More from our 31 Days of Horror at the Last Movie Outpost, let’s have fun while being scared. Gremlins was such a great movie, you had a down-to-earth protagonist, a Christmas setting, a cute girlfriend, an even cuter little creature with three rules.
- Sunlight will kill it.
- Don’t get it wet.
- Do NOT feed it after midnight.
It’s such a simple movie, but it works so well.
You first meet the little Mogwai in Chinatown, where inventor Randall Peltzer is looking for a gift for his son Billy. In an old junk shop, he finds a little creature that would make a perfect gift. Despite the owner having misgivings, the sale is made and the three rules are given.
Billy, Randall’s son, works at the bank. He dreams of leaving the small town and becoming an artist. Before Christmas, young Billy is given his new pet and calls him Gizmo.
At first, it’s a cute little pet and everything is great. Billy follows the three rules until one of Billy’s friends spills some water on Gizmo and five more Mogwai’s pop out! But these are different. They seem more mischievous.
The five new ones trick Billy into letting them eat after midnight…and that’s where the cute little creatures turn into Gremlins. I’m sure you know the story, seriously, if you don’t you need to see it!
Director Joe Dante and writer Chris Columbus made a movie that just plays out perfectly. It’s silly, it’s scary, it’s just a treat. There are such great moments, like where Stripe jumps into the swimming pool, or seeing Randall’s inventions, or all of the Gremlins watching Snow White.
Billy is played by Zack Galligan. He is really good throughout the entire movie. He’s you or me, just a simple kid with a dull job and big dreams. He gets thrown into a bizarre situation and behaves as you or I would. I always loved the fact he wasn’t an idiot. There’s no point where you think “Well I wouldn’t go in there!” as he acts as a real person would.
One of my first ever movie crushes was Pheobe Cates, she was so cute in this movie. I love the bar scene, how she just carried on working, even though the place was full of Gremlins. Her speech, about why she doesn’t like Christmas is really well done, you really believe her.
As a teenage boy, I was very happy to find Fast Times at Ridgemont High. If you are a fan of her, it’s worth finding Paradise and Private School, for her, umm, great performances.
You have people like Dick Miller, Hoyt Axton, Corey Feldman, Keye Luke, and more as supporting cast, who are all great. I love Polly Holliday as Mrs Deagle, the villain of the local town, who’s nasty to everyone. She gets what’s coming to her!
Here are some Easter Eggs from Gremlins you might not know about.
- In Cantonese Mogwai means devil or demon.
- When Billy is in the bar, drawing, he talks to Chuck Jones, one of the lead animators for Warner Brothers who was known for Tom & Jerry and Road Runner amongst others.
- There’s a scene where Randall is at an inventor’s convention. There’s a Time Machine from the original movie, that disappears in time. The man on a low bike that rides past Randall is producer Steven Spielberg.
Gremlins is funny, it’s scary and it’s just a great movie to enjoy.
I also have to give an honorary mention to Gremlins 2. Joe Dante says he prefers the second movie rather than the first one. The second one embraces the crazy all the more and the Gremlins are far more extreme.
Personally, I love the first one more, I don’t know why, it just holds a special place in my heart. I remember having the VHS and playing it death as a kid. How about you? Did you like the first or second Gremlins more?
If you haven’t seen either, go and do it now!!!