88. Gremlins


Movie: Gremlins

Release Date: June 8, 1984

Director: Joe Dante

Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Polly Holliday.

Tag Lines: “Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous.”

“You can’t get burned seeing ‘Gremlins’!”

“Steven Spielberg presents…”

“Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous. We’re Here!”

“What you see… isn’t always what you get.”

“The Gremlins Are Coming!”

“Don’t get him wet, keep him out of bright light, and never feed him after midnight.”

“They didn’t obey the rules.”

Relevance: Growing up, I was always finished with school in early June, usually no later than June 10th. Since I didn’t start back to school until after Labor Day, I always had a nice, long relaxing summer. In 1984, to celebrate the end of another school year, in this case the seventh grade, my family was planning on a movie night. My paternal Grandfather was going to treat the family to a movie of our choice. My mom opted out of the evening, probably excited about the quiet, alone time she was going to have for close to three hours, so it was just going to be me, my sister, my father and my grandfather. The choice of the movie was not as easy as who was going.

In May of that year, the sequel to ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ a movie that will be showing up on this list in a few weeks, was released. My family adored that movie, so ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ was definitely high on our radar. However, another movie had recently caught my eye when I saw its trailer on television. ‘Gremlins’ looked fun, entertaining and a little bit scary, totally in my wheelhouse. My grandfather was game for either movie, but my sister and father really wanted to see ‘Temple of Doom.’ I did too, but I really, really wanted to see ‘Gremlins.’ So we discussed (argued) the entire way to the theater. I may have whined to get my way, or maybe it was because I was the youngest, but the final choice was ‘Gremlins.’

While we were getting to our seats with popcorn and Jujubees (my favorite movie candy), my sister made another dig about the movie. “You know dad really wanted to see Indiana Jones.” I didn’t care, I had my favorite foods and my choice of movie. All was right with the world. During the film, with maybe thirty minutes or so left, the projector stopped working and the movie just stopped. My grandfather quickly laughed and chirped, “Uh oh, it’s the Gremlins.” The lights came up and there was some general hubbub among the theater employers and patrons. As we sat there waiting for the climax of the movie to continue, my sister made one last jab. “I bet this didn’t happen in Indiana Jones.” After maybe ten or fifteen minutes, the projector issue was fixed and we finished the film.

I was in a complete state of glee the entire trip home. I absolutely loved the movie and I couldn’t wait to tell my mom all about it as well as what happened during the movie. The rest of the family, especially my grandfather who laughed through the entire film, enjoyed it as well. ‘Gremlins’ was both a critical and commercial success and it eventually became the fourth highest grossing film of 1984. (The third highest grossing film that year, and one my family saw via rental, was ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.’) Both of those movies caused a lot of controversy that summer due to their violent scenes. So much so that they caused the Motion Picture Association to add a PG-13 to its rating system a few months after they were released.

‘Gremlins’ remained one of my favorite movies that year. I rented it when it became available and watched it over and over again when it played on HBO. My mom eventually joined in on some of those viewings, and although she didn’t love the jump scares or the “gross” scenes, she couldn’t help but laugh at some of the comical mishaps those little green monsters got into on screen. The sequel that was released in 1990, ‘Gremlins 2: The New Batch,’ was actually a very grand addition to the franchise, although more of a comedy than horror film. I own ‘Gremlins’ on DVD and I watch it every single Christmas season. I know its not your conventional holiday classic, but then again I am not your conventional movie goer.

Today’s Thoughts: “So if your air conditioner goes on the fritz or your washing machine blows up or your video recorder conks out; before you call the repairman turn on all the lights, check all the closets and cupboards, look under all the beds, ’cause you never can tell there just might be a gremlin in your house.”

‘Gremlins’ was a fun, entertaining movie to watch as a kid and it has remained so to this day. I watched it about ten months ago while decorating for the holidays and still looked forward to it again today. Gizmo and the gang will just never get old for me.

Steven Spielberg, who produced the film, Joe Dante who directed it and Chris Columbus who wrote it really knew what they were doing to create a delightful horror comedy film. Silly, sure? But what movie about small green creatures attacking a small town isn’t a little bit silly. Although being 2020, the year anything could happen, I wouldn’t be surprised if the plot becomes CNN Breaking News. Until that happens, I am just going to enjoy this movie for what it is…fun.

The movie is filled to the brim with jump scares, gags, laughs, drama and gross out moments to appease almost every movie genre fan. The acting ensemble including Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton and Polly Holliday all do a great job, but it really is all about those creatures, especially Gizmo. Voiced by Howie Mandel, he is lovable, funny and probably the real hero of the story. Watching it today, I wonder how many dogs, cats, ferrets and every other household pets share that name due to this movie. It almost makes me want to go out and get a dog right now.

‘Gremlins’ is a classic movie for many reasons, but the main one is that even after thirty-six years, it still delivers the goods. I highly recommend the film to anyone out there that has not been exposed to it. It really is great fun. The holidays are coming up quickly, so why not throw it in between ‘Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town’ and ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.’ Now that would be quite the triple feature.

Ways to Watch: iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.


One Comment Add yours

  1. nscovell says:

    My favorite scene in all horror movies is till Mom Peltzer having her showdown with those Gremlins. I guess originally, she was meant to die and when Billy came home; her head bounces down the steps at his feet.

    Anyways, good post and glad to know people still enjoy this movie as much as I do thirty something years later.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s