[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gremlins.jpg]]

''For the trope, see GripingAboutGremlins.''

''Gremlins'' is a 1984 dark comedy/horror film directed by Creator/JoeDante, and executive produced by Creator/StevenSpielberg. The film kicks off with an inventor, Randall Peltzer, stopping by Chinatown in New York City to pick up a gift for his son, Billy. He ends up getting a mysterious, yet undeniably adorable critter called a mogwai. The creature comes [[SchmuckBait with instructions]] though, namely:

* [[WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve Don't feed it after midnight]]
* [[ExplosiveBreeder Don't give it water]]
* [[WeakenedByTheLight Don't let it near bright light]]

The little critter, named Gizmo, is gentle and well behaved, but after he accidentally gets splashed with water, more mogwai suddenly are formed, and this new, mean-spirited batch tricks Billy into feeding them after midnight. They all form cocoons, and then turn into ugly, frightening gremlins, who [[HilarityEnsues cause havoc and terrorize the town]].

Followed by the 1990 sequel, ''Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch''. This one relocates the main characters to New York City, and features a parody of moguls such as Donald Trump and Ted Turner, as well as references to films like ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' and the ''Franchise/{{Rambo}}'' series.

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!!This film and its sequel provide examples of:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Both movies]]
* AdaptationalHeroism: Daffy and Lenny, while arguably the least malicious of the known Mogwai, were still antagonistic and ultimately evolved into dangerous Gremlins in the second film. In the ''Gremlins: Gizmo'' video game, they are Eternals you can choose to take of like Gizmo.
* AllThereInTheManual: The Novelization has a prologue that explains that [[spoiler:Mogwais were genetically engineered by an alien race called the Mogturmen as the perfect companion. However, the vast majority of Mogwais turned out to be dangerous, not to mention the unforeseen Gremlin problem. Gizmo is one of the few Mogwais to turn out right (labelled 'Eternals').]]
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Any of the Mogwai/Gremlins who aren't Gizmo.
* ApeShallNeverKillApe: Averted. The Gremlins aren't even safe from each other.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: The twin scientists in the sequel guess that Gizmo is some kind of rodent, yet he lacks the buck teeth that all rodents share; if anything, he looks like a prosimian primate.
* AscendedExtra: Murray Futterman is a relatively minor character in the first film, but has a much bigger part in the second, sneaking into the building the Gremlins are occupying and even pulling a BigDamnHeroes moment to save Billy.
* BilingualBonus: The first Mogwai is bought from a Chinese shop. "Mo-Gwai" is Cantonese for "devil"
* BodyHorror: The death of Stripe in the first movie is a particularly grotesque example.
** This can lead to a bit of Fridge Horror if you consider that this is the first time we see what sunlight does to the gremlins, but it also applies to the mogwai; what happens to Stripe could potentially happen to cute, cuddly Gizmo....
** Not to mention the intense pain caused by reproduction via water.
* CelestialDeadline: Mogwai shall not be fed "after midnight", lest they turn into Gremlins. Nothing is said about when you can feed them again. Sunrise, maybe?
** Lampshaded in the second movie, when the security crew mocks Billy by coming up with various scenarios, such as eating on a plane and passing into another time zone.
* ClockDiscrepancy: One of the rules for handling mogwai was to never NEVER feed them after midnight (as turns out, it turns them into gremlins). One night the mogwai in the box were making noises like they were hungry. The alarm clock says it's about 11:30, so the boy feeds them some leftover chicken. The next day, [[StoppedClock the boy notices the clock reading the exact same time]]. Seems the extension cord had been ripped from the plug, the mogwai actually chewed through the electrical cord, [[OhCrap so it was after midnight]] after all.
* CuteIsEvil: The cuteness of the Mogwai/Gremlins blinds people to the fact that they could possibly be dangerous.
* ExplosiveBreeder: The mogwai/gremlins
* TheFairFolk: The novelisations outright state that the Mogwai/Gremlins are their direct inspiration, and they are modelled after a particular fey creature anyways. [[spoiler: If you consider the novels' statements about them being aliens to be true, then they also reference the similarities between traditional fairies and the grays]].
* FamilyUnfriendlyViolence / FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: To the point that the graphic content of the first movie (along with [[Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom another Spielberg production]]) was used as an indication that a rating between PG and R was necessary.
* FollowTheLeader: There were oodles of gremlins-like creature features in between the two films, including ''Film/{{Ghoulies}}'' and unfortunately ''Film/{{Hobgoblins}}''. (The movie ''Film/{{Critters}}'' was ''not'' following the lead of ''Gremlins'', as it had been in the works before ''Gremlins'' went into production.)
* GeneticMemory: Gremlins, as part of their nature, are born with the capacity to understand the interworkings of machinery and how to sabotage it.
* TheGenieKnowsJackNicholson: In spades; both Gizmo and the Gremlins are ''huge'' pop culture junkies. This quality is exaggerated and highlighted in the second film.
* GreenAesop: "You have done with mogwai what your society has done with all of nature's gift!" Forced as forced can be, as the causes of the whole incident were 1: an innocent accident, and 2: Billy having no idea that the mogwai would trick him into feeding them after midnight by sabotaging his clock.
** Though he ''does'' acknowledge that Billy has the potential to be a worthy caretaker of Gizmo someday. He just screwed up too badly for that day to be today.
** This may have had more to do with the father stealing the mogwai and the family not treating it as seriously as it deserved.
** Not that traditional Chinese culture has been all that good for Nature's endangered species, mind you. Bear gall and ground-up tiger claws for your impotency, anyone?
* GripingAboutGremlins
* ImMelting: Prolonged exposure to sunlight causes gremlins to melt. For added points ''Gremlins 2'' has one dressed as a witch recite the [[Film/TheWizardOfOz trope namer]] as he melts.
* JerkAss: Most gremlins qualify for this, save for Lenny and Daffy, but Stripe/Mohawk especially stands out in the jerk department.
* KillerRabbit: The mogwai, save for Gizmo.
** Gizmo himself qualifies when he models himself after {{Rambo}}.
* LaughablyEvil: Most gremlins in general. They're both incredibly dangerous and ''very'' funny.
* LighterAndSofter: The first film compared to the original script, where the gremlins usually killed people in exceedingly horrific ways. Also the second film to the first, which set out to be much sillier and slapsticky rendition than the occasionally dark first one (compare Kate's Santa monologue with the way a similar one is treated in the sequel).
* MagicAIsMagicA: Sunlight kills mogwai and gremlins who are also afraid of bright lights. Water splashed onto either of the two produces more creatures spawned from their backs. Feeding a mogwai after midnight causes it to metamorphosize into a gremlin. This gets played with in the second movie.
* MetamorphosisMonster: The Mogwai transform if fed after midnight.
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: While no one seems to make a big deal out of who kills what gremlin, it always seems to be Gizmo's destiny to be the one to destroy the lead gremlin which seems to be his main rival.
** For that matter, while some manage to kill at least one gremlin, it always seems to be Billy's plan that exterminates the entire horde of gremlins except the leader.
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: The fluffy mammal-like Mogwai outside of Gizmo are already depicted as a malicious bunch, but they become an unstoppable horde who create havoc in the town and kill several people only after they're turned into fierce reptilian-esque Gremlins.
* RestrainingBolt: In the novelization, Stripe tells Gizmo right to his face that he wants to kill him but can't for some reason. Gizmo explains that [[spoiler:their alien creators]] made sure that Mogwai could never kill each other. That RestrainingBolt vanishes after Stripe becomes a Gremlin since he isn't a Mogwai anymore.
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: The mogwai, particularly Gizmo. At least before they have an after-midnight snack.
* TookALevelInBadass: Gizmo goes from harmless furby to sharp-shooting Rambo-clone over the course of the two films.
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[[folder:Gremlins]]
* ActionMom: Mrs. Peltzer turns unexpectedly and brilliantly badass when she kills three (pre-gremlin army) gremlins in one scene alone. Her weapons of choice: Blender, kitchen knife, and ''microwave''.
-->'''Mrs Peltzer''': Get out of my kitchen!!
* AnAssKickingChristmas
* ArtisticLicenseEconomics: As soon as Randall Peltzer finds out that Gizmo reproduced upon getting wet, he thinks that selling mogwai could be his big break. Yeeeeeeeeah... because a species that [[ExplosiveBreeder reproduces]] when exposed to a little water [[SarcasmMode is sure going to stay in demand for awhile.]]
* AssholeVictim: Mrs. Deagle was SUCH a bitch, especially in the deleted scenes that reveal she was forcing people out of their homes to put down a strip mall, effectively destroying Kingston Falls.
** In the novelization, she was selling their land to a chemical company (named "[[MeaningfulName Hitox]]" of all things), so one can assume she was going to turn the town into a toxic waste dump.
** Even in the onscreen version, she is a heartless ice-bitch who casually evicts poor widows with children on Christmas Eve, and gleefully threatens to kill helpless little dogs by throwing them in the drying machine.
*** Almost lampshaded herself after seeing the Gremlins for the first time, convinced "they're" coming for her. Her [[VillainousBreakdown breakdown]] into delusional sobbing before she activates her tampered stairlift and her own demise [[strike: almost makes you feel sorry for her]] makes you cheer as she ''literally'' flies down to Hell where she belongs.
--->'''Mrs. Deagle:''' I'm not ready!!!
* BigDamnHeroes: Billy manages to decapitate a Gremlin choking his mother
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: [[JustifiedTrope He did bring it on himself.]] High school biology teacher who experiments on weird creatures at night; when has that ''ever'' worked out?
* BunglingInventor: Rand
* BittersweetEnding: The Gremlins have been defeated and everything is safe again,but Gizmo has to go back to Chinatown with Mr.Wing.The sequel has a happier one however.
* CaptainErsatz: Mrs. Deagle looks and acts a lot like [[Film/TheWizardOfOz The Wicked Witch of the West]] and her human counterpart Miss Gulch, right down to threatening the main character's dog.
* ChekhovsGun: At the beginning of the movie, the first rule explains that Gizmo's species hates bright lights and that sunlight in particular is lethal to them. At first, this just seemed like a necessary rule to care for Gizmo, but it ends up being the most important weapon in the fight against the gremlins, the former part allowing them to drive them off while Gizmo ends up using the latter half to destroy the gremlin leader. Seeing as how they already (unintentionally) broke the other two rules, they may as well have decided to go for a trifecta.
** Perhaps they should add a Rule 4: In the event that Rules 2 and 3 are broken, you are permitted to break Rule 1.
*** Effectively, "If Rule 3 is broken, invert Rule 1 with extreme prejudice, and double up your vigilance on Rule 2."
** The ornamental swords hanging next to the door (and which keep falling off every time someone comes into the house) are actually pretty deadly when put to good use.
* CrazyCatLady: Mrs Deagle again. She is shown to adore her numerous cats and nurture them in a disturbingly affectionate manner. Not that the heartless old hag showed '''any''' of the same kindness to ''children'' who can be made homeless by one word from her, mind you. The fact that the cats are all named after various pieces of currency from around the world plainly shows [[OnlyInItForTheMoney what she REALLY cares about]].
* CreatorInJoke: The working titles for Creator/StevenSpielberg's movies ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind'' and ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial'' were "Watch the Skies" and "A Boy's Life" respectively. Both were referenced as a CreatorInJoke in ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'' (which Spielberg produced), as two movies reportedly showing in the town theater when Billy walks past it. Also, Rockin' Ricky Rialto's billboard is in the style of Indiana Jones from ''RaidersOfTheLostArk''.
* DarkerAndEdgier: The first film is definitely this to the LighterAndSofter sequel, having a ton of frightening imagery, making the Gremlins, nightmarish demons with a sense of humor that ranges from corny to twisted. Not to mention the death toll by the end of the film.
* DeadlineNews
* DisneyDeath: It appears that the Futtermans are crushed and killed by a snowplow-driving gremlin, but at the very end of the movie we hear a news reporter mentioning that he'd just spoken with the lovable old couple, who are still alive and well. Viewers who missed that often mistake their reappearance in the sequel as an UnexplainedRecovery (although how they survived the encounter isn't shown, either).
** The novelization, based on an earlier draft of the script, reveals this to be a last second addition. They're explicitly stated to have died in that version.
* DrowningMySorrows: Mr. Futterman is put out of a job, and then finds out his beloved Kentucky Harvester has foreign-made parts in it.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Rockin' Ricky manages to survive a Gremlin assault on his radio station, and is back on the air at the end of the movie.
* HorrorDoesntSettleForSimpleTuesday
* IndecisiveParody: The second one, on the other hand...
* KickTheDog: In the DarkerAndEdgier original script, the gremlins killed the Peltzers' pet dog, and Billy would have returned home to see his mother's head roll down the stairs.
** In the final version they just dangle Barney up with Christmas lights, and the mother survives with minor injuries.
* KickTheSonOfABitch: The gremlins' murder of Mrs. Deagle.
* LighterAndSofter: At least, compared to the original script draft.
* TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday
* MyCarHatesMe: Played with. In the beginning, Billy's car refuses to start, forcing him to walk to work. In the middle of the Gremlin attack, it actually starts for him, indicating a Gremlin messed with it. But later, when he tries to drive it again, it won't start. Indicating that it got fiddled with ''again''.
* NightmareFace: The sight of the gremlin laughing evilly up close facing you after the deputy's car crashes is enough to give ''anyone'' a nightmare. Yeah, good luck trying to sleep after seeing this.
* NobodyCanDie: Sort of RetCon. In the first movie we see Mrs Deagle's body and a number of humans seem to die offscreen. But early in the second movie Kate mentions that fortunately nobody got killed.
** Deagle might have just been knocked out. But one wonders how the science teacher survived. Maybe Kate was lying.
* OffWithHisHead: In the DarkerAndEdgier original script, Billy returned home to see his mother's head rolling down the stairs.
** In the film itself Billy decapitates a gremlin with a sword and kicks the severed head in the fire place.
* OhCrap:
** Billy's reaction after the last gremlin, Stripe, jumps into a public swimming pool. Gremlin Army ensues.
** When he's lying on the ground gasping in pain from Stripe shooting a crossbow bolt into his arm, and then he hears [[FromBadToWorse the sound of an electric chainsaw whirring to life]].
* OutOfFocus: Mrs. Peltzer has one [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome awesome]] ActionMom scene and then disappears for most of the movie. Possibly because in the original script the gremlins killed her.
** There was also the mogwai/gremlin (named Earl in the novel) Billy left with a teacher to study. During the test, the teacher took a sample of its blood. Afterwards they made a dramatic scene out of it getting a hold of a sandwich and eating after midnight. After completing its transformation, it took its revenge on the teacher for the blood test before scratching Billy and escaping into the school's ventilation system. It briefly appeared and attacked Billy in the nurse's office before escaping. After that, it disappeared and Billy didn't give it any thought when he went to tracking down Stripe.
*** [[spoiler:WordOfGod says that it met up with Stripe's gang and joined in the fun of terrorizing the town before being blown up in the theater with the rest of the army]].
**** [[spoiler:Perhaps left out for a reason, considering the potentially tragic setup Earl had, his death being directly shown may have come off as kinda sad.]]
* PoliceAreUseless
* SchmuckBait: "And the most important rule of all, the one you must never forget: no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs, never, EVER feed him after midnight."
** Subverted. Billy takes this rule seriously, even though he doesn't know what exactly is going to happen, and honestly intends to follow it. The evil Mogwai had to trick him into breaking it. [[spoiler: To be specific, he thought it was safe to feed them as it wasn't midnight yet. His clock had been tampered with.]]
* ShoutOut:
** "Hi, [[Literature/TheIslandOfDoctorMoreau Doctor Moreau]]."
** When Billy is hunting down Stripe in the department store, he walks past a row of plush dolls. Not only is Stripe hiding amongst them (a direct reference to ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial'') he pushes away an ''actual'' doll of E.T. while poking his head out.
*** One of the theaters is showing ''A Boy's Life'', which was the working title of ''E.T.'', and ''Watch The Skies'', the working title of ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind''.
** [[ForbiddenPlanet Robbie the Robot]] and TheTimeMachine appear (or disappear, in the latter's case) in the inventor convention attended by Mr. Peltzer.
** At Dory's when talking with Billy Gerald orders a martini shaken not stirred.
** Rockin' Ricky Rialto's billboard is a reference to ''RaidersOfTheLostArk'', complete with Rialto's name in the same font as Raiders' poster and Rialto's likeness dressed as Indiana Jones.
* SoftGlass: Combined with SuperWindowJump.
* TechnicolorDeath: It's not enough for sunlight to just kill Gremlins. [[spoiler: It has to melt them alive]].
* ThemeNaming: All of Ms. Deagle's cats are named after different currencies: Dollar, Kopeck, Drachma, etc.
* TooDumbToLive: Kate's father had to have been a very stupid man. [[spoiler:Jumping down your own chimney while overloaded with presents like Santa Claus is only asking for trouble.]]
* TheVoice: The DJ at the town radio station, "Rockin' Ricky Rialto". Gremlins are heard breaking into his studio, but as noted above he survives.
--->'''Rockin' Ricky:''' Hey wait a minute, you're not Rockin' Ricky fans!...
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse:
** Billy's friend Pete is last seen firing his slingshot at a few gremlins. Then later we hear him calling into the radio station trying to give a warning out about them, and then [[FridgeHorror he gets cut off]]. Pete doesn't appear in the sequel (Corey Feldman was in rehab at the time), nor is he even mentioned.
** Judge Reinhold's character Gerald is seemingly introduced as an (unsuccessful) rival for Kate's affections, and disappears from the movie after appearing in two scenes. A deleted scene shows that he was hiding out in the bank vault while the Gremlins ran wild, and is losing his sanity.
** The final fate of the Mogwai/Gremlin that Billy lent to Mr. Hanson is never really explained.
** The two cops flip their car after a Gremlin cuts their brakes, and don't appear for the rest of the movie. It's unclear whether or not they survived.
** Mr. Wing's Grandson is never seen again in the movie or mentioned in the sequel. The novelization however explains that he was severely punished by his grandfather for the back alley sale of Gizmo.
* WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve: Do not feed Gizmo after midnight.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: One particular Mogwai, stated as Earl in official media, is hinted in the film and novel as being one of the few Mogwai blessed with a more docile personality similar to Gizmo, [[spoiler: that is until he is taken to the university to be experimented on and then happening on that sandwich, condemning him to become another psychotic Gremlin and suffer the same ill fate as all his other brethren.]]
* YouAreNotReady: Although it is hinted that Billy may be one day.
[[/folder]]

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