Don’t get him in the light.
Don’t bathe him.
Don’t feed him after midnight.
Seriously? Who the hell would buy a pet that you couldn’t bathe?
It’s hard to revisit a film that I loved so much as a kid and review it as an adult. I had three stipulations when trying to choose a film to watch tonight –
- It had to involve a masked guy killing beautiful teens.
- It had to be Rated R, or Unrated in a way that wasn’t too sadistic (wasn’t in the mood for torture porn).
- It had to be no longer than an hour and forty minutes.
Of course, I walked by the DVD case for Gremlins in Paulbuster Video and the decision was made for me. I haven’t seen Gremlins in years. The second film I remember being vastly different from the original, which was directed by Joe Dante and I remembered being a perfect example of one of those “horror family films” that they just don’t make anymore. They try – you get things like Monster HouseThe Monster Squad, Goonies, Beetlejuice, Poltergeist, Ghostbusters, Critters that wish they were as good. But compare them to movies like …I mean, the list goes on and on. There have been more recent films in the same “flavor,” like The Frighteners, but none that are really family friendly (man…love The Frighteners).
It’s amazing how times were different back then. You could have the cutest character in a film where people die on Christmas, and it was okay! Not only that, it’s amazing how cruel they were back then, and didn’t even think about it! Accidentally drop some water on Gizmo? Well, even though he’s in unbearable pain, why not throw some more on him to see what it does?
I had forgotten how effectively cute and disarming Gizmo was. You see this cute little character and you really expect somehting like E.T., but leave it to Joe Dante and Steven Spielberg to mess with your expectations. It isn’t long before things turn around and you’re set for the type of PG film they just don’t make anymore.
If you’ve never seen Gremlins, than, long story short, an inventor finds a pet unlike any other while in an antiques store in Chinatown. He brings it home, agreeing to the aforementioned three rules – no bright lights, no water, no food after midnight. Well, it isn’t long before all three rules are broken and the Mogwi go from cute to crazy violent and start to destroy the town!
Joe Dante’s talent has been sadly wasted for YEARS (I think the last film of his I enjoyed was Small Soldiers), but this film shows how great he can be given the right mix of humor and horror. Gremlins is the perfect example of how to do everything right – the acting is good, the humor and horror are perfectly balanced, and, most of all, the film is fun. Funny and mean-spirited, I know I keep saying this, but they don’t movies for the family quite like Gremlins anymore.
Perfect if you’re looking for an “alternative” Christmas film, or just looking for a fun horror film that isn’t filled with gore and torture! Besides, where else can you see old ladies flying at lightning speed from a second story window while little green monsters sing Christmas carols? And Corey Feldman!