Almost Super: Gremlins
Almost Super: Gremlins
I have been without internet for a little while, but that hasn’t stopped me from watching movies and getting things ready for this site. I managed to find a wi-fi hotspot to upload this post, but I don’t have much time here today. I’ll be back in full force on Friday. I’ve also been wanting to start a new series for a while now. There are a limited number of superhero movies, and my goal of watching all of them is actually attainable, if still a few years away. So to help expand this blog a little bit, I came up with this series “Almost Super” so that I can feature other movies that I enjoy that still share some qualities of superhero movies without directly being one. In honor of being selected in this year’s Lammy awards under the Sci-Fi Horror banner I thought it would be a good idea to expand my horror repertoire a little bit. And what better fit for this site than a not-quite-typical horror movie. Gremlins is a much different type of horror, with creatures that could have easily been lifted off a comic book page and plenty of humor to back it up. And that’s why I selected it for my first edition of Almost Super.
So what is it about this movie that makes it almost super, and not something I would normally cover? First off, even though I could have sworn that at one point there was a spinoff comic book about these Gremlins, but the only thing I could find online was the Disney gremlins that had some old cartoons with Daffy and/or Bugs Bunny. There were some childrens read along records, which seem rather odd to me since this movie was rated PG, but it was definitely not a kids movie. But there are some real comic book elements to both the Mogwai and the Gremlins, they are very colorful and fantastic creatures. There are some rather interesting powers on display, and it’s hard to deny that Gizmo is the real hero of this movie.
I first watched this movie when I was around 8 years old more or less. I don’t remember too much about the situation of why I was watching it, probably the allure of the overwhelmingly cute Mogwai Gizmo. But it wasn’t a good idea for me to watch it at that age. I believe I enjoyed the movie, but while the scary moment of the movie might not have horrified me while I was watching it, they stuck with me for weeks afterwards, bringing on nightmares and a fear of the dark. Watching it as an adult now, I obviously don’t connect with the horror moments in the movie anymore, especially since they are rather few and far between. There are much more comedic and adventure elements, with horror kind of taking a back seat. I remember the sequel even further raising that gap, and honestly being the even larger reason for wanting to watch this movie, if only to get to the sequel.
The creatures of this movie are the real stars, with both the Mogwai and the Gremlins looking fantastic in almost every scene they are in. They are a mixture of stop motion animation and puppetry, and the only real weak points are some of the large crowd scenes which look a little choppy, yet still pretty impressive when you consider the sheer number of creatures moving in those scenes. The Mogwai look absolutely adorable just as much as the Gremlins look creepy, yet still have a slight charm to their mischief. Gizmo is something else, making I imagine thousands of people want one of their own.
It was a little weird throughout the movie that the Mogwai were constantly treated as a pet even though he showed many signs of much higher intelligence. Then there’s the oddness of the three important rules which I imagine everyone who’s seen this movie can remember. Keep them away from bright lights, especially the sunlight. Keep them away from water. Although I guess beer isn’t the same thing as water since there’s several Gremlins in the bar drinking beer with no multiplicative effects. And finally, never feed them after midnight. But how long after midnight? One hour? Two hours? Twenty hours? Do the Mogwai understand daylight savings time? But whatever, from the moment you hear the rules being given, you just know that every single one of them are going to be broken by the end of it But the question is of course, what actually happens when each of those rules are broken.
While this movie is considered a horror movie, if a comedic horror movie, there are still several elements of a horror movie. There’s the tide of creatures that are out for mischief and blood, causing not just destruction, but also a small handful of deaths. And of course there’s the famous gruesome scene in the kitchen, even though it’s the Gremlins that get the short end of the stick for the most part there. There’s really only one death scene that doesn’t have a hint of either comedy or at least absurdity, and that’s the very first death of the teacher. But then, you also never really see any of it. For an 8 or 9 year old, this would absolutely be considered a horror movie, but for most everyone else, it’s much more of a horror comedy, but still a really fun watch. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.
* Poster by Tom Whalen Illustration and Design