Written by Melissa Allen, who you can follow on Twitter at @melissajournal
The 80s were perhaps one of the best decades for films. We were gifted movies like Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Aliens – and 1984’s Gremlins is no exception from greatness. As an era not short of silly, funny big screen offerings, this film fits that bill almost too perfectly. It may not be filled with action shots or gun fights – but that’s exactly why it’s so great – it’s a break from all that. That's why we're spotlighting Gremlins as our Film of the Week.
A father gets his son Billy (Zach Galligan) a rather odd present for Christmas – a Mogwai. Upon receiving this strange gift, Billy realises there are three rules he must abide by to keep his Mogwai, who is named Gizmo, safe and happy:
- Rule number one: Do not get the Mogwai wet.
- Rule number two: Do not feed after midnight.
- Rules number three: Do not expose to bright lights.
Despite Billy’s efforts to adhere to these rules, naturally things go wrong as he accidently gets Gizmo wet, creating a whole hoard of monsters... Gizmo begins to ‘give birth’ to a number of eggs, which contain what can only be described as ‘evil' Gremlins. Now, as you’d expect, the plot of the film is to sort out this problem of Gremlins in the quiet winter town Billy lives in.
The whole aura of this film is what sells it, however; the Gremlins and Gizmo are perfect contrasting characters as Gizmo’s shy yet adorable personality shines through and clashes perfectly with the monsters he himself (albeit accidently) created. The cheek of these fictional characters is SO entertaining, as they act pretty much like toddlers – making annoying sounds and hiding from you all the time!
Those Gremlin characters, particularly Spike who acts as the ‘boss’ of the horde, are phenomenal as, despite the film obviously having human leads and characters, it’s the villains and little Gizmo that steal the show. Their design and demeanor is something to really sink your teeth into.
The aspect of Christmas in this film may not seem like it adds a lot, but it makes the film more enjoyable – it almost grounds the film in a sense as it gives you a real event to ‘normalise’ the events going on. It also gives you a reason to watch a silly horror at Christmas!
The comedy matched with (very) minor horror or shock is also what makes this film the masterpiece it is. Funny, silly, cheeky and with a mild jump-scare here and there, this family-friendly flick is definitely worth the watch, as you’ll be both charmed and entertained by this fantastic extra-ordinary Christmas movie.