Study Guide

Gremlins Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holliday)

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Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holliday)

Kiss Her Grits

Polly Holliday was previously known as Flo on the TV show Alice. Flo was a sassy waitress who smacked her gum and spouted, "Kiss my grits."

That attitude makes her perfect for the cruel Mrs. Ruby Deagle, a woman who would evict a tenant on Christmas Eve if they were overdue on rent.

According to the news report, Mrs. Deagle is the "widow of convicted stock-swindler Donald Deagle." She's the Ebenezer Scrooge of Kingston Falls. What's the female equivalent of Ebenezer? Ebenezra? Ebenezerette?

She's also a bit of a Wicked Witch who took a wrong turn trying to get back to Oz. You can imagine the Wicked Witch's iconic theme song in Mrs. Deagle's first scene, where she storms through Kingston Falls. She even walks in front of cars, because Mrs. Deagle doesn't stop for traffic; traffic stops for her.

The Softer Side of Deagle

Mrs. Deagle doesn't just threaten Billy's job. Here she is threatening to put his dog in her dryer.

MRS. DEAGLE: I'll catch the beast myself. Then he'll get what he deserves. A slow, painful death. Maybe I'll put him in my spin dryer on high heat.

Let that sink in: she threatens to murder a dog in the dryer.

Because of that, it's easy to root for the Gremlins when they kill her at the end of the movie. So, if you want to continue enjoying that grim scene guilt free, stop reading here.

Before Mrs. Deagle dies, we get a glimpse of her in her home. She's too weak to climb the stairs on her own. Her husband is dead, so her only company is her cats. (No wonder she hates dogs.) The cats' names are Kopeck, Ruble, and Dollar Bill, showing us Mrs. Deagle's sad, loveless life, where her only goal in life is money.

It's pathetic, really. And we almost feel pity for her. When the Gremlins attack, Mrs. Deagle pleads to God, or some other deity, to spare her.

MRS. DEAGLE: They're here! They've come for me. I… I'm not ready. I'm not ready yet. I'm not ready.

In a less cartoonish movie, this would be a horrific scene. The villain repents, but it's too late.

However, this is Gremlins, not Citizen Kane so we, and everyone else, rejoice when Mrs. Deagle's motorchair goes haywire and flings her out a window to her death.

Face it, we all have a little bit of gremlin inside of us.

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