Awesome Older Movies: Gremlins

Oh yeah folks. We are going here. Children of the 80s know the infamy of Gremlins. We all wanted a Gizmo of our own. After watching the movie you’d spend days getting paranoid at strange sounds and you would start checking under your bed. Everyone knew the three rules. Let’s be honest. Gremlins is a great movie.

Let’s start with the basics for those who haven’t seen it or haven’t seen it in many years. Gremlins was a 1984 dark-comedy film that takes place in the week leading up to Christmas. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Joe Dante, and written by Chris Columbus (totally not related to the famous explorer. We Think. Someone get his blood and do an ancestry test… Not really don’t go cutting Mr. Columbus, he’s a wonderful writer of many great films) and starring Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, who let’s be honest. Phoebe we love you, you were one of the great “girl next door” hotties of the 80s. Now that the objectifying is over let’s move on.

Oh this movie also has Judge Reinhold (I want to be his buddy one day. Judge call us, we’ll do a Skype Interview for the lulz), Corey Feldman, Keye Luke, Hoyt Axton (one of the best names EVAR!), and voice acting from Howie Mandell, Peter Cullen, Michael Winslow, and Frank Welker.

The idea of the Gremlin as a mischievous creature came from the earliest years of aviation, especially military pilots in both World Wars who claimed that sudden crashes and plane problems were caused by mostly unseen devilish imps called “gremlins” which became modern folklore.

The basic plot of the movie is that struggling inventor Randall Peltzer is looking for a truly unique Christmas gift for his adult son. Ending up in Chinatown in a city far away from his tiny little hometown Randall semi-sorta steals a Mogwai, a super rare highly intelligent fuzzball. Son Billy loves the Mogwai and names it Gizmo for the creatures curious nature involving technology. Alas the three rules are broken and Gizmo spawns mean Mogwai who in turn transform into scaly, nasty Gremlins.

This is where the “dark” comes in after some nice comedy, and a few tense scenes about how the widow Mrs. Deagle runs the bank and is super-eager to foreclose on all the homes in town with mortages cause she only loves money. The gremlins are genuinely terrifying and murder many people around town, as well as several more escaping just barely. Cops, Mrs. Deagle, Bank employees, everyone is free reign as lead gremlin Stripe leads his army in a campaign of anarchy, tearing up the town and getting drunk on top of all the murder. Thing is there is still comedy in between all of this and this is what makes the movie iconic: As a dark comedy the balance of horror, comedy, and gallows humor is perfectly balanced and the practical effects with the puppets stands the test of time nicely.

The movie ends on a happy note as all the Gremlins are killed and the world at large blames the destruction on humans and the failure of technology, leaving the secret of the psychotic race going just like the classic myth that inspires it. No one ever catches a live Gremlin so the eyewitnesses are usually just considered crazy or misinformed. Gizmo is returned to the care of his proper owner, Mr. Wing the old Chinese man who chastises the Peltzers for showing that humanity is not responsible enough to live alongside the peaceful Mogwai like Gizmo but admits to Billy that “perhaps one day you will be ready”.

So go see it if you never have. See it again if it’s been a while. Watch the deleted scenes which include some more fun with our pal Judge Reinhold who sadly isn’t a main character this time around. Gremlins is a classic and there are people still trying to make a third movie as it’s influence lives forever. Try this on as a final trivia note: This movie along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom inspired the creation of the PG-13 rating.

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