What You Never Knew About Gremlins
June 9, 2014
(The shortened opening)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. And welcome to another installment of...What You Never Knew.
(The logo of What You Never Knew is shown with two large eyes)
Voice: I never knew that!
NC: This is where we take a look at all the little touches, not behind the scenes, but right in front of us. And today, we're gonna take a look at the Gremlins movies.
(Footage from both Gremlins movies play out)
NC (vo): The first one may be a classic send-up to traditional monster films, and the second one is straight-up satire of its own product, but what have you missed about them? With so many creatures of so much variety and so many scenes, it's easy to overlook some of the hidden gems that were always in plain sight to see. They're clever, they're subtle, and they're all over the place.
NC: Let's not waste any time. Let's jump right into it with the Gremlins movies.
(The logo of What You Never Knew About Gremlins is shown with a scene showing all the gremlins in a movie theater. This will serve as the background image as the numbers countdown. The number 18 is shown first)
NC (vo): Most of the people know the bigger names in these movies, but the slipped-in cameos are far too many to count. Aw, hell, let's try anyway.
[Various cameo appearances are shown]
NC (vo): There's Steven Spielberg, the movie's producer. The movie's composer, Jerry Goldsmith, makes an appearance in both the first and second film. Though you didn't know it yet, you would later see these twins (Don and Dan Stanton) in Terminator 2. Billy's boss (Haviland Morris) would eventually go on to be Korben Dallas's mother.
Marla (Billy's boss): A brochure for the Clamp Cable channel.
[A clip from The Fifth Element is shown]
Korben Dallas's Mother: Korben, sweetheart, you got broken fingers, you can't punch my number?
NC (vo): There's Dick Butkus at the salad bar, John Astin of Addams Family fame as the janitor, and we clearly see Billy showing his cartoon to one of the greatest Looney Tunes animators of all time, Chuck Jones. In fact, they're even playing one of his cartoons in the background. This is fitting, seeing how the film's director, Joe Dante, would go on later to direct a Looney Tunes film.
[The poster for Looney Tunes: Back in Action is shown, then a poster for Space Jam is shown]
NC (vo): Thankfully, not this one. As such, it makes sense that the director would give himself a cameo doing exactly that: directing. Let's just hope he's not thinking about putting Brendan Fraser in anything else.
(The number 17 is shown)
NC (vo): We all remember Kate's out-of-nowhere monologue about Santa and why she hates Christmas.
Kate: He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.
NC (vo): But while that one was played up for drama...we think...the sequel plays it for laughs.
Kate: Something terrible happened to me on Lincoln's birthday. I was six or seven. This man with a beard and a hat looked just like Abe Lincoln.
NC (vo): Apparently, in this one, it has so little to do with anything that they don't even let her finish. And apparently, it was so funny, that the actor playing Billy actually starts to crack before leaving the frame. Though let's be honest, who can blame him?
Kate: I remember...oh, God. He says, "Hello, little girl."
(The number 16 is shown)
High School Teacher (from the first movie): I keep one of these here and run some tests on him.
NC (vo): What the hell kind of high school teacher is this? He performs all these experiments himself, he doesn't keep food away, which he knows he's supposed to do, he doesn't turn on the light when hunting this thing, even though he knows that'll protect him, and he didn't hand this thing over to a more professional researcher or an animal control person or...frigging anybody that would be more qualified! Hell, that jerkoff probably deserves that lethal injection. In fact, why the fuck does he have a lethal injection?! Doesn't this guy just teach fifth grade biology? You know what? Fuck it. I don't wanna know how he got those things. This guy's bizarre enough already.
Teacher: Don't be afraid. There's no reason to be afraid.
(The number 15 is shown)
NC (vo): A lot of people know that Howie Mandel did the voice of Gizmo, but did you also know that Frank Welker, the voice of Megatron, did Stripe and Mohawk, or that Michael Winslow, who did the Police Academy sound effects, was the other half of the gremlins? Funny, seeing how Bubba Smith had a cameo, too. How about Tony Randall from The Odd Couple being the voice of the sophisticated gremlin?
Brain Gremlin (Tony Randall): Talk a little bit about what's going on this room, because I think there are some fascinating ramifications here for the future.
NC (vo): A lot of work went into making these many distinct voices, but ironically, Howie Mandel found his one voice for Gizmo got him not one, not two, but three jobs from it. Hey, when you got it, flaunt it.
(The number 14 is shown. A clip of the main gremlin from the first one, Stripe, dying is shown, with an arrow pointing at a string which can be seen controlling Stripe's head)
Bela Lugosi (vo; from Ed Wood): Pull the string! Pull the string!
(The number 13 is shown)
NC (vo): A lot of people wonder what the reference is with the movie theater showing "A Boy's Life" and "Watch the Skies", as neither of those were actual movies at the time. Well, both of these names were the working titles for another Steven Spielberg project he was working on. You might know it a little better as...
[An image from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is shown]
NC (vo): E.T.. But don't worry. Just because they didn't get the title right yet, doesn't mean they couldn't get in some early marketing.
(An E.T. plush toy is shown on a toy shelf. The number 12 is shown)
NC (vo): Many of us know in the theatrical and DVD version of Gremlins 2, the movie is stopped for a moment and taken over by our little monsters in the projector room. However, for the VHS version, the gremlins take over your television set, and rather than putting on another film reel like they did in the original, they start changing the channels and invading other movies.
Wil Andersen: Get the hell off my spread! (Shoots a gremlin)
NC (vo): As clever as this is, let's face it, a bad John Wayne impression is nothing compared to the Hulkster telling them to get back to the story.
NC: You tell them, Hulk!
Hulk Hogan: Sorry, folks. It won't happen again.
(The number 11 is shown)
NC (vo): The movies make it clear that water allows the mogwais to multiply, and yet they can consume tons of bottles of beer okay and dig through the snow without any problem. Is this the same kind of reasoning that didn't fry Gizmo when he was clearly walking out during the day? Who knows? I'm still trying to figure out that after midnight argument with these guys.
Man: What if one of them eats something at 11:00, but did he get something stuck in his teeth?
Man #2: Now he didn't eat that after midnight.
(The number 10 is shown)
NC (vo): Billy's boss is so used to having people do things for her that she even has somebody take care of her breath with mouth spray. I guess that's better than having your breath smell like chocolate mousse.
Waiter (Dressed as a mountie): How about some horn?
(The number 9 is shown)
NC (vo): How the fuck does Gizmo drive a toy car? Yeah, it's cute and everything, but does it have a little gas and break pedal? Is there really a forward and reverse setting in his seat? Does it take gas? Is it unletted...I'm sorry. This really bothers me! It just...it bothers me.
(The number 8 is shown)
NC (vo): Vectorscope Lab is also the name of the lab from Innerspace, another Joe Dante film. On top of that, the late-night movie that's being previewed in the film is called Octo-Man, which was the first film that Gremlins 2 effects man Rick Baker worked on. Yeah, he's come a bit of a way since then.
[A clip of Mohawk as a spider is shown along with the Octo-Man clip]
Clamp: Well, I would call these some pretty goddamn major bugs, wouldn't you?
(The number 7 is shown)
NC (vo): When the gremlins send a dognapper out of a window, you ever notice this picture almost looks like he's watching her fly out with delight? I would as well to see this bitch get her comeuppance. She's so mean and cruel, she makes grown men do this.
[The mean old lady approaches a man, who whimpers]
NC (vo): [Snickers] Why do I love that so much?
(The number 6 is shown)
NC (vo): How come the cops never help Santa? I mean, I know they're bad cops and all, but, good God! Couldn't you do a little bit of your job? Oh, well. I guess they get their desserts when you see them crash into an insurance building.
[The police car crashes into a building as a gremlin laughs]
NC (vo; as the gremlin): Oh, that's good irony!
(The number 5 is shown)
NC (vo): After Kate gets Billy out of jail, he tries to repay her by stealing flowers from one of the mimes. It...doesn't seem to work. By the way, what are arresting them for, anyway? Again, that just really bothers me!
(The number 4 is shown)
NC (vo): I think whoever owned this film projector really wanted Joe Dante to notice them. [A photo of a man is shown on the film projector, with an arrow pointing to it with a caption saying "Hi Joe"] See?
(The number 3 is shown)
NC (vo): While originally, the Clamp TV Network was supposed to be a satire of dumbed-down over-saturated media, a lot of the channels they created really do exist now. There is a cooking channel, there is a horror channel, there's even a home and safety channel. At the time they were mocking this idea, I guess some greedy bastards took a look at it and said, "Why not?"
Brain Gremlin: Now was that civilized? No, clearly not. Fun, but in no sense civilized.
(The number 2 is shown)
NC (vo): The car outside the gas station is a AMC Gremlin.
(NC makes a rimshot with his hands. The number 1 is shown)
NC (vo): And the Number 1 Thing You Never Knew About Gremlins is...all the sci-fi references. Being a fan of classic sci-fi films, Joe Dante put in a lot of references to other famous monster flicks. Like, that's the robot from Forbidden Planet, Christopher Lee is seen holding a pod from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and at the convention, we see H.D. Wells' classic design for the Time Machine in the background. Now, if that's not funny enough, we see it spontaneously vanish in the very next shot, and all the people are looking around, trying to figure out what happened to it. That is fucking hilarious. Maybe he's off to tell Guy Pearce not to do the remake.
[The poster of the 2002 remake of The Time Machine is shown]
NC (vo): Whatever reason, these little details are what makes Gremlins and Gremlins 2 tons of fun to watch over and over again.
NC: Are there any more that you noticed? Are there any other little touches worth talking about? Well, leave them in the comments below and keep talking about a movie that's definitely worth talking about. I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
[He gets up and leaves. The credits roll]