A group of sexy teens embark on one last outing together before going their separate ways. Little do they know that dwelling in the lush forest they have chosen to set up camp is a beast so... See full summary »
After a tragic car accident that killed his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people but when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.
Michael J. Fox,
Minature green monsters tear through the small town of Kingston Falls. Hijinks ensue as a mild-mannered bank teller releases these hideous loonies after gaining a new pet and violating two of three simple rules: No water (violated), no food after midnight (violated), and no bright light. Hilarious mayhem and destruction in a town straight out of Norman Rockwell. So, when your washing machine blows up or your TV goes on the fritz, before you call the repair man, turn on all the lights and look under all the beds. 'Cause you never can tell, there just might be a gremlin in your house. Written by
In addition to restoring the classic Warner Brothers logo to the opening of the movie, it was hoped to release the film along with the classic Looney Tunes short, Falling Hare (1943), where Bugs Bunny is harassed by a plane gremlin during WW II. This fell through, but, highlights from the short do appear as part of the Behind the Scenes featurette, that has also been included on the Special Edition DVD. See more »
As Billy's mother attempts to back another gremlin into the microwave at one point, when things cut to showing us the scene from the top of the oven POV, you can see the puppeteer's head ever so briefly before he ducks below the obscuring microwave. See more »
Gremlins came out at the right time. In another decade this low key flick could've sunk without trace even with the Spielberg name prominently associated. But once people realised it wasn't that scary and that it was pretty much all just harmless fun Gremlins took off, even inspiring a same-old sequel that I'll get to soon.
A good natured inventor of 'amazing machines that do not work' stumbles across a bizarre, unique and yes; cute pint sized creature in an out of the way Chinatown curio shop. He promptly shills out a couple hundred bucks to the owner's grandson and takes said creature home to the sleepy town of Kingston Falls for his son who at 20 odd years of age should really be too old for pets, but that's another story.
The son is named Billy (Zach Gilligan) and the creature is dubbed Gizmo, the pair bond almost immediately and it seems that aside from 'the rules' it appears that Gizmo is low maintenance and an ideal companion.
Aaaaah, but the Rules! Gizmo is a Mogwai, a small fuzzy likable bundle of fur and wing-like ears that hums, gurgles and whistles pure happiness. He appears to be part-ewok with the facial structure of Yoda and the coat of a zu-zu pet. He can eat almost anything, is perfectly happy with only a TV for company and remains cute regardless of the situation.
But he happens to be extremely susceptible to bright light (sunlight kills him), has no need for water and in fact the preference is that he steer well clear of it, and in a quite strange twist cannot eat after 12 PM (which leads to many 'what about' logic issues that are acknowledged in the sequel).
You'll never guess what happens! It turns out that being exposed to water makes Gizmo reproduce instantly, ping-pong sized fuzzballs that in mere seconds grow to full sized which still means very small Mogwais. Only these are a little different to the perpetually cheerful and innocent Gizmo. These ones have a mean streak.
Now as it makes no sense to explain three different rules and then not utilise them, that night our furry friends sans Gizmo manage to order some late night tucker. This results in a quickfire pupal stage in which they are cocooned in some slimy scaly glowing casings as they trans-Mogwai-fy, followed by a similarly swift re-birth where they emerge as slightly larger, almost hairless, infinitely less cute and more menacing Gremlins.
And at this point the film starts earning every bit of its PG rating. The Gremlins immediately set about making mischief, which starts as knocking things over and making a mess, and ends with multiple deaths. As the numbers grow quick the expanded numbers begin to wreak havoc on the formerly quiet little town, and the local residents wonder just what to do with this menace so close to Christmas (it's nearly Christmas, I didn't mention it because it has squat to do with the plot. Neither does the fact that Billy has a pair of pants that burn for his fellow bank employee Kate (Phoebe Cates), that also is a meaningless sub-plot that only means the two have someone to hold onto as they flee the Gremlins).
Nothing is taken seriously nor should it be when you are dealing with a film involving small scaly mischief makers. Billy's Mum has a memorable scene in which she dispatches a small group of Gremlins in her own kitchen, and a bar scene with a large group of Gremlins letting off steam is quite elaborate later in the film.
The characters are basically caricatures charged only with maintaining shocked expressions once the fun starts, although Billy's Dad steals the show with his positive outlook in the face of his own failings as an inventor. There is also a bitchy local rich woman and a US proud paranoid xenophobe who blames everything on foreigners.
The reason though that the human cast are so bland is that any personality would detract from the real stars of the show: the Gremlins, who remain front and centre and tongue in cheek for the last hour of the film. There are dumb ones, sorta cute ones, slightly scary ones and one downright menacing one with a mo(gwai?)-hawk named Stripe who appears more dastardly than the rest.
The pace moves along with breakneck speed after the Gremlins are introduced and some of the Gremlin death scenes are perhaps a little OTT gross and gory (which reflects Director Joe Dante's background in B movie horror).
All in all though Gremlins is but a good natured kiddie flick with some funny moments and a simple but effective premise, and even though it is now over 25 years old Gremlins remains as effective and as amusing as it was when I first saw it in the 80s.
The sequel on the other hand
Final Rating 7.5 / 10. Like night-club pick-ups in the wee hours of the morning, they start small, cute and fuzzy, and often end up big, ugly and scaly. Maybe they too shouldn't eat after midnight.
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