Krites! I love them, I adore them. I even think they’re cooler than the Gremlins. What am I saying? They’d swallow those gremlins up whole. Can the Gremlins get in to one huge gang bang of a ball and swallow up a man with a few bites? I think not. Granted, you have to love Gizmo, but the Krites are tops with us.
The chomping, munching, spiked puss bags oh how I miss you all. I’m proud to admit that I was around during the great Critters knock off fest of the late eighties. Back then everyone and their moms were trying to make their own Gremlins wannabes. For every minor success like “Ghoulies” there were many embarrassments like “Goblins.” Have you ever seen “Goblins”? It’s one of the most unwatchable movies about small monsters I’ve ever seen. And I happen to enjoy movies about miniature demons and spooks.
As a minor fan of the 1984 Spielberg fueled predecessor set during Christmas, I was subject to endure over a dozen movie franchises that dared to knock off the now iconic series and there were some hum dingers. From Troll to, to Munchies, to Ghoulies, nothing was off limits. One of my favorites though was Critters. Known as Krites in their native alien language, Krites are very much the critters knock off except with much more power.
One of them have the chomping capacity of over ten piranhas, and they have poison spikes that they shoot at their victims to disable them allowing more easy prey. Plus, like rats, they can pretty much chomp through anything and everything with their giant jaws and razor sharp teeth. They can also roll after you in to a ball like a deadly armadillo, like some “Sonic the Hedgehog” from hell’s depths. They resemble balls whenever they stalk someone in combat mode. In fact the movies were so low budget, that I think half the time the krites were actual balls that someone threw at the actors off-screen.
I call this article to the attention of the reader because I’ve often wondered why New Line Cinema never rebooted or remade this series before. Many a day I spent watching the Krites wreak havoc in mid-west America in WPIX in New York. It was an innocent time, a time where I grew fond of the Critters. I grew even fonder toward them than their trend setting granddaddies the Gremlins. Those fantastical demons that birthed from the backs of their kind being the Mogwai.
For the uninitiated, “Critters” is about a marooned species of monster called Krites who land on a farmhouse and begin to wreak havoc on a stranded family who fight the monsters, trying to beat them while living to see the new day. On their tracks are two destructive alien bounty hunters. The 1986 monster film directed by Stephen Herek may not have been an all out masterpiece but it definitely seemed to pave the way for future Gremlins knock offs that would paint the screen and even become its own sub-genre at one point.
But for all of the purported blame that goes to “Critters” being a wannabe, it’s a shame there was never anything beyond the apartment dwelling third film in the series. Because the Krites were ripe with potential to wreak havoc in any locale and be able to thrive as a species among the hapless small town citizens. While part one is where the carnage began, part two is the crescendo where the series peaks, a bonafide masterful schlockfest that ponders on the idea of a man in a bunny suit getting his nuts chomped off.
Deep down, “Critters” feels very much like the sequel that “ET” was once going to have. Wherein ET went back home, there were going to be a planned troop of evil ET’s that would land on Earth in the planned follow-up. “Critters” feels like that plan fully realized. Except the Critters are less ET, and more mutant wolverine’s with an infinite appetite. There is of course the whole small town aspect from the Spielberg film, and there is a young boy looking to bond with another world. There’s even a moment where a Krite shreds an ET doll to pieces.
I think with a much larger budget, “Critters” could have been its own iconic moment in the science fiction alien boom of the eighties. But as it stands it’s still pleasantly B grade Science fiction schlock I’ve seen more times than its more successful blockbuster daddy. I would kill for a reboot of some kind with a larger budget and a great mixture of puppets and CGI. I’d also delve more in to the backgrounds of the Krites. Are there docile Krites? Are they spiky or furry? Are the Krites just rabid pets or its own species?
Is there an entire planet where they come from? What do they eat when they’re not eating humans or animals from Earth? How do they pro-create? Is it possible to tame the Krites? Is there a queen Krite somewhere? And can they adapt to literally any situation they’re put in to? Were they engineered as weapons? Are they an accidental species? Do they have a conscience? Do they have remorse? Or Empathy? Would they eat each other if they’re hungry enough?
These are the pressing issues that I think warrant at least two more movies for fans of this series. I beg Hollywood, please, get up off your cans and get to a restart, since there are still fans out there like me willing to shell big bucks for a look at someone getting their nuts munched on or rolled over by a mega krite. Make it so.