Gremlins (1984)

While trying to sell one of his crappy inventions to the owner of a Chinese junk shop, Rand Peltzer finds the perfect gift for his son Billy. It is a small creature that he has never seen before, but the owner refused to sell it.  His grandson knows that chedder will help his family, so he will set that little fuzzball. Before Rand leaves, the boy tells him three simple rules for caring for this mogwai (his lack of emphasis on the importance of these rules might come into question at a later date).  So Rand returns home to his small town with the creature in tow, whom he has named Gizmo, and presents it to his son who came very close to getting shit-canned at his job today.  Billy’s dad tell him the rules the boy told him: sunlight will kill it, don’t get it wet and don’t feed it after midnight.  It seems like caring for this creature is about as easy as having a fish, what could go wrong?

The next day Billy’s inappropriately too young friend Pete spills some water on Gizmo, and five new mogwais sprout off.  Thinking this a bit odd, Billy takes one of them to his science teacher, who replicates the accident; and now he has his own mogwai!  Billy quickly learns that the new creatures aren’t quite as nice and well-behaved as Gizmo, and frequently cause trouble; especially the one with a mohawk, whom he calls Stripe (who turns out to be a bit of an asshole).  An educated man in his early twenties is tricked by a pack of rodents into feeding them after midnight, and we soon learn that is pretty bad.  The soft fuzzy animals then turn into larger and meaner lizard type creatures who enjoy killing and breaking shit.  Billy’s mom is home alone when the new Gremlins hatch, and is forced to use every kitchen appliance at her disposal to defend herself.  She and Billy kill all of them except for Stripe who escapes.  Stripe is on his way to a place you can go when you’re short on your dough, and a place to hang out with all the boys; that’s right the YMCA.  He busts out a sweet cannonball into the deep end and creates an army of gremlins who proceed to tear this small town a new one.  Billy collects his girlfriend, Kate, and attempts to escape the town, but as the madness dies down they assume that the creatures are all together somewhere dark.  They are at the movie theatre watching Snow White, so Billy and Kate blow that bitch up, but Stripe escapes again into a department store.  Stripe is now armed with a chainsaw and a gun and aims to get into a fountain he has found and won’t take anymore shit from this Billy guy. Gizmo saves the day by opening a curtain and letting the light in which melts Stripe.  Soon the Chinese man from the store comes to collect Gizmo from the family.  It turns out that a man who lives in his parents attic and is best friends with a twelve-year-old might not quite be ready to own a pet.

Alex’s Thoughts: This will forever be one of my favorite movies, despite scaring the crap out of me when I was a kid.  I’m not even sure why I like it so much, I guess it just brings back fond memories of my childhood.  The movie itself still hold up really well after 25+ years, with much of that due to the great puppeteering and effects.  I think a teenager seeing it for the first time today would still enjoy it, but it probably depends on the kid.  It is a funny flick with just enough scares to keep you on your toes, and with one of the best ‘kill scenes’ in any movie (Mrs. Deagle’s chair flying out of the window).  It is a must watch Christmas time movie at my house.  Alex Rates This Movie 9/10

Tim’s Thoughts: There is no denying the greatness of this movie, and it just goes to show how “practical effects” can help make a movie timeless.  I have nothing bad to say about this movie, and the first time I hung out with my wife (not counting high school) we watched this movie, so it has even greater significance to me, but yes it still holds up, and don’t let anyone tell you that this isn’t a Christmas movie, because they are wrong. Tim Rates This Movie 10/10

 “You say you hate Washington’s Birthday or Thanksgiving and nobody cares, but you say you hate Christmas and people treat you like you’re a leper.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue

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