Movie: "Gremlins"
Year: 1984
Rated: PG
Genre: Horror
Directed by: Joe Dante
Writing credits: Chris Columbus

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 12/23/2008

Plot: A screwball inventor buys his son a special pet for Christmas, but after failing to observe the rules to care for it, it multiplies into a horde of wicked little creatures that wreak havoc on an idyllic American town.

Review: Gremlins is a classic Christmas movie that I recently watched for the first time in about twenty years, and I'm pleased to report that it holds up about as well as I remember. Sure, the puppetry looks a little worse to my adult eyes than it did when I was a child, particularly on Gizmo, who is far creepier looking than I ever realized, but the gremlins themselves still look fantastic, as long as they're not shown moving across screen in a full body shot.

All the gremlins in the first film look pretty much the same except for Stripe, but most of the ones that have any kind of screen time have little gimmicks that set them apart from the pack (i.e. the flasher, the aerobics gremlin, the cool jazz guy, etc). There are plenty of gags involving the gremlins in the first movie, but they still come across as fairly threatening creatures, unlike in the far-too-slapsticky sequel, which is too goofy for its own good. These classic gremlins look far better than the individually-designed ones in the sequel anyway. When you have a good thing going it's usually best not to mess with it.

It's kind of sad that the only person in this film that really went on to do much of anything worthwhile afterward was Corey Feldman. If you look at Zach Galligan's IMDB page it shows that he's gotten a lot of work, but not in anything I've ever heard of. And Phoebe Cates all but dropped off the face of the Earth after doing the sequel and Drop Dead Fred in the early 90s. The actors do an okay job, but the real stars of this movie are the puppets anyway, and they're very entertaining to watch.

One thing I was quite surprised by was how violent this film was--much more than I remembered, but then I shouldn't have been surprised, because this and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom are the two films that came out in 1984 that resulted in the creation of the PG-13 rating, after parents got a little upset after scarring their children for life by taking them to these movies. Of course, I saw the movie back then and I was only seven, and I turned out just fine, so maybe they were worried for nothing.

If you've never seen Gremlins you owe it to yourself to check out what is not only a classic holiday film, but a classic 80s film as well. Sure, some of the special effects may look a little cheesy here and there, but you can't tell me that the shots of the gremlins (REAL puppets!) don't look far better than any CGI creature you've seen. That is, unless they're trying to walk. Since this film represents a fondly remembered part of my childhood, I'm very glad that it didn't disappoint upon a more recent viewing.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Dec 23rd, 2008, 05:48 AM
A classic Christmas movie, just the thing to cut through all the seasonal sentiment. Santas stuck, gremlins microwaved, and crossbows used recklessly - great stuff.

Ms Cates may have disappeared somewhere, but my lust for her never will.
Retardedly Handsome
Dec 23rd, 2008, 10:04 AM
"If you don't like this movie then you must be a communist." - Larry King (Washington Post,1984)
Turrican't. :(
Dec 23rd, 2008, 12:15 PM
Gremlins is so classic that we should screen it instead of playing the national anthem when something important happens. That song sucks anyway, no breaks.
Dec 23rd, 2008, 12:27 PM
I have never seen this movie before, but I agree with you about employing puppets instead of the goddamned CGI... This techinique is being more and more abused with every movie that comes out.
Dec 23rd, 2008, 12:48 PM
I liked the smart Gremlin from the sequel. He was fun.
Can't touch this
Dec 23rd, 2008, 03:23 PM
Oooooh this is the best Christmas movie ever made. And I think the Mogwai, while purposefully being the cutest thing to ever exist, is also supposed to be pretty creepy. The Chinese man DID say Mogwai is a demon. So it just makes sense to me that they would look...Off. I noticed the creepiness recently too.
Definately you guys should do a Full review for the sequel!
Dec 23rd, 2008, 08:14 PM
I'm still a little scared of Gremlins. And I can't even listen to "Do You Hear What I Hear?" without getting the heebie jeebies.
Amicable Herculean
Dec 23rd, 2008, 08:25 PM
Am I the only one who liked the sequel more? The fouth wall-breaking sequence with Hulk Hogan was fun.
Last of the Time Lords
Dec 23rd, 2008, 10:35 PM
One of my favorites of all time.
That damn kid
Dec 23rd, 2008, 11:41 PM
Gremlins would be better if it were more dead alive, less leprechaun. I could never go into the WarnerBrothers store at my mall though when I was a kid because they had ceramic gremlins in the rafters. IN THE FUCKING RAFTERS! Who's idea was that?
Big In Japan
Dec 24th, 2008, 02:25 AM
Oh how I love this movie.

The gremlin in the microwave and Stripe's death are cinematic genius.

The one thing that bothers me is that they never explain when it is safe to start feeding your Mogwai again without it mutating into a Gremlin.
Forum Virgin
Dec 25th, 2008, 01:19 AM
Gremlins 1 is good, but Gremlins 2 is better. My particular fave is Mohawk the Spider Gremlin.
Dec 25th, 2008, 09:16 PM
I treat Gremlins 2 in the same way that I treat Ghostbusters 2 and any of the Highlander sequels: they don't exist and anyone who says otherwise is one of the mole people.
Dec 25th, 2008, 11:49 PM
Gremlins 2 was quite good actually, it just doesn't make any sense to compare the two because the sequel was intentionally shot as a parody of the first one and horror movie sequels in general. It would be like comparing lethal weapon to the naked gun.

Ghostbusters 2 is also pretty good. In no way is it even close to being as good as Ghostbusters, but it is still good by sequel standards.
Full of Country Goodness
Dec 26th, 2008, 04:48 PM
When I was little, 8 or so and saw this movie for the first time, the last line There just might be a gremlin in your house. gave me the worst nightmares imaginable. I used to go to bed and lie with my ear to the mattress trying to listen if there were gremlins under my bed.
Forum Virgin
Dec 28th, 2008, 09:55 AM
It's funny you mentioned the ratings. I saw this when a brilliant camp counselor couldn't get us into see the Muppets Take Manhattan. I had nightmares for weeks but absolutely wouldn't admit it to my parents. Everytime I screamed at night and they had to run in, I told them I was afraid that a life size Gonzo was in my closet. Ah, good times.
Dec 29th, 2008, 08:00 AM
this movie,The original Black Christmas and Silent Night Deadly Night ae the best X-mas movies ever fond memories