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"Don't get him wet, keep him out of bright light, and never feed him after midnight."

Gremlins is an odd movie that has achieved iconic status in the pre PG-13 era of the early 1980's. The plot revolves around a teenager named Billy and his pet mogwai Gismo. A mogwai is a small, furry creature of presumed mystical origin with near human intelligence. However, owning a mogwai carries a lot of responsibility and there are three rules that must be obeyed at all times: Never expose a mogwai to bright light (like sunlight) or it will die, never expose a mogwai to water (it will multiply), and never feed it after midnight.

The first of these three rules is broken when water is accidentally spilled on Gismo, causing it to spawn several new mogwai. Unlike Gismo, the new mogwai are quite a rowdy bunch with questionable morals. Living up to their mischievous reputation, the new mogwai, lead by a ruthless individual named Stripe, trick Billy into feeding them after midnight and end up mutating into demonic looking "gremlins." Now even more violent and psychotic than before, the gremlins attack people on sight, including Billy's mother. This leads to some of the most memorable, and controversial, scenes in the movie in which Billy's mother dispatches several gremlins in ultra violent ways such as throwing one head first into a juice grinder and microwaving another until it undergoes a gory explosion.

Subsequently the movie becomes much more lighthearted and the audience is treated to several comic scenes such as the gremlins taking over a bar and going to the movies. This portion of the movie comes to an end when Billy hatches a plan to kill the gremlins once and for all. Unfortunately for him, the psychotic Stripe survives and the two have a rather violent show down in a department store.

Gremlins is an iconic movie for several reasons. It, along with a couple of other movies at the time, was responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating. This is due to them to not being violent enough for an R, but also not being deemed appropriate for small children either. Gremlins is also rare in the fact that it manages to successfully combine horror and comedy in a rather disturbing fashion. An example of this would be Stripe ambushing Billy and brutally assaulting him with deadly weapons such as a crossbow and chainsaw, then escaping by riding off on a tricycle. The humorous bar scene is also one of the most popular and memorable scenes from the movie.

| 1984 | 1 hr 46 min | 7.2/10
Joe Dante
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