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  • Gareth Crook

Gremlins (1984) - 6/10

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

Revisiting childhood favourites can be perilous. Billy’s father Randall (Hoyt Axton, great name), a luckless inventor, buys his son a new pet for Christmas. A cute furry little thing with big ears and big eyes, from a stereotypically offensive old Chinese man, with the warning not to get him wet, not to let him near sunlight and don’t, I repeat don’t feed him after midnight... “with Mogwai comes much responsibility”. Billy (Zack Galligan) lives in small town idyllic America. Works at the bank with his sweetheart Kate (Phoebe Cates) and is generally a bit downtrodden with a crap car that won’t start in the winter. There’s not much weight to Gremlins it must be said. It takes a lot longer to get going than I recall too and there’s a lot of saccharine schmaltz. When Gizmo the Mogwai gets wet though and multiples, well Randall thinks his fortunes might be changing, “Everyone in America will want one of these”. Obviously he’s very much mistaken. Billy is crap at sticking to the rules. We know sunlight kills them. Water makes them multiply... but the twist is the midnight snacks. From here on in, it adheres much more to a classic creature feature. With the evil little bastards running amok in what has to be said is a nonsensical plotless montage of puppet chaos. The kitchen scene is still great. Gremlin killed in the foodmixer, gremlin killed in the microwave. Gremlin’s head sliced off with a sword and into the fire. But it wears thin fast and I’m afraid it does drag a little. It’s not crap. The story line is a bit basic, but it does still work and it is funny. The gremlins look fantastic, an undeniable charm to it all being shot for real before our screens became overrun with CGI. It’s not as good as I remember as a kid though. Take out the puppetry and there’s little to appreciate. Still, Gizmo is very cute, “Bright light, bright light!”



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