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GREMLINS (1984) ****

Gremlins was a huge part of my childhood. I saw the movie multiple times in the theater, I had all the toys, and a complete set of the trading cards. Heck, this is also the movie that taught me that there was no Santa Claus. It’s definitely one of my all-time favorite movies and it remains a tradition to watch it every year around Christmastime.

Everyone knows the story. Zach Galligan gets a pet Mogwai, Gizmo for Christmas. He’s told the three rules to owning a Mogwai: Keep him out of the bright light. Don’t get him wet. And whatever you do, don’t feed him after midnight. Well… of course he gets Gizmo wet and he multiplies. Then they feed them after midnight and they turn into Gremlins that wreak havoc on the town.

Gremlins is pitch perfect from start to finish. Not only does it work as terrific Spielbergian 80’s entertainment, but also as a black comic deconstruction (or should I say, DESTRUCTION) of a Norman Rockwell/Frank Capra idyllic Christmas. Director Joe Dante balances the laughs with the scares expertly. Take for instance the scene where Gallagan’s mom is attacked by Gremlins. It’s one of the greatest sequences in the history of cinema. From the use of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, to the Gremlin in the mixer, to the exploding Gremlin in the microwave, this scene is just balls to the walls fun.

There are several other memorable scenes. Who could forget the immortal hypodermic in the butt scene? Or the scene where the Gremlins ram a tractor through a house? Or when they take over a theater playing Snow White? And who could forget that excellent Jerry Goldsmith score?

The special effects by Chris Walas are amazing. Gizmo is cute, cuddly, and adorable while Stripe and his Gremlin minions are fucking kick ass. They’re definitely one of the most memorable monsters in screen history. And the final melting scene is pretty spectacular.

The cast is flawless. Galligan is an ideal hero. He has a good knack for interacting with Gizmo, which helps sell the puppet and makes him seem real. Hoyt Atkins is also great as Galligan’s dad and some of his inventions (like the juicer) are priceless. We also have Phoebe Cates, looking all kinds of hot giving one of the most memorable monologues in screen history. Also in the cast are Keye Luke, Judge Reinhold (the same year as Beverly Hills Cop), Corey Feldman, Polly Holliday, and the ever awesome Dick Miller.

What else is there to say… Gremlins is the Numbero Uno movie on The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of 1984 list.



Tomorrow’s Horror Franchise Movie: Gremlins 2: The New Batch.

Comments

( 4 comments — Comment )
(Anonymous)
Oct. 24th, 2011 03:58 am (UTC)
Is that you in the pic?
nt
thevideovacuum
Oct. 24th, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
Re: Is that you in the pic?
Yeah, I met Zach at Monster Mania this year. Totally cool guy with tons of stories. Plus he can do a killer Dice Man impersonation.
darksteel6
Oct. 24th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Is that you in the pic?
It's a real shame Galligan's career never really took off, he was prety impressive in the supporting roles he's played for films like Cyborg 3, Storm Trooper, Ice, Raw Nerve, G-Men From Hell, Legion Of The Dead, Infested, and Warlock Armageddon.

BTW, do you have any plans to review the Critters's films?
thevideovacuum
Oct. 24th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Is that you in the pic?
I actually have Part 1 but since I couldn't find any of the sequels for cheap I'm not going to make it part of Horror-Ween. I may get around to reviewing it in the near future though.
( 4 comments — Comment )

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