Gremlins

Release Date: June 1st, 1984

Rating: PG

Running Time: 2 hr.

Directed By: Joe Dante

Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Francis Lee McCain, Polly Holliday, Corey Feldman

FILM INFORMATION

Rand Peltzer is an inventor on the search for the perfect Christmas present for his son Billy. He comes upon a shop which has all sorts of odds and ends and finds a Mogwai which he ends up buying (without the owner’s consent). Rand is told of the three rules you must follow when in possession of a Mogwai: 1. Don’t expose him to bright light; 2. Don’t ever get him wet; 3. Never ever feed him after midnight (the most important rule of all).

All seems well and Billy loves his new present (Gizmo) but unfortunately has a difficult time following the rules and there are consequences for not obeying them.

Gizmo is adorable and after Billy’s mom takes a photo of Billy with Gizmo, the flash goes off and the first rule is broken. After Billy is shows off Gizmo to Pete (a boy from the town), water is accidently spilled on Gizmo, resulting in tiny fur balls popping out of his body, which in turn means water makes Gizmo spawn Mogwai. Right off the bat, you can tell these new Mogwai are different from Gizmo. Gizmo is cute and sweet, friendly and caring while these new ones like to make a lot of noise, almost bite Pete’s finger off, and are messy. One of them, Stripe, even has a little stripe on his head and is the leader of the new Mogwai. After Billy takes one of the Mogwai to the local high school and shows the science teacher it, he applies a drop of water causing it to spawn a new Mogwai. This new one stays with the teacher and he performs some tests on it. Back at home, Billy feeds the Mogwai (he checks the clock and it is before midnight). The next day, the Mogwai have gone into some sort of cocoons and when his mother asks him if he broke any of the rules, he checks the clock and sees the wire was chewed through. When they hatch, the Mogwai are no longer cute and fuzzy but gross, green, and very alien-like and are now called Gremlins. They also love to cause mischief and mayhem.

It is now up to Billy, along with Kate (his love interest) to help save their town of Kingston Falls from the Gremlins.

THOUGHTS

Gremlins is a mixture of a horror, comedy, fantasy, and a good holiday film. The acting is decent in the film but the focus is on Gizmo and the Gremlins.

One of the characters I hate in this movie is Mrs. Deagle. She is the lady that everyone in town knows and despises. She owns the town and only cares about herself. Repeatedly she threatens Billy and his dog (enough to say she will kill his dog) and you have no sympathy for this character. A woman in the film with two small children begs Mrs. Deagle to give her more time to pay her and is told to shove off. In a lot of ways, Mrs. Deagle reminds me of Mr. Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life. There is even a shot in Gremlins where the movie is shown. Much like Mr. Potter, Mrs. Deagle doesn’t do anything to redeem her character and it is bittersweet when she comes in contact with the Gremlins and actually gets what she deserves.

While pretty much all of the Gremlins are kind of stupid, Stripe is very intelligent and avoids death a number of times throughout the movie while his comrades bite the dust.

The Gremlins love causing mayhem but all sit down together and watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the local theatre which is a pretty funny scene plus there is a hidden Mickey in the scene. Another funny scene is at Dorry’s Bar where Kate works. The Gremlins have all gone there and we get to see all of the different personalities, including a workout fanatic (think Flashdance) and a flasher. Kate discovers the Gremlins don’t like bright light and uses it to her advantage to escape.

One of the downer moments of the movie is when we learn why Kate hates Christmas. She tells Billy (and Gizmo) that when she was 9, her mother and her were waiting for her dad to return home from work but he never showed up. They contacted the police but he was never found. One night when Kate is lighting the chimney, she smells a terrible smell. When the chimney is checked, it is discovered that her father is inside, dressed as Santa with presents. Wanting to surprise his wife and daughter, he broke his neck and died instantly. Talk about a reason to hate Christmas… This moment just seems completely out of place in the movie. Being that Kingston Falls is a small town, you would think Billy would have known that about Kate, but oh well.

Another part of the movie that is kind of off is when Pete first meets Gizmo. Gizmo is watching television and a bright light is on behind him but he is fine. Gizmo hates bright light so I just found this kind of odd since he should be afraid of it, but oh well again.

The special effects for the movie are actually really good. You can believe that Gizmo and the Mogwai are really creatures and not animatronics. They move pretty fluidly throughout. If they remade this, I imagine the creatures would be CGI instead of animatronics even though clearly the animatronics work really well.

Overall, the movie is a good one to watch for Christmas but has the horror aspect thrown in so it is good any time of the year.

FINAL RATING 

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