Gremlins is one of those great Christmas films that has built a bigger and bigger following as each year goes by. Bizarrely for a Christmas themed film it was released in the US in June 1984 whereas in the UK it was a more time appropriate December (it would be decades before we got simultaneous releases with the US – or at least within a week or two). So here’s 10 things you might not know about Gremlins ……
- So in the UK film certification was being overhauled and the old AA certificate ( which meant you had to be 14 years of age or older to see it was changed to the now familiar 15 certificate and Gremlins with its scenes of the little monsters being microwaved or shoved through a blender in the kitchen sequence was never going to get anything but an AA certificate but was now given a 15 certificate meaning that a load of fourteen year old had to pretend to be a year older to get in to the cinemas to see the film.
- It was only the second script written by Chris Columbus (his first was ‘Reckless’) but he would go on to write further scripts for Steven Spielberg including Young Sherlock Holmes, The Goonies, before going on to direct another Christmas classic ‘Home Alone’.
- The script is perhaps best known for Phoebe Cates Santa speech where she recounts her father dressed as Father Christmas falling down the chimney and breaking his neck. It’s a speech that the studios wanted cut from the final film until Spielberg intervened. But the original script was far darker with the gremlins eating Billy’s dog, beheading Billy’s mum making it far from family friendly so the scenes were cut from the shooting script
- Directed by Joe Dante a self-admitted film fan he packed the film with loads of cameos that included Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet and even Spielberg himself (he’s riding a Sinclair C5 in the inventor’s convention as Billy’s dad makes a phone call). Animation legend Chuck Jones also appears as does the films composer Jerry Goldsmith
- There are also nods to other films that include. ‘E.T.’ ‘Twilight Zone : the Movie’, Snow White, Mad Max 2, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version).
6. Gremlins became the fourth biggest earning film of the year earning $153m – it was beaten only by Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
7.Made in an era before CGI ruined everything the gremlins were expensive puppets costing an average $35,000 each
8. The gremlins puppets ate up a huge part of the films budget and when cast and crew drove away from set each night their cars were checked by security.
9. It was the first film to use Spielberg’s Amblin company logo
10. Tim Burton was first choice considered to direct but as he had not helmed a feature film before the job was offered to Joe Dante.