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Musings on Gizmo, the Mogwai of nightmares?

ImageI was just re-reading Joe Dante’s Ask Me Anything that was featured last year on reddit, and something occurred to me. A constant theme in many of the behind-the-scenes footage and information has the cast, crew and creators of the film constantly badmouthing Gizmo.
At first I figured it was just a cute little in-joke taken too far, but now I think about it and it makes a bit of sense that these people really do legitimately dislike the minority Mogwai. 

Gizmo is abused in both movies in an extreme fashion. In Gremlins 1 he is constantly knocked over, thrown around, light shone in his eyes, even had darts thrown at him while trapped on a dartboard. Image
The crew publicly has said in the past that the various Gizmo puppets were so complex that it was a pain to work on and around. In the famous scene where Pete spills the water on Gizmo, Zach Galligan and Corey Feldman both have said how difficult it was to maneuver around the cables and hidden puppeteers. This seems to be a constant theme  not to mention how many times some scenes had to be shot due to yet another malfunctioning Gizmo puppet.

As most of us rabid fans know by now, Gizmo was supposed to change just like the rest of the Mogwai, and in fact even becomes Stripe himself in some drafts of the script. Due to the late decisions made on what actions Gizmo would be doing, the special effects team had to constantly figure out ways to make increasingly complex (and last minute) actions work on the screen. This led to even more malfunctioning puppets and exasperated crew. It seems Gizmo became the bane of the Gremlins cast and crew, so they punished the poor Mogwai at every opportunity on-screen. This theme continues to an extreme in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, where Mohawk finds even more creative ways to torture Gizmo than the first batch Gremlins could have even conceived. 

So more and more interviews and behind-the-scenes articles paint Gizmo as if he were real and a “diva” type star. Over twenty years have passed since the last Gremlins film, and the jokes are still made by those involved, but I think it is a bit deeper than we initially realized. Image
Picture this: You are involved in what has become a blockbuster movie, and everyone is in love with Gizmo. Not the cast, not the director, but the puppet that has made the last six months of your life pure hell. Everyone loves cute little Gizmo, and he is treated like a star and as if he were an actual entity. So the jokes begin as a way to deflect the questions in interviews, but they aren’t just jokes. What if they really despise the existence of that furball? Why wouldn’t they? Indiana Jones and Short Round have action figures, playsets and more. Star wars merchandise has the full cast in whatever way you could imagine on pretty much everything you can imagine. 
Meanwhile the majority of the merchandise for one of 1984’s biggest blockbusters is Gizmo, a hunk of fur with ears. 
There weren’t any Billy or Pete action figures. No “Futterman Plow Playset with real crushing action” to be found in your JC Penny Dream Book. Just tons and tons of Gizmos. Everywhere. Now there were a few items like the colorforms or books of the film that had the human cast, but by and large Gizmo was the star. You’d think the folks in charge of marketing would see the potential of pushing ugly green goopy monsters to young boys, and make hundreds of designs of gremlins, but no….we get at least four Gizmo designs to every Stripe item. 

Now imagine every time you look around at the movie you worked so hard on (in any capacity) and the majority of things staring back at you are memories of long nights trying to get a scene shot or a puppet to hold 3d glasses just right. 

I get the feeling as I read more and more humorous asides, that Gizmo was the cause of the Gremlins crew’s nightmares rather than the horrific Gremlins that caused so many of us to lose sleep as children. 

Of course Gizmo became a badass by the end of Gremlins 2 and saves the day against Mohawk, but you can tell how much joy the filmmakers took in torturing Gizmo, and how much they reveled in the Gremlin-Brand Chaos whenever possible. 
If you look at it, Gizmo isn’t even a focus  in as much of the film as the Gremlins are in the second movie, and the sequel benefits from this.

I compare it to a band that has been working so hard to make it big that suddenly gets a song on the radio that breaks out and gives them their moment in the sun. Naturally that song would be the one the band hated the most, like Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” and Pete Townsend’s utter loathing for The Who’s “Pinball Wizard”. 

Gizmo seems to be the “Stairway To Heaven” for those involved with the Gremlins films, and they still take every opportunity to remind how much of a pain-in-the-butt the Mogwai was. 

Gremlins Online Exclusive! Upcoming Gremlins Figurines by Medicom and Be@rBrick

In the newest issue of Previews, which just hit your local comic/hobby shop today, they have solicitations for not one but TWO new Gremlins 2-packs are being released in May of this year! 

First up is a 2-Pack by Be@rBrick of Gizmo & Stripe.
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“Spike” mistake in the description not withstanding, this is extremely exciting. Be@rbrick is known for highly collectible miniature figurines, and these will be sought after by both Gremlins Collectors and Be@rbrick collectors alike.

Next are these awesome new Kubrick figurines by Medicom…after the break….
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Gremlins 2 invades the Ain’t It Cool Behind the scenes pic of the day!

Gremlins 2 invades the Ain’t It Cool Behind the scenes pic of the day!

Awesome behind the scenes shot of the Hero Gizmo puppet, and some kind words from AICN staffer “Quint”. 

Gremlins 3 Remake? Reboot? Sequel?

There has been a lot of rumors and discussion regarding Gremlins 3 actually being a remake or reboot instead of a sequel, and looking at the current Hollywood climate, it sure seems likely, but why?

Logically a remake would attract more theatregoers than Gremlins 3 would.
Fans of the gremlins franchise will see anything Gremlins in the theatre, be it Gremlins 3 or a remake/reboot. So those are guaranteed customers and do not factor in to the math.

However, as it has been nearly 20 years since we have last seen Gremlins in any form (commercials, games,  and DVD releases not withstanding) there is an entire generation of potential ticket sales that have never even seen Gremlins in the media.  Those customers are unlikely to see a sequel to a movie they never have seen before. Sure some might rent the previous films but they frankly do not have the legacy that other long-dormant movie franchises (like Ghostbusters) do.

Let’s try it this way:

Say there are a million people who are guaranteed ticket sales. They love the previous movies, and would absolutely see a new one in the theatre, regardless of it being a reboot or sequel.

Remake: 1 Million
Sequel: 1 Million

Now let’s take the rest of the moviegoing poulation, and pretend it is 10 million more people. They are undecided.

Undecided: 10m
Remake: 1m
Sequel: 1m

Of that 10m undecided a good number are going to be under the age of 18, as most people who make up the bulk of ticket sales are youth. Let’s number them at 7 Million.

Undecided Adults: 3m
Undecided Youth: 7m
Remake: 1m
Sequel: 1m

Here is where we diverge.

(more after the jump!)
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Looking for some awesome Gremlins Shirts?

Not much to post news-wise lately, so I figure I might just plug my store’s selection of Gremlins T-Shirts!

http://search.ultimatetshirts.com/search?x=0&y=0&keywords=gremlins

We have some great deals, and we are always keeping an eye out for awesome new Gremlins designs to offer you in the future!

Check out our site and tell them Jypsy sent ya!

Hopefully there will be some new Gremlins news in the near future, until then, Don’t feed them after midnight!!

Jypsy

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