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Rated PG
Copyright 1987 Topps Chewing Gum
Reviewed by Ethan Logue on 7 February 2008

The Characters:  

  • Dodger - Mackenzie Astin! Boy hero, slave to fashion, friend to the "kids," and future GAP model.
  • Cap'n Manzini - Anthony Newley. Failed magician. Owns a junkshop where the kids hide out and make their plans for global conquest.
  • Tangerine - Katie Barberi. Holds sway over every 12-year-old boy. Uses Dodger and the kids to propel herself to the lord of mall clothing.
  • Juice - Ron Maclachlan. The epitome of every 80's bad boy. Given some shades, ripped gloves, and some of the cheesiest dialogue in history.
  • Valerie Vomit - Debbie Lee Carrington! Heart of the kids. Uses explosive stomach juices only once, but it fails to prove effective as a superhero power.
  • Greaser Greg - Phil Fondacaro! Muscle of the kids. Wants to stick a switchblade into everything. Talks tough for 3 feet of plaster-of-paris crammed into a leather jacket.
  • Ali Gator - Kevin Thompson. Mouthpiece of the kids. Bad attitude. Likes to eat everything. Has a foot and toe fetish.
  • Windy Winston - Arturo Gil. Weaponized gas attack. Shoots more air out of his ass than this world can hope to contain. You can thank his butthole for global warming.
  • Nat Nerd - Larry Green. Zit kid. Pees himself when cornered. Funny, his response to fear resembles my reaction to this film.
  • Messy Tessie - Susan Rossitto. Sinus infection kid. Blows snot and boogers all over everything. Has little else to do but look creepy and ask for a Kleenex.
  • Foul Phil - Bobby Bell. A 3-foot tall stinky, mutated dwarf creature that has me reaching for the Jim Beam.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

"The Garbage Pail Kids" is one of those movies that destroys the myth of nostalgia that often pops up in the minds of television-signal riddled folks who grew up in the 80's and 90's. To think this movie was "ok," to try and conjure memories that it was "better than you remember" are not only mental gymnastics, but are in fact grand delusions and can put you in mortal danger. GPK: The movie is so bad, I can honestly say it gives me panic attacks. I really debated giving this one a skull rating, if only because no movie has ever taken me to such dark places. The only reasons I didn't was because of the trading cards, which have a warm place in my childhood memories, and of course my fondness for anything with a dwarf in it. The success of the trading cards actually motivated the Topps Chewing Gum Company to fork over the dough to make a movie based on the cards. Ironically, GPK: The movie was the one and only movie put out by Topps. Apparently even the suits at Topps realized that one more of these might bring Baphomet up from the depths to shake her wiggle stick at the peaceful souls of the Earth. I don't hate GPK: The movie, but it hurts to watch it. Watching the film gives me a feeling akin to slipping out a wet fart in a crowded elevator and having all eyes turn on me. There's something truly disturbing about this film, and I'm sure it has a place in the DVD collections of every Satanist. I'll bet you that if you played this movie on a full moon, or ran it backwards, it would open a portal to Hell and let loose unholy spirits into this world. So I sit here with the lights off, my DVD in the player; and armed with holy water and a bible, I begin the dark descent.

The film opens with a garbage can rocketing through space. Stephen Hawking defined the rules of Quantum Mechanics, but nowhere in it do I remember reading about garbage cans being able to pass through the singularity. The flying rocket can malfunctions, crash lands on Earth, and is discovered by Cap'n Manzini, lord of the Pawn Shop. Cappy hides the kids in the basement, knowing that if they're ever discovered they might find themselves swinging from lightposts in the town square. Dodger, one of Cappy's many protégés, likes to hang out at the pawn shop (school, anyone?) and accidentally overturns the hidden can while nosing around at the shop. The kids roll out of the can and so begins the final days of our beloved blue planet. The kids tell the sad story that they came from a planet somewhere in the ugly zone, and have become lost from their other pals. Cappy and Dodger decide to let the kids hang out at the shop until they can figure out how to get the kids back to their homeland. Meanwhile Tangerine, boy-rapist and fashion whore, learns the secret and hatches a plot (her scheme forms the direction of the whole movie) to use the kids to launch her fashion career. More on this later...

See, Dodger has a problem. Even though he spends his schooldays running missions and doing menial work for Cappy, he just can't seem to avoid Juice and his two henchmen. Juice doesn't like kids who hang around and do "kid" stuff, and for some reason likes to spend his days chasing kids down and beating their milk money out of them. If swaying the love nest of Tangerine into his face wasn't hard enough, now Dodger's also got to deal with Juice and his gang of misfits, who want to give Dodger a lesson in pain - 80's style. Now here's where the movie goes from your typical 80's adventure romp for down-syndrome kids to an all-out attack on common sense, basic film plots, and anything resembling something that is good and wholesome.

Tangerine discovers that the kids are like child-prodigies when plopped down in front of a sewing machine, and can do wonders with some thread and Hobby Lobby fun kits. As a child I never really pieced this together, being simply content to chew bubblegum and watch the show; but as an adult, and armed with a few more IQ points, I was able to decipher the point of this movie and the basic plot structure. This is where my meltdown begins. The entire plot of this movie doesn't circle around the idea of the kids saving the planet, rescuing cute puppies from the pound, or even helping Dodger with his growing problems. No, the movie plot forms around one of the most retarded ideas I've ever heard of. Tangerine uses the kids to make her clothes so she can model them at a local fashion show, and Cappy and Dodger must try and help the kids locate their lost pals while at the same time being used as gimps by the future of glittering underoos and wonderbras. My brain hurts. There's even a scene where the kids break into a supply store and steal cloth and fabric for their mutant sweatshop operations. And all the while they sing one of the creepiest tunes I've ever heard. While doing their nasty little deed, they swoon, "We can do anything by working la la la la..." I reach for the heroin. The needle is sharp, but the sting is slowly replaced by sheer bliss...

So the kids are left to their own devices at the shop, and they get a little bored just sewing clothes and looking ugly, so they snag some trenchcoats and sunglasses (brilliant disguise for dwarf-like mutants from planet X) and head out to see a show. They go to a movie theater in the dead of night to catch a Three Stooges flick. Now what movie theater is showing old Three Stooges films at 2:00 AM?! And the theater is packed! Huh?! Anyway, the kids soon lose their subterfuge and are discovered. Mayhem erupts and the kids flee the packed movie theater. But a little public hazing will not daunt the most determined of the kids, so they sneak out once more and head to a local watering hole. Yes, troll-like monsters can find a welcome home in any dive-bar. I know, I've been to a few myself. Right at home. A bar fight erupts for some reason, and Windy Winston crashes into the joint on his Fisher Price Bigwheeler and uses his ass-blaster 3000 to fart into the faces of the drunken thugs. Once more, bizarro land takes over and one of the thugs Winston farts on stops the whole scene and says something like, "Hey, this kid's got guts! Round of drinks for everyone!" More bottles are emptied and the kids are lost to the world of booze-burps and peepee stains. So much for finding their friends now. Nothing can compare to the sight of drunken circus clowns dressed up as house of wax creatures.

With all this anarchy, the pigs are certainly on their way. The kids are scooped up in the dead of night by the local Home for the Ugly officials (I didn't make that part up; that's in the movie). Of course this was all set up by Juice and his gang, for what reason we'll never know. The kids are taken back to the Home for the Ugly and imprisoned. Mutants have rights too! Whatever happened to due process?! Bunch of creeps to be snagging disabled aliens off the street and tossing them in dungeons. Dodger and Cappy realize the kids are gone, but can't do much now since they've got the fashion show to deal with. It's at this point that little Dodger finally starts to see that all his attempts at kissing Tangerine's tangerine will never come to fruition, so comes to terms with his penis and puts all his efforts into saving the kids.

Somehow Cappy and Dodger discover the secret location of the Home for the Ugly and do a late-night assault on the compound. Here's where the ACLU would go nuts. The scene at the Home for the Ugly is so over the top politically incorrect, I can see lawsuits coming if it were made today. All the prisoners in the compound all have signs on their cages such as "Too fat," "Too skinny," "Too old," and "Too hairy." All the cages are filled with fellow mutants of human origin, and of course the kids, who just want to shake off their hangovers and get back to sewing. By this point, the movie has gone so far off the tracks of common sense and reality that the writers just blow off the entire focus of their story by having Cappy give some toss-away dialogue about the kids' pals getting crunched in a garbage truck. Didn't the other kids try and get out?! Couldn't they hear the garbage truck coming?! Why don't the kids totally freak out after hearing the news that all of their friends are dead?! Why aren't people sending emails to the Writers Guild and trying to track down the drooling toads who wrote this dreck?! Damn it, crap like this just takes me right out of my H-high. I'm gonna lose sleep for days, and all for this?! The entire movie is based on the idea that these mutato-potatoeheads are lost on Earth and must find their friends, and it's all tossed out like so much garbage?! Pail?! Kids?! Bleh... This is no movie, it is suicide. This movie is what a Kamikaze pilot thinks of right before he dives his Cherry Blossom of doom into the sides of a US Destroyer. This movie is what Sid Vicious was thinking of right before he woke up from his heroin nap and saw his girl Nancy dead on the bathroom floor. This movie is what Godzilla was thinking of as his stinky green foot hovered over Tokyo. This movie is what the devil thinks of as he plans his escape. I believe in Hell, and it's hidden in the interlaced frames of this dark-matter that masquerades as entertainment.

But the show must go on, and so Cappy, Dodger, and the kids decide to crash Tangerine's fashion show dreams. The mall fashion show is another one of those WTF moments of this film - like so many others. The show starts off ok, with your average Macy's catalogue rejects pimping the kids' wares, all of which of course are hideous glitter and pastel nightmares. I'm no fashion genius, but I know that even Liberace would have lit those rags on fire. So the kids bust in, and all hell breaks loose. It's during the fashion show finale that 3 of the funniest, "I've got to rewind that and see it again and again" moments happen. First is the big payoff for Valerie Vomit, who gets to spray Juice's gang with her stomach contents, of which I'm sure she had saved up for the past 200 years as she barreled through space and time in the kids' rocket-can. The vomit is gross, but once again, the movie itself is so ugly and horrifying that not even seeing a mutant blast lunch all over a gang of losers is enough to sicken one. Second is the tackle shot. Foul Phil, the most disturbing of the kids, actually spears Juice as he rushes Dodger. Rewind it and enjoy. This little booger sack actually takes down a grown man, linebacker style. It is one of the most nonintentionally funny moments in film history. Third is one of the big blunders of the movie (of which there are many). After Juice gets up and recovers from Phil's spearing, he goes after Dodger and the two have their big fight. Here's another rewind and enjoy moments. Dodger spins through the air, screaming like a ninja, and lands on Juice, knocking him to the ground. During this little part there's a shot where, I swear to god, you can easily tell that Dodger, played by a teenage Mackenzie Astin, is replaced by a 38-year-old stuntman. You can even see the huge ape-like hands and hair of the stuntman. It is so obvious and funny, that you will see it and it will take you out of the movie immediately (in the case of this movie it can only be seen as salvation). So Juice and the gang are sent packing, the cops show up, the fashion show is ruined, and the kids flee with Dodger and company.

Back home, Dodger gives the smackdown to Tangerine and sends her back to the drawing boards in search of ways to corrupt and seduce 12-year-old boys in order to build herself a career in high fashion. Cappy also finally figures out the ancient poem that has to be recited in order to get the kids back in their can, and safely hidden from this cruel world. Another great mystery that tugs at my wiener is what the can is supposed to be. See, the opening of the movie shows the can as just a form of transportation, but the ending seems to suggest that the can is actually a portal to another world, to the homeland of the kids and their mutated kinfolk. Anyway, I thought about it for about 10 minutes, then shook it off once I realized I was trying to debate the merits and artistic skills of the writing team, who I'm sure was a room full of monkeys given crayons, a blackboard, and some TNT. The end is nigh! The kids say their teary farewells, and are sucked back up, like Tessie's snot, into their trash filled paradise. Dodger cries and runs home to try on some more of Tangerine's fashion dreams, and Cappy cuts the lights and closes shop. The end.

"The Garbage Pail Kids" is not just your typical bad movie. It is a journey into fear, self-hatred, and oblivion. The things on the surface, the ugly mutants kids, the bad fashion, the snot and barf, are all illusions to distract you from the real gems, which is the acting, the horrible dialogue, and one of the worst plots in movie history. Seriously, this movie didn't have much to work with, but what the writers came up with is so bad and mis-fired that not even scenes of midget porn could have saved it. But at least my panic attack would have a happy ending...

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Good scripts start with paper, pencils, and sobriety.
  • Garbage cans have flight capabilities and can travel through space.
  • Pawnshops make good hideaways for runaways, magicians, and mutants.
  • Fashion can cause young women to go absolutely insane and turn into villains.
  • In the 80's grown men attacked grade schoolers for their spare change.
  • 3-foot tall mutants get drunk easily. They make good party favors.
  • You can hide a 3-foot tall mutant in public using only trenchcoats and sunglasses.
  • Movie theaters have all-night showings of old Three Stooges flicks.
  • All it takes to ruin a fashion show is some dwarves, some methane, and a lot of grit.
  • Dwarven pototoeheads can take down a grown man. All it takes is momentum and some crafty camera work.
  • Garbage cans are portals to alternate universes.
  • Sometimes nostalgia is better left where it the can.


  • Manzini: "You took them out of the garbage pail. Say hello to trouble. Dodger, meet the Garbage Pail Kids!"
    Greaser Greg: "Hey, I'm Greaser Greg. Wanna rumble, kid?"
    Dodger: "No thanks."
  • Tangerine: "Tonight, I would like to show you a totally new concept in youthful fashion. They're a little flashy, a little trashy, but fun."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note gpk1.wav Manzini: "Did you get the blood of a toad and the eye of a newt?"
Dodger: "Nope. Pet shop's out of unicorns, too."
Manzini: "No wonder there's no magic in the world today. You can't get the ingredients."
Green Music Note gpk2.wav Foul Phil: (Cries.)
Winston: "What's the matter?"
Foul Phil: "My tummy hurts!"
Windy Winston: "What did ya eat?"
Foul Phil: "Everything!"
Windy Winston: "That'll do it alright."
Foul Phil: (More crying.)
Green Music Note gpk3.wav Manzini: "In the whole universe there is one place where you and the children are safe, whether you like it or not, and that is in the garbage pail. Now, until I can find a spell that will get you back in there, you are all in grave danger."
Ali Gator: "We can take care of ourselves."
Green Music Note gpk4.wav Tangerine and Dodger have a heart to heart.
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipgpk1.mpg - 2.8m
The kids are playing poker.

Do yourself a favor and resist the urge to watch the clip. Beating your head against a tree is more fun.

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