Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, John Glover, Christopher Lee
“Because of the end of civilisation, the Clamp Cable Network now leaves the air. We hope you’ve enjoyed our programming, but more importantly, we hope you’ve enjoyed life.” (Public service announcement, Gremlins 2: The New Batch)
The success of Gremlins in 1984 meant than a sequel would be inevitable, but director Joe Dante didn’t want anything to do with it at first. The film lingered in development hell for years until the promise of a much bigger budget and full creative freedom convinced Dante to return and helm the sequel, which was finally released six years after the original.
Gremlins 2 is a very different beast to its predecessor. While they’re both horror-comedies, the first film focuses more on the horror whereas the sequel plants its best foot firmly in the comedy camp. The first film was genuinely dark – the Gremlins killed people and some aspects of the script certainly weren’t suitable for children (such as Katie’s story about her father dying when she was a child after he dressed as Santa and broke his neck climbing down the chimney, where he lay for five days.
This time around there’s no such nastiness, as Gremlins 2 instead packs its 106 minutes with silly jokes and parodies of other movies. Not that this is a bad thing, of course, it just feels different to the original.
Not that you’d know it based on the plot, mind. Once again the cute and cuddly Gizmo finds himself away from the safety of Mr Wing’s shop, this time ending up in a scientists’ lab at the futuristic Clamp Enterprises office building. Once again, Gizmo ends up meeting Billy (Galligan) and Katie (Cates), who are coincidentally both working at Clamp Enterprises, and once again Billy warns the others that Gizmo shouldn’t get wet, be exposed to bright lights or eat after midnight. And once again it all goes inevitably wrong. Continue reading “Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) review”