Gremlins parents guide

Gremlins Parent Review

Overall C

When Billy Peltzer (Zac Galligan) neglects the care instructions for his new fluffy pet Gizmo, the cute creature morphs into a million little monsters capable of murder and mayhem.

Violence D+
Sexual Content B
Profanity B-
Substance Use C+

Gremlins is rated PG

Movie Review

To be truthful, all I remember about Gremlins are the fuzzy, pointy-eared stuffed toys that showed up on store shelves after the 1984 movie released. I never got around to seeing the movie—until now.

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Thirty years later the hairstyles and special effects look dated but the script remains an interesting mix of horror and comedy. In the story, Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) works as a bank teller and lives at home with his parents. Just before Christmas his father Randall (Hoyt Axton) comes home with an unusual gift he picked up at a Chinese curiosity shop. It’s a little furry critter that Billy’s dad has named Gizmo.

But even more interesting than the pet’s looks are the rules for care that come with it. Never get it wet. Never expose it to bright lights. And never ever feed it after midnight. Within a matter of days, Billy has violated all three.

The reason why Gizmo should have avoided water becomes abundantly clear after contact suddenly causes him to spawn a host of offspring known as gremlins—ugly, tiny, green monsters that begin to terrorize the town.

This PG rated movie may seem like a family friendly option, however parents should be aware that Gremlins came out before the PG-13 rating was instituted. Along with some mild sexual innuendo and a handful of profanities, the film contains some gory and violent depictions that would likely push it solidly into higher category, were it to be re-rated today.

When Billy’s mom discovers gremlins ransacking her kitchen, she turns on the blender with a creature inside. Green slime splatters everywhere. Another gets cooked in the microwave. Again, green slime splatters everywhere. In the midst of the ensuing mayhem, a character is beheaded with a sword, a woman is killed after being catapulted out of her window, cars crash and an explosion in a movie theater kills every one inside the building. The miniature monsters also bite, scratch and stab a man with a needle. And, in what may be one of the most disturbing scenes for young viewers, the leader of the gremlins melts into icky goo.

While the comedy in the movie helps lighten the script (and likely contributed to the movie’s success), some of the horror scenes are truly scary and gruesome. One character even talks about a man who was caught in a house chimney, decaying for several days before anyone found his body.

So although Gremlins finds it’s way onto Christmas movie lists—thanks in part to the holiday season the story is set in—bringing these cruel creatures home for your little ones might not turn out to be the ideal gift.

Directed by Joe Dante. Starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release June 8, 1984. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Gremlins here.

Gremlins Parents Guide

Does the combination of comedy and horror work in this film? Does it work as well 30 years later as it did when the movie originally released?

The Chinese shop owner said that people are not ready to own one of these unusual little creatures. What other examples of things can you think of that people may not be ready to use or care for wisely?

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