The holiday season is here and there will be Christmas is just around the corner. This is the season of throwaway Holiday Specials, most of which will be forgotten by the time the season is over. There are few however that become timeless, those that become part of popular culture in ways you would never expect. One such films is Gremlins (1984) directed by Joe Dante and produced by Steven Spielberg.
Todays Key Movie:
Gremlins (written by Chris Columbus who would later go to direct Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) is a story about Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan), a young man who is just trying to get by in the small town he lives in. Billy works as the local bank, lives with his parents and has a girl he loves, Kate (played by Phoebe Cates). It’s Christmas in Kingston Falls, and Billy’s father, Inventor Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton), returns home with a gift; a Mogwai named Gizmo. This creature is a unique being that comes with a specific set of rules. Rule 1 No Bright Lights (sunlight can kill him), Rule 2 Don’t get him wet and Rule 3 no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs, never ever feed him after midnight.
Of course, rules do get broken and when they do, the Gremlins arrive.
Why This FIlm?
This film however is one of the few “Holiday” films that I love. It uses Christmas as a backdrop for a terrific horror story about evil beings that arrive as the result of irresponsible owners. I’ll never forget going to the cinema and seeing this film and have seen it many many times since. I even remember going to Hardee’s and getting the Book and Record sets with each visit. I still have them to this day!
On top of everything, I remember Gizmo and desperately wanting one of my own. I know that if I had had one my home town would have likely been run over by little green creatures within a week.
One cool note for you eagle eyed viewers, pay attention to the segments where Rand Peltzer is at the inventor’s convention. You might recognize some cool cameos and even see an interesting Time Travel event taking place in the background.
How did this translate to real life?
One interesting fact about this film is that Gremlins, and Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, let to the MPAA to create a new rating in response to the violence and horror not being ‘kid appropriate’ in a PG film. Spielberg suggested a new rating for movies that were considered more mature but not quite ‘R’ material, thus the rating PG-13 was born. The first film to get the new rating would be Red Dawn later that same year.
Had the studio thought about it, there is a lesson in this film. The less on is that there are consequences to breaking rules. You see when water is applied to the Mogwai, they multiply and those born from this tend to be bad. When fed after midnight they turn worse. This is a simple lesson that most people overlook because of the fun in the film but it’s a good one to learn!
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
Damn right it is! This is a great flick from start to finish and really holds up today. The use of practical effects in this film keeps it looking real as all of the Gremlins were actually puppets and animatronic creations! Everyone in the movie is on target as well, from the main character Billy to his kid friend Pete (played by a young Corey Feldman) there is not a bad actor on screen. Even Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel) is delightful as ever.
The story still holds up and is very fun. Stripe, the lead Gremlin, is still as terrifying as ever as are the thousands that are created due to an ‘incident’ at the local pool. Gizmo is also the cutest little plague monkey you will ever meet.
The music is also of note as well. If the Gremlins theme song doesn’t get stuck in your head, you are likely deaf or just dead. just sayin.
OK, where do I get this movie?
If you don’t already own this one and/or haven’t already seen it you really need to for this holiday season. This is also a timeless film that you can literally watch any time of year and get great enjoyment from it. It’s available on Blu Ray here from Best Buy for only $9. It’s totally worth it. There is a sequel too but I won’t discuss that one here. It’s…kinda special.
Here is the trailer:
Thank you for reading today. I hope you enjoyed the review. If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Wednesday and also a complete review of Star Trek Discovery. Be sure to check out our contributor Darkmovienight with the New Movie Reviews every Sunday.
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And be sure to check this out too. Totally worth it.
Late To The Game 12/13/17