All throughout December I will be watching Christmas films. One each day is the goal. Feel free to follow along. I’ll be blogging along with it.
First up is one of my favorite childhood films; Gremlins. It follows the tale of Gizmo, a cuddly mogwai creature who was purchased in Chinatown by an inventor father who wanted it as a gift for his son. The gift is a hit until the family breaks the rules of owning a mogwai. They get it wet causing it to breed less cuddly versions of Gizmo. They inadvertently feed the new mogwai after midnight causing them to turn into hairless, evil little monsters who terrorize an unsuspecting small town. It takes breaking the third rule, not exposing the mogwai to sunlight, to finally bring an end to the horror.
Around this simple story, though, is a small town populated by eccentric characters that add humor and a sense of dread to the proceedings. Billy, the main character, has a love story with a girl (Phoebe Cates) who has her own personal horror story about Christmas to tell. Corey Feldman also stars as Billy’s neighbor. Polly Holliday brings menace to the towns ruthless, rich old lady.
This 1984 film, directed by Joe Dante and written by Chris Columbus, stands out among the usual holiday fare because of the horror aspects it combines with comedy. It carries with it standard morale of the story tropes about rudeness getting what it deserves and about respecting ancient rules and cultures unless you want a disaster. Plus, it spawned a sequel that gives a pretty spectacular homage to Christopher Lee (but that’s another review for another day). It’s an ’80s holiday must if you are doing a Christmas movie marathon.