Mackenzie Astin). Poor Dodger is bullied by a gang of teens, many of whom seem to be suspiciously old. He is in love with the kindest of these teens, an aspiring fashion designer named Tangerine (Katie Barberi).

Defying the few orders Captain Manzini gives him, Dodger accidentally knocks over the trash can which frees the creatures from the goo inside. These are the Garbage Pail Kids. There is Greaser Greg, Nat Nerd, Valerie Vomit, Ali Gator, Foul Phil, Windy Winston, and Messy Tessie. Their abilities and personalities are all self-explanatory. Of course, these foul little creatures get into mischief throughout the city.

Dodger must help to make sure the Kids aren’t discovered and taken away to the State Home For The Ugly. At the same time, he must try to woo Tangerine and survive the tormenting of his chief antagonist, Juice (Ron MacLachlan). Never one to be left behind, Captain Manzini putters around the shop trying to figure out what song will send the Kids back to their garbage can.

If the idea of making a movie based on a short-lived trading card fad sounds like a bad idea to you, you’re not alone. It’s hard to fathom just went on in the heads of the producers. Surely they didn’t have any ambitions other than to cash in. There is certainly no artistic merit to the end product.

It’s obvious that the ‘kids’ are supposed to be gross, but the inexpressive masks are a lot more disturbing than they were probably intended to be. Most young children will probably lose sleep for a few nights if they watch this. Most of their misadventures are harmless enough but Greaser Greg’s eagerness to pull out a switchblade at the slightest provocation and Ali Gator’s fixation on eating peoples’ digits are bothersome.

So young kids are out, what about adults? There isn’t a layer of humor for older viewers to enjoy either. Most of the characters are one-dimensional and the humor is just sophomoric. Not even the funny kind of sophomoric.

The acting is sub-amateurish. Action sequences are simply staged and lame, the sets are incredibly small and the script is wretched. There are more loose ends in this story than a poorly stitched garment from (insert third world country of your choice here). Not my best work, but you get the point.

Special features include: only a trailer. You’re not getting a good movie, why would you expect good bonus features?

When a film is dubbed one of the worst of all time, it begs a certain amount of attention. These dubious distinctions only raise the profiles of certain cinematic turds that deserve their obscurity. Please don’t let this review intrigue you enough to do something rash like seeking it out. Better yet, forget you even read this.

‘The Garbage Pail Kids’ is so bad, it makes ‘Howard The Duck‘ look like ‘Citizen Kane.’ That’s only a slight exaggeration.

Rated PG           96 minutes          1987

This post was written by:

J.J. Ellis – When J.J. Ellis isn’t writing as the Allentown DVD Examiner, his Decent Exposure Radio can be heard on the air every Friday night from 10:30 to midnight (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or wxlvradio.com!

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