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The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)

Dodger must confront the struggles of life as he is visited by the Garbage Pail Kids and intimidated by some older bullies.


Rod Amateau


Linda Palmer (as Melinda Palmer), Rod Amateau

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4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Phil Fondacaro ... Greaser Greg (voice)
Anthony Newley ... Captain Manzini
Mackenzie Astin ... Dodger
Katie Barberi ... Tangerine
Ron MacLachlan Ron MacLachlan ... Juice
J.P. Amateau J.P. Amateau ... Wally
Marjory Graue Marjory Graue ... Blythe
Debbie Lee Carrington ... Valerie Vomit (voice)
Kevin Thompson ... Ali Gator (voice)
Bobby Bell Bobby Bell ... Foul Phil (voice) (as Robert Bell)
Larry Green Larry Green ... Nat Nerd (voice)
Arturo Gil ... Windy Winston (voice)
Susan Rossitto Susan Rossitto ... Messy Tessie (voice)
John Cade John Cade ... Bartender
Lynn Cartwright ... Fashion Show Host


Seven disgusting kids but nevertheless of interesting personality are being made of the green mud coming out of garbage can. Once alive their master gives them rules to obey although they think that life is funnier without following stupid regulations like no television or no candy. Naturally this will cause some conflicts. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Out of the garbage pail and into your heart See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

22 August 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La pandilla basura See more »

Filming Locations:

Richmond, Virginia, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$661,512, 23 August 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The actress who played the host of the modeling show later played the older version of Dottie Hinson, the Geena Davis character in A League of their Own. Her name is Lynn Cartwright. See more »


During the scene where Ali Gator is riding the ATV to "The Toughest Bar On Earth", he reaches up to scratch his head, and you clearly see the separation between his arm and the "alligator arm". See more »


Girl #2: You wanna see a dog wanking off into a garbage pail?
See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Worst Movies of the 1980s (2016) See more »


You Can Be a Garbage Pail Kid
Performed by Jimmy Scarlett & The Dimensions
Produced and Arranged by Michael Lloyd for Mike Curb Productions
See more »

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User Reviews

Holy Heck
8 April 2016 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

Dodger must confront the struggles of life as he is visited by the Garbage Pail Kids and intimidated by some older bullies.

Although apparently later owned by Orion and then MGM, this film was originally produced and distributed by Atlantic Entertainment Group. At this point, they had some minor hits with "Valley Girl", "Teen Wolf" and "Night of the Comet", but were never a major player. Not surprisingly, within two years of this film coming out, they were defunct.

Rod Amateau directed, produced, and co-wrote the film. He had not made any other films of note, but had a distinguished career going back decades in television. Interestingly, this was his final film -- despite living almost another 20 years. Was it a career killer? Amateau had as his right-hand man John Carl Buechler, which was the right choice, although given the film's focus on puppets, Buechler's involvement (not to mention Phil Fondacaro) give it the feeling of a Charles Band film. And that is never a good thing.

In fact, Buechler was involved before even Amateau, and in some ways had more to do with the final product. Apparently the Chiodo Brothers ("Killer Klowns") were contacted and passed, and next in line was John Carl Buechler, who was fresh off of "Troll". He was briefly considered as not just the effects guy but also the director, but his vision was too dark. He thought of the Kids as monsters, not something lovable, and the studio disagreed. He reflects, "The best stuff in the movie is them farting and blowing snot on each other... but it had to walk this line of being a gentle fairy tale." He thinks the blend was a bad idea, and he is probably right.

Buechler was the one who brought in Phil Fondacaro, and Phil brought in the "little people" he knew. So indirectly, Buechler not only created the Kids, but provided the actors who would play them. Buechler also brought in John Criswell, who had done effects for "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond", and has since gone on to bigger things like "The hangover". And William Butler, who is a terrible human being, but an important part of horror history, with all that he has designed, written, directed and acted in since the mid-80s.

The film was universally panned, receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews, and is widely considered to be one of the worst films ever made. Caryn James of The New York Times called the film "too repulsive for children or adults of any age", and it sits very, very low on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. This abysmal (and fair) criticism aside, 2015-2016 welcomed a small resurgence of Garbage Pail Kids, with new cards coming out, and a very positive retrospective written in HorrorHound magazine. Indeed, the film can now be looked back upon as a strange moment in 1980s history, or what star Mackenzi Astin calls "what-the-f***ery".

Scream Factory found this to be the right time to release the film on blu-ray, and if there ever was a right time this may have been it. The film, as truly awful as it is, does seem better now (2016) than when it first came out. Even as a child I thought it was terrible, but now it has just a twinkle of nostalgia to make it palatable. The Scream disc comes with a few interviews of varying length and quality. The brief interview with Buechler is good, as he is not afraid of being honest. The real gem of this release, however is the interview with Mackenzie Astin. He talks freely for approximately 30 minutes and has countless stories to share about his father, his co-stars and more. If the movie might not be enough to make you buy the disc, his interview should be.

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