In a throwback to the 1980s, when humor and horror were colliding, Warner Bros. presents Gremlins (1984) in 4K Ultra HD as Steven Spielberg presented Joe Dante’s film about mogwai. A mashup of comedic overtures and threatening horrific undertones, the film follows Zach Galligan’s Billy, a young bank employee who receives a mogwai (little furry creature) for Christmas and then must fight back against the evil that erupts when the evil gremlins are unleashed.
Never get them wet. Never feed them after midnight.
These are the simple rules of mogwai interaction. And the rules that we know are going to be broken because, well, that’s what happens in movies like these. For the 1980s, this was funny, exciting, and maybe a little scary for PG – and one of the reasons that PG-13 became a rating for the MPAA in the mid-80s. But for those who want to give their new ultra HD player and TV a spin, this is a Christmas film to never forget.
Written by Christopher Columbus (who would go onto Home Alone, Harry Potter, The Goonies and more), directed by Joe Dante (behind such 1980s fare as Innerspace, Explorers, and The Howling), and produced by Spielberg, the film has more panache than seems possible. The film is laugh outloud funny at times – sometimes macabre humor like when the film’s human villain takes flight on one of those automatic stair-based chairs – and dark enough to draw a few scares, like when Billy’s mom defends herself in the kitchen, using a microwave in spectacular fashion.
For those who love the film already, there’s commentary with Dante, Galligan, co-star Phoebe Cates, producer Michael Finnell and Gizmo voice actor Howie Mandel. Ten minutes not shown in theaters adds to the package here, as well as the making-of featurette.
But this is a Christmas movie, too. While not the main point, there’s a solid explanation of the Blue Christmas that many who’ve lost someone near the holidays experience, and a bit of return to the Christmas miracle, thanks to the unlikely teamwork of Billy and fuzzball Gizmo. It might not knock It’s a Wonderful Life out of your top spot, but it’s definitely worth the watch.