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Gremlins (1984)

September 9, 2009

3/10 Exercises in Irresponsibility

Man, this movie has not aged well.

Gremlins is about a kid who gets a cute, cuddly, alien-like creature called a Mogwai as a Christmas present from his dad who happened to find the little guy from the world’s shadiest back-alley voodoo shop on China. But as with most things you buy from voodoo shops in China, there’s a catch to the Mogwai. The catch is as follows: there are only three painfully easy rules you need to follow as owner of a Mogwai: 1) The Mogwai doesn’t like bright lights and direct sunlight can kill it; 2) Don’t get it wet, and; 3) For the love of God, whatever you do, don’t feed the little bastard after midnight.

Despite how nice this kid is, he’s apparently a freakin’ idiot and a horrible pet owner as he manages to allow all three of these things to happen within the first night or so of owning the Mogwai. Granted, Corey Feldman is responsible for getting it wet, but he didn’t know any better. Why the hell would you let Corey Feldman into your house to begin with? Again, kid’s a freakin’ diot.

So I guess this was supposed to be a horror comedy of sorts, but it’s not scary and it’s not funny. I don’t know if this was meant to be a satire or what, but geez, swing and a miss.

The movie starts out well enough being that the main Mogwai in question, Gizmo, is cool to watch even by 1980’s standards and of course you’re just waiting to see what happens when the kid acts a fool and breaks the only three rules he’s supposed to follow as Gizmo’s caretaker. So we learn pretty early on that the bright light thing just makes Gizmo spazz out, no big deal. Then it gets wet and starts spawning new Mogwai out its back for some reason, which is kinda cool. Then these Mogwai spawn manage to get some chicken wings fed to them after midnight…and the movie takes a hard nosedive down the shitter.

So the Mogwai get fed and turn into these things. One would think that the movie would take a horrifying turn, but instead it manages to avoid being at all scary in lieu of being overwhelmingly dumb as hell. Rather than have the new “evil” Mogwai start killing people and whatnot, they all decide to split up in two factions: the gremlins who are all freakin’ PSYCHED to stage a sing-a-long to Snow White at the local movie theater, and the gremlins who all decide to go to the local bar and get shitfaced while playing poker.

I was into this movie for a while, then this all happened and I found myself astonished at how quickly I decided to give this movie a 3 out of 10. It’d be one thing if it was funny, but I was pretty tempted to turn it off after a while.

I know this an ’80s cult classic or something, but then again, I think a lot of things from the ’80s seemed a lot better at the time than they actually were. The animatronics of the Mogwai are cool to watch, it’s got promise, and there’s a pretty decent scene where a Mogwai blows up in a microwave and another gets its head lopped off into a fireplace. But other than that, Gremlins is pretty shitty.

Worst. Present. Ever.

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