1980s Kids Movie Is The Worst Of Its Kind And Impossible To Watch

By Robert Scucci | Published

Topps Chewing Gum is probably best known for breaking the teeth of countless children who eagerly chomp into a stale stick of gum found in a pack of old baseball cards, but in 1987 they also produced The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. I’m not trying to sound too harsh here, but when I think about what Topps Chewing Gum has to offer to the masses, I’d prefer a mouth full of blood and enamel over ever having to watch this movie again. But at the same time, I’m drawn to this abomination that’s nowhere to be found on streaming because it’s so insane on every level that I can’t help but get the same kind of sick pleasure one gets after eating too much junk food and falling into a food coma.

Doomed From The Start

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

Before fully unpacking The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, I need to give you fair warning because I can’t think of a single redeeming quality that this misguided and rushed piece of marketing for a series of wildly popular trading cards actually has. Filmed in its entirety in just two months, Topps wanted to jam this movie through production to capitalize on the Garbage Pail Kids trading card series, which sold over a billion units ahead of the production of this movie. In this case, however, they should have just been happy with what they had because those who have fond memories of the trading cards have blacked this movie out of their memory-banks entirely.

Toilet Humor Can Only Go So Far

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie centers on the flatulent and deformed creatures popularized by the card series of the same name (which is a parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids), and attempts to shoehorn their lore into a plot involving some of the most unlikable human beings you’ve ever encountered. With no clear explanation as to why they even exist aside from a weird story about Pandora’s Box told by a magician named Captain Manzini (Anthony Newley), the Garbage Pail Kids simply exist to cause a ruckus and leak various bodily fluids onto their human counterparts at inappropriate times.

The foul-mouthed puppets in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie have names like Greaser Greg, Valerie Vomit, Ali Gator, Foul Phil, Nat Nerd, Windy Winston, and Messy Tessy. As their names suggest, they try to fart and puke their way into our hearts, but leave us writhing in agony because toilet humor can only carry a half-thought-out movie so far into its first act before its premise (or lack thereof) grows stale.

It Gets Worse

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

The source of conflict in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is just as nauseating as its principle cast of putrid puppets, and mostly involves child labor. When Dodger (Mackenzie Astin) becomes smitten with a young fashion designer named Tangerine (Katie Barberi), he decides that the best way to win her affection is to help her produce clothing that she can sell at fashion shows. Tangerine, whose friends have treated Dodger in ways that would have them tried as adults for child abuse by today’s standards, is impressed by a jacket that Dodger is wearing, which was made by the Garbage Pail Kids.

Instead of coming clean and telling Tangerine that she’s a ruthless opportunist and a bully, Dodger instead puts the Garbage Pail Kids to work in a makeshift sweatshop that he sets up in the basement of Captain Manzini’s magic shop. When Tangerine realizes that Dodger’s clothing is actually made by tiny little mutants, she recruits her friends to capture them and ship them off to the State Home for the Ugly. In case you’re wondering what the State Home for the Ugly is, it’s an enchanting little place where ugly people are brought to be executed.

A Hierarchy Of Exploitation

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

Nobody is innocent in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie because the hierarchy of exploitation seemingly has no end. Dodger himself is a minor working for Captain Manzini in his magic shop, and he in turn puts the Garbage Pail Kids to work for his own personal gain, endangering their lives in the process. Captain Manzini, who seemingly has mystical powers, stands on the sidelines and lets all of this happen even though he should be wise enough to what’s going on in his own shop after hours.

A Collectible In Its Own Right

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie


The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is an assault on your senses and sensibilities, but like other train wrecks I’ve reviewed, it’s also entertaining on so many levels because it’s so terrible. While you can’t find this movie on streaming or through on-demand purchases, I highly encourage you to seek out a physical copy if you’re into watching a successful franchise implode as a result of its own misguided marketing. This movie is one-of-a-kind in that regard, making it a collectible in its own right.