Although promoted as New Line's answer to Gremlins (1984), the screenplay had been written and bought before Gremlins was announced. Herek had based the screenplay on a nightmare he experienced as a child long before Gremlins was even conceived.
When the Critters are destroying the bedroom, one comes across an E.T. Extraterrestrial (1982) vinyl plush toy and devours it. This adds to the satire of the film, referencing and homaging Hollywood's monster boom with films like "Gremlins" (1984), "Ghostbusters" (1984), and "Ghoulies" (1985).
The later science fiction film Alienator (1990) has a similar plot to Critters (1986): In that film, an android assassin called The Alienator goes to Earth to hunt down a alien criminal whom has escaped from a prison planet.