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

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.

Photo: Gremlins/Warner Bros.

  • A Gremlin Climbs Into A Blender And Gets Splattered All Over The Kitchen Walls

    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

    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

    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 Lost Her Father When He Got Stuck In The Chimney On Christmas

    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. 

  • The Biology Teacher Is Taken Out With His Own Syringe

    After Gizmo spawns multiple Mogwai, the biology teacher, Mr. Hanson, keeps one for himself. However, his Mogwai is angered by the constant needles poking and prodding it for blood tests, ultimately prompting the creature to seek revenge. 

    Turning the tables on the teacher, the Mogwai pierces him in the backside with one of the teacher's own syringes, leaving his remains on the floor for Billy to find. 

  • Hundreds Of Gremlins Are Eliminated When Billy Blows A Movie Theater Up

    At one point in the film, all the Gremlins gather around the cinema screen to watch a theatrical showing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. While the Gremlins are distracted with soda, snacks, and celebration, Billy starts a gas leak in the building.

    He lights a flame and runs, transforming the building into a soaring-high pile of dust before the Gremlins can escape.