Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1984. Warner Bros., Amblin Entertainment. Screenplay by Chris Columbus. Cinematography by John Hora. Produced by Michael Finnell. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Production Design by James H. Spencer. Costume Design by Norman A. Burza, Linda Matthews. Film Editing by Tina Hirsch.
The perfect way to entertain the kids, a horror movie that isn’t too horrific. The bad guys in this film are never particularly evil, just incredibly rude and mischievous, and all the more fun for us. Zach Galligan plays an earnest teenage boy living in a small town that is undergoing an economic depression. When his inventor father returns home with a gift for Billy’s birthday, it turns out to be a furry little creature called a Mogwai that is very charming and fun (and can sing a beautiful tune!) but has three important rules: don’t feed it after midnight, don’t let it touch water, and don’t let it be touched by bright lights or sunlight. Try as he might to stay within the rules, Galligan makes a slip or two, and suddenly little Gizmo (as the Mogwai has been named) is sprouting furballs that turn into mean, pint-sized devils with mayhem on their mind. Tearing the town apart, the Gremlins trash bars, attack mean old ladies, and enjoy a screening of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs between jaunty raids. The filmmakers have done a fantastic job of making the little critters immensely likable, even at their worst, and the excellent puppet work has terrific character quality to it. The sense of humour has stood the test of time, and even the romance between Galligan and a very lovely Phoebe Cates is remarkably satisfying. A wonderful Christmas film with a totally bent sense of humour (I just love when Stripe defiantly dive bombs into the swimming pool, that alone is a long, hearty laugh).