For Horror and Halloween addicts like myself, Christmas always comes too fast after October and dominates everything. You can’t go outside without being bombarded by Christmas lights and cheerful holiday melodies. TV is no help with all its holiday programming taking over before the Thanksgiving Turkey even comes out of the oven. If your like me all this good cheer can get old and you need some alternative holiday viewing. To help I’ve decided to put together some reviews of my favorite holiday horror films to chase away the Christmas blues. First up is on my list is Gremlins!
Having not seen Gremlins since I was a kid I had kinda forgotten that the movie takes place on Christmas eve. For the uninitiated Gremlins is about, well gremlins. They start out cute and furry but if you don’t follow the rules they can get ugly real fast. The rules are just about one the most poorly thought out plot devices I’ve seen in a movie but hey it was the 80’s man. Rule number one, they don’t like bright light. Rule Number 2, don’t get them wet. I should mention that if you do get them wet they spontaneously and instantly reproduce! I think there’s probably a lot of loopholes to this rule. What if they dribble some soda out of their mouth? How do they clean themselves if they can’t get wet? Will their own saliva result in a reproductive orgy? If that wasn’t dumb enough the 3rd rule takes the cake: Don’t feed them after midnight. How does the biological system of a Gremlin’s body know its after midnight or not? And since the the gremlins originated from China does that mean you have to account for the time in China or do they adjust based on the time zone?
Moving on. Randall Peltzer, a hack inventor, decides to buy his son Billy a gift for Christmas while in China. The gift is a cute little animal called a mogwai. The old man who owns the mogwai doesn’t want to sell it to him but the old mans grandson sneaks out with the little critter and sells it to Randall. Reciting the 3 inane warnings Randall goes on his way with his new pet. All starts out well when he returns home and everyone loves the new little pet which they name Gizmo. But they break the first rule and get him wet which results in a bunch of little babies popping out of his back that subsequently grow to the same size as Gizmo in just seconds. Not only that but they’re intelligent and can speak bits of English in cute ways almost immediately.
The new batch of Mogwai are a devious bunch. Let by the mysterious mohawked one name Stripe they plot to fool Billy into feeding them after midnight. Which he does which results in them becoming reptilian-like Gremlins. Billy’s Kill happy mother manages to wipe out all the gremlin except for that clever and devious Spike, who escapes and heads straight to the YMCA to hatch up some friends. The army of Gremlins basically massacres most of the town in an orgy of Christmas violence.
Billy and the very very hot Pheobe Cates manage to blow up all the Gremlins while they watch Snow White at the local cineplex. However once again Stripe escapes and manages to cause even more havoc at a local department store where Gizmo gets to shine and save the day finally wiping out Stripe once and for all.
Somehow Billy and his family are never held accountable for having a pet that multiplies, turns vicious and murders half the townspeople in one night. In fact even when the old man returns to get Gizmo back he seems nonchalant about the carnage and is more upset that Gizmo has been taught to watch TV. Talk about priorities!
For all the ridiculousness of this movie and its concept it was still a great movie when I was a kid. It scared the crap out of me and made me want my own Gizmo bad. In fact I had a Gizmo doll for a long time after I saw the movie. Looking at it today it hasn’t aged to well and the concept, which was dumb before, seems even worse now. But its still a fun movie and good if your looking for some alternative holiday viewing.
6 out of 10