GREMLINS — Strange Christmas Movies #3 (of 24)

For the days leading up to Christmas, Strangers and Aliens presents 24 Christmas movies that aren’t Christmas movies, but really kind of are, for various reasons.

gremlins#3 — Gremlins

What it’s supposed to be: horror comedy about cute little creatures that become murderous monsters, sort of Alien meets the Muppets

Why it’s a Christmas movie: Christmas is an important element for the setting, but even more-so for the plot! Gizmo, the cute little critter who spawns more cute little critters that turn into terrifying gremlins (because, of course, the original cute one can’t turn into an evil rampaging beast!), is what sets everything in motion. And Gizmo is a Christmas gift to the film’s protagonist, Billy.

He’s the PERFECT Christmas gift that Billy’s father was looking for.

Of course, he spawns a bunch of evil reptile-like creatures who terrorize the town and kill and maim and destroy. But he’s cute, and besides, Billy’s the one who broke the rules. Gizmo could’t help it. Gizmo’s just an animal, right? With no free will of its own beyond instinct, right? Okay, forget that in the end of the movie, Gizmo helps save the day through independent thinking and decision making. Billy broke the rules!

And now . . . Christmas is ruined.

Thoughts: I actually think this is one of those horror movies that inadvertently makes a stronger statement about morality than was intended.

Billy is given clear rules to follow. Billy has an “original sin” moment, and as a result, the consequences snowball out of control. Sin and its consequences are probably not what the filmmakers had in mind.

No, they were more interested in making you laugh at old ladies and small animals being tortured and murdered in ridiculous ways.

And it succeeds. It’s a black comedy, as they say, and its humor comes from the evil antics of the eponymous creatures.

So one one hand, we’re rotting for the good guys (Billy and Gizmo) to right their wrong; on the other hand, we’re laughing with the bad guys as they spread their mayhem.

Is It Naughty or Nice? Is this movie worth watching?

It all depends on your preferences and your mindset. For me, I’m not a big fan. When it came out, I was too young for my parents to allow me to see it (although I had a Gizmo toy and two Gremlins storybooks, so I knew the plot of the story). When I was old enough to see it, it was off my radar. And when I finally saw it as an adult, I already knew the story in basic broad strokes (from those story books I had as a kid), but I could appreciate the skill that went into the puppetry and filmmaking. It’s a well made film, but without the nostalgia, it didn’t capture me. The evil gags the gremlins pulled were executed well on the screen (pun intended), but not my thing. So my verdict is light, here, but I can see where people would render a “Nice” verdict.

Santa Ben’s Verdict: Naughty.

Your verdict? Let me know below in the comments!

Next: Iron Man 3

Previous: Jaws: the Revenge

You can follow this series of posts by clicking here: Strange Christmas Movies

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One response to “GREMLINS — Strange Christmas Movies #3 (of 24)”

  1. Jim Avatar

    I saw it in the theater in my late teens, so nostalgia should be a factor, but I still don’t really like the film. I had a problem with the logic of the “rules” meshing with any kind of biological or even magical system and like you, I was a little turned off by the black humor. There was never a moment that didn’t feel manipulative and unnatural. Both the cutesy moments and the dark moments seemed very contrived and intentional.

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