GREMLINS doesn’t really hold up well. It’s desperately dated in its special effects, but it’s also fairly dated in its attitude to its characters. Family dynamics and young romance are also treated with relative juvenility.
Yet, GREMLINS is an interesting benchmark for its efforts at combining horror, humor, and puppetry. Although nothing really terrifies, there is a legitimate edge and grotesqueness to some of GREMLINS’ moments (microwaved monster anyone?) that call for some pause now, much less 30+ years ago.
GREMLINS was notably a film in the middle of the 1980s’ push to market films to the teen crowd. GREMLINS was an important non-Star Wars, non-Indy box office success that contributed to a new age in North American rating systems, brand-marketing, and merchandising.