Gremlins: Extreme Cuteness and Incredible Cruelty

Staff Writer

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

The 1980s spawned numerous timeless films, including "Gremlins," a well-crafted tale that interweaves cute little creatures with the harsh realities of life. As reptilian monstrosities attempt the takeover of a small town, only a few knowledgeable people can stop them -- if they act in time.

What's a gremlin, anyway?

Gremlins are mythological creatures that cause a ruckus, often by messing with human-built mechanical systems. Legend has it that they especially like to cause aircraft malfunctions.

Who directed "Gremlins"?

Joe Dante got the call to direct "Gremlins." He also directed "Innerspace," "The Howling" and "The 'Burbs," among other well-known movies.

Where does the character named Randall find the mogwai, the little creatures that become the stars of the show?

Randall wanders into Chinatown, where he finds an antique shop that has a cute little creature behind the counter. After some hassle, he manages to obtain the animal as a gift.

What does "mogwai" mean in English?

The Cantonese word "mogwai" is the name for the little furry creatures featured in the film. Mogwai means "monster," which at first seems like the wrong word for the adorable pets.

What year was "Gremlins" released?

The movie was released in 1984 and immediately became both a critical and financial hit. "Gremlins" is now considered an 80s classic.

What causes the mogwai to transform from cute creatures to terrifying monsters?

When Randall buys a cute mogwai as a birthday present for his son, he is instructed to never feed the animals after midnight. Doing so sends the mogwai into a cocoon phase, after which they emerge as scarier, deadlier creatures.

What happens if you get a mogwai wet?

Never, ever expose a mogwai to water. Just a bit of water can cause the creatures to quickly multiply.

Who played the part of Billy?

Zach Galligan was a little-known actor when he got the part of Billy. Steven Spielberg wanted Galligan for the part when he saw the magic between the actor and Phoebe Cates, who plays Billy's girlfriend, Kate.

How much did it cost to make "Gremlins"?

For the mid-1980s, the movie's $11 million budget was fairly cheap. That frugal fact made its $153 million box office haul even sweeter.

After Billy accidentally gets Gizmo wet, how many new gremlins are spawned?

Billy inadvertently splashes water on Gizmo, who then spawns five new gremlins. These gremlins aren't nearly as nice as Gizmo.

When was "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" released?

Given the immense success of the original movie, it took a rather long time for the sequel to emerge. It was released in 1990, six years after the first film.

In one scene, the gremlins head to the local movie theater. What movie do they watch?

The gremlins wind up watching "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." They are a fellow filmgoers worst nightmare, shrieking and throwing popcorn throughout the screening.

Some of the gremlin voices were created by Michael Winslow, who was famous for his work in what other movie?

Winslow was already well-known for his role as Larvelle Jones in "Police Academy." His dynamic vocal range helped him to create the mogwais' many strange sounds.

What's the name of the evil mogwai that wreaks havoc throughout the movie?

Stripe, with his signature white mohawk, plays role of the heel in "Gremlins." His affinity for violence and destruction make him a scary character.

With what weapon does Stripe attack Billy during the department store scene?

It's no wonder that some kids left the theater in tears. Stripe grabs a chainsaw and tries to cut Billy during this intense scene.

Tim Burton was an early option for the role of director. Why didn’t he get the gig?

In the early 80s, Burton had yet to direct a big-budget Hollywood film. Spielberg decided to go with Joe Dante, who already had substantial directing experience.

"Gremlins" was the first film to receive a PG-13 rating.

"Red Dawn" was the first film with a PG-13 rating. But the scary scenes in "Gremlins" helped push the film industry to adopt the PG-13 rating.

What happens to the mogwai when they're exposed to sunlight?

Sunlight is very bad for the mogwai. Very bright light is hard on them, and sunlight will outright kill them.

How many "Gremlins" sequels are there?

As of 2016, there's just one "Gremlins" sequel, called "Gremlins 2: The New Batch." There may be another sequel very soon.

What role did Chris Columbus have in the creation of "Gremlins"?

Columbus wrote a short piece that inspired "Gremlins" while he was a student at film school. He got the idea after listening to hordes of mice scamper around his apartment at night.

How was the movie's original script different than the final product?

The original script had very dark and ominous content in which the gremlins kill both Billy's mother and dog. Everyone on the production team agreed that those parts needed to be removed.

Which character finally manages to kill Stripe?

Gizmo might be cute, but he's no shrinking violet. He finds a way to crack open a skylight, and the resulting blast of sunlight kills Stripe.

The set built for the town was also used for what other film?

Kingston Falls, the town in "Gremlins," might seem familiar to some observant viewers. Some of the same sets were used for "Back to the Future."

"Gremlins' became the second-highest grossing film of 1984.

The movie was a huge success. It was the fourth-highest grossing film that year. "Beverly Hills Cop" was No. 1

Which actor was responsible for Stripe's voice work?

Howie Mandel performed all of Gizmo's cute little cooing sounds. He is famous in large part due to his role in "St. Elsewhere."

During the movie, Kate reveals what killed her father. How did he die?

Kate's dad dressed up like Santa Claus and wiggled his way into the chimney in order to surprise the kids. Instead, he died. Kate's retelling of the events turned out to be one of the movie's more memorable scenes.

What role did Steven Spielberg have in the making of the movie?

Spielberg was the man who saw the potential of Chris Columbus's story. He decided to become the film's executive producer.

After each day of shooting, security guards searched the cars of the cast and crew. Why?

The creatures in the movie were pricey mechanical props, and the production team was a worried that someone might try to steal one. Thus, security teams were hired to secure the props at the end of each day.

How much did each of the mechanical gremlins reportedly cost?

The complicated little machines might have cost the studio upwards of $30,000. After adjusting for inflation, that's around $70,000 in today's world.

What happens to Gizmo at the end of the movie?

After the ruckus finally dies down, the Chinese man from the antique store arrives on the scene and reclaims Gizmo, admonishing the family for their inability to care for the little creature.

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