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
The Santa speech proved to be controversial, and studio executives insisted upon its removal because they felt it was too ambiguous as to whether it was supposed to be funny or sad. Joe Dante stubbornly refused to take the scene out, saying it represented the film as a whole, which had a combination of horrific and comedic elements. Steven Spielberg did not like the scene but, despite his creative control, he viewed Gremlins as Dante's project and allowed him to leave it in. See more »
Pete Fountaine uses metal scissors to cut the Christmas lights a Gremlin is hanging off of. Not only are there no sparks from the live wire when this occurs but both sides remain lit despite the circuit's being broken. See more »
Look Mister, there are some rules that you've got to follow.
Yeah, what kind of rules?
First of all, keep him out of the light, he hates bright light, especially sunlight, it'll kill him. Second, don't give him any water, not even to drink. But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget, no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs, never feed him after midnight.
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At the very end of the closing credits, once the theme has ended, you can hear the sounds of gremlins laughing. See more »
"Gremlins" starts out well enough, as an inventor looking for a Christmas present for his son buys a strange little creature from a Chinese boy, despite the boy's grandfather's warnings that taking care of a "mogwai" requires a great amount of responsibility. Gizmo the mogwai goes home with the inventor to a small town where a mean old lady tries to make everyone's life hell and the inventor's son, Billy, has a crush on a girl. There are three rules to taking care of a mogwai: never get one wet, never expose one to sunlight, and never feed one after midnight. Of course, we know that by the end of the movie, all of those rules will have been broken at least once.
"Gremlins" goes downhill once it becomes clear that it's a movie without any kind of intended audience. Gizmo, the only good gremlin, is as adorable as a stuffed toy and the characters are portrayed in a broad way children can easily understand, but shortly after Billy's friend accidentally breaks the "no water" rule, the movie turns into something between satire and horror. It's too scary for kids, but not clever enough, scary enough, or sharp enough to hold the interest of adults. Kids will be the ones eager to see the mean old lady get her comeuppance, but the way in which she does will probably give them nightmares. Likewise, Billy's girlfriend's story of why she doesn't like Christmas is completely out of place for a movie geared at children. The movie doesn't know whether it wants us to laugh at the gremlins or to be truly afraid of them. The whole thing might have worked as a campily over-the-top shorter film, but there's not enough substance for a full-length movie, and after a while it grows tiresome waiting for the gremlins to be defeated and the movie to end.
I kept thinking of another 80's movie in which buying something strange from an old Chinese man leads to chaos, "Little Shop of Horrors." Unlike "Gremlins," "Little Shop of Horrors" knows what it is (a satire) and knows who it was made for (teenagers and adults). Its twists and turns are capable of holding the audience's attention and it's genuinely funny. "Gremlins" could have been a children's movie about a cute gremlin named Gizmo, a horror film, or a tongue-in-cheek sendup of horror films. Trying to be all three at once doesn't work.
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