How to Kill Gremlins | NowThis Nerd

Hi everyone, I’m Moose, and this week on ‘How to Kill,’ we’re setting our sights on the putrid pests known as gremlins Yaa ya ya, yaa ya! For nearly a century, these little green men have run amok in our imaginations, airplanes, and two of the most beloved black comedies in horror history, not to mention an animated series that was announced three days after we shot this video

So, sharpen your swords, eat your vegetables, and start spreading the news, because this is How to Kill Gremlins Gremlins are a relatively new addition to folklore, a product of the post-industrial age, when humans were still adjusting to their new relationship with machines, and struggling to understand what makes them tick The concept originated with Britain’s Royal Air Force in the ‘20s, when pilots would blame their mechanical troubles on imaginary monsters messing with their planes “I say, old bean, my Spitfire nearly crashed into the Thames!” “Sounds like you’ve got gremlins gumming up the works, wot wot!” "Indeed" RAF vet Roald Dahl helped popularize the concept in civilian circles, as did Bugs Bunny, Heh, gremlins What a fairy tale! Little men, oh brother! but the full terror of these flying fiends didn’t become apparent until the ‘60s, when a high-profile sighting was slain by In-Flight Firearms Before we dive into the legendary Joe Dante movies, we should address one of the earlier gremlin encounters caught on film, from the 1963 ‘Twilight Zone’ episode called ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

’ William Shatner is taking his first flight since suffering a mid-air nervous breakdown six months earlier, And can you blame him? Flights are stressful enough now, imagine back in the ‘60s, when cabins were drenched in cigarette smoke and neck-pillow technology was still but a distant dream Things seem to go well until he spots a menacing figure on the wing outside his window: Well, as menacing as a dude covered in shag carpet wearing grandma’s wig could possibly be Naturally, no one believes Shatner, even when the creature starts tearing apart the engine, so he’s forced to take matters into his own hands He steals a gun from a sleeping cop, straps himself in, and throws open the emergency exit to gank the gremlin with his gat [TRIUMPHANT SHATNER SCREAM] The fuzzy fiend falls to its death, the flight lands safe and sound, and Shatner’s violent outburst is vindicated

The episode was remade in the 1983 ‘Twilight Zone’ movie, with John Lithgow subbing in for Shat, and while the story plays out more-or-less the same, Dick Solomon is a far cry from James Tiberius Kirk [NERVOUS LAUGHTER] Can you imagine? The leaner, meaner gremlin shrugs off the barrage of bullets, then bites Lithgow’s gun in half, before flying off into the night Bullets aren’t the worst idea, just maybe not in a highly pressurized aircraft They’re pretty effective against Dante gremlins, too, even if they’re not always fatal Besides, there are way more fun ways to pick off all those puppets, Now was that civilized? No! Clearly not

Fun, but in no sense civilized especially if you know the rules Don’t get them wet, don’t EVER feed them after midnight, and, unless you’re trying to kill them, keep them away from Bright Lights Future ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Harry Potter’ director Chris Columbus came up with the concept for ‘Gremlins’ after the sound of mice skittering through his crappy New York apartment kept him up all night He churned out the script as a writing sample, never intending for it to be actually made, which may be a reason why his first draft was far darker and gorier than the final film Gizmo himself transforms into Stripe, Billy’s mom winds up decapitated, and his poor dog Barney doesn’t survive

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Gremlins’ has plenty of senseless violence for a PG movie, it’s actually one of the films, along with ‘Temple of Doom,’ that demonstrated the need for a PG-13 rating, but after Steven Spielberg decided to produce the script, he gave it a cute and cuddly makeover [MOGWAI SQUEAKS] Still, the core concept was there from the beginning, especially the rules required of any potential Mogwai adopter Keeping them dry and unfed after midnight makes sense, if you don’t think about it too hard, What if they're eating in an airplane and they cross a time zone? I mean, it's always midnight somewhere [SCREAMS] but the gremlins’ greatest weakness is far more simple: They share the same achilles heel as vampires, gargoyles, and Richard B Riddick: They’re badly hurt by light

Depending on the intensity, light could just scare them away, but sometimes a single flashbulb is enough to fry a creepy critter And if you really want to expose them to some lethal lumens, the harsh light of day can reduce even the baddest gremlin to a smoking skeleton of slime within seconds [DISGUSTING GREMLIN DEATH RATTLE] Light isn’t the most dependable method, however, a cloudy day could really put the kibosh on your plans, and there’s always the chance your gremlin might be dosed to the gills with sunblock serum, which means you’ll have to find a more concrete method of taking it out But if there aren’t any construction sites or cement mixers handy, fear not, because Home is Where the Hurt Is Living in New York, you get used to the occasional cockroach or creepy crawly invading your privacy, but over in Kingston Falls, there’s no way Mrs Peltzer could have been prepared for the killers lurking in her kitchen

Still, this small-town suburban mom instantly goes into survival mode, and uses everyday objects to wage a one-woman war With a knife in one hand and a shield in another, she systematically destroys the fiends raiding her fridge They may have a ton of teeth and razor sharp claws, but gremlins are surprisingly squishy, and you can make quick work of them with most household appliances, like a food processor, which can turn even the gnarliest gremlin into a gooey green paste within seconds Or a microwave oven, for that matter If you can drive the gremlin inside with some bug spray, the nuisance can be nuked into oblivion with the simple press of a button

As creatures dreamed up to explain airplane malfunctions, I love the irony of gremlins being terminated by technology, like Mr Clamp’s paper shredder grinding them into goo Mr Clamp, are you okay? Yeah, I just hate using these things myself More simple tools can just be just as effective, though

and if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, you can stab the little bastards to death with a few swift strokes Sometime, the situation just calls for a primitive solution, like the untamed element, oldest of man’s mysteries, giver of warmth, destroyer of forests, I’m talking, of course, about Fire Gremlins might be vile, crude, bloodthirsty little creatures who throw old ladies out of windows, My God That was Mrs

Deagle but at least they appreciate the classics They’re not the most respectful moviegoers, unless you have a Hulkster to keep them in line, Do I have to come up there myself? Do you think the gremsters can stand up to the Hulkster?! but you can use their love for Disney’s animated canon against them

With all your rotten eggs in one basket, singing along with Dopey and Doc, you can pull an Operation Kino and blow them to hell with one swift stroke No nitrate film required, either, just a gas leak, some newspapers, and boom: it’s raining gremlin guts Fire is extremely effective against your run of the mill gremlin, and it’s not too shabby against jacked-up arachnid mohawk monsters either, especially in the adorable little hands of a Mogwai who’s been pushed too far Improvising a crude bow and arrow with some office supplies, Gizmo goes full-on Rambo, and draws first blood on his arch-nemesis with a burning bottle of white-out, which I didn’t even know was flammable Gizzzzmoooo

Now, if you’re fine with a little property damage, by all means, light ‘em up But if you’re looking for a less destructive way to destroy a whole bunch of gremlins, you may be shocked to learn one the most effective methods: Electricity ‘Gremlins’ was a massive hit and spawned a horde of imitators like ‘Ghoulies,’ ‘Critters,’ ‘Troll,’ and my personal favorite, ‘Hobgoblins,’ When it came time for the official follow-up, Joe Dante knew the only way to stand above the pack was to throw the rulebook out the window, and make the weirdest movie possible Lemme just recap right now: brainy gremlin, spider gremlin, bat gremlin, lady gremlin, googly-eyed gremlin, electricity gremlin, Hulk Hogan's gonna be in the picture, I'm gonna throw in a gremlin myself, vegetable gremlin! ‘Gremlins 2: The New Batch’ is one of the greatest sequels ever made, a metatextual masterpiece Just rerelease on video is the movie 'Gremlins,' thought I really can't imagine why

that completely takes the pee out of the original film, while embracing a madcap sensibility straight out of a Looney Tune You’ve got whacky technology, washed-up horror hosts, thinly-veiled Trump analogues, and a sinister lab run by Christopher Lee and the twins from ‘Terminator 2’ Say, doctor, we've got something we want you to take a look at

That’s where the gremlins discover all sorts of wonderful genetic cocktails, extremely scientific formulas that can transform them into salads, femlins, Tony Randall, Might I have a brief word with you? and living bolts of lightning In a last-ditch effort before the gremlin hordes are unleashed upon Manhattan, our heroes interrupt their big musical number with a blast from a firehose Normally, that would be a very bad idea, but it works out for two reasons: One, the agony of childbirth temporarily stops the gremlins in their tracks, and two, all that water provides an excellent conductor for the electric gremlin, who unwittingly executes his brethren before dissipating into nothingness, ending the menace once and for all, New York or at least until the next time Gizmo gets slightly moist Here’s hoping he stays dry, because I’m not sure I want to see what gremlins look like in a post-CGI world Now, I’m okay with the idea of an animated series depicting the wacky adventures of Gizmo and Mr Wing, but as far as movies go, I’m perfectly happy with the two we have Puppets and practical effects were a huge part of the original’s appeal, there’s just something so satisfying about seeing janky foam latex explode in a green shower of gore

But with today’s effects, I’m worried it’ll just turn into ‘Minions' Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to dive back into the world of 'Gremlins,' even with the passing of the legendary Dick Miller But unless I get a 100% commitment to puppets and stop motion, I can do without the further adventures of President Clamp I don’t want to see gremlins become commodified, that's kinda the whole point of the movie, and I don’t want to see Gizmo fall into the wrong hands After all, “with mogwai comes much responsibility

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