Joe Dante’s 1984 masterpiece “Gremlins” is that perfect hybrid of a movie and culture milestone that appeals to horror fans, and fans of Amblin and Spielberg. It influenced a whole sub-genre of monster movies, and serves a wonderful purpose as a Christmas movie and a horror movie. It’s also a perfect bit of gateway horror for blossoming fans that want to ease in to what kind of heights this genre is capable of. There are also the hallmarks of Dante’s films from the chaos and terror implanted in to the suburbs, and the always great Dick Miller.
An inventor arrives at a small shop in Chinatown, attempting to sell his new gadget, and discovers a mythical creature in a box known as the Mogwai. After the shopkeeper refuses to sell it to him as a gift for his son Billy, he buys it from the shopkeeper’s grandson with a few stipulations. One: never get the Mogwai wet, two: keep it in the dark, and three: never ever feed it after midnight. In the small town of Kingston Falls during Christmas, Billy’s dad gives him the Mogwai stressing the rules to him. Naming the cute creature Gizmo, Billy bonds with it but after an accident with a glass of water, Gizmo spawns copies of himself.
Sadly, his offspring are not as kind as he is, and begin to mutate in to deadly green monsters that begin wreaking havoc on the small town. Now Billy must stop the monsters before they spawn uncontrollably. “Gremlins” is still a great film, even almost four decades after its initial release. It’s clear to see why it’s still so influential to this day, as its creative premise opens up a mythology that still hasn’t been widely explored. The puppetry is still top notch with the Gremlins posing as formidable movie villains that are relentless and murderous, while Gizmo is still an incredibly mascot for the series.
Paired with the voice work by Howie Mandel, he’s an icon that the studios would be foolish not to include in the planned reboot. If anything, the movie suffers from its somewhat vague guidelines involving the Mogwai and never quite explains what happens if Gizmo eats after midnight. Could Gizmo transform in to an evil monster, too? That’s a mere nitpick though, as “Gremlins” is still a genre classic that hasn’t aged a bit, and that’s thanks to Joe Dante’s near timeless direction. It warrants immediate viewing for any self respecting horror aficionado.
The 35th edition is an improvement over the arguably inferior release from 2009 with finer details in picture, and a sharper much better presentation overall. The DTS HD Master Audio is still here from the original Blu-Ray release.
The Making Of is a fun if short archival feature showcasing director Joe Dante, producer Steven Spielberg, and actors Hoyt Aston, Phoebe Cates, and Zach Galligan. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous. – Making Gremlins is an extensive retrospective on the film that explores the making of the movie, the creation and will serve as a great bit of fodder for folks that want to know everything about this movie. Hanging with Hoyt on the set of Gremlins is a very short skit with Hoyt Aston messing around on camera while they were filming the EPK.
From Gizmo to Gremlins: Creating the Creatures is a fun segment with Chris Columbus, who discusses how he created, conceptualized, and drew the gremlins for the film. Included are motion Comics: Gremlins – The Gift of the Mogwai – and Gremlins – The Last Gremlin, a pair of motion comics that mainly recap the film in truncated versions. There’s a ten minute collection of Additional scenes, all of which are cut scenes from the film; there are optional commentaries included by Joe Dante. Finally there’s the original Theatrical Trailer for “Gremlins.” The new release from Warner comes packed with the updated 4K UHD release, the Blu-Ray, and the Digital Copy for consumers.