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Gremlins Reviews

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April 18, 2014
Joe Dante's finest effort besides "The 'Burbs", his segment in the infamous & ill-fated "Twilight Zone" film, "The Howling" and "Innerspace". It's aged less gracefully than one might expect, but the complete lack of CGI and full commitment to practical effects and puppetry is where it's charm remains. And it's one hell of a dark Christmas story that these days they would have dialed WAY back (the kitchen confrontation/battle is a fine example, or Phobe Cates' grizzly Xmas Eve monologue about her father).
July 30, 2007
Classic im sure. Im not the right age however to fully enjoy it but i did like the production and their approach to it. I liked the puppets and the sculptures. They were all done very well, or more or less well. Gizmo is cute, obviously. Who doesnt want a Mogwai?
March 19, 2014
While the effects look weird nowadays, The Gremlins is a funny and ironic horror comedy, that has become into a classic, indispensable to watch on a holiday family movie time.
March 11, 2014

- 'Gremlins' is a 1984 horror comedy by director Joe Dante (Piranha 1978), written by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) and with executive producer Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park). Pure nostalgia, as a small town gets overrun by little reptilian monsters during Christmas time. A perfect match between scares and laughs that are suitable for all ages. Everyone will love the little mogwai Gizmo. The film was a financial success and got a good sequel. With Zach Galligan (Hatchet 3), Phoebe Cates (Gremlins 2), Corey Feldman (The Goonies), Dick Miller (Piranha) and Jackie Jospeh (The Little Shop of Horrors), but the real stars are of course the Gremlins.

Randell Peltzer discovers a little furry animal called 'Mogwai' in a antique store in Chinatown owned by Mr. Wing and buys it as a Christmas present for his son Billy (Galligan). There are three important rules to come with it: 1) never expose the Mogwai to bright light (sunlight will kill it), 2) never get it wet and 3) never feed it after midnight.

Billy is very happy with the nice Mogwai, the he names Gizmo. He is proud to show it to his friend Pete (Feldman). But it doesn't take long before things go wrong. When a glass of water accidently tips over and get Gizmo wet, he produces 5 new Mogwai's. These are less nice than Gizmo. When Billy is out on a date with Kate Beringer (Cates), the creatures torture Gizmo and get to feed after midnight. The 5 new Mogwai cocoon and shortly after that transform into gremlins, who will terrorize the whole town beginning with the Peltzer's neighbors (Miller and Joseph). Can the gremlins be stopped?
Matt H.
March 10, 2014
Gremlins' formula is familiar, but the movie is a classic comedy about those little monsters nonetheless.
March 3, 2014
Classic and fun for a mindless movie night!
February 23, 2014
There are not many Christmas-Horror movies, but even if there were, this one would stand out. This is not scary in the least; it is just plain and simple fun. The settings like the eccentric Chinatown shop and the various parts of this quaint small Mid-West town are visually rich and show consideration for detail. Each of the character's houses is a noticeably physical extension of their personality. Even better are the gremlin puppets. These puppets can be irresistibly cute, or humorously repugnant and gross. The puppet-work is wonderful, and it brings these silly magical creatures to life. The seemingly simple or hammy characters poke fun at numerous classics of the Christmas genre. At no point does it veer from its lighthearted mood or attempt to become a warm holiday movie. The success lies in the consistently playful tone and enjoyably simple characters.
December 5, 2011
Six years after Joe Dante helmed "Piranha," he went on to direct the 1984 holiday classic, "Gremlins." Teenager Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) receives an unusual Christmas present from his father: a furry little creature called a Mogwai that he "bought" from an antique store in Chinatown. The Mogwai, which they name Gizmo, comes with three very important rules: never expose it to bright light; sunlight especially, because it kills it. Also, never let it get wet; water causes it to multiply. But most importantly, never ever feed them after midnight; they go into cocoons and mutate into nasty gremlins, where they cause nothing but havoc and destruction.

Naturally, it doesn't take long for all three of these rules to get broken. A little water is spilt, and then the unfriendly Mogwais unplug the clock in Billy's bedroom, tricking him into feeding them after midnight. What I want to know is why Gizmo is the only good Mogwai in the entire film; all of the others literally came out of him, so shouldn't they have some sort of respect for him? Instead, they're all evil; and somehow they know what water and midnight snacks will do to them.

Anyway, Billy and his girlfriend Kate (Phoebe Cates) have to stop gremlins before things get too out of hand; I should mention they're only specifically called gremlins because the America-first neighbor Murray Futterman (Dick Miller) mentions the mythological gremlins that damaged and dismantled machinery; it applies here, I suppose.

The film has some good characters. Zach Galligan is quite good as Billy; he's a nice kid, and he does what he can to make everything right. Phoebe Cates was known for her risqué roles in movies like "Paradise," Private School" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," but she does a fine transition to this movie. I like the scene where the gremlins are in the bar where she works; they're causing a ruckus, but she's still behind the counter serving them drinks; good for her. Corey Feldman gets a few scenes as little Pete; he starred in "Friday the 13th Part IV" that same year. And I actually really like Frances Lee McCain as Billy's mother Lynn; she's one of those moms you simply don't mess with. There's a particularly memorable scene where the gremlins are loose in her house, and she kills one by putting it in a microwave until it explodes.

The gremlin effects are really impressive; that's Howie Mandel doing the voice of Gizmo, and the great Frank Welker doing the voice of the main villain gremlin Stripe. The gremlins were made using animatronics and puppets, and it's such a joy to see effects like this. And there is actually plenty of character in these little creatures. They're not exactly evil (except with the possible exception of Stripe), they just want to have fun.

"Gremlins" is a film you can watch on Halloween as well as Christmastime, much like "A Nightmare before Christmas." There's this real Scrooge-like woman named Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holliday), and she's just plain unpleasant. Most of what she does is threaten Billy's dog and bark at people who are just trying to be decent; she even tries to throw a bucket of water on Christmas carolers, only to discover it's actually the gremlins. Do you think people like this just get up every morning and say to themselves, "I'm going to be horrible to everyone today"? I suppose it's satisfying to see the gremlins send her rocketing up the stair railing and crashing through the upstairs window, but I just don't see her as one of those "love to hate" characters like Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life." I just plain hate her.

Most of the problems I have with this movie are pretty small. It's a very entertaining watch, and well-made, as most of Steven Spielberg's productions are. But the storytelling is a little clumsy sometimes; there are a few characters, like Billy's co-worker Gerald (Judge Reinhold) as well as Pete, that seem like they're going to have fairly prominent roles in the story, but are then just shoved aside. There's also a really bizarre scene where Kate tells a story about how one Christmas Eve, her father fell down the chimney dressed as Santa Claus and's never mentioned again, so I don't know what that was all about.

The level of violence actually caused some controversy. The film was rated PG, so it attracted a lot of families, which included a lot of parents expecting something more family friendly, only to be met with something considerably darker. The same year saw the release of Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," which received similar backlash. Spielberg himself suggested a change to the MPAA ratings system, which came in the form of the PG-13 rating just two months after "Gremlins" came out.

I have my own views about what kids should and shouldn't be allowed to watch, but I'm not getting into that. This movie is a little more mature than a typical Christmas film, but there's still a sense of fun and innocence there. So feel free to watch it any time of the year you wish.
January 13, 2009
Good to see it again on DVD , pretty funny !
January 18, 2014
Slow beginning (13) TO OWN
January 16, 2014
I watched it as a comedy, but only later realized that it is likely that it was meant as a horror movie.
Miles K.
January 11, 2014
Great horror comedy filled with jaw-dropping effects and hilarious mischief, which manages to stay fun while making a sort of consumer culture statement. This fun little film inspired a sequel and a pack of knock-offs, none of which are as good as this film.
January 7, 2014
A clever and amusing movie, great for scaring kids and making even the most boring people laugh!
Casey  R.
January 5, 2014
The movie in the ridiculousness of the topic is very watchable and you end realizing hey that wasn't half bad.
July 23, 2013
Gremlins: horror-comedy film - Steven Spielberg as ex-producer, written by Chris Columbus and directd by Joe Dante. Starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates - the voice for the central character Gizmo was provided by Howie Mandel. Film also spawned a sequel Gremlins 2: The New Beach. Gremlins was made over budget of $11 million.

Set in small town of Kingston Falls during Christmas times - Zach's pa buys him Christmas present, named Gizmo from a Chinatown. Three precautions are to be follow a. no beating after the midnight b. no matter how much Gizmo cries, no water for him c. keep him away from light. Due to some mishap, Gizmo spawns multiple copies of itself.

Even with big names attached, Gremlins still follows low material. No doubt the film generated different other movies based on similar tone. Film might not have received this much popularity; had it not been setup in 'Christmas' evening. I watched this movie along with my nephews, but at the near end, I had fallen asleep, only to be awaken by kids. Critics probably were too much into then, worshiping Steven Spielberg, to even award films that fell to appease next-generation.
December 30, 2013
A Christmas classic. Amblin filmmaking at it's finest. Young Corey Feldman, an adorable muppet voiced by Howie Manel and Phoebe Cates. Need I say more? Well I will anyway. Definitely should be included in any 80's, creature feature, or Christmas movie marathon. In fact I think it's high time Hollywood revisits this franchise. Just keep it muppets though.
December 28, 2013
A classic horror comedy that combines brilliant creature design, B-movie writing and Johnny Mathis. Do you see what I see? I hope so!
Phil H

Super Reviewer

October 7, 2007
Probably one of the first horror comedies supposedly for all the family. Released back in 84 at a time when there was some incredibly stiff competition at the box office, namely 'Ghostbusters'. The film opens at Christmas in a typical small all American apple pie town blanketed under a layer of snow. My first thoughts when seeing this again was how similar this town square looked to the town square of Hill Valley in 'Back to the Future'.

Straight away you can't help but love the atmosphere this film is setting, the opening credits play out to Darlene Love's popular 1963 song 'Christmas', everything looks so cozy and charming as kids play in the snow. All this is of course after the more Spielbergian opening of how little 'Gizmo' gets discovered in Chinatown, a very 'Indiana-esque' look and feel about that whole sequence, you can tell its an Amblin production. Isn't that little Chinese boy wearing the same baseball hat as 'Short Round' from 'Temple of Doom'? or the same look perhaps?. Don't miss the Indiana Jones billboard nod at the start either.

I think the one thing that always stuck with me (and everyone else I'm sure) was the fact this film was actually pretty scary and dark. Considering it was a young persons film and advertised as just that it was edgy, I remember always hiding behind a cushion when watching this. The whole concept of little green monsters hiding under your bed or in the clothes cupboard is pretty terrifying for kids, its the stuff of bedtime legend, so this film really hit home in so many aspects at the time.

What still impresses today are the special effects, the cute lill Giz puppet is clearly just a puppet or advanced Muppet but geez it still looks good!. His huge round eyes, little snout, big floppy ears and that adorable little chirping voice of his. I don't think anyone can deny that little tune Giz whistles or hums is almost as iconic as the electronic sound from 'Close Encounters'...and downright lovable. But its the facial expressions we see on close ups that really impress me to this day, the way he rolls his eyes in loathing or looks frightened, the little guy still genuinely looks quite real.

'bright light! bright light!'

The same can also be said for the evil Gremlins and their reptilian appearance. These guys really do look scary and nasty, you know you wouldn't wanna get bitten by one of these guys. I also love how dated this film is, how un-PC it is. The Gremlins are clearly show smoking virtually all the time! drinking booze, getting drunk, smashing everything and even using lethal weapons including guns!. Can you imagine a kids film in this day and age showing stuff like that lol! this film could almost be seen as advocating yobbish behaviour and saying drinking, smoking and trashing property is fun. It really is quite the eye opener when you see some of the things these Gremlins get up to, you half expect to see them grunting away whilst mating on a table.

Never really understood how Mogwai seem to reproduce as they do, never explained. The idea is a bit silly really, just like the three rules. Water makes them reproduce, but why? how? from their back?? how do they drink or do they? surely this would be hard to avoid, plus wouldn't he be smelly and disgusting with all that fur?. They can't eat after midnight...that doesn't make much sense because that means he can never really eat doesn't it?. Oh and is Gizmo the only Mogwai left? you'd think there would be lots.

The film does has many levels or stages I think. The whole tranquil little snow capped town with all the townsfolk knowing each other does homage 'Its a Wonderful Life', they don't hide this though as its shown in the film. The grumpy and somewhat sadistic 'Mrs Deagle' is clearly a little homage to 'The Wizard of Oz' and the wicked witch character, she even says the same lines at one point. At some points the film is very humorous with silly Gremlin slapstick and tomfoolery, visual gags and overall light-hearted laughs that kids would enjoy. On the same note there are also many more points in the film where it does really get close to the bone. You get a quick hint of this early on when the professor gets killed or half eaten which is a tad unnerving.

The tone shifts from one end of the scale to the other quite dramatically, it can be a bit mind boggling. A good small example would be when the Gremlins are all in the bar drinking and smoking (its all good kids). There is much craziness going on which can be seen as light comedy but all of a sudden 'Stripe' whips out a gun and shoots a fellow Gremlin in the face!. This causes much laughter all round from the little critters but it does kinda get you thinking doesn't it, hey kids its fun to shoot people in the face haha no consequences accept for hilarity and drinks all round!.

The same could be said for the Gremlins attack on Peltzer's mum in the kitchen. I think this is the first really graphic attack sequence in the film, some quite nasty justice for the little terrors. The infamous microwave sequence, head in a blender, stabbed to death with a big knife and all rounded off with a decapitation into the fireplace!. The whole finale against Stripe is very dark too as this Gremlin is trying to kill 'Peltzer' is some pretty gruesome ways, no holding back here kids, chainsaw to the face!!.

I'm not even mentioned the depressing tale spoken by Cates character of why she hates Xmas, pretty bleak stuff right there. Then of course there's the excellent melting sequence of Stripe as he meets his demise right at the end. Much like the melting moments in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' that bit always had me half looking back in the day, twas cool but scary, I guess that's why us kids liked it back then. The sound effects made that scene so much more disgusting with all the bubbling and squelching, loved the dogs reaction too, that dog really jumped on many occasion in the film hehe poor fella.

Its corny and cliche but they don't make kids films like this anymore. I guess that could be a good thing because kids these days are exposed to so much stuff, but I suppose you could argue they wouldn't find it scary because they are more immune. Back in the day times were simpler and we didn't have all the tech stuff you have now so films like this really blew your mind and I think we enjoyed them more because of it. I think films like this felt more special because they looked real and gave you something you wouldn't normally see, no internet or CGI back then kids.

I always did like Hoyt Axton's (loved his performance and character) last few words in this film...'Well, that's the story. 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'. The thing is back then when you were a kid, you DID check in your clothes cupboard and under your bed before going to bed.
December 25, 2012
Set in christmas, but this is not your usual christmas spirit movie. Gremlins is a really fun flick with cute creatures that become evil if you break three important rules. Of course the hilarity starts when those creatures are unleashed. The tabern scene alone is pure comic genious. They like to make disasters, but also love to drink and play with guns. As I said, not your average holiday movie, but it´s definetely an entertaining classic.
November 18, 2007
This is one movie that pushed boundaries, considering it pretty much paved the way for the PG-13 rating back in the 1980s. Although it appears to be a cute little family film, it unexpectedly transforms into a wicked horror-comedy that is as silly, as it is sadistic. The very embodiment of the aforementioned Gremlins themselves. Maybe instead of watching another one of those old, tired, classic Christmas movies, you should probably pop this in and watch the chaos unfold while you bring in the holiday season. It's wickedly fun, for the whole family!
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