Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Movies that haunted my childhood: Part IV- Gremlins

The Gremlins were born the same year I was, 1984.  The similarities end there.  I wasn't conceived as a little fur ball that popped off the spine of a wet Mogwai, and my puberty didn't involve a slimy, steaming cocoon from which I emerged a completely changed and hideous creature... well, there was definitely no cocoon.  Yet somehow, all my attempts at merchandising myself have failed miserably, while these freaky little bastards were all over the place from lunch boxes, to t-shirts, to action figures and stuffed animals.  I will simply never understand how this became so popular with kids.  Awesome film, sure.  Child safe... not so sure.
Yeah Gizmo was a cute, furry little guy, but he spent most of his time singing that fruity little song.  The majority of the film was graced by demonic, acid trip, koala-looking psychopaths torturing helpless small town people.  These delightful little characters are somehow made exponentially creepier by their uncanny ability to apparently fashion tiny clothing for events like a night out at the bar or Christmas caroling.  But somehow, it's not just the little creatures that supply the nightmare fuel here.  Seriously, go back and watch it again, because you might find Gremlins is a little more murdery than you remember.
Right off the bat we meet the lovely Mrs. Deagle, who tells Billy she wants to torture and kill his dog... slowly.  Charming.  Don't worry though, she's eventually murdered too.  Let's see, among the other deaths include a mangled teacher, a gremlin chopped up by a juicer, a gremlin stabbed OJ style, and a gremlin microwaved alive (all at the hands of Billy's mom, by the way, whose bad-ass has the most gremlin kills by far), a couple run down by a gremlin-piloted snowplow, and finally the lead gremlin's skin melting off his creepy little body.
Yeah, that's kind of a lot of murder.
Don't worry too much for my well-being though, Gremlins didn't scar me so badly that it left these vivid details burned in my psyche.  I just happen to have watched it again recently, and let me say I probably should've named this post "Movies that haunted my childhood and mid-twenties," because it is still pretty damn horrifying... but you can bet your ass I'll be watching The New Batch tomorrow night, because that's just good stuff.

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