Munchies (1987)

munchiesI’m shocked New Concorde wasn’t sued by Steven Spielberg, since “Munchies” is about the closest rip off of “Gremlins” I’ve ever seen. While previous wannabes were just copying the formula of mischievous and often dangerous monsters wreaking havoc, “Munchies” goes so far as to copy the aforementioned horror fantasy right down to the monsters, all of whom bear striking resemblances to the enigmatic gremlins. Aimed toward a younger audience, but sporting a lot of raunchy humor, “Munchies” is set in a small town where young aspiring comedian Paul and his archaeologist father Cecil (Harvey Korman) find a small monster in a cave. Convinced it’s an alien of a sort, they take the friendly monster home and decide to make it their pet.

Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t name it “Cog” or “Gear” to mimic the name “Gizmo.” Instead the friendly creature is named Arnold. When Cecil leaves town to appear at an exhibit, Paul is tasked with caring for Arnold. Things go awry though when Arnold is kidnapped by Paul’s evil uncle Simon (Harvey Korman playing a duel role in a flimsy black wig and mustache), a land baron who is hiding toxic waste in his town’s underground caves. When Simon’s henchman is attacked by Arnold, he cuts the monster up in four pieces. Little does he know that when the monster is cut in to pieces, the pieces transform in to their own monsters, allowing Arnold to duplicate in to fanged, devious little monsters hell bent on wreaking havoc.

Now Paul and his girlfriend are trying to track down the various munchies monsters, and corner them in an underground mine. The Munchies themselves are a variety of hand puppets dolls, all of whom inexplicably wear trench coats. It’s a tricky way to hide the puppeteer hands. In either case, much of “Munchies” seems like it’s trying to mimic “Gremlins” big time without any of the considerable violence or menace. So the movie is very light hearted and bright, while the Munchies monsters never really shed blood of any kind. Even when biting in to victims, it’s strictly a PG affair. “Munchies” is a very flat and uninspired “Gremlins” rip off that’s barely worth discussing even with the presence of Korman, while the monsters themselves are awfully dull, and never make too much sense.

Frankly the Ghoulies are so much more interesting copycats.