Friday, December 7, 2012

My Favorite Era: Gremlins (1984)

When it comes to Christmas movies, my tastes run a little differently than most.  Sure, on those winter nights you can pop in It's a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story but I have to say one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time is the 1984 Joe Dante/Steven Spielberg collaboration Gremlins.

I think pretty much everyone has seen the movie so a plot recap is sort of redundant (just in case, a bunch of monsters invade a small town around the holidays) so let's get to the fun stuff.
  • First off, I love that this film, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom are responsible for the PG-13 rating.
  • Front and center is the great direction by Joe Dante.  Dante has always been solid but here he really keeps things moving nicely and achieve a good balance between humor and horror.
  • Chris Walas contributes some great f/x with the cute Gizmo and the fantastically ugly gremlins that he ends up spawning. 
  • Hoyt Axton is quite warm and amusing as the inventor father.
  • Like the remake of The Blob, the opening credits give a fantastic sense of idyllic small town life...The perfect setting for a monster movie.
  • Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates are a likable couple as Billy and Kate in this flick.  I especially like Cates who at this point was at the height of her sheer cuteness.  She also gets one of the best moments with a darkly hilarious Christmas story.
  • Dick Miller is fun as always and happily, he has a little more to here than usual (and in the sequel which we'll get to later).
  • Polly Holliday is wonderfully nasty as the obligatory cranky old weirdo in town who hates pretty much everything.  It's quite satisfying when the monsters come for her.  On a similar note, I also get a kick out of Judge Reinhold as Galligan's smarmy supervisor.  Just an amazingly entertaining prick.
  • I love Billy's mother going to town on the gremlins in her kitchen.  It's just a gruesomely awesome sequence with the microwave bit being especially great.  The ensuing scenes of the little monsters wreaking havoc are also great.
  • Gotta love the awesomely gross climax where Stripe, the last gremlin standing gets a Dracula-esque death scene in the sunlight.
  • Jerry Goldsmith also contribute one of his more enjoyable scores with a great main title theme.
Gremlins is  a fun, cheerful, gross summer blockbuster that is one of the few horror comedies that actually works as both.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.