Nobody wants to follow the rules. We only do it because we don’t want to pay the piper when we stray from societal norms. But not gremlins. The charm at the core of Gremlins (1984) is that the mischievious monsters get away with a LOT of stuff that looks like fun because, frankly, society deems their actions completely unacceptable. Here are ten things the Gremlins did that I’d do if I could get away with it.
Drive a snowplow into someone’s house.
Just to prove it isn’t personal, I don’t even care whose house I victimize. Do you remember when you were a kid playing with your toys, and you’d occasionally smash them together to see what would happen? This is the same thing but on a much, much, much grander scale.
Launch an old wealthy widow on a motorized staircase out of a second story window.
I’m even willing to meet everyone halfway. You can tell me that it’s wrong. My answer is that it’s only wrong because of the danger to the elderly widow. So give me a giant mattress and bust the glass out of the window beforehand. I get the sadistic pleasure of launching an old rich lady out of a window, and the old lady gets one of the best thrills of her life. Everyone wins.
Create clones of myself to do my dirty work.
Breaking societal norms is hard work. Even assuming only four hours of sleep, that leaves a 20-hour day full of havoc. There are only so many things that a miscreant can do. Stripe in Gremlins knew this, and created a lot of asshole friends to help him multiply his devilish workload by the hundreds.
Sing Hi-Ho from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in the loudest, shittiest, most annoying singing voice possible.
Of the many scenes featuring evil gremlin behavior in the movie, only one possesses the childlike excitement that the gremlins have while singing along to a Disney classic. There’s nobody around to be annoyed by it other than Billy, Kate, and Gizmo. And Gizmo likes the song. But I assure you, having large groups of people around to harass with this song would be pure joy.
Cower from daylight.
Do you know what happens during the day? People work. People buy groceries. People take care of checklists during the day. Everything runs as planned. In other words, it’s full of boring, mundane activities. All of the good stuff happens at night when the freaks and creeps come out. At night, you’re much more likely to pass out with your pants around your ankles in a Denny’s, or punch a Kia Rio just because it’s a Kia Rio. It’s so much more fun. Or to put it more succinctly:
Fire a crossbow at a 1980s-sized boombox.
Take that, Kajagoogoo and Flock of Seagulls!
Take over a movie theater and eat all the concessions I want for free.
The first thought you’ll have is, “Think of the $10 you’ll save on soda and popcorn! Awesome!” But there’s so much more at play. Not only can you save $10 with your free popcorn and soda. You can also take home a bunch of candy. It never goes bad, and it will of course provide nourishment straight from the theater’s teat for weeks to come.
Flash a bartender.
You know how it goes. It’s late, you’ve been drinking all night, the bar is finally slowing down, and there are precious few ways to make the night better. But society says that one of those ways- showing your business to the bartender- is wrong. That is to say, it’s wrong unless you’re a gremlin.
Destroy a boring, Capraesque community.
When I saw It’s a Wonderful Life this past holiday season, I noticed a major flaw in the film. The version of Bedford Falls where George Bailey was never born- Pottersville- was so much more fun. In Pottersville, people partied, gambled, drank, and had a great time, which was the exact opposite of the sleepy Bedford Falls that existed with George Bailey in it. Apparently, Gremlins director Joe Dante realized this because his whole film reveled in destroying a corny Rockwell painting community just like Bedford Falls.
Hold on to a ceiling fan while it flings me around a room at maximum speed.
It’s kind of like a rodeo without the risk of goring, and with the added fun of dizziness and crashing against pint glasses. Or put another way, it’s just like college if you held on to a ceiling fan for four years (or five or six or seven years).