I didn’t watch Gremlins (1984) as a child. Now as I wait for the inevitable millennial bashing in the comments, Gremlins manages to present an amazing feeling of comfy Christmas attitudes with disgusting and disturbing imagery all in one neat little package. The story focuses on Billy (played by Zach Galligan) who receives a pet named Gizmo, they bond together until Gizmo’s abilities are revealed, unleashing darker and more mischievous monsters which are unleashed onto the town. I believe the most iconic moment of this film is summed up in one scene involving blood, yule tide joy, and suspense.
Throughout the start of the film we are shown wholesome imagery of the towns life, where everyone knows your name and always able to stop and chat. Even when Gizmo is revealed for the first time admit it, you wanted to buy one of those didn’t you? It’s all so cute and non-offensive, which contrasts to later when pretty much everything goes insane. What’s truly effective is that the dark tone slowly introduces itself, the first example I can think of is the character Mrs Deagle who basically threatens to murder Billy’s dog. She might as well have a sign around her saying “Not Cruella Deville”. The dark tone grows as we learn more about Gizmo, culminating to what is truly a unique scene, the kitchen scene.
If you had copied and pasted the opening to the kitchen scene, it would not look out of place. Billy’s mother feeling threatened by an intruder in her house sneaks around trying to find who is there until finally in fear discovering one of the gremlins skulking around in the kitchen. This leads to some of creative ways of killing these monsters off. One gets mulched in a blender, one explodes in the microwave, and the other… is brutally stabbed. You can even see it writhing in the background which is pretty dark but hey, that’s pretty much stating the obvious when earlier Mrs Deagle is catapulted through a window to her death.
What’s amazing about this scene is that the build up towards it was paced so well and when we finally get a reveal of what the monsters actually look like, then comes the time for the fight back to begin and boy is it something. I mean a gremlin attacks the mother disguised as a Christmas tree, if that imagery isn’t enough of a metaphor for the film then I don’t know what is.
The bottom line here is that now that this film is being re-released for home entertainment it’ll be a great opportunity to experience the film again or for the first time if you haven’t had a chance to see it. Just remember, don’t get the disc wet, keep it away from bright lights, and definitely don’t watch it after midnight… because you’ve got work in the morning, so best not to annoy the boss again.
The Iconic Moments Collection from On Warner Bros UK launches om 5th September 2016 which includes a packaged set of 22 titles of famous films from their catalogue.