Graveyard Shift

'Gremlins' Was So Intense That It Led To The Invention Of The PG-13 Rating  

Crystal Brackett
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While Gremlins may be rated PG, the film was so psychologically scarring to some that it triggered the dawn of the PG-13 rating. While many were lured into thinking the 1984 flick was family-friendly thanks to cuddly Mogwai Gizmo gracing the cover, the film's intense and nightmare-inducing moments sparked a controversy that birthed a new classification of age-suitability for cinema.

In the early summer of 1984, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins hit the big screens almost back-to-back. Temple of Doom teetered on the fence of its PG rating, and two weeks later, Gremlins shook things up again, prompting the Motion Picture Association of America to reevaluate its rating system. Thanks to the Gremlins rating controversy, the PG-13 classification was born and saw its debut when Red Dawn hit theaters a few months later.

A Gremlin Climbs Into A Blender And Gets Splattered All Over The Kitchen Walls
A Gremlin Climbs Into A Blende... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 'Gremlins' Was So Intense That It Led To The Invention Of The PG-13 Rating
Photo: Warner Bros.

A Gremlin makes its way into Billy's home and takes the opportunity to stop in the kitchen for some gingerbread cookies. The creature soon moves to the blender for a taste of some batter, and with the Gremlin nicely situated in the blender's bowl, Billy's mother sees an opportunity and turns the device on.

The blender shreds the Gremlin into pieces, splattering its gooey insides all over the neatly arranged cooking area.

A Gremlin's Severed Head Burns In The Fireplace
A Gremlin's Severed Head Burns... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 'Gremlins' Was So Intense That It Led To The Invention Of The PG-13 Rating
Photo: Warner Bros.

In a crazed frenzy to save his mother, Billy fends off a Gremlin with a sword. The Gremlin's head flies straight into the fireplace and is quickly engulfed in flames. The Gremlin's head screams in agony as it melts in the blaze.

An Old Woman Is Launched To Her Doom From Her Stair Lift
An Old Woman Is Launched To He... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 'Gremlins' Was So Intense That It Led To The Invention Of The PG-13 Rating
Photo: Warner Bros.

In the spirit of the Christmas holiday, the Gremlins partake in a bit of caroling around the block. When they pay a visit to the elderly Mrs. Deagle, they terrorize her with screeching songs, break into her house, and sabotage her stair lift.

In a panic, she attempts to escape by riding back up to safety at the top of the stairs. Instead of taking her to her destination, the stair lift flies up her spiral staircase and launches her straight out of the window.

Kate's Father Perished When He Got Stuck In The Chimney On Christmas
Kate's Father Perished When He... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 'Gremlins' Was So Intense That It Led To The Invention Of The PG-13 Rating
Photo: Warner Bros.

Kate reveals she doesn't celebrate Christmas due to a traumatic incident in her past. She tells Billy that her father went missing one Christmas when she was young, prompting a police search.

When she lit the fireplace to warm up, the firefighters excavated the chimney and found her father stuck, wearing a Santa suit.