Goblins are part of the fantasy imaginary and, to a lesser extent, of the horror too. These creatures belong to a lot of countries’ folklore. Mostly European and mostly present in literature. However, they ended up getting some highlights on the seventh art. Let’s take a look at goblins in movies.
Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (2001 – 2014)
Well, this is no surprise. Goblins are a common theme on the books so, it was only expected for them to appear in the movie adaptations. For Tolkien, Goblins and Orcs seem to be the same thing. Yet, in the movies, the term goblin seems to be way more attached to the European folklore descriptions. Short creatures, mischievous and temperamental but not that threatening in single encounters. In the other hand, Orcs seem to resemble warriors and bigger versions of those cave goblins. In any of the cases, they are portraited as evil beings, serving Sauron and living in communities (with a tendency of underground/cave environments).
Wizarding World (2001 – present)
Another scenario where goblins got some screen time was on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts universe. J. K. Rowling situated her goblins in the modern era and real world, so they are a bit different than Tolkien’s. Physically they continue that European folklore trend. The big difference happens in their intellect. Not that Tolkien’s goblins are described as the dumbest of creatures, but Rowling’s ones are way more complex. They have like-human intelligence, are super good with economy/math (they run the wizard bank), have their own wand-less magic (this is huge in this universe) and can craft valuable and great silverware. Sadly, and although they live among wizards, being an integral part of their society, they are discriminated by them. Curiously, house elves are also a traditional depiction of goblins but, for some reason, Rowling’s made them elves.
Spiderman (2002 – 2007)
In reality, this Spiderman’s emblematic villain is not an actual goblin. In fact, the Green Goblin is human. None of the less, this character from the comic books got a big appearance in the first Spiderman’s trilogy. He uses a glider to fly and bombs among other guns and gadgets to fight the arachnid.
In this story, goblins live in a different dimension and can be summoned if someone says the right words. The narrative starts with our protagonist, while annoyed for having to babysitting her crying brother, says the magic words and her brother is taken away. Consequently, she goes to the goblin world to rescue him. Here the goblins are really close to the folklore. The main character even gets help from one of them, which can be considered a direct reference to Hobgoblins and Trasgus’ lore.
The Descent (2005 – 2009)
We think the word “goblin” is never mentioned to reference the creatures which live in the cave, but we don’t see a better name for them. The Descent goblins are really dangerous. This horror movie sets caves as their habitat, although it is said they go to the surface to hunt animals. These goblins are pale and have human-like height. They can also climb walls easily and, because they are blind, have good auditory perception.
Here you have five places where you can find goblins in movies. We will probably make a part two in the future. If you don’t know, this content is connected to our monthly topic: Goblins. Earlier this month we talked about Trasgos, the portuguese goblins, and before the April ends we will post another goblin related article. Additionally, we’ve been posting stories and other stuff about goblins in our social media and groups as well. Our social media is also the place where you can vote in the next topic of the month. Join us: