Gremlins is a 1984 American horror comedy film directed by Joe Dante, released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature--called a Mogwai--as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, destructive, evil monsters. It was followed by a sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, released in 1990. In contrast to the sequel, the original Gremlins opts for more of a black comedy, which is balanced against a Christmas-time setting. Both films were also the center of large merchandising campaigns.
Randall Peltzer, a struggling inventor, visits a Chinatown antique store in the hope of finding a Christmas present for his son Billy. In the store, Randall encounters a small, furry creature called a mogwai (Cantonese: 魔怪, "monster"). The owner, Mr. Wing, refuses to sell the creature to Randall. However, his grandson secretly sells the mogwai to Randall, warning him to remember three important rules that must never be broken – do not expose the mogwai to bright lights or sunlight which will kill it, do not let it get wet, and never feed it after midnight.
Randall returns home to Kingston Falls where he gives the mogwai to Billy as a pet. Billy works in the local bank, where he fears his dog Barney will be captured and killed by the elderly Mrs. Deagle. Randall names the mogwai “Gizmo” and Billy makes sure to treat him well. When Billy’s friend Pete spills a glass of water over Gizmo, five more mogwai spawn from his back, a more troublemaking sort led by the aggressive Stripe. Billy shows one of the mogwai to his former science teacher Mr. Hanson, spawning another mogwai, on whom Hanson experiments. Back at home, Stripe’s gang tricks Billy into feeding them after midnight by chewing out the power cord to his bedside clock. They make cocoons, as does Hanson’s mogwai. Shortly after, the cocoons hatch and they emerge as mischievous, reptilian monsters that torture Gizmo and try to murder Billy’s mother, while Hanson is killed by his gremlin.
All of the Gremlins are killed except Stripe, who escapes to a local YMCA and jumps into a swimming pool, spawning an army of gremlins who wreak chaos around Kingston Falls. Billy tries to warn the police, but they don’t believe him. Many people are injured or outright killed by the gremlins' rampage, including Mrs. Deagle, who is launched out of her house on a stair lift that has been sabotaged by the creatures. At the local bar, the gremlins have fun until the barmaid Kate Beringer, Billy’s girlfriend, flashes them with a camera and escapes into the bank with Billy and Gizmo. While hiding, she reveals her father died in a chimney while dressed as Santa Claus. Billy and Kate discover the town has fallen silent and the Gremlins are watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the local theater. They set off an explosion, killing all the Gremlins except Stripe.
Billy chases Stripe into a Montgomery Ward store, where Stripe climbs into a water fountain and tries to spawn more gremlins. Gizmo arrives in a toy car and opens a skylight, exposing Stripe to sunlight and melting him. In the aftermath of the rampage, Mr. Wing arrives to collect Gizmo, scolding the Peltzers for their carelessness, thinking the Western world is not ready but comments that Billy might some day be ready to care for Gizmo properly. Gizmo likewise believes so, having become attached to Billy. Mr. Wing departs with Gizmo in tow.
|Song title||Performed by|
|"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"||Darlene Love|
|"Make it Shine"||Quarterflash|
|"Do You Hear What I Hear?"||Johnny Mathis|
|"Out Out"||Peter Gabriel|
|"Gremlins... Mega-Madness"||Michael Sembello|
The Blu-ray and DVD contains the following deleted scenes:
- Mr. Peltzer is looking in a store in Chinatown, with a shopkeeper who doesn't know a word of English, when he is greeted by the Chinese boy, who leads Mr. Peltzer to the boy's grandfather's shop.
- Billy is lectured by his boss, Mr. Corben, for being 17 minutes late.
- Billy looks at his drawings, for a comic strip, in his room.
- Billy sees the reverend on the street. The reverend tries to give Billy his Christmas card, but he can't find it in his pile, so he just tells Billy he will mail it to him.
- Kate shows Billy Mrs. Deagle's plans to sell their houses and build a Nuclear plant. They are then discovered by Gerald, who says he will let them out easy if Kate will go out with him. Kate refuses, and Gerald notes she is tough, just like him.
- Stripe listens to a bunch of carolers, while hidden in the snow (actually, according to the commentary, he is singing along and making the carolers wonder who's off key, but there is no audio for Stripe).
- Mr. Futterman tells his wife that Mrs. Deagle has closed down the noodle factory where he worked for good. His wife then reassures him that there is more to life than macaroni.
Billy and Kate find Mr. Corben with a clock smashed on his head. They then find Gerald in the vault. Billy tries to free Gerald, however Gerald thinks that Billy wants to free him just so Billy and Kate would get promotions (Gerald presumably would now have Mr. Corben's job). Billy then closes the vault and tells Kate that Gerald will be better off in there and they will come and get him later.
- In the television premiere airing on NBC, the deleted scene involving Bill, after the Gremlin rampage, discover Gerald locked in the bank vault was added to run in the time allotted.
- The HBO Family airings cut three scenes involving Gremlins dying for content.
- In the Hub Network airings, the scene where Billy's mom kills the gremlins [i.e. a blender, a microwave] was heavily shortened for content.
|Hoyt Axton||Randall Peltzer|
|John Louie||Boy (Chinese)|
|Keye Luke||Grandfather (Mr. Wing)|
|Don Steele (voice)||Rockin' Ricky Rialto|
|Susan Burgess||Little girl|
|Scott Brady||Sheriff Frank|
|Corey Feldman||Pete Fountaine|
|Harry Carey Jr.||Mr. Anderson|
|Zach Galligan||Billy Peltzer|
|Dick Miller||Murray Futterman|
|Phoebe Cates||Kate Beringer|
|Polly Holliday||Ruby Deagle|
|Don Elson||Man on Street|
|Belinda Balaski||Mrs. Joe Harris|
|Daniel Llewelyn||Hungry Harris child|
|Edward Andrews||Mr. Corben|
|Judge Reinhold||Gerald Hopkins|
|Lois Foraker||Bank Teller|
|Frances Lee McCain||Lynn Peltzer|
|Glynn Turman||Roy Hanson|
|John C. Becher||Dr. Molinaro|
|Gwen Willson||Mrs. Molinaro|
|Jackie Joseph||Sheila Futterman|
|Jonathan Banks||Deputy Brent|
|Joe Brooks||Dave Meyers (Santa)|
|Jim MacKrell||Lew Landers (WDHB-TV reporter)|
|Frank Welker (voice)||Stripe|
|Howie Mandel (voice)||Gizmo|
|Fred Newman||Mogwai/Gremlin voices|
|Edward Arnold (uncredited)||Donald Deagle|
|Frank Baxter (archive footage)||Mr. Fiction Writer|
|Adam Bean (uncredited)|
Karen Bean (uncredited)
|Kids in Town Square|
|Tom Bergeron (uncredited)||TV News Reporter|
|Richard Carlson (archive footage)||Dr. Research|
|Jerry Goldsmith (uncredited)||Man in telephone booth|
|Bob Harks (uncredited)||Townsman|
|Marvin Miller (uncredited)||Robby the Robot (voice)|
|Dean Rader-Duval (uncredited)||Ron|
|William Schallert (uncredited)||Father Bartlett|
|Steven Spielberg (uncredited)||Man in electric wheelchair|
|Kenneth Tobey (uncredited)||Mobil gas station attendant|