A Science Fiction film that predates “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “The Matrix” and “Inception” yet has key ideas that each of those films exploit as their main plot devices. This is a thriller with horror elements and a good dose of 70s conspiracy thinking behind it. It also stars several notables who are recognizable in other more well known films. The special effects are dated but they worked well at the time and the story does make you do a little thinking as you go along.
The film has some dark aspects to it and those might have been explored in more depth with greater meaning if this was an attempt to make an artistic statement. With the pulp marketing of the poster and an August release, you can tell it was really designed to make money not art. There is however a lot to admire in what is accomplished here. It was not successful at making much money but it is successful at being entertaining.
Movie fans know that there is often a difference between that which we see as “the best” and that which we designate our “favorite”. This entry in the project fits into that category of “favorite” without necessarily being the highest quality or most distinctive of the year. That’s right, here we are, almost halfway through the year, and the Oscar bait pictures are still months from arriving, but we have arrived at my personal “favorite” film of the year. I took more pleasure from seeing this movie a half dozen times in the summer of 1984 than any other film I saw, and I have watched countless times since, and I continue to enjoy the spirit, and cleverness with which it was made. On the nostalgia front, this picture touches a lot of memories from 1984, that I also count as important.
Gremlins is mayhem unleashed, sweet turned to sour, and somewhat deconstructive of the horror movies it most resembles. Along with “Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom”, “Gremlins is responsible for the PG-13 rating and is guilty of creating a shift in marketing that will effect films for the next thirty years. Continue reading →