Gremlins ★★★★

First of all, a Merry Christmas to all of you. Hope it was everything you'd hoped it to be and more.

Anyway, this was surprisingly enough a first-time watch for me. With the season upon us, I felt the time to finally give this a look would be more than appropriate. Joe Dante's Gremlins easily would have to rank upon the director's best work to date, a hilariously wild black comedy and one of the most batshit crazy creature flicks ever.

Its Christmas in small-town Kingston Falls, as Billy Peltzer is brought home a mysterious gift from a Chinatown store by his aspiring inventor father Randall. The gift in question turns out to be 'Mogwai', probably the cutest little bugger you've ever seen. That is of course, until Billy's new pet Gizmo (due to a lack of responsible understanding of the creature on Billy's part) accidentally unleashes a horde of them that eventually transform into hideous gremlins bent on only one thing, complete and utter destruction.

Well, what about these gremlins? I'll just say that you'll never find a more destructive bunch of little shits in a film. Brought to life by the SFX work of Chris Walas, they cackle, destroy and even sometimes kill their way through the town with plentiful glee. I especially love how Dante attempts to inject some personality into them beyond just having them create havoc everywhere they go. Their mischievous little antics, such as playing cards, welding guns or even watching Snow White at a local movie theatre will have you laughing at them as well as loathing them.

I also feel this is the first time that Dante really puts his creative flair to full use. He recognises the outright insanity of Chris Columbus' script and lets the camera go wild with his usual blend of horror and comedy. Are there scary moments? Sure, but the Amblin/Spielbergian and level of slapstick mayhem overcome those, so I'd hardly consider it a "horror" film in the truest sense. Oh yes, and it's not short of the festive spirit either, quite the opposite of it in fact as Kingston Falls shines through the Christmas lights and snowfall.

From a casting standpoint, Zach Galligan is credible in the lead role as Billy, so it's kind of odd to see how he didn't go on to do much else. Meanwhile, a young Corey Feldman (as Billy's younger brother Pete) is always good to see, while Dick Miller is always a national treasure. And as per usual, Jerry Goldsmith's scoring work is nothing short of brilliant, helping to give Gremlins the level of wacky atmosphere it deserves.

All in all, an entertaining as hell romp that I feel deserves the following it has. It's the exact kind of movie that's just concerned with having a good time, and I feel it achieves just that. Why it took me so long to watch, I'm not sure. Maybe it's because the little bastards keep crashing Letterboxd all the time.


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