Gremlins (1984)

(On Cable TV, October 2016) I’ve been revisiting a lot of eighties classics lately, and this often means watching movies again for the first time in twenty-plus years. Not Gremlins, though: while I remember a lot of the film’s marketing (including the three “rules” of gremlins care and feeding), I had unexplainably managed to miss watching the film until now. I say “unexplainably” because Gremlins ends up being right up my alleyway and a quasi-classic after only one viewing. The anarchic mixture of horror and comedy rarely lets up once the film gets going midway through, and the second half is a gag-every-ten-seconds experience. Director Joe Dante successfully helms a film embarrassingly dense in practical effects, comic cues, dark humour and unbridled chaos. Despite the often sadistic humour (which helped usher in the PG-13 rating), it’s a lot of fun as a spectacle even if much of the connective tissue is dumb or irritating. The kitchen fight sequence is particularly good, making an action heroine out of an ordinary mom. Gremlins is compelling to watch (and I say this on some authority as I’m going through the often dull eighties greatest hits) and I’m now actively looking into watching Gremlins 2.

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