WHAT THE FILM?! Gremlins


What The Film?! is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

If you know a film with major plot holes that you feel needs to be exposed, tell us! Email utgjames@gmail.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.

This Week’s Movie: 1984’s Gremlins

This movie was suggested to me by our own Under The Gun’s Head of Photography, Melanie Hodgins

You might not know it, but Gremlins is a very important movie. No, seriously, it is actually a part of Hollywood History. Not only was it one of the very first horror-comedies (winner of “best genre ever” award), but when this movie came out there were only four ratings a movie could have assigned to it. G for General Audiences, PG for Parental Guidance, R for Restricted, and NC-17 for “Damn it, I thought this was porn”. After Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out, there was a public outcry about the amount of violence in PG movies, causing the creation of the PG-13 rating for movies not quite rated R but not friendly enough to be a PG. If you’re confused about how much “questionable content” that can go into a PG movie, watch 1982’s Poltergeist, 1975’s Jaws, or 1988’s Beetlejuice. All three movies contain a pretty decent amount of violence, blood, and profanity. They’re also all great movies that you should probably see anyway.

“I plan on remaking this movie every other year for the next 30 years” - Tim Burton


Gremlins was written by a young Chris Columbus, who later became well known as a director. Chris would wake up late at night to the sounds of mice scurrying around his dark apartment. Frightened by this, he decided to write a spec script about small creatures in the dark. It was initially written almost as a joke, he was only intending to release it to potential employers to show off that he could write, regardless of the topic. As luck would have it, Steven Spielberg ended up reading the script and loved how original and different it was. He insisted on the movie being made, launching Chris Columbus’ career.

“After I give the natives Syphilis, I think I'll direct a few Harry Potter movies”


The movie begins with Randall Peltzer, who is looking for a Christmas present for his son. He ends up finding a living furby type creature at an antique store in Chinatown. This probably wasn’t the best place to be looking for Christmas presents for his son to begin with, but he decides to purchase the strange creature because it was probably late and like, GameStop was on the other side of town, and like, he really had to go to the bathroom and had problems pooping outside of his own home (assumedly).


The creature, called a Mogwai, comes with very important rules: you never expose it to bright light, you don’t talk about fight club, you never get it wet, and the most important of all, do not feed it after midnight.


They also hate 3D movies just as much as the rest of the world.

Randall ends up naming the Mogwai “Gizmo” and gives it to his son, Billy. Shortly after Billy receives Gizmo, a glass of water is accidentally spilled on him. The family breaks the second rule within a day. This is why we can’t have nice things. Gizmo spasms violently and ends up producing five new Mogwai from his own body. The largest Mogwai (called “Stripe”) is violent and aggressive towards everyone and acts as a leader for all the new pets. Billy takes one of the Mogwai to school with him, giving it to his science teacher, Mr Hanson, to study. That night, Billy feeds the Mogwai after midnight, because this family doesn’t care about responsibility.


The next morning, Billy discovers that all the Mogwai have turned into cocoons except for Gizmo, who had not eaten the prior night. At the same time, the Mogwai at school who had also eaten after midnight, also cocoons itself. All the Mogwai in cocoons end up transforming into gremlins,  violent lizard creatures with sharp claws and teeth. The gremlin at school ends up killing Billy’s teacher as the gremlins at home attack Billy’s mother, who ends up being the most powerful person in the movie as she ends up killing multiple gremlins.


She is seriously the most productive member of the family.

Ultimately, the family ends up destroying all the evil violent gremlins because of course they did, it’s a movie. Gizmo ends up being taken away by the man who ran the antique store in the beginning of the movie, telling the family they aren’t ready for caring for Mogwai yet and “Also no refunds, suck it”. There are two problems with this movie, one being that the Gremlin that killed Billy’s teacher is never taken care of. Despite killing off and destroying all the gremlins from their own household, nothing is ever every done regarding the gremlin at school. It’s probably in a hoodie, doing some sort of 21 Jump Street type scheme to get in with the cool kids before killing them.


The biggest issue being that you can’t feed them after midnight. Can you think of any creature from anything that has a time related problem everyday? What about Daylight Savings time? What if you’re in a state that doesn’t observe Daylight Savings time? What if you’re in Arizona while the rest of your time zone is after midnight, you’re prior to midnight? Does the Mogwai digestive system know the difference? It’s always after midnight somewhere. At what point after midnight does it become safe to feed them again? You can’t have rules like that,  it’s like a cell phone provider having “free” minutes at night. When does night start and stop? It’s something so vague that you don’t realize you’ve been scammed into buying a non-functional phone till you realize that it doesn’t have service anywhere. Ever.

Some gremlins probably took out AT&T's cell towers or something.


Dane once climbed a mountain with Sylvester Stallone and Oscar from Hey, Arnold! That could have been a dream though. You can follow him on Tumblr and Twitter!

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