We are continuing the October Horror Binge here at EYG Doc’s Classic Movies Reviewed and now we come upon a horror/comedy classic from the early 1980s, Gremlins.
When inventor Rand (Hoyt Axton) purchases a cute, fuzzy creature called a Mogwai from a Chinatown store, he is given strict advice. “Don’t expose him to bright light. Don’t ever get him wet. And don’t ever, ever feed him after midnight.”
Well, it is not long before Billy (Zach Galligan) has broken all three of these rules and the result? The Mogwai, that the family has called Gizmo, starts to multiply. And the results are not near as war and fuzzy as Gizmo.
My memory of seeing this movie originally when I was young was that I was not very thrilled by it. In fact, I seem to remember even not liking the movie. It has probably been over thirty years since I saw this movie and, while my opinion sometimes varies on some films, unfortunately, I had the same reaction to Gremlins that I did when I first saw it.
I was unimpressed.
I will say that I liked the practical effects of the movie. There is no way we would get something like this today. Today’s version would be full of CGI and special effects that would make the Gremlins feel more real and less special. The cuteness of these little creatures more than made up for any lingering problems with practical effects.
The rest of the film was not great. There was a forced story for side characters, including Phoebe Cates. There was a horrific role for Polly Holliday (Flo from the Alice TV show) who appeared to be playing the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz.
Hoyt Axton did voice over at the very beginning and at the very end of the movie and it felt out of place after seeing the entire film.
Sure there were some cute moments and the Gremlins are imaginative, but the human characters are lacking and the story itself is simplistic. I found myself bored by much of the movie and it reinforced my first impressions of Gremlins all those years ago.