Saturday, December 20, 2008

Honourable Mentions: Gremlins 2 – the new batch

dvdIt might seem strange that I am looking at Gremlins 2 here and it isn’t because of the ‘Gremlin rules’, rather it is more for a vampire look that appears within the film. Director Joe Dante would, we should remember, go on to direct the portmanteau section of genre flick Trapped Ashes and is said to be at the helm of upcoming flick Bat Out of Hell.

Christopher Lee appearsIn this the Gremlins are set loose within the most fully automated skyscraper in New York City, after Billy (Zach Galligan) rescues Gizzmo the magwai from a genetic experiment lab within the building, which just happens to be run by Christopher Lee. Unfortunately he leaves Gizmo in his desk – he works for the building’s owner in the art department, the genetics lab is a tenant.

a gremlinA maintenance man manages to get gizmo wet, releasing other – less pleasant – magwai from his back and this is one of the three rules; no sunlight or bright light, it kills them; don’t get them wet; don’t feed them after midnight or they change (a rule which makes little sense in itself, as it is always after midnight somewhere, and which the script writers have some fun with during the film). Suddenly we have Gremlins on the loose.

bat gremlinOf course two of the three rules sound like vampire genre twists. Sunlight kills and don’t get wet (though in this case it causes them to multiply rather than die). We also get one gremlin drinking bat DNA in the lab and growing bat wings and then being injected with natural sunblock genes that allows him to go into the sun. Despite this the references with this particular Gremlin are, in turns, batman and a gargoyle.

Robert Prosky as Grandpa FredThe reason for this mention is in fact a character called Grandpa Fred (Robert Prosky), who is the introduction man for a horror film series and who dresses like a vampire. In truth he is more Grandpa from the Munsters than Bela Lugosi. As the film progresses he ends up wandering the building, filming the chaos as a vampire looking news anchor man – building owner Clamp (John Glover) actually proclaims Dracula when he sees him. He even interviews the Brain Gremlin.

Not a vampire film, obviously, but a good fun sequel, with just a hint of vampire essence thrown in for flavour. The imdb page is here.

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