106 min., 1984
Written by Chris Columbus
Directed by Joe Dante
My rating: ★★★★★
A great, but incredibly dark family film!
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The movie begins with Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) going to a little, and very hidden, shop. He is looking to promote his new invention, the Bathroom Buddy. While he is plugging the product he hears a strange sound. He checks it out and it’s a creature called a Mogwai. He ends up buying it, but behind the man who runs the shops back. He is told that there are three rules to take care of it. 1) Keep it out of bright light, especially sunlight cause it will kill it. 2) Don’t get it wet. 3) And this is the most important rule don’t feed it after midnight. We then switch to his son, Billy (Zach Galligan), who works at the local bank in the town of Kingston Falls with his friend (and secret crush) Kate (Phoebe Cates). We also meet the bitch of the town, Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holiday), another of Billy’s friends, Pete (Corey Feldman), his two neighbors, Murray (Dick Miller) and Sheila (Jackie Joseph) Futterman and Billy’s mom Lynn (Frances Lee McCain). Randall brings the Mogwai, now named Gizmo, and Billy loves him. After a little accident involving some water (which causes a Mogwai to multiply) some evil versions of Gizmo are created. They also trick Billy into feeding them after midnight (which causes a Mogwai to change into a Gremlin), and that’s when the shit hits the fan.
The cast of the movie is just excellent and there isn’t a weak link in the chain. At the top of the pile is Phoebe Cates. She is great! In the beginning his is extremely sweet, but towards the end the sadness that the character feels comes pouring out. Really great! The other stand out is Frances Lee McCain who plays Billy’s mother. She is so awesome! Ripley can go home because this is really a badass mother. The character shows very little fear when experiencing all the craziness that is going on. Instead of running away or hiding, she shoves one in a mixer, another in a microwave and stabs the shit out of another. That is one tough (yet incredibly kind and loving) woman and Frances pulls it off without a single hitch.
The effects of the movie are just great. Most of the effects have aged extremely well. The best are the Gizmo effects. They are still some of the best creature effects I’ve ever seen.
This is still a great movie and everything (well almost everything) has aged great! The most surprising thing about the movie is just how dark it actually gets. Overall it is a very family friendly movie, but there are just times where it drops into the realm of dark and disturbing. As I stated before, mom takes out three of them in some actually gruesome ways. Another gets it’s head loped of and then it burns up in the fire (while it’s still screaming). People are killed and then silly and fun music plays. Santa comes out covered in Gremlins and has they are finally killing him one of the Gremlins laughs Ho, Ho, Ho. Then there is the extremely depressing story told by Kate. I mean holy shit! That is one of the most depressing stories I think I’ve ever heard in my life. This is a very dark movie. It’s still a great movie and if you kids can handle some dark moments, then this is a great Christmas movie.Have You Read...?