Grandfather: I'm sorry. Mogwai not for sale.
Randall Peltzer: Why not? You said everything in your grandfather's store was for sale.
Grandfather: With Mogwai, comes much responsibility. I cannot sell him at any price.
A wonderfully entertaining film that belongs on anyone's alternative Christmas film list, right up there with Die Hard and Bad Santa. This is a mix of comedy (mostly dark), satire, and horror, into a Christmas creature feature.
The film takes place in an small American town, easily resembling one from any regular Christmas time feature, a father has just brought his twenty something son Billy, played by Zach Galligan, a Christmas gift, a Mogwai. The Mogwai, named Gizmo, is a small, furry, cute creature that seems to be quite clever and will certainly be lovable. However, it also has a list of rules needed to be followed. Don't put it in bright lights, don't get water on it, and never feed it after midnight. Of course, in order to have a movie, rules will have to be broken...
Lynn Peltzer: Get Out Of My Kitchen!
Once the rules are broken, things turn for the worse, as Gizmo has copies of himself emerge from him (copies that are much more mischievous) and eventually grow into vicious little monsters causing havoc all over town.
The way this movie morphs from a comedy into a horror flick is well established, while never getting lost in its tone. Director Joe Dante does well at establishing everything and letting the mess unfold in a well shot manner. The comedy and gags certainly become darker as the film moves on, but the way it is featured throughout is solid and certainly a bit different from the average Christmas film at the start.
The creature effects are also quite good. The use of real puppets and their various actions are all effective enough to provide both the connection to the lovable Gizmo character and enough in the way of tension and mild scares with the Gremlins.
Being one of the films (along with Temple of Doom) to inspire the PG-13 rating, because of how dark they are, I would have loved to see family audiences in the theater reacting to this PG rated film, expecting to see a more family friendly holiday film. Its certainly not setting out to be offensive, just a different take that is still entertaining, however, when Billy's mom has to take out three different gremlins using an assortment of weapons (which follows one of my favorite music queues ever ((excuse the hyperbole))), I can understand a possible shock from the parents with their children.
The creative input from Spielberg and the memorable score by Jerry Goldsmith certainly bump this film up a few notches as well.
A lot of fun to be had.
Billy Peltzer: The creatures are making it look like an accident!