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Back in 1984, a film was unleashed on an unsuspecting world that would change the face of Yuletide forever. Well, maybe that sounds a little dramatic, but it’s no exaggeration to say that the misadventures of Billy, Gizmo and the titular little green harbingers of doom took the Christmas movie into previously unchartered waters. So, if you’re wondering what’s so special about it, or just can’t wait to be reminded, here’s why Gremlins is essential viewing.
1. There’s a moral (or two) to the story
If you’ve ever wanted to know why it’s not really a good idea to give pets as Christmas presents, then Gremlins will give you an idea. Okay, what unfolds in the movie would be a very harsh way to learn a lesson, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a mogwai under the tree this year, but the whole thing does at least go to show that you shouldn’t take what isn’t yours.
2. If it’s an alternative Christmas movie you’re after, look no further
As previously mentioned, the festive film broke new boundaries with the release of Gremlins. It virtually invented the alternative version to the traditional fairytale endings, jolly Santas, etc. Before 1984 it was all Holiday Inn and It’s a Wonderful Life, but now we can all enjoy horror comedy of the blackest kind set against a backdrop of snow.
3. It’s a rather good advert for not making rehashes and sequels
Can anyone imagine this being remade today? Nope, me neither, and if you’ve yet to sample the delights of Gremlins, you’ll see why. Anything remotely connected to CGI, stop-motion, or any of that kind of nonsense, would erase the very essence of its fiendish charms. Besides which, the puppeteering lends itself beautifully to the spirit of the film, ie, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. On the subject of sequels, Gremlins 2: The New Batch is nowhere near the standard of its illustrious predecessor.
4. It’s a great example of 80s film comedy
Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off are all gems of the genre, but Gremlins arguably tops even this illustrious lot. Gags and sarcasm by the bucketload, plus enough thrills and spills to occupy the most childish of minds, also means that, like Slade‘s Merry Christmas Everybody, it’s still as fresh and funny as it’s always been (but nowhere near as annoying).
5. Watch them finally meet their maker
Whatever that is/was. Yes, I know I’ve been singing their praises throughout this article, but when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go! And let’s face it, who doesn’t like a bit of divine retribution? I mean, they did try to kill the family dog as well as Gizmo, although sending that old battleaxe to an untimely doom on a stairlift at 100 mph was pretty funny. As for the Gremlins’ own fate, the scenes involving various kitchen appliances are more than memorable.