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Film: Gremlins

For the trope, see Griping About Gremlins.

Gremlins is a 1984 dark comedy/horror film directed by Joe Dante, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. 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 with instructions though, namely:

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 cause havoc and terrorize the town.

Followed by the 1990 sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. 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 The Wizard of Oz and the Rambo series.


This film and its sequel provide examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Both movies 
  • Adaptational Heroism: 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.
  • All There in the Manual: The Novelization has a prologue that explains that 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').
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Any of the Mogwai/Gremlins who aren't Gizmo.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Averted. The Gremlins aren't even safe from each other.
  • Artistic License - Biology: 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.
  • Ascended Extra: 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 Big Damn Heroes moment to save Billy.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The first Mogwai is bought from a Chinese shop. "Mo-Gwai" is Cantonese for "devil"
  • Body Horror: 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.
  • Celestial Deadline: 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.
  • Clock Discrepancy: 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, 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, so it was after midnight after all.
  • Cute Is Evil: The cuteness of the Mogwai/Gremlins blinds people to the fact that they could possibly be dangerous.
  • Explosive Breeder: The mogwai/gremlins
  • The Fair Folk: The novelisations outright state that the Mogwai/Gremlins are their direct inspiration, and they are modelled after a particular fey creature anyways. 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.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence / Family-Unfriendly Death: To the point that the graphic content of the first movie (along with another Spielberg production) was used as an indication that a rating between PG and R was necessary.
  • Follow the Leader: There were oodles of gremlins-like creature features in between the two films, including Ghoulies and unfortunately Hobgoblins. (The movie Critters was not following the lead of Gremlins, as it had been in the works before Gremlins went into production.)
  • Genetic Memory: Gremlins, as part of their nature, are born with the capacity to understand the interworkings of machinery and how to sabotage it.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: In spades; both Gizmo and the Gremlins are huge pop culture junkies. This quality is exaggerated and highlighted in the second film.
  • Green Aesop: "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?
  • Griping About Gremlins
  • I'm Melting: Prolonged exposure to sunlight causes gremlins to melt. For added points Gremlins 2 has one dressed as a witch recite the trope namer as he melts.
  • Jerk Ass: Most gremlins qualify for this, save for Lenny and Daffy, but Stripe/Mohawk especially stands out in the jerk department.
  • Killer Rabbit: The mogwai, save for Gizmo.
    • Gizmo himself qualifies when he models himself after Rambo.
  • Laughably Evil: Most gremlins in general. They're both incredibly dangerous and very funny.
  • Lighter and Softer: 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).
  • Magic A Is Magic A: 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.
  • Metamorphosis Monster: The Mogwai transform if fed after midnight.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: 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.
  • Restraining Bolt: 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 their alien creators made sure that Mogwai could never kill each other. That Restraining Bolt vanishes after Stripe becomes a Gremlin since he isn't a Mogwai anymore.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The mogwai, particularly Gizmo. At least before they have an after-midnight snack.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Gizmo goes from harmless furby to sharp-shooting Rambo-clone over the course of the two films.

    Gremlins 
  • Action Mom: Mrs. Peltzer in a sense, as she kills three (pre-gremlin army) gremlins in one scene alone. Her weapons of choice: Blender, kitchen knife, and microwave.
  • An Ass Kicking Christmas
  • Artistic License - Economics: 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 reproduces when exposed to a little water is sure going to stay in demand for awhile.
  • Asshole Victim: 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 "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 breakdown into delusional sobbing before she activates her tampered stairlift and her own demise 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!!!
  • Big Damn Heroes: Billy manages to decapitate a Gremlin choking his mother
  • Black Dude Dies First
  • Bungling Inventor: Rand
  • Bittersweet Ending: 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.
  • Captain Ersatz: Mrs. Deagle looks and acts a lot like The Wicked Witch of the West and her human counterpart Miss Gulch, right down to threatening the main character's dog.
  • Chekhov's Gun: 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.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: 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 what she REALLY cares about.
  • Creator In-Joke: The working titles for Steven Spielberg's movies Close Encounters of the Third Kind and ET The Extra Terrestrial were "Watch the Skies" and "A Boy's Life" respectively. Both were referenced as a Creator In-Joke in 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 Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first film is definitely this to the Lighter and Softer 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.
  • Deadline News
  • Disney Death: 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 Unexplained Recovery (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.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Mr. Futterman is put out of a job, and then finds out his beloved Kentucky Harvester has foreign-made parts in it.
  • Hero of Another Story: Rockin' Ricky manages to survive a Gremlin assault on his radio station, and is back on the air at the end of the movie.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday
  • Indecisive Parody: The second one, on the other hand...
  • Kick the Dog: In the Darker and Edgier 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.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The gremlins' murder of Mrs. Deagle.
  • Lighter and Softer: At least, compared to the original script draft.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday
  • My Car Hates Me: 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.
  • Nobody Dies: 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.
  • Off with His Head!: In the Darker and Edgier 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.
  • Oh Crap:
    • 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 the sound of an electric chainsaw whirring to life.
  • Out of Focus: Mrs. Peltzer has one awesome Action Mom 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.
      • Word of God 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.
      • 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.
  • Police Are Useless
  • Schmuck Bait: "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. To be specific, he thought it was safe to feed them as it wasn't midnight yet. His clock had been tampered with.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Hi, 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 ET The Extra Terrestrial) he pushes away an actual doll of E.T. while poking his head out.
    • Robbie the Robot and The Time Machine 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 Raiders of the Lost Ark, complete with Rialto's name in the same font as Raiders' poster and Rialto's likeness dressed as Indiana Jones.
  • Soft Glass: Combined with Super Window Jump.
  • Technicolor Death: It's not enough for sunlight to just kill Gremlins. It has to melt them alive.
  • Theme Naming: All of Ms. Deagle's cats are named after different currencies: Dollar, Kopeck, Drachma, etc.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kate's father had to have been a very stupid man. Jumping down your own chimney while overloaded with presents like Santa Claus is only asking for trouble.
  • The Voice: The DJ at the town radio station, "Rockin' Ricky Rialto". Gremlins are heard breaking into his studio, but as noted ahove he survives.
    Rockin' Ricky: Hey wait a minute, you're not Rockin' Ricky fans!...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • 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 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.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Do not feed Gizmo after midnight.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: 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, 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.
  • X Meets Y: Word of God calls the first film It's a Wonderful Life meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers; it has plenty of Thematic Shout-Out to both films.
  • You Are Not Ready: Although it is hinted that Billy may be one day.

    Gremlins 2 
  • Affably Evil: The Brain Gremlin.
  • All There in the Script: Official merchandise for the film has revealed that the other mogwai/gremlins are named Daffy (the hyperactive one), George (the big-lipped one), Lenny (the bucktoothed one), and Mohawk (the one that becomes the Spider Gremlin).
  • Apathetic Citizens: Murray gets attacked by a winged Gremlin in broad daylight (thanks to an injection that helped it overcome that weakness) on a crowded New York sidewalk, and no one seems to notice.
  • Big Applesauce
  • Big Budget Beef-Up: $50,000,000 compared to the first's $11 million. This, obviously, meant more gremlins.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Gizmo saves Marla and Kate from the spider-gremlin after Taking A Level In Badass.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Forster, although he strangely decides to give in at the end.
  • Born in the Theatre, No Fourth Wall, and Painting the Medium all at once!
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Daniel Clamp
  • Captain Ersatz:
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Clamp and the police storming building at the end.
  • Chained to a Railway: Parodied
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The electric Gremlin.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander / Laughing Mad: Even for a gremlin, Daffy is weird.
  • Cobweb Jungle
  • Continuity Nod: George causes an explosion using a microwave, a Shout-Out to the infamous "Exploding Gremlin" scene in the first movie.
    • Kate starts to go into detail about a traumatic event that happened to her on the occurring holiday (here, Lincoln's birthday), but this time Billy tries to shut her up before she can finish (she does anyway while dragged away).
    • In the first film, Kate was flashed by a Gremlin in a trenchcoat while at the bar. In this film, the same thing happens... but she doesn't just take it.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Gizmo is captured by a couple of scientists who just happened to be lurking around the alley at that moment, they take him back to the laboratory which is in the same building Billy happens to now be working in and Billy happens to overhear a guy whistling Gizmo's song, cluing him in that Gizmo is there.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Subverted. Early in the film Clamp Enterprises had been suggested to be the typical evil (or at least amoral) corporation but when we finally meet Daniel Clamp he turns out to be a loveable Man Child who actually wants to use his massive resources to make the world a nicer place.
    • Clamp's oily assistant comes as close to being corrupt as you can without actually going over the line.
    • According to the DVD commentary Clamp was originally intended to be a more evil character, but John Glover's kind-hearted portrayal resulted in the character being adjusted accordingly.
  • Covered in Kisses: The female gremlin does this to a human security guard.
    • Forster gets his share too.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Daniel Clamp has a video for his cable network to play in the unlikely event Clamp has to shut down due to the end of the world.
    • According to Joe Dante, he once toured the CNN main headquarters, where they have just such a video waiting to be played when the final hour comes.
  • Credits Gag - Daffy Duck appears during and after the end credits commenting on them ("You're THTILL lurking about? Don't you people have HOMETH?!?").
  • Cute Monster Girl: Greta the female gremlin. "Cute" being a relative term.
  • Die Hard with Gremlins: Inverse of how this trope usually goes. Normally, it is taking the premise of Die Hard and recycling it into a new setting. Here, it is taking the premise of the original Gremlins and transplanting it into a setting remenicient of the original Die Hard.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Mohawk, who's been pretty non-interested in leading the other gremlins throughout much of the film, gets killed while the greater part of the gremlins are still creating mayhem. The Brain gremlin effectively assumed his place beforehand.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After another gremlin invasion,Gizmo is ultimately able to reunite with Billy.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In a deleted scene on the DVD, the Gremlins were clearly seen releasing the lab animals from their cages in the Splice of Life Laboratory, even one of them shouts, "GO! GO!" when he lets a dog out. The Vegetable Gremlin doesn't seem to mind when a released squirrel was munching on his head. In the final version, the gremlins don't attack Fred the whole time he's on the building, implying they do not harm those who are not afraid of them.
  • Evil Elevator: The Gremlins commandeer one of the Clamp building's elevators with Kate inside it.
  • Evil Redhead: A scheming female boss who tries to seduce Billy and is a Jerk Ass to Kate. She ends up being trapped in Spider Gremlin's web! Guess who saves her bacon...
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Before the Brain gremlin drank the brain serum, he was just a cannon fodder.
  • Genetic Memory: The Gremlins have an instinctive hatred of Gizmo. This seems to be passed down from George, Lenny, and Daffy (whom were born from Gizmo and helped Mohawk push him into an air vent) to the numerous gremlins that spawn from the aforementioned trio. How they know Gizmo by name is pretty much Rule of Funny.
    • Or they can sense what they perceive to be weakness.
    • Also, remember they did come out of him, so it's possible they share memories (which would also explain why Mohawk is so determined in his tormenting this time: he remembers that Gizmo killed him). Word of Dante says that Mohawk is effectively a reincarnation of Stripe.
      • The Bat Gremlin flew towards the Fluttermans and attacked them.
    • Alternately, they inherit Gizmo's memories and know that he would attempt to take them out from those.
  • Got The Whole World In My Hand: The Clamp corporate logo.
  • Groin Attack: Kate delivers a very hard and swift kick to a gremlin's crotch after he flashes her, sending him flying.
  • Hammerspace: Where the Brain Gremlin gets his glasses from.
  • High Voltage Death: Billy kills off the Gremlin hoard by getting them wet (normally a bad idea) but then unleashing the gremlin that had Shock and Awe Elemental Powers on them. ...it's not clear what happened to the electric Gremlin after that. Maybe being grounded absorbed him into the ground?
    • The novelization says he "short-circuited," but not before spreading enough amperage around the Gremlins to kill them all.
  • Hollywood Acid: Complete with the sadly ignored warning label "Do Not Throw In Face".
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Daniel Clamp.
  • Hybrid Monster: Several of the Gremlins become these during the course of the film. One even turns into a bolt of electricity by drinking one of the potions in the lab.
  • Idiot Ball: Gizmo just had to get out of the drawer Billy left him in and wander around an unfamiliar building (especially after the residents of said building had already tried to dissect him), instead of just waiting for his owner and friend to come and take him home.
  • Impact Silhouette: Parodied; when the Bat Gremlin flies through a wall, the hole he leaves behind is shaped like the Batman logo.
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: During the theater takeover, one of the gremlins manages to create Abraham Lincoln with shadow puppets.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Gizmo's owner, Mr. Wing. Justified and lampshaded in-story by the fact that he is particularly old (think 90-plus), having reached the type of age where even a seemingly innocuous cold could be life-threatening.
  • Interspecies Romance: The very last scene.
  • It Amused Me: As Brain points out, shooting one of his less mature brethren in the face with a pistol is fun, "but in no sense civilized".
  • Japanese Tourist: Mr. Kazuchi.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Used in-universe with this exchange:
    Clamp: That thing that was in here a minute ago, that's dangerous! This guy's from the art department.
    Forster: Well, ask him how he knows so much about these "green things".
    Clamp: That's a good question Bill how do you know so much about them?
  • Kill It with Fire combined with You Have to Burn the Web.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Some of Clamp's incredulous minions snarkily question Billy about the vagueness of the Gremlin rules.
  • Large Ham: Both of these were probably intentional, considering the enforced campy nature of the film.
  • LEGO Genetics: How a number of the gremlins managed to turn into hybrids after raiding the genetics lab for Applied Phlebotinums. This is briefly handwaved by their unstable genetics.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Gizmo has one of these moments.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the first film was (somewhat) more serious in tone, the sequel is played more for laughs.
  • Mad Scientist: Doctor Catheter, played to the hilt by Christopher Lee. Interestingly he subverts it later on when he rejects his experiments as immoral, and vows that he will not commit cruel genetic experiments on animals again.
  • Mook Promotion: A random Gremlin drinks a brain-enhancing formula and becomes the swarm's leader/spokesgremlin. (While the original leader becomes a skulking half-spider monstrosity.)
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Brain Gremlin's intelligence doesn't stop him from having the same sociopathic tendencies as the other gremlins.
    *the Brain Gremlin is being interviewed about culture and civilization when another gremlin with a beanie pops in from the side and starts making a racket*
    Brain Gremlin: You take a look at this fellow here.
    *the Brain Gremlin takes out a gun and casually shoots the other gremlin in the head*
    Brain Gremlin: Now, was that civilized? No, clearly not. Fun, but in no sense civilized.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: In both their mogwai and gremlin forms,the 4 main gremlins,Mohawk,George,Lenny and Daffy, look remarkably different from the other ones.
  • Planimal: A gremlin drinks a potion from the science lab and becomes a gremlin/vegetable hybrid. Later we see another gremlin picking a bit of him off to snack on.
  • Post Modernism
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: A weird quasi-case. When the movie was put on video, Dante realized the sequence of the Gremlins Breaking the Fourth Wall and taking over the projection room wouldn't fit the new format, so he made a completely different version of the scene where they cause the VCR to eat the tape.
    • And in the novelization, the Brain Gremlin locks the author into a closet and takes over the typewriter for a bit.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: When Mr. Wing holds up development on Clamp's latest business venture, Forster realizes how old and sick he is, and just waits for him to die.
  • Punny Name: Doctor Catheter? Really?
  • Redemption Equals Death: Not long after Dr. Catheter decides to dedicate his life to good, he gets killed by the Electric Gremlin.
  • Reincarnation: Word of God states that Mohawk, the new leader of the gremlins, was Stripe, the primary antagonist from the first film reborn. Fortunately, Gizmo sends him back to the grave for good. Whether this is a literal reincarnation or figurative (as in, they fulfill similar archetypes) is unclear, though it is implied to be the former as Mohawk goes out of his way to torment Gizmo for much of the movie, and in the first movie Gizmo was the character who killed Stripe.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome
  • Rich Boredom: Mr. Clamp
  • Sealed Evil in a Can
  • Self-Parody: This film often parodies itself, the previous film and audience (and critics') reactions to the film.
  • Sexual Karma: A newly girlified gremlin "attacks" a hapless human male!
  • Shout-Out: This is a Joe Dante film, after all, so you will be getting Looney Tunes and Invasion of the Body Snatchers references (including the pod from the original film!), and all of the referential gags to Batman, The Phantom of the Opera (1925), and other Warner Bros. properties. Look fast for a pair of DC Comics (another Warners company) on the cabinet behind Billy's desk.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Definitely further over into comedy.
  • Smart People Speak The Queen's English: The Brain Gremlin.
  • The Smurfette Principle: There's only one girl gremlin, and that's entirely due to gene splicing.
  • So Last Season: They try to get every Gremlin into the lobby by fooling them into thinking it's nighttime, then fry them with sunlight. Then come the thunderclouds. Cue Oh Crap moment.
  • Special Effects Evolution: The puppetry as a whole is improved upon from the first film.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Mohawk.
  • Stealth Pun: George and Lenny are named after the main characters from Of Mice and Men.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Strongly hinted at the end, with Forster towards the female Gremlin.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: The Marathon Man version is spoofed.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Mohawk is one for Stripe
  • Taken for Granite: The bat Gremlin ends up covered in quick-drying cement as a gargoyle atop a cathedral.
  • Take That: One of the guys who's lampshading the possible problems with The Rules and being something of a smartass about it. Not only does he get attacked by a gremlin, the thing hauls off and punches him.
  • Take That, Critics!: Surprisingly, one of the least bitter Take Thats. Leonard Maltin, who gave the original Gremlins a negative review, appears as himself and is promptly mocked and attacked by the rampaging army.
    Maltin: I was just kidding! Ow! A ten! It's a ten!
  • That's All, Folks!
    Daffy Duck: Oh no you don't!
  • Took a Level in Badass: Gizmo, at the same time doing a Rambo spoof.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The Futtermans sure seem to have recovered well from that whole snow plow thing in the first movie (it is mentioned in the first movie that they survived, but you have to listen carefully to hear it).
  • Unintentional Period Piece: It shows how it's a 1990 film with references to Batman, Donald Trump and Marla Maples' affair, colorization jokes and so on.
  • Villain Song: Frank Sinatra's New York, New York no less. And amazingly well-coordinated!
    Grandpa Fred: Incredible as it seems, ladies and gentlemen, after their bizarre, bloodcurdling rampage of destruction, these strange creatures now appear to be mounting what seems to be... a musical number.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: "Daffy", "George" and "Lenny" disappear during the latter half of the movie (though deleted scenes depict them "helping" with Grandpa Fred's show and their Family-Unfriendly Death with the rest of the Gremlins).
  • You, Get Me Coffee: "Marla... smoke."
  • You Have to Burn the Web: when Gizmo shoots the spider gremlin with flaming arrows.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas!Christmas Movies IndexIf You Believe
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alternative title(s): Gremlins2; Gremlins 2 The New Batch; Gremlins; Gremlins Unleashed; Gremlins 2 The New Batch
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