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A Film Diary

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Rewatched: 6 November

I hadn’t seen Joe Dante’s Gremlins for years before this viewing, and though it shows its age somewhat with the whole early 1980s Asian-American faux-mysticism thing (see also Big Trouble in Little China and The Golden Child), it’s undeniably a lot of fun, cleverly combining the cosiness of Rockwellian small town America at Christmas with a more malevolent, mischievous and violent streak. The gremlins, once they begin to appear, are pretty amusing and remain so, while Dante’s constant homages to the cinema of his youth – particularly 1950’s sci-fi – are rather sweet and infectious. There’s a keen sense of anarchy in the film, culminating when the director blows up an entire cinema during the big set piece, plus it features Phoebe Cates and one of the Coreys (Feldman), which is always cause for celebration. In fact, Gremlins makes for a pretty good summation of the era, a statement I will attempt to back up by pointing out that it’s also clearly supposed to be an allegory for the spread of Communism within the USA, or rather a satire on long-held fears of a ‘Red Menace’. (****)

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