Chris Columbus' script went through a few drafts before a shooting script was finalized. His original version had the Gremlins killing the dog and cutting off the mom's head and tossing it down the stairs. These elements were never shot due to the fact that director Joe Dante and Warner Bros. wanted the movie to be more family-oriented.
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The set for Kingston Falls is the same one used for Back to the Future (1985). Both movies were filmed on the Universal Studios backlot.
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Originally, Stripe and Gizmo were the same character. This changed when executive producer Steven Spielberg insisted one of the Gremlins be a good guy with whom the audience could identify. Director Joe Dante expresses that this decision was the reason why the film is fondly remembered.
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One of the studio notes to director Joe Dante and executive producer Steven Spielberg on seeing the first cut was that there were too many gremlins. Spielberg suggested cutting them all out and calling the movie "People."
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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. Director Joe Dante however stubbornly refused to take the scene out saying it represented this movie as a whole, which had a combination of horrific and comedic elements. Executive producer Steven Spielberg did not like the scene, but despite his creative control, he viewed this movie as Dante's project and allowed him to leave it in.
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In Cantonese, "mogwai" means "devil," "demon," or "gremlin." The Mandarin pronunciation is "mogui."
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Zach Galligan recounted in an interview that when the movie was made, there was no CGI, so all of the Gremlins were animatronics, each costing between $30-40,000. When everyone left the lot for the day, security would have everyone open the trunks of their cars to make sure they weren't stolen.
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An earlier attempt to have monkeys play the gremlins was abandoned because the test monkey panicked when made to wear a gremlin head.
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This movie and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) are credited with inspiring the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating. Many felt the movies were too violent for a PG rating, but not violent enough for an R.
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Little to no actual dialogue for the Gremlins and Mogwai existed in the script. In addition to several instances of on-set rewrites changing or adding to much of the script, the voiceovers were mostly ad-libs, repeating snippets of just-performed dialogue or in reaction to other sound effects or environment. To this end, Howie Mandel recorded Gizmo's lines phonetically for foreign dubs of the movie, where localized dialogue and in-jokes helped make this movie successful with audiences worldwide.
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At least one of Phoebe Cates' screams in the scene at Dorry's Tavern is genuine. An enormous cockroach crawled out in front of her during one take.
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The film was released on the same day as Ghostbusters (1984).
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The time machine prop from The Time Machine (1960) can be seen behind Randall Peltzer when he's on the phone with his wife while attending the convention. A moment later, the machine has disappeared (into the future or the past), to the astonishment of several onlookers. Also attending the convention were Steven Spielberg, Jerry Goldsmith, and Robby the Robot.
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After watching Tim Burton's earlier short films, executive producer Steven Spielberg considered him to direct this movie. He decided against it, however, because at the time, Burton had never directed a full-feature length movie.
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Mrs. Deagle, the richest lady in town, had named her cats after different kinds of currency including Kopeck, Ruble, Peso, Drachma, and Dollar Bill.
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In the bar scene, the video game the Gremlin is playing is Star Wars (1983).
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The Gizmo puppets were particularly frustrating because they were smaller, and thus broke down more. Consequently, to satisfy the crew, a scene was included in which the gremlins hang Gizmo on a wall and throw darts at him. This was included on a list that the crew created known to them as the "Horrible things to do to Gizmo" list.
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Executive producer Steven Spielberg had a great working relationship with screenwriter Chris Columbus on this movie, and he produced the next two movies Columbus scripted, The Goonies (1985), based on an idea Spielberg had, and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), which was Columbus' idea. Altogether, three years was spent working on those three movies.
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Near the beginning, as Randall Peltzer makes his way to the curio shop in Chinatown, a wrecked car is seen with the hood up and smoke coming out of it. That car is an AMC Gremlin. In real life, the AMC Gremlin logo (located on the gas cap) bore a striking resemblance to the Gremlins featured in this movie, except for a more grotesque, reptilian appearance.
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There are many connections to executive producer Steven Spielberg's other popular movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). One of the Gremlins says "phone home," there is a stuffed E.T., and at the begining, one of the movies on the marquee is "A Boy's Life," which was the fake name under which E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) shipped to theaters.
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The idea for these creatures was born in a loft in Manhattan's garment district that was home to New York University film school graduate screenwriter Chris Columbus. "By day, it was pleasant enough, but at night, what sounded like a platoon of mice would come out and to hear them skittering around in the blackness was really creepy," Columbus recalls.
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During one night shoot, problems with the Gremlin puppets were so severe that the entire cast fell asleep on the set during the delay.
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The original script contained a scene where the gremlins attacked a McDonald's, eating the customers instead of burgers.
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The film opened against Ghostbusters (1984), and while that movie did better in most cities, "in New York City where people were furious about having their traffic disrupted while that picture was being made for all those months we always did better than Ghostbusters."
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After the films release, director Joe Dante stated, "I still have no idea why this picture was successful."
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Zach Galligan was the first to point out that the "don't feed after midnight" rule is silly because it's always after midnight somewhere. "Well, we make fun of all that stuff in Gremlins 2 anyway," says director Joe Dante.
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Originally planned and scheduled for a Christmas release, this movie was rushed into production shortly after Warner Bros. found out that it had no major competition against Paramount Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) or Columbia Ghostbusters (1984) for the summer movie season.
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Chris Walas suggested they use puppets instead of the proposed stop-motion idea. As a compromise, the studio suggested a spider monkey in a suit, which was tested at director Joe Dante's office, the animal went crazy, tearing the office apart and defecating everywhere. Dante screamed at the trainer to get the animal and then asked Walas, "So puppets?"
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One of the reasons for the "no bright lights" rule was that in 1984, director Joe Dante and Amblin could not completely navigate the perilous waters of special effects for the Gremlin/puppets that well. By keeping them in the dark, this camouflaged this problem. This is an old Sci-Fi trick. Dante did the same thing with the tricky (and lumpy) practical effects for The Howling (1981) three years earlier. They kept the monsters in the dark to hide special effects problems.
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Though he followed the basic outline of the script, Hoyt Axton is said to have improvised nearly all of his lines.
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When Murray (Dick Miller) said, "We should have gotten a Zenith" (television). It's a reference to the fact that by the 1980s, Zenith was one of the few elecronics brands still manufactured in the U.S.
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The last movie to be shot on Eastmancolor 125T film stock, which was discontinued shortly after this movie finished shooting.
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Chris Columbus wrote the script for this movie and directed Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). All three movies have a video clip of It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
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Chris Walas' Workshop began to understand the premise of the gremlins when they did the carol-singing gremlins. Once they were dressed in human clothing, Chris Walas exclaimed, "They're parodies of people!"
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This was the first movie in many years to use Warner Bros. "shield" logo.
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In this movie, the Amblin Entertainment logo made its first on-screen appearance.
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Executive producer Steven Spielberg changed the design of the Mogwai from moment to moment, greatly upsetting Chris Walas' Workshop. He initially suggested they change the color to brown and white, rather than all-over brown, then hairless ears, and then he wanted Gizmo to become more of a sidekick to Billy's hero, doubling Chris Walas' already overstretched workshop.
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Director Joe Dante still owns the Peltzer Peeler Juicer. 37 years later he listed it for sale to any devout movie prop collector. He stated "With the advice (and a little help) from some friends of mine, I've attached an NFT that will function as the juicer's Certificate of Authenticity because blockchain security [eyeroll) yada yada something-something authenticated forever."
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Amongst others, the voices of the Gremlins were done by Michael Winslow.
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When Billy leads Pete up to his room to show him the Mogwai, a rolled-up movie poster for Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) can be seen standing on end against a wall. Director Joe Dante and executive producer Steven Spielberg directed segments of that movie.
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Frances Lee McCain, who played Billy Peltzer's mother, Lynn, also played Lorraine's mother, Stella, in Back to the Future (1985), when Marty goes back to 1955. Both movies were executively produced by Steven Spielberg.
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Executive producer Steven Spielberg urged the casting of the relatively unknown Zach Galligan as Billy, because he saw chemistry between him and Phoebe Cates during auditions. Galligan later compared himself to Billy, saying he was a "geeky kid", and that being in this movie "was really kind of a dream" given "what I get to do, what my character gets to do, blow up movie theaters", adding that he "got to work with great people."
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The fourth biggest grossing film of 1984.
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Gizmo was the inspiration for the Furby, a multi-million selling mechanical stuffed animal in the late 1990s.
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According to director Joe Dante and producer Michael Finnell, the original rough cut of this movie ran two hours and forty minutes.
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Even though set during Christmas, this movie was released on June 8 in Canada, Turkey and the USA. In most of Europe and much of America, the release was in December 1984, to coincide with Christmas.
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On the Deagle Real Estate sign, the hours of operation are only 10:30-11:15 Mon-Fri.
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The term "gremlin" is a neologism popularized by English/Norwegian author Roald Dahl, famous for his somewhat dark children's books. His story, "Gremlin Lore", about fictitious mischievous elves that were said to cause unexplained damage on Royal Air Force planes was commissioned by Walt Disney, but was never made.
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The educational film shown to the children in school about the heart and the pumping of blood is the Bell Science Series film Hemo the Magnificent (1957). This short was written & directed by Frank Capra, who also directed It's a Wonderful Life (1946), which also appears in this film.
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In addition to restoring the classic Warner Bros. logo to the opening of the movie, it was hoped to release this movie along with the classic Looney Tunes short, Falling Hare (1943), where Bugs Bunny is harassed by an airplane gremlin during World War II. This fell through, but highlights from the short do appear as part of the Behind the Scenes featurette, which was also included on the Special Edition DVD.
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Screenwriter Chris Columbus sold executive producer Steven Spielberg the script, along with the screenplay for The Goonies (1985), but his career didn't take off until the massive success of Home Alone (1990).
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When the filmmakers were making this, they had the idea to use Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) as a movie to be shown in the theater because Disney released it on December 21, 1937 as a holiday movie event, since this story took place during the Christmas season.
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The dog Mushroom wouldn't follow Zach Galligan across the street. So, they attached the pair with a mono-filament line. Aside from that, director Joe Dante noted that the dog was a joy to work with a priceless talent of reliably creating the ideal reaction to particular lines that were perfect to cut to. In addition, Mushroom tend to work easily with the Mogwai and Gremlin puppets, moving in sync with them during shooting to produce believable reactions to their actions.
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The new mogwai, which popped out of Gizmo's body as small, furry balls which then started to grow, were balloons and expanded as such.
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Phoebe Cates says kissing Zach Galligan was like kissing your brother, and Galligan blames a set visit from Steven Spielberg for making him feel nervous. "As I recall, his main concern was to make sure Gizmo was in the shot," says director Joe Dante.
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Unbeknownst to director Joe Dante and producer Michael Finnell, executive producer Steven Spielberg was a big fan of The Howling (1981). After he came across screenwriter Chris Columbus' writing sample, he fell in love with it and bought it. Then he decided that Dante was the guy to make it into a movie, took the project to Warner Bros. and also produced it with his own company, Amblin Entertainment.
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Zach Galligan already auditioned for parts with Phoebe Cates before and felt very comfortable with her. When it came to the session, he rested his head on her shoulder and gazed at the camera. Executive producer Steven Spielberg said, "Oh my God, look at that! He's in love with her already. I don't need to see anything else."
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The footage of Santa on the roof that Mr. Futterman is watching in his house is of Red Skelton in a Christmas skit from one of his shows.
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Phoebe Cates recalls hearing some studio concerns that after Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), she might not be "wholesome enough" to play Kate. Director Joe Dante had seen the movie and felt that she was "awfully wholesome."
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Hoyt Axton was always the first choice for Randall Peltzer. Pat Harrington, Jr. was also considered. Pat Hingle was said to have delivered the best screentest, but was passed on, because it was feared Randall would take over the movie as a result of Hingle's excellent performance.
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Zach Galligan recalls Phoebe Cates teaching him the importance of always having your character add a little something to the scene. Galligan states, "So she bent down and she picked up a piece of sawdust and put it on my shoulder."
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This movie references Joe Dante's The Howling (1981) with a smiley face image on a refrigerator door.
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Filmmakers were pushing the envelope with technology for this film. It wasn't until director Joe Dante made Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) that it had advanced to the point where they could get Gizmo running and dancing. The sets were generally built up off the floor, so the puppeteers could be underneath operating the monsters. They used marionettes in a couple of scenes, but they weren't especially convincing. Dante explained "Good puppetry is an art. When it's done as well as it was in Gremlins, CGI technology can't do it any better."
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Hoyt Axton was director Joe Dante's first choice for the role of Billy's father having seen and loved him as the dad in The Black Stallion (1979). They auditioned others including Pat Hingle who gave the best reading and "played this character as a sort of Saroyan-esque, failed inventor whose life was fading fast, and he was brilliant, I mean he was incredible. He was so good we couldn't hire him because that wasn't what this character was about."
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When Phoebe Cates asked the explosives guy how big the explosion would be, he said, "Well, we've packed it pretty good." Cates thought, "What the hell does that mean?" She went on to reveal, "In the event, it was deafening. And the heat was so intense, I thought it had singed my eyebrows. It blew the doors off the theatre, as you can see in the film, and it shattered windows on a building at Universal a mile away."
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Mushroom, the dog actor who played Billy's dog, Barney, also played Lance Henriksen's dog in the cult horror movie Pumpkinhead (1988).
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Hoyt Axton, who portrays Randall Peltzer, was a well known and successful songwriter, as well as a sometime actor. His most famous hit was Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World".
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Billy says he bought a comic at Dr. Fantasy's. Dr. Fantasy is a nickname for executive producer Frank Marshall.
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Howie Mandel had to record his dialogue in multiple languages for different territories. "I didn't think I was speaking English to begin with," Mandel says. Director Joe Dante adds that one of the reasons the movie did so well overseas is that they tailored parts of it specifically for each country. "So for instance in Germany in the bar scene they were singing German beer songs, and we found local jokes and local references."
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While watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) at the local theater, one of the gremlins wears a set of Mickey Mouse ears.
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The Mogwai were molded and inspired from the Japanese Chin dog breed.
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Acting opposite Gizmo wasn't difficult for Zach Galligan. Galligan stated, "because pretending a lifelike puppet is a live animal is no harder than pretending a woman you've just met has been your wife for 15 years. It was also beneficial having practical special effects, because I was reacting to a thing that was really there in front of me, as opposed to stuff you are attempting to imagine, as you would with CGI. You can even see it in the performance of the dog, Barney, which must be one of the top 10 animal performances in movies. He was convinced the puppets were real. The affection he had for me was genuine, too, because I'd spent days playing with him and petting him. Every time he saw me I was this endless treat machine."
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Although it is not clearly visible, "Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf", by Joe Dante, Sr. is on Billy's nightstand. Director Joe Dante, Jr. said his father criticized him for not making the title more visible.
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Phoebe Cates' parents gave her a moped during production, but they took it back after she had numerous crashes on-set.
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Billy was originally more of a typical nerd, and not only travelled around the town with two companions during the madness (a love interest and a bully-turned-emergency-ally), but wielded a sword. The love interest was Phoebe Kates, and the bully-turned-ally was Judge Reinhold; but Dante probably thought there were too many characters so they cut out most of the Judge Reinhold's bully banker character.
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The coloring of Gizmo, including the white patch of fur around the right eye, was directly modeled after one of Steven Spielberg's dogs.
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In Mrs. Deagle's house, Edward Arnold is shown in a few photographs as Donald Deagle. The permission for their use was granted by his estate.
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The Scottish alternative rock band Mogwai takes their name from this movie.
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The titles on the theater marquee are an in-joke for producer Steven Spielberg's benefit. "A Boys Life" was the working title for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and "Watch the Skies" was the working title for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Director Joe Dante stated, "I think we did this mainly so that when Steven saw the dailies he'd be happy."
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Director Joe Dante was down to his last few bucks before he got the directing job. Having already directed The Howling (1981), which had done well, the movie company had gone out of business before they could pay him. When Steven Spielberg's script arrived, Dante was convinced he'd sent it to the wrong address.
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Edward Andrews', Judge Reinhold's, and William Schallert's roles were reduced after this movie was edited.
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There was the concern that audiences wouldn't "buy" the rules set forth for the title creatures. "One thing about movie audiences," says director Joe Dante, "they plunk down their money and they really do want to be entertained, and they really do want to have a good time, and you really have to make a series of catastrophic mistakes to lose them this early in the picture."
Director Joe Dante wondered what happened to little John Louie who plays the shop owner's grandson and spoke about wanting to be a director. He became an M.D. instead.
Zach Galligan blamed the film's hair-stylist for his embarrassing "pre-Kirk Cameron" look.
There was more than one Gizmo puppet, and occasionally Zach Galligan, when carrying one, would set him down off camera, and when Gizmo appeared again sitting on a surface, it was actually a different puppet wired to the surface.
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Final theatrical movie of Scott Brady (Sheriff Frank).
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Keye Luke had remarkably young-looking skin, and had to be made up to look older than his real age. At the time of filming, he was in his late seventies (Luke turned 79 during filming - June 1983)
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When the script was changed to make Gizmo a separate character from Stripe, the studio soon realized that keeping Gizmo a hero of the story allowed him to become a popular focus of the film's merchandising and turn a handsome profit.
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At the beginning of the movie, while on his way to work, Billy says hello to Dr. Moreau, a veterinarian, a head-nod to the 1896 science fiction novel, "The Island of Dr. Moreau", about a doctor who experiments in human-animal hybrids.
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Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates gave T-shirts to the cast and crew with, "Hurry Hora!", written on them as a nod to director Joe Dante's constant refrain to cinematographer John Hora. "DPs love to light," says Dante. "They'll light as long as you let them light."
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The billboard of Rockin' Ricky Rialto at the start of the movie was done up like Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) was shown at the Rialto Theater, and executive producer Steven Spielberg directed that movie.
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Corey Feldman was added to this movie when Steven Spielberg dropped his character from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). In both stories, he is the best friend of the boy who has the creature.
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The swimming pool scene was filmed at the Warner Bros. ranch. Director Joe Dante says he used the locale again for Small Soldiers (1998). Dante states, "I built Phil Hartman's house over it."
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The film debuted at #2 at the box office. Though, to be fair, it opened next to Ghostbusters (1984), and remarkably, it only fell about one million dollars short of the top spot.
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A movie poster for The Road Warrior (1981) is seen near the television as Billy falls asleep after the Mogwai ate after midnight.
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The film had a budget of $11 million. By the end of its initial US theatrical run, the film ended up being a success at the box office earning $148 million domestically.
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Kenneth Tobey and Belinda Balaski appeared in Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), playing different characters.
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The final theatrical movie of Edward Andrews (Mr. Corben).
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The expression on Gizmo's face changes from time to time. This is because they had created a number of such faces and switched them from shot to shot as needed. Each face was designed to work with the animatronics in the head so the mouth could still move as needed.
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Among the robots on the floor of the department store there is one that spins around. This is identical to the one in the Christmas stocking. The same robot was seen in Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), seven years earlier.
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After Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), this movie marked the second collaboration of director Joe Dante and producer Michael Finnell with executive producer Steven Spielberg.
34 of 43 found this interesting Interesting? |
The final acting role of Scott Brady, who plays Sheriff Frank.
Howie Mandel, who did the voice of Gizmo, already had a baby voice in his comedy repertoire, which Joe Dante thinks this sped up the process a bit. Mandel's performance was a major part of making the creature credible. For Gizmo's singing, they auditioned loads of professionals, including an opera singer, but ended up using this little girl found by Jerry Goldsmith, who wrote the score. The girl was a member of his church.
The only way to make the story believable was if it was completely stylized. Director Joe Dante insisted on shooting it on back lots, creating a small-town setting evoking Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946). He actually included a clip of that in the film, in case the audience didn't get the message.
The picture of Rockin' Ricky Rialto is a picture of Don Steele.
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In Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), an inventor builds inventions similar to Randall Peltzer's (a clockwork egg slicer he never got to patent, a spring-loaded device that turns the pages of a book with a timer that records the reader's pace, and a gas-fueled bedside coffeemaker) . Both movies were written by Chris Columbus, and may reflect his love of inventions, like in the James Bond film franchise, of which he and Steven Spielberg are big fans.
27 of 34 found this interesting Interesting? |
Director Joe Dante never really liked the Gremlins logo.
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The character of Mrs. Deagle is a nod to the pre-reformed character of Ebenezer Scrooge from the classic Charles Dickens novel, "A Christmas Carol".
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In a scene that was filmed, but cut from the movie, Stripes pops his head out of the snow and moves his head to carol singers singing Christmas carols.
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When Stripe is hiding among the stuffed animals, the animals to either side of him are Warner Bros. character (this was a Warner Bros. film).
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Zach Galligan recalled director Joe Dante repeatedly telling him to close his mouth when he wasn't speaking. "The editor used to come up to me and say, 'Can't you get him to keep his mouth closed? He's always got his mouth open and I gotta cut around it!'" says Dante. Galligan blames a book about Montgomery Clift.
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There was originally more of a plot involving Billy's hopeful career as an artist.
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When the newly born Mogwai are consuming the chicken after midnight, the movie playing on the tv is 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers with the scene featuring Kevin McCarthy who would later play the villain Victor Schrimshaw in Joe Dante's Innerspace.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? |
Gerrold orders "vodka martini, shake don't stir," from Kate at Dorry's in an attempted Shout-Out to James Bond. However, Judge Reinhold kept fumbling the line, seemingly unable to get out the correct "shaken, not stirred." Eventually they decided to just let the line stand, since it made Gerrold seem even more pretentious and clueless.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? |
Phoebe Cates and Judge Reinhold previously appeared in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) together.
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10 of 12 found this interesting Interesting? |
Phoebe Cates does not recall auditioning with Zach Galligan.
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The two swords seen hanging on Peltzer's wall appear to be the same props used in the climactic battle between Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Angel (David Boreanaz) in the season two finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997).
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The gas station attendant is played by Kenneth Tobey, who starred in many classic monster movies of the fifties, including The Thing from Another World (1951).
13 of 17 found this interesting Interesting? |
Keye Luke started in Hollywood as a mural artist. Zach Galligan states, "His first picture was The Painted Veil." Galligan adds that beneath the makeup, "Luke 'had incredible skin and looked very young' and asked the actor what his secret was. I braced myself for an 'ancient Chinese secret!' joke." Instead, Galligan reveals it was "no fried foods."
11 of 14 found this interesting Interesting? |
The novelization for Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) mentioned being attacked by something with razor-sharp claws and vicious teeth. This could be a reference to the Gremlins of this movie. Also, an inventor, Waxflatter, hallucinates that gremlins sabotaged his ornithopter, which is a definite in-joke to this movie.
27 of 41 found this interesting Interesting? |
When Billy follows Stripe into the department store, a hypnosis record titled 'Figure Control Record' by a so called 'Dr. Dante' can be seen on a shelf.
12 of 16 found this interesting Interesting? |
Gremlins was originally meant to be a parable warning against importing endangered species, but the studio cut this angle because it feared that it would alienate moviegoers.
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? |
The film was shot on the Universal lot the same time Walter Hill was shooting Streets of Fire (1984).
11 of 15 found this interesting Interesting? |
Mushroom, the dog that plays Barney in Gremlins (1984), also played Gypsy in Pumpkinhead (1988)
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? |
Gremlins playing poker is a reference to the Cassius Coolidge's painting of the same name.
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Billy's car is a 1967 Volkswagen Sedan 'Beetle' [Type 1].
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Dick Miller and Jackie Joseph had previously appeared together in The Little Shop of Horrors (1960).
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John Louie played the Chinese boy in the beginning of the movie, he is seen wearing a New York Yankees hat. Coincidentally, Ke Huy Quan, who played Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), also wore a Yankees hat, and is Chinese. Both movies were released in 1984, and are connected to Steven Spielberg.
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Both Billy Peltzer and his father, Randall, drive rear-engined, air-cooled cars. Billy drives a VW Beetle and Mr. Peltzer drives a first-generation Chevrolet Corvair.
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On the commentary, director Joe Dante stated, "Corey [Feldman] was at this point, before he was a teenage kid, when he was just a pubescent kid, was actually one of the best child actors in Hollywood." Just after Dante says this, you can hear Feldman's character, Pete Fountaine, say, "What happened?".
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Billy is watching The Invasion of the Body Snatchers at a point when the pods are literally giving birth, similar to when the creatures are getting wet and multiplying.
The film is set in a fictional town of Kingston Falls. This is presumably somewhere near New York City, as Rand Peltzer goes to New York City in the film. Many fans have assumed that Kingston Falls is in New York State, but the original script by Chris Colombus stated that it is in Pennsylvania.
The front door of Mr. Wing's mysterious store has four Mandarin symbols engraved on it. Together, they translate into English as "Gods and monsters."
The classic Warners logo, it hadn't been used since the 1970s, but Dante petitioned the studio to bring it back.
In Dorry's Tavern, a gremlin is shown dancing similar to the main character in the film, Flashdance (1983). Funnily enough, the tune playing here, "Gremlins (Mega Madness)", was performed by the same man who brought us Flashdance (1983)'s "Maniac", Michael Sembello.
At the beginning of the movie, when Billy is running to work, he says hi to Dr Moreau. Homage to the movie, The Island of Dr. Moreau, where experiments were done on humans and animals.
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Some people have noted that Baby Yoda/Grogu from The Mandalorian (2019) looks somewhat similar to Gizmo.
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This is the first film released in 1984 that starred Corey Feldman. The second film is Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984). Both films are horror films.
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Barney was a mongrel mix breed.
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In Chinese culture, the mating season of the traditional mogui is said to be triggered by rain.
In the commentary, Joe Dante calls Mushroom (the dog playing Barney) "the all-purpose cutaway," because if Barney is in the scene and Joe doesn't know what to cut to, Mushroom has a priceless facial expression that'll sell it. Highlights include: Looking worried and offended when Mrs. Deagle is threatening to kill him, looking curious when Gizmo first appears, looking frightened when Gizmo first multiplies. He even moves in synch with the Gizmo puppet in several shots.
Mushroom the dog actually thought the Gizmo animatronic was a real animal.
The reason Billy hangs out with a 13 year-old, it's because Corey Feldman was cast before Billy was aged up.
(At 37 mins.) The fridge wasn't plugged in, so the food here had gone off.
At 1hr.) The film's sole stop-motion shot. Originally Joe bDante considered using the technique to do all the creature effects, before deciding it would be too time-consuming.
The biggest group of Gremlins seen in the movie. When not on set, the puppets were kept in an 18-wheeler trailer nicknamed "Das Box", after German U-boat thriller Das Boot.
The film is the third horror film directed by Joe Dante. The first two films are Piranha (1978) and The Howling (1981), respectively. The three films that follow this film are Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), The Hole (2009), and Burying the Ex (2014), respectively.
Glynn Turman also plays a biology teacher in Super 8, which was also produced by Steven Spielberg.
James MacKrell reprises his role of news reporter Lew Landers from The Howling.
Now Playing Podcast reviewed Gremlins. This film received three "recommends".
The film was analyzed as White suburban fear of African-Americans in a chapter of Patricia Turner's book "Ceramic Uncles & Celluloid Mammies". This analysis was seen as absurd by many, and was spoofed in the opening of "Dear White People" (2014).
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The Futtermans are played by Dick Miller and Jackie Joseph, cast as a married couple specifically because of their frequent acting collaborations in Roger Corman movies.
Though he followed the basic outline of the script, Hoyt Axton is said to have improvised nearly all of his lines.
As well as Gizmo's crate, objects glimpsed inside Mr. Wing's shop include a chessboard whose pieces are demons and gargoyles, skulls, a tarantula and lots and lots of lit candles.
That Toxigen 90 sign behind Randall Peltzer was created by crew member Jay Davis to keep nosy people away from the Gremlin puppets. The studio's fire marshall received several complaints from passers-by worried about the (non-existent) chemical.
The swelling newborn Mogwai were simple air bladders, blown up like furry balloons by puppeteers under the table.
Other Peltzer inventions glimpsed throughout the movie include an "Energizer Artichoke", an "Electric Hammer" and a "High-Speed Flyswatter".
The first of two epic Rocco Gioffre matte paintings, showing the snowy charm of Kingston Falls (a riff on Bedford Falls from It's A Wonderful Life).
At 38 mins.) The notebook belonged to producer Mike Finnell, and the frenzied scribblings are about the production.
Look closely at the sign for Mrs. Deagle's real-estate company, and you'll notice that it's only open for business 45 minutes a day.
The portrait of Mr. Deagle is actually Edward Arnold, the Golden Hollywood actor who played corrupt tycoons in several Frank Capra films.
A final matte painting to finish the movie. At one point, due to a glitch in the rendering of the shot, Mr. Wing vanished and the filmmakers considered leaving it in for the mystical effect.
The Gremlin shooting at Kate instead hits a photo of a World War II era B17 -- a nod to the fact the term "gremlin" began as RAF slang.
In the movie theater, the Coming Attractions board advertises director Joe Dante's earlier film, The Howling (1981).
(1hr 25 mins.) The hypnotism record to Billy's right was recorded by a "Dr. Dante". This references director Joe Dante.
At 1hr 26 mins.) Some cuddly cameos in the form of Sylvester, E.T. and Bugs Bunny toys. Gremlins designer Chris Walas wanted Stripe to rip E.T. apart, but wasn't allowed.
While recording vocals for the sequence inside Dorrys Tavern, the voice-actors including Peter Cullen and Frank Welker got into character by drinking Budweiser.
The Rockn' Ricky Rialto billboard is a rather obvious homage to producer Steven Spielberg, who was filming Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom during the shoot.
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The educational film playing in the science teacher's classroom is Hemo The Magnificent (1957), directed by Frank Capra.
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"Phone home!" snarls a Gremlin, disconnecting Billy's call to his mom and mocking E.T. into the bargain.
At 1hr 27 mins.) In the store's gardening department: a Triffid from The Day Of The Triffids is seen.
In the movie theater a Gremlin is wearing Mickey Mouse ears, one wearing the sheriff's hat, one with a doctor's mask and another with a fireman's helmet.
Steven Spielberg: As the man in the electric wheelchair at the science convention when Randall is on the phone.
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Chuck Jones: The Warner Bros. animation legend makes a brief on-screen cameo in the scene with Billy (Zach Galligan) and Gerald (Judge Reinhold) trading insults.
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Jerry Goldsmith: The film's composer is the man in the telephone booth at the science convention who glances at the camera.
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Joe Dante: [small things running amok and causing chaos] In this film, small creatures called Mogwai ends up turning into Gremlins and causes all kinds of destruction. The film's sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), and Small Soldiers (1998) also follow this same pattern. The latter film deals with action figures coming to life and going rogue due to a malfunction.
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The scene in the department store where Stripe attacks Billy with a chainsaw was not in the script. It was added by director Joe Dante and Zach Galligan as an homage to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
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The theater that blows up with the gremlins inside was subsequently involved in another accident when Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in Back to the Future (1985) smashes into the front entrance. The theater then burned down with the rest of the buildings in the fire that happened right after the filming of Back to the Future Part II (1989).
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At the end, Gizmo pulls a window blind that exposes Stripe to the sunlight. Originally, however, there were two window blinds, and Gizmo pulls the first one, and then Billy pulls the second one. This scene was edited because Executive Producer Steven Spielberg believed that Gizmo was the hero of the movie and not Billy, and therefore Gizmo would be the one responsible for the demise of Stripe.
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In the original draft of the script, instead of Stripe being a Mogwai who becomes a Gremlin, there was no Stripe the Mogwai, and Gizmo was supposed to turn into Stripe the Gremlin. Executive producer Steven Spielberg overruled this plot element because he felt Gizmo was cute and audiences would want him to be present at all stages of this movie. This became stressful for Chris Walas, who had designed the Gizmo puppet only for the actions that happened in the first half of the movie. This explains why Gizmo doesn't do much of anything in the second half of the movie but give reaction shots, until the very ending when he kills Stripe (also Spielberg's idea). In all likelihood, that is why Gizmo spends much of the final store sequence driving about in the toy car: it was a simple way to keep the Gizmo character mobile without needing his limbs to move very much while looking adorable and then heroic as the story required.
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Mr. Hanson (Glynn Turman), the science teacher, originally died with dozens of hypodermic needles stuck in his face. However, by request from executive producer Steven Spielberg, this scene was re-shot with just a single needle in the buttocks.
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After Lynn Peltzer stabs the Gremlin to death in the kitchen, there was an unused effect of the Gremlin trying to pull the knife free from its body. The effect was considered too distressing and the shot omitted, however you can see the effect over her shoulder as she microwaves the other Gremlin.
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In the script, Murray Futterman was killed during his encounter with the Gremlins, but it was changed because the filmmakers found this a little harsh. So, during the news report at the end of the movie (if you listen closely to the voice-over) you can hear Lew Landers (an in-joke referencing prolific 1930s-'50s "B" movie director Lew Landers) say that he is going to talk with Mr. Futterman at the hospital. In the novelization by George Gipe, this change was not included.
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The novelization explains that Mr. Wing's grandson was severely punished by his grandfather for the back alley sale of Gizmo.
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A deleted scene shows that Gerald (Judge Reinhold) was hiding out in the bank vault while the Gremlins ran wild, and is losing his sanity.
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Zach Galligan is (jokingly) bitter because they shot a scene where Billy opens a second shade after Gizmo and actually kills Stripe. When he first watched the finished cut he was shocked to discover it had been edited so that the heroic move rests solely with Gizmo. "Would you like to take a guess as to whose idea that was?" asks director Joe Dante. "Um, no because I'd like to work again for him in the future," replies Galligan.
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According to director Joe Dante, the mogwai/gremlin (Earl) that Billy left with Mr. Hanson, later met up with Stripe's gang and joined in terrorizing the town before being blown up with the rest.
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Gizmo does not really do much in the second half of the movie. Mostly, Dante just throws us a series of reaction shots of him. That's because Gizmo and Stripe were originally the same character, until Spielberg insisted this would be too troubling to children watching the movie who had fallen in love with the puppet creature (much like they did with ET two years earlier), and insisted they be differentiated. So the latter half of the movie has Stripe essentially taking over everything, and Gizmo just standing around watching him in horror until the ending when Gizmo kills Stripe. (Originally, Billy was going to kill Stripe/Gizmo or transform him back to a Mogwai so that he could be brought back to the sage in Chinatown at the end of the movie).
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Human Body Count: 4 (confirmed)
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The official comic strip adaptation included scenes that were not in the movie, including Billy's mother asking if the mogwai was a rat, followed by the mogwai using Randall's "Bathroom Buddy", thus earning the name "Gizmo". There was also more emphasis on a subplot of Mrs. Deagle trying to buy up everything in town, a scene of Billy finding that throwing juice on the mogwais has no effect on them, Mr. Hanson's students being more Billy's age, Gizmo and Kate trying to shut down the fountain and turn on the lights, and Billy smashing Stripe's skeleton with a baseball bat.
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At the end of the film, when Mr. Wing scolded the Peltzers for their irresponsibility and carelessness that caused the mayhem and as he gets ready to leave with Gizmo, Gizmo calls him "baba". In Chinese, "baba" means "father" or "dad".
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Billy watches Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) in his room before giving the five new Gremlins food after midnight. That movie is about aliens taking over a whole city, just like the evil Gremlins will be doing later in the movie.
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Deleted scenes and the film's novelization reveal that Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holliday) was forcing people out of their houses to sell the land to Hitox Chemical for the purpose of building a plant, effectively destroying Kingston Falls.
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The eventual fate of Pete (Corey Feldman) is never revealed in the movie. In the novel, however, he is deeply saddened by the death of Mr. Hanson and even blamed himself for it. He runs away from home and is never seen again.
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While the original shooting script contained numerous scenes that featured graphic violence and gore (and would have certainly led to the final movie getting an R rating), director Joe Dante and executive producer Steven Spielberg intended to sharply reduce these elements, and the rumors that an R-rated cut of this movie exist are inaccurate. It helped that many of the more horrifying scenes in the script were basically ideas that Dante and Spielberg wanted in the movie, such as the bit with the gremlins attacking the mailbox guy and Santa, and so re-writing was not a major issue, and gave more focus time to making sure this movie would get the PG rating they wanted.
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Despite speaking mostly gibberish throughout the film, Gizmo says two fully enunciated sentences at the end of the film. Gizmo says, "Bye, Billy," to Billy after he requests to Mr. Wing to say something to Billy before they leave. And several seconds later, once Mr. Wing and Gizmo are leaving, Gizmo says, "Bye bye, woof woof!" to the Peltzer's dog, Barney.
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Gizmo watches a movie about a racecar driver, which inspires his final battle with Stripe. The movie he's watching is To Please a Lady (1950), starring Clark Gable.
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The fate of Mr Corben, the bank manager and Billy and Kate's boss, is never revealed in the movie. In the novel, however, it's revealed that he was killed by the Gremlins after he was unable to understand what they were saying.
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Kate works at Dorry's Tavern. Dorry has only a very small role in the film. In Colombus's original script, Dorry was the name of one of the main characters, but he owned an antiques shop rather than a tavern. Kate's story of how she found out that there was no Santa Claus was delivered by Dorry in the original script, and was told whilst the group was lying down for bed for the night, so it seemed less out of place that Kate's infamous story in the midst of the chaos.
The Gremlin exploding in the microwave had to be reshot after the first Gremlin explosion was deemed too gory.
In Chris Columbus's original script, Rand Peltzer buys the Mogwai in Hong Kong rather than in the USA. The old man initiates the transaction to sell the Mogwai and only gives one rule, which is not to expose the Mogwai to bright light. The price was a hundred American dollars.
The novelization established Earl's name and also implied he was among the few "eternal" Mogwai like Gizmo blessed with a docile personality. Unfortunately, eating after midnight doomed him to the same transformation into a vicious terror like every other Gremlin. The Eternals or minority mogwai is a concept from the movie adaptation book, that applies to the very few Mogwai who choose to be good-hearted and kind, while the rest of their species become violent and malicious.
Stripe is the only Gremlin in either film to meet his demise by sunlight.
Gremlin Body Count: 5 (and many other gremlins in the movie theater)
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Stripe attacks Billy with a McCulloch Eager Beaver chainsaw.
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The fountain was filled with liquid nitrogen and Stripe's grisly demise was orchestrated by a puppeteer hidden inside, wearing special protective gear.
In the scene with the snowplow, Murray Futterman points at the creatures and identifies the driver as "a real gremlin". This instant recognition of them suggests that he has encountered gremlins before.
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