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The film Gremlins was one of my favourite childhood movies. Because I was only nine years old at the time of its release, and therefore unable to sneak into the cinema (I looked old for my age but not THAT old!), I had to wait an eternity for the VHS release. I filled in the time buying as many Gremlins related items as possible, including the little Gizmo and Spike figures, and it's safe to say I was a bit of a Gremlins nut. It was with great delight that I happened to come across an ex-rental copy of the film in my local video store, at a far more reasonable price than Warner would have had me pay.

Is that a Mogwai in your pocket?
The story takes place at Christmas time in the small town of Kingston Falls, which is home to the Peltzer family. While away on a business trip, the father, Rand Peltzer (Hoyt Axton), happens across an old curio shop in Chinatown. He is looking for something special to give to his son Billy (Zach Gallagan) for Christmas and this shop may just be the answer to his prayers. While rummaging around the shop Rand discovers a strange little furry animal called a Mogwai and is determined to get his hands on the creature, but the shopkeeper has other ideas. After a bit of haggling Rand leaves disappointed and empty handed. Before he gets too far the shopkeeper’s grandson catches up to him and offers to sell him the Mogwai for $100. Delighted, Rand agrees and the deal is made, but not before he is told of the three rules: never get the Mogwai wet, never expose him to bright light, and most importantly, never feed him after midnight.

Billy is delighted with his new pet Mogwai, whom he names Gizmo, and is amazed at how intelligent he is. Unfortunately an accident leads to Gizmo getting wet, causing the furry little thing to multiply! The new Mogwai are different from Gizmo. They are mischievous little devils that love to cause havoc. They trick Billy into feeding them after midnight and as a result they undergo a startling metamorphosis - they are no longer Mogwai, now they are Gremlins! These evil creatures start to terrorise the peaceful town, causing all sorts of seemingly freak accidents. Billy knows better, and with the help of Gizmo and his girlfriend Kate, he sets out to stop the Gremlin menace.

This is yet another bare bones disc from the Warner back catalogue. The film is quite old now, so I guess it’s understandable that they didn’t put a lot of effort in. It is disappointing though, as this was a very popular film in its day.

The quality of the 1.85:1 anamorphic print is acceptable throughout, although there is a lot of grain in the picture. There is also a fair amount of dirt present, not to mention numerous scratches, which can be distracting at times. It is certainly better than VHS though, and not as bad as some of Warner’s other back catalogue discs (Blade Runner for example).

Sound comes in Dolby Digital 5.1 format and is generally good. The little Gremlins can be heard scurrying around all over the shop, and the dialogue is clear throughout. The soundtrack is also great, with lots of happy Christmas songs and some good incidental music. The theme tune is still one that I can remember as clearly today as I did when I was nine years old!

Now we come to the biggest problem with this release. There are no extras to speak of (unless you include scene access), which is a real pity. I would have loved some featurettes, trailers, deleted scenes and perhaps even a commentary track. There must certainly be enough of this type of material lying around. The menu is static and restricted to a few options, but at least they’re set against a nice Gremlins backdrop.

You've got something in your teeth...
This is another average disc, but the film is a little gem (far better than its sequel). You can pick this disc up for very little (mine was £10) and if like me you grew up when this film was big, it’ll be worth every penny. I bought my copy just before Christmas, and it really does drive home the holiday feeling. Overall, this is a very enjoyable movie and a great trip down memory lane.