Just seven reasons why the movie Gremlins has haunted us through to adulthood.

1980s cult film Gremlins is a classic holiday movie. If your idea of a holiday is heading down to Hades to spend some quality time with part bat, part frog, homicidal demons, that is.

The Joe Dante horror-comedy, which does have a Christmas theme to it, definitely errs more on the former if you’ve revisited it in recent years. In fact, we think we may be more afraid of it now than we ever were as kids.

And it totally makes sense why.

Watch the official Gremlins trailer below. Post continues after video.

The original draft of Gremlins by Chris Columbus was an all-out, R-rated, nightmare-inducing horror film surrounding the story of the murderous rat-like creatures who wreak havoc on a town to terrifying effect. And the one we got instead was… much the same, really, but with a PG rating.

In fact, the whole film in its hellish glory was inspired by a vermin infestation in Chris Columbus’ New York apartment. Which, now that we’re adults living out on our own in the wilderness, is a genuine fear we all share.

“By day, it was pleasant enough,” recalls Columbus, who was attending film school at NYU at the time. “But at night, what sounded like a platoon of mice would come out and to hear them skittering around in the blackness was really creepy.”

It was Spielberg who stepped in and suggested turning Gremlins into a family-friendly adventure film in order to meet budget, opting to take out some of the more… extreme deaths.

Even so, many of the horrific elements of the original script are still present.

Hear us out:

1. The three rules immediately instil a sense of terror.

Sure, Gizmo the mogwai is a cute little fella, but the rules surrounding how to care for him aren’t just for fun.

They’re not dissimilar to the sort of rules in vampire or werewolf folklore. Proper scary sh*t.

Of course – getting a mogwai wet makes it multiply, bright lights can kill them, but feeding them after midnight is what spawns the hideous and terrifying creatures that are gremlins.


*Shudder* Stripe.

From the moment the severity of these rules is expressed, it’s a blinding red flag right out the gate that things are going to go wrong at some point.

And, well, they do.

2. The scene where Billy’s mum fights the gremlins.

The scene where we’re introduced to the gremlins for the first time is pretty bloody terrifying.

This is a woman facing the very real threat of death as she slowly realises her home has been overrun by hungry little monsters out for blood.

No really, in the original script, Billy comes home to find his mother’s head bouncing down the steps. CUTE.

But, never fear, in this version, she saves herself and keeps her head intact by stuffing one gremlin in a blender, while another explodes in the microwave.

3. Mrs. Deagle’s death.

Look, none of us were sad to see Mrs Deagle – who wanted to murder Billy’s dog with her bare hands – go. Let’s be honest.

But before she goes zooming out through the window on her chair lift, there’s a pretty eerie moment where she genuinely thinks she’s being escorted to the fiery pits of hell by the gremlins gathered on her front lawn, prompting her to say “I’m not ready” over and over again.

Pretty dark.

4. They look scary AF.

OK, they’re not real. We know this. BUT THEY ARE TERRIFYING.

Those blazing red eyes? All those teeth? Stripe, the gremlin leader, with the white Mohawk?


5. The body count.

While Billy’s mum is saved from her fate in the original script, plenty of other people aren’t so lucky.

Gremlins has a pretty high body count for a kids film. In fact… it’s higher than some genuine horror movies written for adults.

But we still loved it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

6. Jump scares feature heavily.

Surely we’re not the only ones who find jumpy moments in horror films the scariest aspect of the whole experience.

Well, Gremlins has its fair share of these type of scenes. The bit where the gremlin jumps out onto Billy’s face?


7. The last line.

Just before the credits roll, the narration ends with “You never can tell, there just might be a Gremlin in your house,” because cool, we never wanted to sleep again anyway.

Were you afraid of Gremlins? Let us know what you remember in the comments below.