There's no doubt in my mind that Gremlins is one of the all-time greatest Christmas holiday horror films, and it should be viewed by all come December every year. You can't deny that everybody's favorite mogwai, Gizmo, is one of the most lovable fuzzy animatronics ever seen on the big screen. Conversely, the gremlins are among the nastiest, evil, troublemaking lil' monsters we've ever seen terrorize a small town. They multiply faster than rabbits, and much to our viewing pleasure, they quickly turn a peaceful winter wonderland into a war zone filled with absolute mayhem.
There is, however, one other star in this film: Randall Peltzer's amazing inventions. Randall, or "Rand" as he often goes by (played by the fantastically baritone Hoyt Axton), is an inventor and traveling salesman who creates, "Fantastic ideas for a fantastic world. I make the illogical logical." He strikes me as the kind of guy who's not trying to change the world with a single brilliant invention, but instead, he's just trying to make all our lives a bit easier by removing as many little inconveniences from them as he can.
That said, his inventions are a running joke in the film, in that they never seem to work as intended, but you gotta admire the guy for always trying to create something new. Today I'd like to do something different and pay tribute to the inventions of Rand Peltzer by looking at each and every one of them. By my count, there are ten of his inventions seen in the film, and while some of them are more prominently featured than others, I think they're all worth looking at. Alright, let's hop to it...
PELTZER INVENTION #1: THE BATHROOM BUDDY!
We kick things off with what's probably the invention that people remember most from this movie - The Bathroom Buddy! Think of it as essentially a Swiss Army knife for those who frequently travel abroad. It's a self-contained portable unit that features a wide variety of built-in features including a toothpick, toenail clippers, a nail file, a mirror, dental floss, a shaving razor (with shaving cream), and a toothbrush (with Slimer green toothpaste).
Sounds pretty great, right? Hell, I wouldn't mind carrying around a single unit like that instead of having to pack everything separately whenever I travel. Only problem is, he doesn't quite have the built-in toothpaste and shaving cream dispensers working properly yet as you can see in the image above. Whenever they're activated, they shoot out onto his chest rather than onto the toothbrush or shaving razor as intended. Still, with a catchy name like that, it'd be pretty hard to resist buying one from a salesman like Rand.
PELTZER INVENTION #2: THE ELECTRIC HAMMER!
Next up we have Rand's motorized Electric Hammer. While it's only displayed briefly as he and his family sit at the kitchen table, it still leaves an immediate impression when you see it in action. The head of the hammer is on a hinge, and when Rand flips a switch on it, the hammer automatically moves back and forth. Seemingly powered by some small air compressors and pistons, the electric hammer would presumably take the work out of driving nails through wood. Hard to imagine it could replicate the force that your own arm could generate with a single swing, but who knows. The only thing I do is that none of us came up with this brilliant idea.
PELTZER INVENTION #3: THE ULTIMATE FLY SWATTER!
As soon as Rand puts down the electric hammer, he picks up the next invention on our list: The Ultimate Fly Swatter. Keep in mind, I'm just assigning my own names to some of these inventions, as their official product names are often never spoken during the movie - possibly because they're still in the prototype phase. Anyway, this creation is actually made from four fly swatters which appear to be mounted onto a power drill. When he turns on the drill, the fans spread out quickly and start spinning like a windmill. I'm not sure this would actually kill a fly, but I have a feeling if it saw this device in action, it'd at least stay the hell away from you.
PELTZER INVENTION #4: THE COFFEE SLUDGE MAKER!
We've all seen coffee makers before, so I'm not really sure why Rand felt the need to make his own or what the intended improvements were, but the results are impressive nevertheless. It somehow changes the molecular consistency of coffee into an oozing, sludge-like substance. That's quite a feat if you ask me. It may not produce a liquid that's safe for human consumption, but any coffee maker than can produce a substance that looks like it'd feel right at home in the Masters of the Universe "Slime Pit" deserves our collective respect.
PELTZER INVENTION #5: THE ARTICHOKE AUDIO SYSTEM!
Now here's one that most people never even noticed in the movie, because it was on the table right next to the more prominently featured coffee sludge maker and only on screen for a few seconds. But this item has piqued my curiosity more than just about any other invention seen in the movie. It's an artichoke that is hooked up to an audio speaker and some kind of controller. Does Rand know something about artichokes that we don't? Do they croon secret songs in the wee hours of the night that can only be heard when amplified by stereo? Does this particular artichoke serve as the vessel for a higher form of intelligence that has been feeding Rand his invention ideas all these years?
We'll likely never know the truth behind the artichoke audio system, but I still cling to the hope that one day this great mystery will be cleared up Gremlins 3 ever happen, because Rand was clearly onto something here.
PELTZER INVENTION #6: THE CARD SHOOTER!
While I'm sure it was intended to be an automatic playing card shuffler that he would mass market to casinos around the world, Rand's contraption actually shoots out the cards at such a high velocity that even Gambit would raise an eyebrow at 'em. When his son walks in on him in his workshop, Rand does everything he can to get his shuffler from shooting out the cards. Wanna know what's even better? His contraption actually sounds like a machine gun when turned on. I know Rand wants to fix it, but I honestly think he should leave it the way it is. The market is completely saturated with card shufflers these days, but you know what there's a complete lack of? High-velocity card shooters. You can corner the market, Rand!
PELTZER INVENTION #7: THE INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH BLENDER!
This oversized Peltzer blender strangely doesn't have a cover for its mixing bowl, and it certainly makes quite a mess... especially since it has nine varying levels of speed. That said, it does come in quite handy when mom Peltzer notices a Gremlin snacking inside of it. She flips the switch on and let's the blender rip that Gremlin to shreds. Sure, it made a huge slimy green mess of her kitchen, but better the kitchen than mom herself. If it can shred a full-grown Gremlin to bits, just imagine what it can do with your most complicated recipes. Here's hoping Rand invents a lid for it sometime.
PELTZER INVENTION #8: THE SMOKELESS ASHTRAY!
Now here's the other Peltzer product that gets a lot of screen time in the movie. The Smokeless Ashtray is honestly a technological miracle if you ask me. While it doesn't work as intended, it somehow generates more smoke than a cigarette could ever possibly produce. Also, of all his inventions, you gotta admit that this one looks the most futuristic, what with that space-age looking metal dome 'n all. I'm guessing if The Jetsons ever needed an astray, this would surely be it.
At the end of the movie, Rand even tries to give one as a gift to the old Chinese man whom he snagged Gizmo from. The old man then informs Rand that he already heard of the Smokeless Ashtray... because the gas station attendant tried to sell it to him. Another satisfied customer!
PELTZER INVENTION #9: THE MEGA JUICER!
You have to imagine that living with Rand as your father is gonna cause some significant childhood trauma. Ignore the fact that he gave Billy a creature that multiplied and turned into deadly monsters that nearly destroyed his entire town, Rand also invented many gadgets that surely kept Billy awake at night. Gotta love the look on Billy's face whenever he approaches his father's inventions. Just look at it! That is the face of true fear. He approaches the Peltzer Mega Juicer with such trepidation, you just know something is about to go wrong.
Facing his fears, Billy nevertheless decides to turn it on for a healthy glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice. What could possibly go wrong?
To be fair, the Mega Juicer does fill up Billy's glass with orange juice. It just happens to fill up the entire kitchen as well.
PELTZER INVENTION #10: THE EGG SMASHER 5000!
Forget the Rotato; there is no greater culinary invention in the history of the universe than the Peltzer Egg Smasher 5000. I'm not even a big fan of eggs, but goddamn, I would make something with them EVERY SINGLE DAY if this product actually existed. The eggs are loaded on a track, and when you want to crack one without the shell falling into the bowl, you just press the button and watch the novelty chicken head slam down onto an egg. It slams down with such ferocity that it goes right through the egg, causing most of the other eggs to nearly fall into the bowl.
And best of all? It actually goes "BA-CAWK!" every time it smashes an egg. There are few things that I feel I absolutely need at this point in my life, but the Peltzer Egg Smasher 5000 is right at the top of that short list.
And that doesn't it for our tour of the many flawed, yet wonderful inventions of one Mr. Randall Peltzer. I hope you enjoyed it, and be sure to lemme know which inventions were your favorites in the comments section below!
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