Never expose it to bright light, never get water on it, and never, ever feed it after midnight. These were the three rules that Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) couldn’t follow after his father, Randall (Hoyt Axton) bought him a strange new pet called a Gremlin. The pet was a Christmas present that soon turned into a nightmare.
Gremlins is a classic 80s movie directed by legendary horror filmmaker, Joe Dante. The genius behind cult classics like the original 1978 Piranha movie paired up with producer Steven Spielberg to create what is still considered one of the best movies of all time. Marketed as a Christmas horror-comedy, Gremlins is that type of movie that everyone can enjoy and get a kick of after almost thirty years.
Gremlins’ plot is simple. Boy gets pet, pet has rules, boy breaks rules, and hell breaks loose. A rather conventional plot that is twisted by two masters of cinema, the film transcends from a common cult flick to a box office phenomena. Grossing over $150 million dollars on an approximated $11 million dollar budget, Gremlins is a classic in every sense of the word.
The screenplay, which was penned by Chris Columbus, another 80s legend, is fast, funny, scary and satisfying, sometimes simultaneously. The characters are likeable, even the Gremlins themselves, who change from cute little house pets to malicious imps. The great part about them is their sense of humor. The evil incarnations of the Gremlins aren’t necessarily out for blood, but they do what they want, when they want it, usually with pretty hilarious results. From smoking cigars, to drinking copious amounts of alcohol, the Gremlins are just as bad as any common punk, except there are hundreds upon hundreds of them.
A sequel was spawned in 1990 entitled Gremlins 2: The New Batch. The film, which was also directed by Joe Dante, was entertaining enough, but failed to capture the magic and mayhem of the original by trying to be too much like the original, while also trying to convince itself that it was different.
There’s nothing like a classic, and a classic Gremlins is. It works as a Halloween movie as well, but deep down, you know exactly what Gremlins is all about, Christmas.
Bears Peanut’s Trees.
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