Gremlin in the machine
September 1, 2008 3:07 PM   Subscribe

In the middle of the movie Gremlins 2, there is a sequence where the film seems to break, and where the gremlins invade the projection booth. For the VHS edition in the early 90's, they reshot a special sequence where the VHS tape seemed to be torn apart and in which the gremlins invaded a John Wayne movie. The DVD just kept the original theatrical version.
Sacha Feiner's fan video updates the "break sequence" for the Video on Demand era. via
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur (40 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

Sacha's Making Of

(The guy has a level of obsession with Gremlins that borders on scary and disturbing)
posted by mrzarquon at 3:10 PM on September 1, 2008

(As someone who has the original Gremlins soundtrack on her iPhone, I can't relate to that statement, mrz!!! I am gonna do a paper on Gizmo's sexuality one day...)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:16 PM on September 1, 2008 [3 favorites]

I'm a big Gremlins fan, but you don't have to be one to recognize the passion and talent that went into this video. Thank you very kindly, Ambrosia Voyeur, and thanks to mrzarquon for the supplementary links!
posted by chudmonkey at 3:25 PM on September 1, 2008

If I had remembered that Hulk Hogan took on the Gremlins, it would have made the time that I sat behind Diamond Dallas Page at a movie that much more enjoyable. (I actually moved seats because DDP is 6'5", but at least an inch taller with his frosted jheri curls).
posted by Frank Grimes at 3:25 PM on September 1, 2008

That was pretty cool, and well done for a fan effort. Thanks for the post, Ambrosia Voyeur!
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:28 PM on September 1, 2008

I remember the original theater and VHS versions and remember thinking when I saw it on tv years ago that it would be cool if they had a third updated version. Thanks!
posted by Captain_Science at 3:31 PM on September 1, 2008

My only interest in Gremlins was and remains Phoebe Cates, but like chudmonkey said, the obvious talent and skill in the video is amazing. Cool post!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:33 PM on September 1, 2008

Oh my goodness, the clip in the post was cool when I thought it'd been cleverly cobbled together from Gremlins footage and CGI, but watching the making of... I'm stunned. I actually cheered when your man revealed that he'd fitted blue contact lenses on his puppets so he could add in more subtle expressions.
posted by jack_mo at 3:39 PM on September 1, 2008

Wow, I expected this to be poorly done, but it's actually really impressive. Gremlins vs. The Exorcist (complete with head-spinning Gremlin) was my favorite part.

Gremlins 2 is a really fun, underrated movie. It's like a Troma film from within the Hollywood system. They decided to go totally off the deep end with the absurd undertones of the mostly-serious original, and it worked pretty well.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:45 PM on September 1, 2008

> (As someone who has the original Gremlins soundtrack on her iPhone, I can't relate to that statement, mrz!!! I am gonna do a paper on Gizmo's sexuality one day...)

There is a difference between writing a paper on Gizmo's sexuality vs having the most extensive collection of gremlins paraphernalia ever.

Again, I am not saying this is a BAD thing, but I wouldn't mention to him that they were just a ripoff of Hobgoblins while hanging out and having drinks.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:57 PM on September 1, 2008

God damn, AV.

I saw Gremlins 2 in theatres as a child, and then received the VHS for CHristmas that year, and never understood why they made the change (the Hulk Hogan part was what I remembered the most.)

Good show, dear gal. Good show.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:58 PM on September 1, 2008

Impressive work!

I always enjoyed the sequence with Gizmo as Rambo.
posted by panboi at 4:00 PM on September 1, 2008

I worked in a drive-in theater when Gremlins 2 came out, and at each showing we actually had people come up to the booth complaining about the broken tape. Oh, and all the honking, honking, honking.
posted by the dief at 4:02 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

they were just a ripoff of Hobgoblins

Hobgoblins was pretty clearly a ripoff of Gremlins, and a quick Google search confirms Hobgoblins came out in 1988, 4 years after Gremlins. The Wikipedia article even opens with "Hobgoblins is a low-budget B-movie directed by Rick Sloane, often seen as a rip-off of Gremlins."

posted by DecemberBoy at 4:11 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

AV, I knew this was going to be a winner when I saw you name on it, but....WOW! Talk about free time on your hands. That was amazing! It borders on someone having a fixation!

And here I thought Gremlins was just another ordinary slice of 80s memorbillia. I had no idea it had a modern fan base!
posted by humannaire at 4:12 PM on September 1, 2008

I think you missed the irony of my comment, DecemberBoy.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:13 PM on September 1, 2008

If an obsessed fan can accomplish that in two months of too-much-free-time, I don't know if I can ever trust a clip on YouTube claiming to be from "the original" anything. (Not that I trusted them before, but the altered or faked clips never looked that good...)
posted by wendell at 4:14 PM on September 1, 2008

Oh well. I really just wanted an excuse to reference the "Fish Picker" song.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:16 PM on September 1, 2008

Nudie, Nudie, Nudie!

I'm all the more impressed simply because right now, at this moment, Gremlins II is on HBO.

I've also found that Gremlins II provides the single best quote to describe the present economy:

Gremlins manning the phones:
- Buy! Buy!
- Sell! Sell!

Brain Gremlin:
I'd say it's a full-scale panic.

Are you having a run on the banks yet?
It's brutal here.

We're telling clients to invest
in canned food and shotguns.

posted by Muddler at 4:19 PM on September 1, 2008

> Oh well. I really just wanted an excuse to reference the "Fish Picker" song.

Which is a perfectly valid justification.

(I mean we are talking about puppets here, the conversation can't be taken too seriously)
posted by mrzarquon at 4:25 PM on September 1, 2008

Although I usually watch Gremlins sometime every Christmas season, I have managed to never see Gremlins 2. I can't account for this.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:27 PM on September 1, 2008

I loved Gremlins 2 when it came out. I believe I preferred it to the original. I really should watch it again having mentally prepared myself for colossal disappointment.
posted by WPW at 5:08 PM on September 1, 2008

When I was a young kid the original Gremlins freaked me the hell out. And my older brothers knew this and exploited it. They somehow had a Gremlin picture book that they would hide in a place I'd eventually find and I'd scream bloody murder upon seeing it. They would laugh their asses off of course.

For some reason I was able to put that past me and I was able to watch Gremlins 2 and enjoy it. I still don't watch the original when it is playing on television though...
posted by Green With You at 5:41 PM on September 1, 2008

Gremlins 2 is awesome. I was shocked at how tongue-in-cheek, absurd, and sharp it was when it came out.

posted by gcbv at 5:47 PM on September 1, 2008

WPW, both films are really pretty unexpected commentaries on their times. Gremlins the First is a rollicking and surreal movie that sort of deals with the absurdism of softly lit suburban life, before Blue Velvet, mind you, at the height of the 80s conserative aesthetic. But by 1990, Gremlins have become more raunchy and explicit, taking over a high-rise, in a vague homage to Die Hard, maybe, and interacting with fetishized high-tech media both in the diegesis and on a meta level that I and, obviously Mr. Feiner, find amusing. You could call it Videodrome for kids...
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:48 PM on September 1, 2008

I totally know what my five year old is seeing tomorrow...

Amazing clip. Good memories.
posted by andryeevna at 5:51 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ambrosia Voyeur, that's much my memory. Although I would draw a comparison with JG Ballard's High Rise as well. As I remember it it's a pretty decent corporate satire - Chinatown is about to be swept aside to make way for an ersatz Chinatown Heritage Experience, the tower is glitchy enough without Gremlins, there's the whole Clamp aesthetic ... tonnes of details stuck vividly (and no doubt wholly wrongly) in my mind.
posted by WPW at 5:53 PM on September 1, 2008

Love love love it.
posted by AloneOssifer at 6:12 PM on September 1, 2008

Joe Dante is the man. I mean, come on, he directed two episodes of Police Squad!
posted by starman at 6:18 PM on September 1, 2008

This was really clever and really well done. At first, between The Exorcist and Batman I even thought that he was making sure to include only Warner Bros. movies (like I would assume they'd do if'n they did this for real), so I was a little disappointed when Raiders of the Lost Ark popped up in there. But then that was also well done and funny, so it was still worth the inclusion.

And I completely agree with all the praise for Gremlins 2. It is wonderful. Any time I've been in a fancy New York building I've been hoping to hear a building announcement like the ones in Clamp Tower.

"Would the owner of the car with license number 1AG 401 please remove it from the Clamp parking garage, your car is old, and dirty. "

The big Gremlins 2 lobby display with Gizmo popping out of the desk drawer and the Gremlin's hand waving a cigar from behind the large desk chair was an object of intense fascination for me when that movie came out. I found it really intriguing but I also found it really frightening. When it came out on video I was staying the night at a friend's house and his mother rented it. It was rated PG-13 so I had to call my mother and get her permission to watch it, and I'm really not sure if I wanted her to give it or not. I loved monsters and really was curious about it, but I was still kind of scared to see it. She said yes, I put on a brave face, we sat down to watch it and Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck came out to bicker over how to open the picture. This struck me as an odd start to a horror movie, but sure enough it turned out to be a really nutty Looney Tunes-esque monster mash where even the blood and guts were deliciously funny. We ended up watching it two more times before his mother took the video back to the store. Joe Dante made at least one fan for life with that one.

Watching Gremlins 2 makes it clear both why somebody might want to see a third movie (it's funny and inventive, so who wouldn't want to see more) and why it would be pointless and rather difficult to do (since it absolutely demolishes the very concept of doing a sequel to a movie like Gremlins).
posted by Nathaniel W at 7:18 PM on September 1, 2008

I saw the original Gremlins recently after loving it tremendously as a child, and had to switch off after about 30 minutes. It was awful.

Gremlins 2, on the other hand, remains a timeless excercise in absurdism.
posted by cerulgalactus at 7:38 PM on September 1, 2008

gremlins 2 is the kind of sequel I would make if my small indie film was picked up by studios and was a smash hit, and they paid me lots of money to make another one. Goof of, make fun of myself and the entire thing, and in general just have fun making a silly movie.

Which is why I like it so much, because that is what Joe Dante did.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:50 PM on September 1, 2008

The Snake Pit Party part of the Making of:

jaw -> floor
posted by porpoise at 8:13 PM on September 1, 2008

I just watched that at work (no sound) and it was still awesome! Thanks for the links. I would also note that the the wikipedia entries for both Gremlins movies have lots of mildly interesting trivia for the Gremlins buff, my favourite being:
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
posted by Sparx at 2:53 AM on September 2, 2008

This is fantastic.
Know what's crazy? When I saw the original Gremlins in the theater as a kid, the film actually DID break halfway through. They ended up fixing it and giving us free passes.
Then, I saw Gremlins 2 in the theater, and it seemed almost as if the film break sequence was directed at me, personally. It was actually quite freaky.
Then, I remember being impressed that they took the time to do the VHS version.
And now fucking cool.
posted by ghastlyfop at 6:32 AM on September 2, 2008

I still give the "Fire!" announcement from Gremlins 2 when there's a fire drill in my office building as we all shuffle down the crowded stairwell.

"Fire! The Untamed Element! Oldest of Man's Mysteries, Giver of Warmth, Destroyer of Forests -- this building IS on... Fire!" Leave the building! Enact the Age-Old Drama of Self-Preservation!"

My co-workers are French and routinely baffled by this.
posted by Shepherd at 8:17 AM on September 2, 2008 [5 favorites]

Oh my goodness, the clip in the post was cool when I thought it'd been cleverly cobbled together from Gremlins footage and CGI, but watching the making of... I'm stunned.

This. So very, very this. I was going to say that I loved the way he incorporated footage from the New York, New York scene in Gremlins 2 into Indiana Jones... but that he actually filmed an entire new gremlins party scene with just two gremlins puppets? Holy living fuck. That's incredible.
posted by flashboy at 9:19 AM on September 2, 2008

Here's my GREMLINS 2 nerd cred:
My laserdisc of the film is signed by Joe Dante himself!
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:40 AM on September 2, 2008

That is just fantastic and having seen the making-of I'm even more astonished by his work. Someone really should snap up the talented Sacha Feiner to do their special effects preferably to work on Gremlins 3 as seeing this has just reminded me of how much I loved both those movies.
posted by electricinca at 3:00 PM on September 2, 2008

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