So, it’s been a first good week, and now it’s time for a bonafide Christmas classic from the 1980s. It’s a full on comedy horror, and despite some cutesty moments, is definitely worth the 15 certification the BBFC gave it in 1884. It is however, definitely a Christmas film, so is the first horror film on the list.
And today it’s…
6th November, Day 7
Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984)
There are plenty of Christmas films that open with a relatable experience, but for me, none ring more true that when Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) is struggling to find a last minute present. I have to admit though, I’ve never been so desperate that I’ve gone into a creepy Chinese antiques shop and bought a mysterious animal. Rand is a pretty rubbish inventor (the house is littered with machines for the most simple household taks that just don’t work) and is looking for a gift for his son Billy (Zach Galligan). There are three rules for looking after the mogwai – do not expose it to bright lights, do not let it get wet, and do not feed it after midnight.
Billy works at his small town’s bank – Kingdom Falls is filmed on the same backlot as used in that first episode of The Twilight Zone and Back To The Future and many other films – and is infatugated with Kate (Phoebe Cates), but doesn’t have the bottle to talk to her properly. When Gizmo gets wet, he spawns 5 more mogwai, and when they eat after midnight, they turn into some rather horrible monsters – and after a trip to the local swimming pool, they take over the town. Can Billy rescue Gizmo, save the town, and get the girl?
Gremlins is an excellent family film mixed with an excellent horror film. Complaints about some of the scary scenes in this film (and Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom from the same year) led to the creation of the PG-13 rating in America. This new classification allowed studios to make films for teenagers, which led to the current cinematic landscape dominated by blockbusters. Director Dante often said that the speech that Kate gives about her father and Christmas encapsulated the whole film, being both comedic and absolutely horrific.
If I ever watch Christmas films ever again after this year, Gremlins will be one that I rewatch regularly. Funny and scary in equal measure, and any film that references as many classic horror films as this does, in the guise of a family film, gets a big recommendation from this Snooty Usher.
Overall, I give this
Happy Sunday people. A totlally different film tomorrow, as I review Stanley Kubrick’s last film EYES WIDE SHUT!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far:
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins