Study Guide

Gremlins Movies

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It's a Terrible Life

Gremlins is a movie filled with movies. One of the first films-within-the-film we see is It's a Wonderful Life. This Christmas classic clues us in that Gremlins, too, is a Christmas movie. In It's a Wonderful Life, every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings. In Gremlins, every time a mogwai gets wet, someone's going to die.

Okay, it's not your typical Christmas movie.

To help drive that fact home, we see that Billy's a fan of horror and suspense movies. He has a Twilight Zone poster on his wall, which shows us that things are about to get weird. (It's also a nod to the Spielberg-produced Twilight Zone: The Movie.)

Shortly before the mogwai mutate, Billy watches Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Its dialog is almost too good to be true, as we see here.

MOVIE: Can't you see? They're after you! They're after all of us! Our wives, our children, everyone! They're here already! You're next! You're next! You're next! You're next!

Gremlins is a movie about fear. You have to admit that every time you watch a horror movie, you think to yourself, if only for a second, "What if this actually comes true?"

Did Billy think that when watching horror flicks? And does he realize how eerily appropriate that dialog is? After finding his science teacher dead, he probably forgot he was even watching the movie, so no. But we noticed.

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's off to Kill We Go

Billy blows up the Gremlins in a movie theater while they're watching Snow White. This is an appropriate choice because in the Snow White legend, the dwarves were nameless. Walt Disney gave them names. The mogwai/gremlins are also nameless…but Gizmo is given a name by a person, and Billy calls the one with the little Mohawk "Stripe."

Like the dwarves, they're defined by their personality types. As the camera pans over the audience of gremlins, we see that they're beginning to develop personality types. One's dressed in a sweatshirt, another is wearing a top hat, and one has popcorn bags on his heads. The idea of gremlins with defined personalities is taken further in the sequel, Snow White and the 700 Gremlins.

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