Movie review: “Gremlins” (1984)

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“What are they doing in there?!”

“They’re watching Snow White…and they love it.”

Gremlins isn’t a Christmas movie per se and yet it is my favorite Christmas movie, observing all 360 degrees of the holiday season – the warmth of simple pleasures and gathered family as ward against the cold; the balm of home and hearth belying some of its tackier trappings and base consumerism – through an appealingly dark lens while, counterintuitively, still treating the festivities with more heart and care than might your average “Santa is/toys are/elves are real/magic/cute” kiddie tract or “I’ll be home for the holidays” made-for-television romantic schmaltz. Joe Dante’s 1984 hybrid Americana monster movie/comic thriller, in which the improper care of an exotic house pet unwittingly unleashes a destructive plague of mischievous beasties upon an unsuspecting small town, is a savory Christmas confection coated in arsenic and wrapped lovingly in exploding sandpaper. Continue reading “Movie review: “Gremlins” (1984)”