There have been several Christmas horror movies. Most of them are bad. That’s largely because most horror movies are back, to be fair. If any genre is willing to churn out cheap garbage its horror, because gorehounds will lap it up. Christmas also is an easy, obvious choice for horror. It’s about the juxtaposition of the joyful holiday about family and presents and people getting murdered. They are almost all slasher films, of course, like Silent Night, Deadly Night. However, there is at least one Christmas horror movie I really enjoy. Obviously, I’m talking about Gremlins.
Sure, Gremlins is not going to satisfy people who love gore and nihilistic murder, but that’s not my bag anyway. I enjoy a fun horror comedy, and Gremlins is about the funniest horror comedy you will find, save for Gremlins 2: The New Batch, a movie I like even more than the original. Not to say there isn’t violence in Joe Dante’s 1984 classic. Most of it is visited upon gremlins, to be fair, but the movie was visceral enough to help usher in the PG-13 rating.
The premise is simple enough. A traveling salesman finds a mysterious creature called a mogwai and brings it home for his son Billy. He calls him Gizmo, and he’s a delight. Unfortunately, there are rules for taking care of mogwai. Inexplicable rules that are actually lampooned in the sequel. When Gizmo gets wet, more mogwai spawn from him, but they are all insane anarchists. If you feed a mogwai after midnight, they turn into gremlins, who are just straight-up monsters, but they are still anarchists. That’s the thing about the gremlins as they terrorize the town. Yes, they are messing with people and often trying to kill them, but they do it out of what is seemingly a love of chaos.