the review site with a difference since 1999
Reviews Interviews Articles Apps About

MGM Studios DVD presents

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)

"Did you get the blood of a toad and the eye of a newt?"- Cap'N Manzini (Anthony Newley)

Stars: Anthony Newley, Mackenzie Asitn, The Garbage Gang
Other Stars: Katie Barberi
Director: Rod Amateau

MPAA Rating: PG for (adult situations)
Run Time: 01h:36m:28s
Release Date: 2005-07-12
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D- FCC- D-


DVD Review

Many films through the years have been dubbed "the worst film of all time," but not many fit that moniker as well as 1987's The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. The concept of the Garbage Pail Kids came about as a parody of the ultra-hot (at one time) collectable dolls, the Cabbage Patch Kids. Topps struck a chord with kids in the 1980s by releasing Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, mocking the dolls with names like (my personal favorite) "Stuck Chuck" and "Fryin' Bryan." Then, someone had the bright idea to make a movie based on these characters, and to call that a complete and total bomb is an insult to all of the complete and total bombs to ever grace the silver screen.

Not only should the studio bosses who green-lighted this debacle be psychologically examined, but the filmmakers who made this gem should just forego the examination and just have themselves immediately committed. It's amazing that anyone could seriously design the "Kids" to look the way they do. The costumes appear to have been made using the cheapest rubber ever made, and for some reason, the characters are freakishly large. The unintentionally scary aspects of these inhuman-looking people don't stop at their appearance. Part of the (lack of) charm of these monsters is their ability to vomit, constantly ooze snot out of their noses, or have the worst breath known to man. The filmmakers don't ever miss an opportunity to show us these redeeming qualities whenever they have the chance.

While there isn't much of a plot, the story centers on Dodger (played by Mackenzie Astin from The Facts of Life), a young boy who works for Cap'n Manzini (Anthony Newley) in his antiques shop. After being constantly told not to touch the mysterious trash can that Manzini keeps around, Dodger accidentally opens it anyway, unleashing the greatest terror the world has ever known, the Garbage Pail Kids. Once these guys are on the scene, there's no turning back, as they torment anyone and everyone in their path. They, along with Dodger, encounter Tangerine (Katie Barberi), a fashion designer who joins the "Kids" and Dodger to spend most of the rest of the film making some of the worst clothes you'll ever see, even for the '80s.

It's hard to decide whether the worst part of The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is the "Kids" themselves or the pathetic acting on display. I'll give Mackenzie Astin the benefit of the doubt that came with most child actors of the era, but to say he has no range is an understatement. The other two main actors, Newley and Barberi, don't bring much to the table either and are easily overshadowed by the horrid special effects that make Howard the Duck look like Citizen Kane.

I've also never seen a supposedly kid-friendly film that looks this dreary and murky. It seems that the set designers scouted every garbage dump they could find to come up with ideas, enabling the titular characters to feel at home. I've never seen a film that intentionally looks this bad, and here's hoping no one ever has to see such filth again.

Rating for Style: D-
Rating for Substance: F


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: For such a dark, ugly film, this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is quite good. The few bright colors that existed in the source material come across nicely here, while the images are detailed for the most part. There is quite a bit of grain and dirt though, which isn't very surprising given the age of the film.

Image Transfer Grade: C

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital mono presentation is adequate for the material, but doesn't do anything to impress. Some of the dialogue is tough to hear clearly at times, and the music and sound effects are limited by the inherent nature of the format.

Audio Transfer Grade: C- 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra features is the trailer for the feature.

Extras Grade: D-

Final Comments

Don't make the mistake of watching The Garbage Pail Kids Movie in order to enjoy some '80s nostalgia. This is easily one of the worst movies of all time, and the audio and video on MGM Home Video's DVD are decent, but nothing flashy. There aren't any extras aside from the film's trailer, but that's probably a good thing in this case.

Chuck Aliaga 2005-07-12