Gremlins is a American dark comedy horror movie directed by Joe Dante and released in 1984 by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is about a young man who receives a strange creature named Gizmo as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, destructive monsters. This story was continued with a sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, released in 1990. Unlike the lighter sequel, the original Gremlins opts for more black comedy, which is balanced against a Christmas-time setting. Both films were the center of large merchandising campaigns.

Steven Spielberg was the film's executive producer, with the screenplay written by Chris Columbus. The film stars Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, with Howie Mandel providing the voice of Gizmo. The actors had to work alongside numerous puppets, as puppetry was the main form of special effects used to portray Gizmo and the gremlins.

Gremlins was a commercial success and received positive feedback from critics. However, the film has also been heavily criticized for some of its more violent sequences. Critics alleged these scenes made the film inappropriate for younger audiences who could be admitted into theatres under its PG rating. In response to this and to similar complaints about other films, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) reformed its rating system within two months of its release.


The character Randall "Rand" Peltzer is an inventor of modest abilities and questionable success. From the fictional community of Kingston Falls, he travels to Chinatown in New York City to sell his inventions and pick up a present for his son Billy. A young Chinese boy takes Rand to his grandfather's small shop, where Rand takes interest in a small cute furry creature called a mogwai (which in Cantonese & Mandarin translates literally as "devil"). Mr. Wing, the Chinese boy's grandfather and owner of the shop, refuses to sell the Mogwai even when Rand offers US$200 for it. This is money that the Wing family desperately needs, however; therefore Wing's grandson secretly sells the mogwai to Rand. Though the creature seems innocent enough, the grandson warns Rand that one must take certain precautions regarding it. Specifically, one must not let the mogwai near bright light, especially sunlight, which can kill the Mogwai; one must not get water on the mogwai; and, most importantly, one must never feed it after midnight.

Rand names the creature "Gizmo" and brings him home to his son. Billy is a young man who has taken up a job at the bank to make ends meet for his parents, with whom he still lives. He has a dog called Barney whose mischievousness makes both him and Billy the target of harassment from Ruby Deagle, an elderly woman with much financial influence. Billy's coworker and love interest Kate Beringer is also a local bartender; she sees directly the misery in the town caused by Mrs. Deagle's business practices.

Billy is fascinated with Gizmo, who is highly intelligent, can hum a tune, and proves to be a very gentle and well-behaved creature. Unfortunately, Billy's friend, Pete Fountaine, accidentally spills water on Gizmo. This causes Gizmo to go into convulsions and instantly multiply, spawning five new mogwai in a process that appears painful to him. The new mogwai are much more aggressive than Gizmo. They are led by the Mogwai Stripe, who has a white mohawk-like hairstyle. Billy brings one to Pete's science teacher Roy Hanson, who aggravates the mogwai by sticking a needle in it for a blood test. Ignoring Billy's cautions, Roy leaves food out, which the mogwai promptly steals and eats after midnight.

Eventually, the rest of the new Mogwai trick Billy into feeding them after midnight by stopping his alarm clock. All the creatures, except Gizmo, who was wise enough not to accept the food, soon form cocoons. While Billy is at the bank, the cocoons hatch, and the Mogwai emerge, having transformed into gremlins, monsters having sharp teeth, claws and dark green reptilian skin. Billy travels to the school to find Roy, only to find him killed by the gremlin at the school. Billy is injured and races to call his mother to tell her to get out of the house. Billy's mother Lynn is now alone with the gremlins, and comes into conflict with them. She manages to kill three, using household tools improvised as weapons. While she is being strangled by the next gremlin, Billy arrives and saves her by decapitating it with an ornamental sword. The only remaining gremlin left in the house is Stripe, who escapes. Billy tracks him down to the local YMCA, but the creature escapes once more by jumping into a swimming pool. Well aware of what is about to happen, Billy flees as an incredible multiplication of gremlins occurs.

Billy then takes Gizmo to the police station, to try to warn the townsfolk. The policemen ignore them to investigate a series of bizzare accidents, which Billy insists are the work of the Gremlins. Meanwhile, Stripe and his gremlin army attack the town killing many people. Billy then rushes to Dorry's Tavern to rescue Kate, who has been bartending that night. The gremlins have taken over the tavern, behaving in an exceedingly vulgar fashion, and force Kate to serve them. She eventually discovers they are frightened by light when she attempts to light one's cigarette. She then knocks down several through flash photography, and is reunited with Billy. The two seek shelter in the bank while the gremlins wreak havoc upon Kingston Falls. Notably, the creatures kill Mrs. Deagle by launching her through a window, and nearly kill a married couple called the Futtermans by driving a snowplow through their door. In the bank Kate tells Billy the story of why she hates Christmas; When she was nine years old, her father died climbing down the chimney in a Santa Claus suit. When Billy, Kate, and Gizmo re-emerge, they find the gremlins are gone. Billy and Kate track them down to the local theatre, where they are all happily watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Billy manages to blow up the theatre; all the gremlins burn to death except Stripe, who had left briefly to get candy.

Billy pursues Stripe through a department store; Stripe escapes and reaches a water fountain. By this time it is morning; Gizmo, having escaped notice of the human characters, opens a window blind and exposes Stripe to sunlight, killing him.

At the end of the film, Mr. Wing returns to collect Gizmo to prevent any recurrence of trouble. Mr. Wing observes that while Western society is not ready to properly care for a mogwai, Billy may one day be ready.


Michael Winslow also claims to have done some of Stripe's lines. He is credited among the other voices of the gremlins, however during commentary both Howie Mandel and Steven Spielberg have said that Frank Welker performed most of Stripe's lines and sound effects.


Director Joe Dante is a great fan of classic films (especially horror films) and puts many references in his own movies. He also frequently casts the stars of classic horror films in small roles. Examples in this film include Dick Miller and Jackie Joseph (co-stars of the original The Little Shop of Horrors), Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, William Schallert of The Incredible Shrinking Man, Scott Brady of Journey to the Center of Time, prolific Western star Harry Carey, veteran Warner Brothers animator Chuck Jones and Kenneth Tobey, star of The Thing (From Another World).



Gremlins was produced during a time when combining horror with comedy became increasingly popular. The film Ghostbusters, released on the same weekend as Gremlins, and later Beetlejuice (1988) and other such films, were part of this growing trend. The new genre seemed to emphasize sudden shifts between humorous and horrific scenes, and/or drawing laughs with plot elements that have been traditionally used to scare. The comic strip The Far Side indicated this was a broader cultural phenomenon. However, this drew from older precedent, such as the film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and the 1960s TV series The Addams Family.

The notion of gremlins was first conceived during World War II, when mechanical failures in aircraft were jokingly blamed on the small monsters. Gremlins entered popular culture as children's author Roald Dahl published a book called The Gremlins in 1943 based on the mischievous creatures. Dante had read The Gremlins and claimed this book was of some influence to his film. Dahl's story is referenced in the film when the character Mr. Futterman, played by Dick Miller, drunkenly warns Billy and Kate of foreign technology sabotaged by gremlins: "It's the same gremlins that brought down our planes in the big one... That's right, World War II."

Falling Hare, a Merrie Melodies cartoon short featuring Bugs Bunny and a gremlin, was released by Warner Bros., also in 1943. In 1983, Dante publicly distanced his work from earlier films. He explained, "Our gremlins are somewhat different—they're sort of green and they have big mouths and they smile a lot and they do incredibly, really nasty things to people and enjoy it all the while."

Initial stages

The story of Gremlins was conceived by Chris Columbus. As Columbus explained, his inspiration came from his loft, when at night "what sounded like a platoon of mice would come out and to hear them skittering around in the blackness was really creepy." He then wrote the original screenplay as a "writing sample" to show potential employers that he had writing abilities. The story was not actually intended to be filmed until Spielberg took an interest in it. As Spielberg explained, "It's one of the most original things I've come across in many years, which is why I bought it."

Spielberg chose Dante as his director because of Dante's experience with horror-comedy; Dante had directed The Howling (1981), though in the time between The Howling and the offer to film Gremlins, he had experienced a lull in his career. The film's producer was Michael Finnell, who had also worked on The Howling. Spielberg took the project to Warner Bros. and also produced it with his own company, Amblin Entertainment.

The film's script went through a few drafts before a shooting script was finalized. The first version was much darker. Scenes were cut portraying Billy's mother dying in her struggle with the gremlins, with her head thrown down the stairs when Billy arrives. Dante later explained the scene made the film darker than what the filmmakers wanted. There was a scene where the gremlins ate Billy's dog and a scene where the gremlins attacked a MacDonald's and ate the customers but didn't touch the burgers. Also, instead of Stripe being a mogwai who becomes a gremlin, there was no Stripe mogwai and Gizmo was supposed to turn into Stripe the gremlin. Spielberg overruled this plot element because he felt Gizmo was cute and audiences would want him to be present at all stages of the film.

There is a famous urban legend referenced in the film, in which Kate reveals in a speech that her father died on a Christmas when he dressed as Santa Claus but broke his neck while climbing down the family's chimney. It was rumored that Columbus had written the scene as drama, though the filmmakers and performers took it as dark comedy. This scene was always a part of the Gremlins story. In the film the speech was delivered while hiding in the bank. One early version of the script included the speech in a scene where the leading characters found a McDonald's restaurant after it had been attacked and the patrons eaten, but the hamburgers were untouched. Later, the filmed speech would be controversial, as studio executives insisted upon its removal. They felt it was too ambiguous as to whether it was supposed to be funny or sad. Dante stubbornly refused to take the scene out, saying it represented the film as a whole, which had a combination of horrific and comedic elements. Spielberg did not like the scene but, despite his creative control, he viewed Gremlins as Dante's project and left it in. A parody of this scene is featured in Gremlins 2: The New Batch.


The character of Kate is played by Phoebe Cates. She received the role despite concerns that she was known for playing more risque parts, such as Linda Barrett in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). Spielberg urged the casting of the relatively unknown Zach Galligan for Billy, because Spielberg saw chemistry between Galligan and Cates during auditions. Galligan later compared himself to Billy, saying he was a "geeky kid- and so being... in this picture for me was really kind of a dream, I mean what I get to do, what my character gets to do, blow up movie theatres... got to work with great people."

In contrast to Galligan, many of the supporting actors and actresses were better known; many were longtime character actors. Veteran actor Glynn Turman portrayed the high school science teacher whose study of a mogwai leads to his death after it forms a cocoon. Dick Miller was yet another experienced actor on the set, playing a World War II veteran who first refers to the creatures as gremlins. With so many experienced actors on the set, Galligan had the opportunity to query them about their careers. Rand was played by Hoyt Axton, who was always the filmmakers' preferred choice for the role even though it was widely contested by other actors. Axton's experience included acting as the father in The Black Stallion (1979), and he was also a country music singer-songwriter. Because an introductory scene to Gremlins was cut, Axton's voice earned him the added role of the narrator to establish some context. Mr. Wing was played by Keye Luke, a renowned film actor. Although he was around 80 in reality and his character is very elderly, Luke's youthful appearance required make-up to cover.

Corey Feldman, whom up to this time had primarily been in commercials would play Pete Fountaine; establishing his early credentials as a child actor.

Polly Holliday, an actress best known for her role in Alice, played Mrs. Deagle. Dante considered the casting fortunate, as she was well-known and he considered her to be talented. Ironically, two other well-known actors, Fast Times' Judge Reinhold and character actor Edward Andrews, received roles that were significantly reduced after the film was edited. They played Billy's superiors at the bank.

Special effects

The performances were shot on the backlot of Universal Studios in California. This required fake snow; Dante also felt it was an atmosphere that would make the special effects more convincing. As the special effects relied mainly on puppetry, the actors worked alongside some of the puppets. Nevertheless, after the actors finished their work for good, a great deal of work was spent finishing the effects. Numerous small rubber puppets, some of which were mechanical, were used to portray Gizmo and the gremlins. They were designed by Chris Walas. There was more than one Gizmo puppet, and occasionally Galligan, when carrying one, would set him down off camera, and when Gizmo appeared again sitting on a surface it was actually a different puppet wired to the surface. These puppets had many limitations. The Gizmo puppets were particularly frustrating because they were smaller and thus broke down more. Consequently, to satisfy the crew, a scene was included in which the gremlins hang Gizmo on a wall and throw darts at him.

A few marionettes were also used. Other effects required large mogwai faces and ears to be produced for close-ups, as the puppets were less capable of conveying emotion. Consequently, large props simulating food were needed for the close-ups in the scene in which the mogwai feast after midnight. An enlarged Gizmo puppet was also needed for the scene in which he multiplies. The new mogwai, who popped out of Gizmo's body as small, furry balls which then started to grow, were balloons and expanded as such. Walas had also created the exploding gremlin in the microwave by means of a balloon that was allowed to burst.

Howie Mandel provided the voice for Gizmo, and the prolific voice actor Frank Welker provided the voice for Stripe. It was Welker who suggested Mandel perform in Gremlins. The puppets' lines were mostly invented by the voice actors, based on cues from the physical actions of the puppets, which were filmed before the voice work. Mandel also chose the type of voice for Gizmo, which was baby-like, based on what had been done. Mandel explained, Gizmo was "cute and naive, so, you know, I got in touch with that... I couldn't envision going any other way or do something different with it. I didn't try a few different voices."


The film's score was written by Jerry Goldsmith. For his effort, he won a Saturn Award for Best Music. The main score was written with the objective of conveying "the mischievous humor and mounting suspense of Gremlins." As the filmmakers recalled, the so-called "Gremlin Rag" came across not as "horror music" but as "circus music," and some cited it as an influence to their later work on the film. Within the story, Gizmo was capable of singing or humming. Goldsmith wrote Gizmo's song as well, but Mandel never sang it. A girl, Goldsmith knew, was hired to sing Gizmo's song, although she had never worked in films before.

Songs heard in the film include "Gremlins... Mega-Madness" by Michael Sembello. This song is played while the gremlins party in the bar, and one break dances to it. The Peter Gabriel song "Out Out," produced in collaboration with Nile Rodgers, is also heard in the bar scene. Darlene Love's song "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" plays over the opening credits.


Critical reaction

The reactions of film critics to Gremlins varied. Roger Ebert was approving, calling the film not only "fun" but a "sly series of send-ups," effectively parodying many elemental film story-lines. In his opinion, Gremlins does this partly through depictions of mysterious worlds (the shop in Chinatown) and tyrannical elderly women (Mrs. Deagle). Ebert also believed the rule in which a mogwai cannot eat after midnight was inspired by fairy tales, and that the final scenes parody the classic horror films. He connected Kate's speech about her father with "the great tradition of 1950s sick jokes. Conversely, Leonard Maltin disapproved in remarks on the television show Entertainment Tonight. He called the film "icky" and "gross." Later, he wrote in his book that despite being set in a "picture-postcard town" and blending the feel of It's a Wonderful Life (from which a clip appears in Gremlins) with that of The Blob, the film is "negated by too-vivid violence and mayhem." He thus gave the film two out of four stars. Maltin actually made an appearance in Gremlins 2 and repeated his criticisms of the original on film, as an in-joke, being throttled by the creatures as a result; he gave the second film a more positive rating, three out of four stars.

While some critics criticized the film's depictions of violence and greed – such as death scenes, Kate's speech, and the gremlins' gluttony – as lacking comic value, one scholar interpreted these instead as a satire of "some characteristics of Western civilization." The film may suggest that Westerners take too much satisfaction out of violence. Gremlins can also be interpreted as a statement against technology, in that some characters, like Billy's father, are over-dependent on it. Kirkpatrick Sale interpreted Gremlins as an anti-technology film in his book Rebels Against the Future. In contrast, Mr. Wing is shown having a strong distaste for television. One scholar suggested the film is meant to express a number of observations of society by having the gremlin characters shift in what they are meant to represent. At different times, they are depicted as teenagers, the wealthy establishment, or fans of Disney films. The film the gremlins had been watching in the theatre before Billy blew it up was Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Another scholar drew a connection between the microwave scene and urban legends about pets dying in microwave ovens. He described the portrayal of this urban legend in the film as successful, but that meant it seemed terrible. This is indeed a scene that is thought of as being one of the film's most violent; even Ebert expressed some fear in his review that the film might encourage children to try similar things with their pets, and he urged parents not to let their children see the film. Notably, TV edits of the second film actually edit out most of the microwave scene, due to similar problems.

Gremlins has been criticized for more than its depictions of violence. One BBC critic wrote in 2000 that "The plot is thin and the pacing is askew." However, that critic also complimented the dark humour contrasted against the ideal Christmas setting. In 2002, another critic wrote that in hindsight Gremlins has "corny special effects" and that the film will likely appeal to children more so than to adults. He also said the acting was dull.


Gremlins won numerous awards, including the 1985 Saturn Awards for Best Director, Best Horror Film, Best Music, and Best Special Effects, and Holliday won the award for Best Supporting Actress. The film also won the 1985 Golden Screen Award and the 1985 Young Artist Award for Best Family Motion Picture (Adventure). Corey Feldman, who played Billy's young friend, was also nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Young Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Musical, Comedy, Adventure or Drama.

Gremlins and audiences

Gremlins was a commercial success. It was filmed on a budget of $11,000,000, making it more expensive than Spielberg had originally intended but still relatively cheap for 1984. The trailer introduced the film to audiences by briefly explaining that Billy receives a strange creature as a Christmas present, by going over the three rules, and then coming out with the fact that the creatures transform into terrible monsters. This trailer showed little of either the mogwai or the gremlins. Conversely, other advertisements concentrated on Gizmo, overlooked the gremlins and made the film look similar to Spielberg's earlier family film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

Afterwards, Gremlins was released into US theatres on June 8, 1984, the same day as Ivan Reitman's Ghostbusters. Gremlins ranked second, with $12.5 million in its first weekend, 1.1 million less than Ghostbusters. By the end of its American screenings on November 29, it had grossed $148,168,459 domestically. This made it the fourth highest-grossing film of the year, after Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In August it opened in Argentina and Spain, and in October it premiered in West Germany. Screenings began in Australia and much of the rest of Europe in December. As Gremlins had an international audience, different versions of the film were made to overcome cultural barriers. Mandel learned to speak his few intelligible lines, such as "Bright light!", in various languages such as German. Regional music and humor were also incorporated into foreign language versions. Dante credited this work for Gremlins' worldwide success. Many critics questioned the summer release date when the film takes place during the Christmas holiday season and thought it should have had a Christmas release instead.

Still, there had also been complaints among audiences about the violence. This was particularly true among people who had brought their children to see the film, many of whom walked out of the theatre before the film had ended. Dante admitted to reporters later, "So the idea of taking a 4-year-old to see Gremlins, thinking it's going to be a cuddly, funny animal movie and then seeing that it turns into a horror picture, I think people were upset... They felt like they had been sold something family friendly and it wasn't entirely family friendly."

The film became available to audiences again when brought back to theatres on August 30, 1985. This brought its gross up to $153,083,102. It was also released on video that year, and made $79,500,000 in rental stores. The film was released on DVD in 1997 and again in 1999. On August 20, 2002, a "special edition" DVD was released featuring cast and filmmakers' commentary and deleted scenes.

Charges of racism

Despite its critical acclaim and popular success, Gremlins has been criticized as culturally insensitive. Some observers have commented that the film presents gremlins as African Americans, and in an unflattering manner. At the time of its release, some members of the African American community protested that the film was racist. These critics suggested that the creatures exhibit some of the worst stereotypical behavior attributed to blacks: wild, drunken, violent, murderous, seductive and lascivious. In Ceramic Uncles & Celluloid Mammies, Patricia Turner writes that the gremlins "reflect negative African-American stereotypes" in their dress and behavior. They are shown "devouring fried chicken with their hands", listening to black music, breakdancing, and wearing sunglasses after dark and big-apple slouch hats, a style common among African American males in the 1980s.



With its commercial themes, especially the perceived cuteness of the character Gizmo, Gremlins became the center of considerable merchandising. As such, it became part of a rising trend in film, which had received a boost from Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Under the National Entertainment Collectibles Association, versions of Gizmo were sold as dolls or stuffed animals. Both Gizmo and the gremlins were mass produced as action figures, and Topps printed trading cards based upon the film.


The film was also the basis for a novel of the same name by George Gipe, published by Avon Books in June 1984. The novel offered an origin for mogwai and gremlins as a prologue. Supposedly, mogwai were created as gentle, contemplative creatures by a scientist on an alien world. However, it was discovered that their physiology was unstable, and under "certain circumstances," alluding to the three rules that were given in the film, mogwai would change into creatures that the novel referred to as "mischievous". This origin is unique to the novel but is referred to in the novelization of Gremlins 2 by David Bischoff. No definitive origin for mogwai or gremlins is ever given in either Gremlins film.

Video games

Several video games based on the film have also been produced. At the time of the film's release, an interactive fiction game based on scenes from the film titled Gremlins - The Adventure (1985) was released for various home computers (including Acorn Electron, BBC Micro, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum). The game was written by Brian Howarth for Adventure Soft and was text based (with full colour illustrations on some formats). In the 2000s more were released; Gremlins: Unleashed! was released on Game Boy in 2001. It was about Gizmo trying to catch Stripe and thirty gremlins, while the gremlins try to turn Gizmo himself into a gremlin. Both Gizmo and Stripe are playable characters in this game. Gremlins: Stripe Versus Gizmo, with both Gizmo and Stripe as playable characters, was released in 2002.


Additionally, Gremlins brand breakfast cereal was produced by Ralston for a few years concurrent to and after the first film was released in 1985. The cereal box featured Gizmo. Inside were normally decals of the malevolent gremlins, including Stripe. The cereal was similar to Captain Crunch in taste while shaped like Gizmo.


  • Along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, also rated PG, Gremlins was one of two films in 1984 to influence the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating, with Red Dawn being the first film released with the rating in August 1984. The scene in which a gremlin explodes in the microwave was particularly influential to the idea that some films too light to be rated R are still too mature to be rated PG. There were other scenes too, that were considered intense, such as the death of the lead gremlin, Stripe. Indeed, before Gremlins came out, the controversy over Indiana Jones might very well have died. The change to the rating system was not insignificant; the rating PG-13 turned out to be appealing to some film patrons, as it implied some excitement without going too far.
  • The film not only spawned a sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, but is believed to have been the inspiration for, or at least similar to, several later unrelated films about small monsters. These include Critters, Ghoulies, Troll, Hobgoblins, Beasties, Kamillions, Spookies, and Munchies. Many of these films were not critical successes, and Hobgoblins was lampooned on the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. Both Critters and Ghoulies actually began development before Gremlins. The anime Pet Shop of Horrors has also been compared to Gremlins. There were rumors that the talking doll Furby was so similar to the character Gizmo that Warner Bros. was considering a lawsuit in 1998, but Warner representatives replied that this was not true. In fact, a Furby-based Gizmo toy was later produced by the same company that made Furby, who advertised it with Dick Miller in the commercial.
  • Gremlins also inspired a brief but explicit parody in the animated television series Family Guy in 2007. The character Peter Griffin, despite warnings from an unseen Chinese character, feeds his pet mogwai chicken after midnight. It then morphs into actress Fran Drescher, and like Mrs. Peltzer in the film, the Griffins kill the mutation by exploding its head in a microwave oven.
  • The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror III" parodies the scene of buying the mogwai.
  • In the episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where Vivian gives birth to Nicky, her sisters come to visit before her water breaks, but before they go and see her, Will and Carlton explain all of the rules of what to do and what not to do with Vivian. Will ends this by saying "And whatever you do, don't feed her after midnight."
  • Jimmy Neutron episode Attack of the Twonkies a creature called a "twonky" is discovered. It starts out like a mogwai, then multiplies like one. If the twonkies hear loud (and good) music, they go from soft, cute, mogwai-like creature to an evil, scaly, mischievous, gremlin-like creature. The only difference is that when they're in a tight space and hear music, they turn into one gigantic monster.
  • Lil Wayne states in his song " Sky's The Limit" from Da Drought 3 that when he was 5 his favorite movie was the Gremlins. He also states that it has nothing to do with his song and thought he should just mention that.
  • In the stop-motion animated television series Robot Chicken episode "Tapping a Hero", President Bush ends up creating armageddon after being given a mogwai he names Froot Loop.
  • Years after both the film and its sequel, a homage was made by Marvel Comics in the form of a one-time enemy of Doctor Strange and Spider-Man named Buel, a "Gremlin-Lord". His distinctive features caused him to be adopted as King by a host of Gremlins, all of which resembled the ones of the franchise.
  • Gremlins appear in the game NetHack, with characteristics from the movie such as multiplying when touching open water.
  • Gremlins have become a significant cult character in Asia, especially in Singapore, Hong Kong and China. A popular industry has developed in Thailand where skilled craftsmen make gremlin ice cream and toffee resin.
  • The Scottish post-rock band Mogwai take their name from the film.
  • Cheap Seats hosts Randy and Jason Sklar like to compare 1996 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion Wendy Guey as like a cute Mogwai in a couple of episodes showcasing the Spelling Bee.
  • Dave Chappelle parodied purchasing the mogwai in a skit where he goes into a shop with a Chinese man similar to in the film. He walks in and states, "I'm looking to buy a gremlin."
  • Peter Jones from Dragon's Den appears with the gremlins in an advertisement for British Telecom, where they ransack an office whenever Peter is not looking.
  • A 'Gremlins consultant' was brought in to assist with the BT Gremlins commercial. Matthew Delieu who is considered to be the movies biggest fan provided original Gremlins blueprints and an original puppet during the production of the commercial and also puppeteered Gremlins in the 50 second advertisement. Delieu lives in the UK and owns many original items from the first movie including some original blueprints for Gizmo and original puppet designs.
  • In the episode "Five Finger Discount" in the Disney Channel show That's So Raven, Eddie and Chelsea win a mystery prize. Although the prize is never specifically referenced, it is inferred to be a Gremlin based on the characteristics they describe it with. In this sense, it is a MacGuffin.
  • In the Sealab 2021 episode "Hail Squishface", Captain Murphy purchases a creature called a Gloop from a hot asian woman selling items from a cart. In his excitement, he leaves with the gloop without hearing the only rule: to never, ever give him any kind of liquor. In the next scene, he's dowsing the gloop in whiskey, which causes the gloop to start reproducing asexually, paying obvious homage to the movie.
  • In the film "The Goonies" Chunk tries to call 911 to report a murder but the officer who answers doesn't believe him and cites a previous incident where he called and reported little creatures that mulitply when you pour water on them as a basis for his disbelief.


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