"Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous."
I remember seeing this film as a child and didn't think twice about it scaring me or not. Was probably already desensitized at an early age with exposure to horror films such as Psycho, The Shining, or The Exorcist, so Gremlins was pale by comparison.
However, Executive Producer Steven Spielberg got a great deal of flack back in 1984 when this movie was first released. Coming off of his box-office and critical success with E. T. The Extra Terrestrial, Gremlins was marketed as a holiday film, especially with cute Gizmo on the poster.
Parents unwittingly took their young children hoping to see a feel good story, only to be surprised to watch a film filled with violence and death. Yes, although cute and silly, Gremlins is actually a very violent movie, but made to be more of a dark comedy... something that is quite common in the here and now.
Despite the protests of the select few who got offended, this is a great movie from the 80's. Another member of the quintessential 80's films, its also a classic to enjoy during the Christmas season because its unconventional and definitely worth a laugh instead of the warm, fuzzy feeling from some of the other Christmas standards.
The cast itself is somewhat forgettable. Zach Galligan is the protagonist. Also, see if you can spot a young Corey Feldman and even Judge Reinhold is here - he's in almost every 80's film. Many young boys were distracted by the casting of Phoebe Cates - who didn't have a crush on her back in the 80's? I was only 4 years old when this film was released, but later developed that crush too watching these various 80's films over and over again in the early 90's.
The true star of this movie is the special effects utilized to create Gizmo and the entire cast of Gremlins monsters. Using specially designed puppets and animatronics, this type of technology was cutting edge before CGI was ever used on a regular basis. In addition, the cute character of Gizmo was accomplished by the voice over work of Howie Mandel... way before Bobby's World or Deal or No Deal.
In the end, the most infamous aspect of this movie is the rules. The Gremlin rules... coincidentally, similar rules that pertain to me:
1. Keep them away from water.
2. Keep them away from bright light.
3. The most important rule. No matter how much they cry, no matter how much they beg, never, never feed them after midnight.