The retRo pReview Re-viewing of..
highly recommended to watch the trailer before reading
by: Jeff Finck
The premise: A small boy gets a dangerous pet for Christmas and completely shits over all of the rules handed down to him by his father. Actually, a fully grown, adult MAN.. with a full time job and actual real world responsibilities gets a pet for Christmas, and completely shits over all of the rules handed down to him by his father. Plus, the story also shows the internal struggle of a man, trying to make ends meet and escape the small town he clearly has mixed feelings for.. all against the added emotional backdrop of family interaction during the holidays. (Wow, even I started believing some of that as I typed it!)
Okay, so the trailer begins like every other boring trailer we've become accustomed to in the 80's.. talking! Like, who wants to hear some dude's voice? Show us the action! Okay, okay, okay, I get it.. back story. Billy Peltzer has a relatively normal life.. he has a nice home (that's falling apart), he has a nice job (full of people who don't correct him when he puts his name plaque upside down next to his bank's FDIC plaque.. but hey.. member FDIC!), and also, allegedly, a nice girl (who doesn't know she's his girl yet, because the example they give of her being his girl is him asking her out.. she says, "Yes." but up to this moment, I assume he had just been stalking her around the cold, Winter streets of Kingston Falls. But, I mean, come on, it's that swimming pool chick from Fast Times at Ridgemont High! You'd be a creeper, too.) (I realize that was a reeeeeally long parenthetical statement, but then again, so is this one.. kind of.) Oh! He also has some loving parents. One of which, and I won't name names (his dad.. actually I didn't name names.. I don't know that guy's name) gives him a nicely sized, wrapped gift. Billy, being the precocious, fully grown adult he is, decides to just shake the shit out of it. I mean, that's what you're supposed to do, right? That's how *I* was raised. He is immediately told to cut it out.. we later find out that there is a small creature in there! In Billy's defense, I mean, how was he supposed to know? It was securely wrapped.. there's a ribbon streaming down all four walls of the present, there are no air holes.. and who holds their ear up to their gifts to check for breathing noises? Also, if you don't shake it in front of the gift giver, how else are you supposed to know whether the gift is going to be fragile before you open it?!
He is forced to open his present right away, however, like his dad is Jokey Smurf and he needs the instant gratification of voyeuristically viewing his victim's elation, or lack thereof. So, all the lights go out, a fire is lit, and the family gathers 'round the small present.. which we realize now is a basket that sprouts two small, furry, clawed hands.. and a low powered self propulsion system that makes everyone except the family dog shit themselves. Oh god! His dad got him Basket Case!!! Run!!!!! After finding out that it isn't Basket Case or that monster from the Crate in Creepshow, he finds out that it is a small, adorable little monster that has a very specific set of rules to follow for owning it. At this point, you realize that the dad has not given his son a present, so much as a responsibility. One he never asked for.. and clearly didn't need. Not to mention, one he absolutely can't handle. He's told not to expose it to light.. so the first thing he does is get a mirror and expose that motherfucker to light! Then he's told to not get it wet.. so he gets a dropper, traps it in a box, and soaks that bitch! And lastly, whetever he does, he should NOT feed it after midnight. I'm kind of with him at this point with not believing that apples are food.. but apparently they are.
Okay, so I have at least one problem with every rule. As for the lights.. bright lights, to be more specific.. what is the gauge on that? Is there a scale? Would having a light meter on hand be a necessity? Also, The not getting wet thing.. how do you clean them? I assume they probably smell horrendous.. like having a bipedal ferret. So you have to just live with that animal piss smell as long as you have it? And whose midnight? Do these creatures recognize time zones? ..what about Daylight Savings time? Or are their internal clocks set to the area of the world that they were born? Also, since time is essentially a man-made device, and these creatures seem fairly old.. my brain just broke. Nevermind.. Let's just move on..
So, after doing literally everything he was told not to do, his pet multiplies and then he continues to break the rules. So they mutate and start behaving like.. well.. Gremlins. They become clever.. like getting into completely locked and Federally protected mailboxes. They become mischievous.. like throwing plates at Billy's mom. (That'll teach her to.. stand.) And they also become.. dangerous. So dangerous, that the local law enforcement denies their existence.. that is, until they run a man down with a bulldozer and absolutely sabotage a woman's stairlift machine into launching her up the stairs and more than likely murdering her in cold blood. She looked like a jerk, though.. so.. you know.. fuck that lady. They end the trailer with a top/back view of the little fellas, cleverly being mischievous and chasing our heroes down a dangerous alley. So.. circle complete.
Now, we've all heard of gremlins before. They're clearly responsible for all of the things that go wrong throughout the day: misplacing your keys, your socks, your hair piece.. they're pretty much who I blame every time I stub my toe or cut off my thumbs. They used to be blamed for things like mechanical failures in aircrafts back in the day.. so, I mean, it's about time someone made light of all of those air disasters. But these little guys are actually out in the open, acting like real douchebags. This movie looks pretty fun, though.. I think the real battle this weekend will be Ghostbusters vs Gremlins. I, for one, will not participate in the battle, like a one man Switzerland, I will remain neutral and patron BOTH flicks. I'm going to wait up all night, sitting as close to my Christmas tree as possible, soaking in the Christmas spirit, and get to the theater as early as I can to enjoy this! I can't wait!
Release Date: June 8, 1984