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Monday, December 01, 2014

Movie Review:Gremlins

Premise:A bunch of mischievous creatures wreak havoc in a town.

Cast:Zach Galligan as Billy Peltzer, Phobe Cates as Kate Beringer, Hoyt Axton as Randall Peltzer, Keye Luke as Mr. Wing, Polly Holliday as Ruby Deagle, Dick Miller as Murray Futterman, Frances Lee McCain as Lynn Peltzer

Director:Steven Spielberg

MPAA Rating:PG

Genres:Fantasy, horror

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards.

Pros:Adorable creature. Chaos factor. Fair special effects.

Cons:Plot holes and conveniences. Some cartoon-y characters and situations. A couple of bloated scenes.

If there ever was a better PSA against owning exotic pets, I'd love to see it.

Even during the freaky moments, there are cartoon-y overtones to it. A couple of characters also have that nature to them, namely Mrs. Deagle and Mr. Wing. The former is a Scrooge-style villain with no depth and ultimately no bearing on the plot. The latter comes off as a somewhat racist stereotype and a mystical foreigner who gets preachy during his brief appearances.

For a movie that came out in the eighties, the special effects are still surprisingly good. Also the Mogwai are adorable. Until the big part that is. Then the movie turns into a holiday horror story. And it works well.

There are some parts of the plot that make you think "well that's convenient" or "that doesn't make sense." First, there's the after-midnight rule. Exactly when does it stop being "after midnight" and you can feed them again? Also, Kate just so happens to be working in the bar where Billy was, which later serves as a plot point of sorts. And why didn't the "don't get them wet" rule not come into play during the bar scene?

Overall, it might be worth watching on a movie night.

Sex:Couples kiss. Billy changes his shirt in view of the camera. There's a minor romance going on between him and Kate. A different guy asks Kate out, but she turns him down. A gremlin flashes someone (there's no real nudity, though).

Violence:Just remember this is one of the two movies that inspired the PG-13 rating. A girl tells a story about her father breaking his neck trying to copy Santa Claus and how they pulled his body from the chimney. She adds this is when she learned Santa isn't real. Someone references wrist cutting and suicide rates skyrocketing around Christmas.
Gizmo screams when he gets wet. Gremlins cut the brakes on a car, send a woman crashing through a second-story window and into the street, attack a different woman in her kitchen, get tossed into kitchen appliances (spraying green gore all over), string up a dog with Christmas lights, and chase someone with a plow. More generally, they bite and scratch people, throw things around, trash buildings, crash cars, and otherwise cause chaos and destruction. People stab, blow up, microwave, burn, melt, and otherwise bring harm to the little monsters. Several of their deaths are shown onscreen and get a little gory. A theater explodes.
A woman tells Billy she'll kill his dog slowly and painfully if she gets her hands on him. At one moment, the dog jumps on her. Gizmo falls and hits his head. Stripe shoots another Gremlin with a gun and tries to shoot Billy and Gizmo. He does hit Billy with a ball launcher and a dart, then runs at him with a chainsaw. A corpse is found (it's not graphic). Gizmo is hung up on a dartboard. Someone cuts a lit Christmas light string with a pair of scissors. A Gremlin sticks his fingers in a bulb socket. Another eats a glass tube.

Drugs/Alcohol:Scenes take place in bars. The Gremlins drink and smoke, as do people. Kate cuts a guy in the bar off and convinces him not to drive home. When Billy tries to warn the sheriff and deputy about the Gremlins, they ask if he's drunk. They themselves are drinking though (and one is told he can't drive because of it). Someone tries to light a cigarette for a Gremlin.

Language/Insults:"H*ll" is used the most, followed by "G*d"and "d*mn" (both together and separately). There's also usage of "crap", "a**hole", "putz" "J*sus", and "Chr*st".

Gross stuff:Gremlins explode into green slime and gore. They're changed in gross looking cocoons and just as disgustingly hatch. There's a close-up of Mogwai (Mogwais? What's the plural?) eating chicken with their hands. Stripe blows his nose on a curtain and spits at Gizmo. A different Gremlin yanks on its own snot. Yet another sneezes on a fellow Gremlin. Much less disgusting is Mom's wish that Gizmo is housebroken.

Spiritual:Mr.Wing gives off mystical vibes, as does his shop. Nuns and a priest make brief appearances. Christmas carols (some religious) are sung. When Kate says she doesn't celebrate Christmas, Billy asks if she's Hindu or something.

So what did you think?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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