‘Gremlins’: A Review From Childhood To Adulthood

(PCM) Recently over Christmas break my girlfriend and I watched Gremlins. The movie came out way back in 1984. We both haven’t seen the movie since we were kids. So, we thought it would be a good idea to check it out and watch it, and give a quick review.

When I think back to watching Gremlins as a child I can remember being scared, but not at the little green guys running around and causing havoc, but as the credits start rolling the voice of Billy’s dad (Hoyt Axton) telling me that there might be Gremlins in my house. So, whenever there was a weird noise or something, I always thought there just might be a Gremlin lurking around.

Earlier in the day we were discussing if Gremlins was a Christmas movie. After watching the movie, it was clear to me that I should watch this film every Christmas, because it was clearly a holiday gift from the brilliant minds of Joe Dante, Chris Columbus, and Steven Spielberg.

If you haven’t seen Gremlins then you must be living under a rock, but just incase I’ll give you the rundown. The movie takes place in the 1980s, and is about a father who is an inventor who is in Chinatown, and looking for a Christmas present for his son. The father finds an old antique shop where upon entering finds a creature called a mogwai. The old man behind the counter refuses to sell the mogwai to the man, but the old man’s grandson secretly sells the father the mogwai. The grandson tells the father that he must follow three simple rules-do not expose the mogwai to bright lights or sunlight which will kill the mogwai, do not let it get wet, and never feed it after midnight.

Of course, things go south when the mogwai is given to Billy. The mogwai is named Gizmo and after accidently getting Gizmo wet the creature spawns other mogwai’s who are not as friendly as the furry little creature. Billy brings one of Gizmo’s spawn to his old school to get checked out. Back at Billy’s house the mischievous little creatures set a trap to get fed after midnight. Once the creatures have eaten they reside in nasty looking pods, where they transform into horrible little creatures.

Billy (Zach Galligan) and his friend Kate (Phoebe Cates) must go around town doing battle against the gremlins, before they destroy the town of Kingston Falls. The gremlins are led by an evil alpha gremlin named Stripe. Gizmo and Stripe have a showdown at a store. In the end, Gizmo and Billy destroy Stripe and all the other gremlins.

In today’s world of politically correctness a movie like Gremlins would never be released with a PG rating. The movie is very dark, and sometimes violent. I totally forgot about how violent the movie was, but was reminded after watching the kitchen scene when the gremlins are first revealed. The kitchen scene where Billy and his mother battle against the gremlins is both dark and humorous, and sets the tone for the rest of the film. The special effects for the film might seem out of date by today’s standards, but the movie I believe stands the test of time in the effects department.

I remember being completely and utterly terrified by this film when I was a small child, but looking back on it as an adult, those scenes that were so nightmarish as a child now just seemed more silly. My, don’t we become disillusioned as we grow older, or maybe the special effects have just gotten a lot more realistic these days!

The only thing I kind of shook my head at during the film was when Phoebe Cates character is talking about why she hates Christmas, and it is revealed that her father who dressed up like Santa Claus to surprise her for Christmas sadly died while trying to come down the chimney. For a movie mainly marketed to kids I find it kind of disturbing that the Santa line made it into the film. But then again, we are talking about a film that has a cute creature spawns little green monsters when the rules are broken.
Gremlins is a film that I will continue to watch as the years go by, but if you do hear a noise in your house, it just might be a gremlin trying to get you.

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