Gremlins is a dark comedy horror film, movie, or etc. Released in the 1980s as part of the Reagan administration's Scare the Children campaign (which also included things like Friday the 13th, Ghost Busters, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Goosebumps books and Pirates of Dark Waters.)
It is about a young evangelical teen who has stopped going to church and fallen into the clutches of the occult magiks of traditional Chinese medicine, he receives a strange creature named Dunsel as an adorable familiar, which then releases a cute fluffy demonic hoard of Mogwai upon the earth until, do to over eating and poor nutrition, they turn into destructive, mess making evil imps like most Americans. With the help of his girlfriend, their purity rings, and their faith in Republican Jesus, they must resist the evil allure of premarital sex and wage holy war in their household against the fores of darkness before it becomes a temple to Taoism. Steven Spielberg was the film's executive producer, with the screenplay written by Chris 'Tallyho' Columbus. The actors had to work alongside numerous puppets, as puppetry was the main form of special effects used to portray Dunsel and the gremlins. Puppets were used as is they don't mind getting wet or otherwise abused by the cast. (Ie getting hung to the dart board and being the night's entertainment.)
The character Randall "Rand" Peltzer is an inventor of modest abilities and deadly gadgets. From the fictional community of Kingston Falls, he travels to Chinatown in New York City to sell his weapons of mass destruction and pick up a present for his son Billy that might distract him from stalking his girl friend all the time. A young Chinese boy takes Rand to his grandfather's small shop, where Rand takes interest in a small cute furry creature called a Furby (which in Cantonese translates literally as "evil releaser”.) Mr. Wang, the Chinese boy's grandfather and owner of the shop, refuses to sell the plushy even when Rand offers US$200 for it. This is money that the Wang family desperately needs however; therefore Wang's grandson secretly sells the Tribble to Rand. Though the creature seems innocent enough, the grandson warns Rand that one must take certain precautions regarding it. Specifically, one must not let the little bastard near clean surfaces, especially sunlit ones, which can kill the critters; one must not give water to the Pokemon; and, most importantly, one must never feed it after nightfall.
Rand names the creature "Dunsel" and brings him home to his son. Billy is a young man who has taken up a job at the bank to make ends meet for his parents, with whom he still lives. He has a a little prat of a dog called Barney whose eyes are bigger then his bite, and his perchant to get into situations he can't get out of makes both him and Billy the target of harassment from Ruby Dangle, an elderly woman with much criminal influence.
Billy's coworker and presumed love interest Kate Beringer is also a local maid on call; she sees directly her inability to practice her craft because of Mrs. Dangle's front for cleaning up the town to support her own ring of illegal entertainers. Billy also seems to have some kind of odd relationship with the boy from the Christmas Tree lot, who is a victim of bad parenting being forced to dress up like a Christmas tree by his father, which might be the reason he idolizes Billy (probably helped by the fact that Billy shows off for him.)
Start of trouble
Billy is fascinated with Dunsel, who is highly intelligent, can hum a tune, and proves to be a not paper trained, creature. This was found out when Billy's friend, Peter Fountaine, leaves the door open and Dunsel sneaks a drink out of the toliet after seeing Barney do so. This causes Dunsel to go into convulsions and forcibly produce five new Mopwee in a process that appears painful to him and us. The new Mopwee are much bigger and more aggressive than Dunsel. They are led by the Mopwee Strip, who has an emo appearance, like a demented raccoon, and makes the others do things to make messes. Billy brings one to Health teacher Roy Handson, who aggravates the Mopwee by sadistically testing its limits for pain and food deprivation. Ignoring anything besides how to get at Billy later, Roy leaves the food he was tempting the Mopwee with out. This is immediately stolen and eaten after midnight.
Meanwhile at home, the Mopwee torment Barney with water-like substances and Christmas Lights eventually leaving him to freeze strung up outside. Billy, to worried about figuring himself out and how to get Kate to date him, does not bother to figure out how or even if the Mopwee did it, and blames Mrs.Dangle.
Eventually, the rest of the new Mopwee trick Billy into feeding them by putting a distracting poster over his clock.. All the creatures, except Dunsel, who had cleaned the table earlier, soon form cacoons. While Billy is at the bank, the cacoons hatch, and the Mopwee emerge, having transformed into gremlins, having big ears like a bat's and dark brown reptilian skin, and the smell of both. Billy travels to the school to find Roy, only to find the remains of his corpse after becoming the prey of the gremlins. Billy is injured and races to call his mother to tell her to get away from the nasty little carnivores. Billy's mother Lynn is now alone with the gremlins, and comes into conflict with them. She manages to kill three, using her husbands array of deadly weapons disguised as kitchen appliances, and making one for dinner in less then 5 minutes. While she is being hunted by the next gremlin, Billy arrives and saves her by decapitating it with the sword that his father cannot seem to invent a way to hold on the wall. The only remaining gremlin left in the house is Strip, who escapes. Billy tracks him down to the local trashy hotel, but the creature drinks from the swimming pool. Unlike the mopwee, the gremlin explodes in huge pimples and little gremlins claw their way out of its white heads.
Climax and resolution
Billy then takes Dunsel to Dorry's Tavern to recover Kate, who has been cleaning that night. The gremlins have taken over the town, behaving in an exceedingly vulgar and dirty fashion, and force Kate to serve them. She eventually discovers they are frightened by clean surfaces when she attempts to clean one's face. She then knocks down several with a bottle of Lysol spray and is reunited with Billy. The two seek shelter in the bank while the gremlins hunt down the residents of Kingston Falls. Notably, the creatures kill Mrs. Dangle by launching her through a window and dangling her by her purse, and go on a grand Theft Auto tour with Burt Gummer's Caterpillar. Burt Gummer, who had been insanely rambling about gremlins, later appears in Tremours (Taming the Wild Worm).
When Billy, Kate, and Dunsel re-emerge, they find the gremlins are gone. Billy and Kate track them down to the local theater, where they are all happily watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarven Jewels. Billy manages to blow up the theater; all the gremlins fry to death except Strip, who had left to go to the pet store across the street.
Billy pursues Strip through a department store; Dunsel escapes from his box, and geos to fight Strip. Strip fights off Billy and Dunsel using saw blades and other deadly thing, like the few of Billy's Dad's Weapons of Mass destruction that made it to stores disguised as inventions. Strip finally reaches a water fountain(which kate had turned on accidentally while staring at the men of '85 poster on the wall instead of paying attention to what she was doing), not knowing it was a Clorox display. By this time it is morning; Dunsel, having escaped notice of the human characters, opens a well used tanning bed and exposes Stripe to sunlight, hence helping the bleach to commence destroying him.
At the end of the film, Mr. Wang returns to collect Dunsel to prevent any resurgence of trouble. Mr. Wang observes that white Western society is not ready to properly use the abilities of Mopwee, Billy may one day be able to properly use it.
This story was continued with a sequel, Gremlins 2: The PU Batch, released in the 90's as a follow up project of Scare the Children. (others in this revival include the Wizard of OZ cartoon, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Barney the Dinosaur, Tremors: Taming the Wild Worm, Beetle Juice and the Ren & Stimpy Show.
Gremlin's effects on the environment
- Teaching people lessons about how NOT to have have pets
- Assist Natural selection by killing off idiots
- Adding a rung to the food chain when released into the wild
- Cleaning up rat infested movie theaters
Other uses of Gremlins
Gremlins were blamed in World War II for the graffiti of clothing compromising/ed women on the sides of airplanes, especially US ones.