Quick thread on why the third best Christmas film (Gremlins) is so goddamn good
I didn't watch Gremlins until last year when Empire (go buy Empire, it is great) made me watch it. Despite years of outraged insistence that I should see it, I refused to add another Christmas film to my already massive list. Especially not Gremlins.
Why?

A Muppet Christmas Carol is the perfect Christmas film. It's even the definitive version of a Christmas Carol and Charles Dickens was an idiot to think he could novelise it.
"No cheeses for us meeces" is the most under-rated line in history and Dickens took it out for the book and for that reason I'm glad he's dead.

What I'm saying is my vacancy for a puppet Christmas film has very much been filled.
Very soon into watching Gremlins I realise I've made a huge mistake. It's amazing.
The film begins - as all good films do - with a man walking into a creepy shop and finding an abomination unto the lord and insisting that he purchase it as a pet. When the shop owner refuses, his boy/assistant decides to flog it sneakily anyway.
The boy tells the buyer the basic rules - no bright lights, no getting them wet, and for the love of god don't feed it after midnight.
Short on time, the boy doesn't get around to stressing that this is because bright light harms them, water is like superstrength sperm to these things and will make them multiply in seconds, and feeding them after 12:00 will turn this family-friendly Furby into fucking Predator.
The Mogwai, even in its non-evil form, should be killed immediately with fire, so when people give you rules, you stick to them. Soon enough, wouldn't you know it, our protagonist is spilling water and chicken all over the place at 3am, sparking a wave of citywide mogwai attacks.
Half way through I started wondering if I was watching a survival horror: Precisely, when the evil mogwai were using the good mogwai as a dart board and the mum went upstairs with a knife to investigate.
I was fully braced for her face to get ripped off by the little koala pricks and considered checking I hadn't accidentally popped in Krampus.
Later, I realised it was actually a body horror from the perspective of the mogwai. Horribly allergic to water and midnight snacks, they transform against their will into grotesque monsters and are promptly fucking microwaved to death by the mother.
That was the quick demise compared to his colleague, who was blended up like a cake, or the next one who was decapitated by their owner after witnessing the murder of his friends.
My sympathy for the mogwai is cemented later, when the heroes lock the gremlins into the cinema and burn them all to death, then track down the last surviving gremlin, briefly stopping to make out before picking up a baseball bat to smash his skull in. Ah, romance.
In the final Christmassy act, the last good mogwai gets in a small car to help to kill it's last child without batting an eye.
Then (merry christmas!) we're treated to the mogwaii melting down to its skeleton before (ho ho ho meeeerry christmas!) the skeleton moves around confirming it's still alive and likely in intense pain before that too melts horribly.
The main appeal of the film for me is definitely these absurd comedy horror moments. But the thing that makes this a film I already want to watch every Christmas is the set up vs payoff of the character of Mrs Deagle.
At introduction, Mrs Deagle seems like she's going to be the big villain of the whole shebang. She walks in to the bank, tells a struggling mother that she doesn't care if it's Christmas she needs the rent anyway, then stares her kids right in the eye and calls them deadbeats.
She then goes inside, carrying a snowman statue broken by the teller's dog, and announces to the teller that she'd like to kill his dog by "putting it in the spin dryer on high heat" as recompense.
She is cartoonishly evil. Why is she being set up like that? Surely she has some sort of pivotal role in the plot?
No, it's so that later on, when the mogwaii fiddle with her stairlift and send her flying out the window the audience is thinking "yesss take that you horrible dog murderer!" rather than "oh my that poor elderly woman is getting catapulted to her probable death".
Glorious.

My only mild complaint is that if all the humans were played by muppets, it could have been perfect.
I have been informed Gremlins 2 has a sexy gremlin, may do a live watch.

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More from @JimMFelton

17 Dec
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(Thread, non-sweary version here: bit.ly/2WoJUUh) Image
You may not have heard of l'Inconnue de la Seine but there's a good chance you've kissed her on the mouth, in a manner of speaking.
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