Closing out today’s portion of the Christmas in July blogathon is non other than my Ultimate 80s Blogathon co-host: Kim from Tranquil Dreams. Kim covers a wide arrange of topics on her site, from movies, to TV, to unboxings, to game reviews. She even co-hosts several podcasts over at That Moment In. She kind of does it all. Go check her site out because whatever your interests may be, chances are she covers it. Today, she stops by to offer her review of the 80 classic, Gremlins.
Director: Joe Dante
Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Corey Feldman, Polly Holliday
“A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.”- IMDB
Gremlins is not your typical happy happy joy joy Christmas movie. However, it is still part of a lot of Christmas movie lists because it is set during Christmas and our little guy down there, Gizmo was an exotic Christmas gift with the best intentions gone wrong. Except the fact that the effects are back in 80s and rewatching it makes it a little laughable, nothing else is wrong with Gremlins. I haven’t seen this movies since in the early 90s when I was a little girl. I can’t remember much of it or maybe I remember getting a little scared perhaps by the Gremlins. Rewatching it now is completely with fresh eyes.
Gremlins is a fun adventure. While it is something of a creature feature, it plays on a lot of adventure and technically the city being taken over for the night by essentially deadly and menacing kids. Gremlins are young and they are gangs and they pull off things like drinking in the bar or watching a movie at the theatre except exponentially blown up. Their creature design (while outdated), is pretty creepy and that is definitely the point here especially when we wonder how they suddenly mutated from cute little Gizmo fluff balls to the disastrous monstrosity just by eating after midnight. There’s a prominent message for the younger audience about respecting rules and taking care of the creatures in it, which they do mention at the end.
I’m sure at this point everyone knows it but to me, it was a surprise to see that the Mogwai had Chinese background, especially seeing the actual characters on the wall. Mogwai in direct translation is “Monster” and I had always wondered if there was a connection. It is a cool little tidbit that I cleared up in my mind.
On another note, while Christmas being overrun by monsters is kind of a scary thought, you can’t help but be amazed at how masterful this is done where there is a clear balance between fear and cute and funny. Always remembering to keep that balance and put in hints of Christmas from the Gremlins being carolers and the snowy cityscape. There are scary Christmas anecdotes from our characters as well. Not to mention Christmas lights as a tricksy trap and a few other bits here and there.
Gremlins is a true 80s gem. Not only because it can pass for a Christmas movie which is a plus. It embraces the 80s cheese from the dialogue to the style to our characters here. Obviously the effects are dated but it never takes itself too seriously so that we, as the audience, also can bond but also remember to have fun and laugh. It doesn’t have to be all horror and thrills, we can still breath a little.
A huge thanks to Drew for putting on this awesome Christmas in July Blogathon so that I can revisit a really fun movie!
Thanks, Kim! I’m glad I could give you the chance to check this out again.
As for her guest in hopes of meeting under the mistletoe at our totally awesome Christmas part is the son of Dirty Harry, Scott Eastwood.
Tomorrow, I close the the third annual Christmas in July Blogathon with my review of one of my all time favorite Christmas classics.