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Gremlins

Joe Dante

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Can it really be a 35 years since Gizmo, Stripe and their anarchic offspring were immortalised in the pop culture psyche forever? Gremlins remains one of the darkest blockbusters in US movie history, and the sickest kids’ movie good old Stephen Spielberg ever loaned his name to: lest we forget, the malicious violence on display prompted the US ratings board to create the PG-13 rating and it was rated 15 here in the UK until as recently as 2012. Not that any of this stopped Gremlins from becoming one of the highest grossing films of 1984 of course, and a staple of many families’ yuletide viewing habits.

"A mischievous, subversive festive treat, no matter how old you are."

Working from a script by Chris Columbus (later to direct Home Alone and the first two Harry Potter movies), director Joe Dante transformed this tale of cuddly creatures who should never, ever be fed after midnight into a relentless live-action Chuck Jones nightmare, an anarchic roller-coaster ride that has aged beautifully. There are so many reasons to love Gremlins; while it gave us the adorable, musically-inclined Gizmo (surely one of the cutest onscreen creatures of all time), it is also a movie packed with genius (and gross) sight gags and that core of dark, dark humour; we’ve always loved Phoebe Cates’ jaw-dropping monologue concerning a family Christmas she’ll never forget.

A deliciously parodic blend of ‘50s-inspired creature feature, small-town American festive kitsch, ‘80s goodness (including an early film role for Corey Feldman) and heart-warming one-boy-and-his-Mogwai adventure, Gremlins is a mischievous, subversive festive treat.

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