Growing up in the 80s, Joe Dante’s GREMLINS was, in many ways, a right of passage. On the one end, it was a kids movie (at least, that’s what parents thought when they brought their 5 year-olds to the theater to check it out), and yet on the other hand, it’s a solid little creature feature for adults (and kids alike) that goes to some pretty gnarly places. Once exposed to GREMLINS, kids who may not be interested in horror found a new interest… and those who were scared of the dark found something new to be scared of when the lights went out. But goddamn, that Gizmo was a cute little bastard, and the marketing and merchandising had everyone fooled. This past week, news came to light that there’s a GREMLINS remake on the way. And surprisingly enough, I don’t hate the idea.
But I don’t love it either… I’m kind of on both sides of the argument of whether this should happen or not. Or maybe not whether it should happen, but more like… if it’s gonna happen, I guess I’m board. It’s definitely not necessary, but what the hell, maybe they’ll put a new twist on the whole thing and make it a darker / scarier version, one that’s not masked in holiday hijinks and kiddie fare, but something aimed more at adults, one that goes for the jugular as a full-fledged horror flick. Now that’s an angle I could get behind. Don’t make Gizmo so damn cute, for starters. Just fluffy enough that we sort of don’t want to see him die. Make Stripe a truly evil little bastard, make him scarier than he was in the 80s, make him with more slime and goo and whatnot. Same with the rest of the Gremlins… make them into freaky little monsters that will scare the shit outta people, not cutesy little characters that people want to take home and hang out with.
Place the whole thing during the holidays again, as we can never have enough Christmas horror movies, and use practical effects where possible, but let’s face it… if done right, they could really do a lot of cool things with a horde of CGI Gremlins running around, f*cking shit up. I’m not saying that CG Gremlins would be better than the practical Gremlins of the original, but if they put forth the time and effort into making the CG look real…. Well, then, the amount of chaos and havoc the Gremlins could unleash on the small, unsuspecting town is immeasurable, and limited only to the imagination. They could do a whole helluva lot of cool shite here, given the right effects team and the right vision behind the camera.
And this is where things get dicey for me: Seth Grahame-Smith. He’s the guy spear heading this project, which means he’s going to be heavily involved, and this could mean very bad things for GREMLINS. How so? The dude wrote the dreadful DARK SHADOWS, for starters… he also wrote the equally bad ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, and he’s the writer behind the new BEETLEJUICE remake. I can’t speak for BEETLEJUICE, but as for the other two… it’s not a good track record going to make me all that optimistic that this time he’ll crank out some quality shite. Just the opposite… I’m almost positive it’d be the same caliber of garbage as the other flicks he’s written, anMaybd that makes me very sad. If it’s gonna be another DARK SHADOWS, then I can easily say that the world does not need another GREMLINS movie (until other talent is tapped to bring it to us).
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but I’m not entirely against the prospects of a GREMLINS remake. With the advancement of technology and special effects, they could make the little bastards do some crazy cool shit, wreaking havoc on a scale we only fantasized about upon the original film’s release. The filmmakers also have the opportunity to go a different direction and make the Gremlins themselves scarier in design, and less cute and kid-friendly. There’s no way to replicate the cuteness factor of Gizmo again without it being ridiculous, so go with something different, but not something that will sell stuffed animals and lunch boxes. If Warner Bros. is serious about the remake, they should tap different talent to get the project going, and hire someone who has a solid track record of quality work under their belt, and not a string of craptastic garbage that even the general public couldn’t get behind. Do what I say, Warner Bros., and your remake will be destined for greatness. Go with the same ol’ thing that we’ve already seen, and your setting yourself up for failure.