'Gremlins 2' Brilliantly Makes Fun Of Everyone Who Loved The First Movie



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Vote up the reasons that prove Gremlins 2 is an underappreciated work of satirical mastery.

In 1990, Warner Bros. released Joe Dante’s follow-up to the cult classic Christmas horror film Gremlins, and no one really knew what to think of it. Where the first film told a story about a small town coming together in the face of chaotic monsters, the Gremlins sequel was more interested in showing how much destruction the monsters could cause. Gremlins 2 is thought to be one of the weirdest '90s movies to be released by a major studio, and it certainly deserves that status. It’s absolutely bonkers from the very beginning. 

You may not remember much of this film besides Hulk Hogan's wall-breaking cameo or the musical number during the film's finale, but Gremlins 2: The New Batch isn’t just some ill-conceived cash grab - it’s a piece of art.

  • 1
    29 VOTES

    The Film Functions As A Commentary On Modern Culture

    Even though Gremlins 2 revels in the chaos made by its lovable monsters, it also serves as a sly indictment of the culture of the late '80s and early '90s. In 2016, Dante told Syfy: "There was really no reason for another Gremlins movie, so I decided to make a movie about sequels, the '90s, and to make fun of the first movie."

    The very building in which the film takes place serves as an all-encompassing home, workspace, and shopping center where the automation works too well for its own good. The idea seemed silly at the time, but in every major urban sprawl there's now an apartment building situated on top of a gym, coffee shop, and a couple of restaurants. Some apartment complexes even sit directly on top of a fully functioning mall. The more it ages, the more insightful Gremlins 2 appears.


    29 votes
  • 2
    26 VOTES

    The Films Opening Credits Break The Fourth Wall

    Before Gremlins 2 even begins, Dante breaks the fourth wall by opening his picture with a classic Warner Bros. Looney Tunes introduction. Bugs Bunny rides the WB shield into the frame, but he's stopped by Daffy Duck. The two characters argue over who's going to introduce the movie before Bugs gives up and allows Daffy to take over. 

    This opening section accomplishes a few things. First, it sets up that Gremlins 2 is essentially an extension of a Looney Tunes cartoon and that the audience should set their expectations accordingly. It also shows Daffy Duck taking over for Bugs Bunny to point out it will not be a standard Gremlins sequel.



    26 votes
  • 3
    25 VOTES

    The Characters Of 'Gremlins 2' Are Turned Into Marketing Gimmicks To Satirize The Studios' Obsession With Selling Merchandise

    According to Dante, Warner Bros. wanted a Gremlins sequel solely for merchandising purposes. After Star Wars was released in 1977, movie studios began seeking properties that could help sell merchandise. Blockbuster films of the 1980s showed selling character rights for toys, backpacks, Trapper Keepers, or any other products was far more profitable than the movie tickets themselves. But with the release of Gremlins and Ghostbusters in 1984 and the failures of their merchandising campaigns, it became obvious to studio heads and economists that sequels were more profitable because they had pre-established characters. Gremlins 2 was no exception to that, but it's also obvious Dante purposely took the merchandising philosophy to its extreme in order to satirize it.

    Along with the very adorable and pre-established Gizmo, who is given a cute Rambo outfit, the Gremlins come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There's a spider Gremlin, a lady Gremlin, an electric Gremlin, and a suave Gremlin. By giving them each a defining characteristic, Dante turns the Gremlins into over-the-top merchandising opportunities. 

    The film doesn't just stop at insinuating there are new and improved Gremlins. At the end of the film, billionaire Daniel Clamp (John Glover) says that Clamp Industries is going to "market the hell" out of Gizmo. On top of that, there are visual references to Batman and one Gremlin has the Warner Bros. logo tattooed on its body.


    25 votes
  • 4
    23 VOTES

    The Film Mocks The 'Three Rules' Established In The First Movie 

    The "three rules" of the Gremlins are that you can't get them wet, you can't feed them after midnight, and you can't expose them to sunlight. Obviously, these rules are arbitrary, but the first Gremlins film treats them as sacred, while Gremlins 2 throws out the serious tone established in its predecessor. Even the people who work in the building beset by Gremlins are dubious of how these rules work. 

    At one point, a group of crew members on a fictional TV show wonder aloud how one could keep a Mogwai from changing if it crossed into a new time zone, specifically if it were being transported on a plane. Dante explains that this moment came from his initial fears that the audience wouldn't accept the rules. He told Syfy: "We were always worried that the rules were so arbitrary that the audience would just say, 'What you do mean don't get them wet after midnight? Where does that come from?'" 

    23 votes
  • 5
    20 VOTES

    Dante Recontextualized Past Influences And Even His Own Work To Mock Everything 

    As a child of the '50s, Dante was the first generation to live in a time when television was readily available, and like many directors who are in the same age group, he was influenced by what was on the tube. At the time, it would have been B-movies, Looney Tunes, and a resurgence of the Universal monster films. If anything explains the heights of lunacy Gremlins 2 reaches, it's this combination of influences. 

    Dante spoke to Syfy about how his disparate influences coalesced when he was a child: "I read a lot of comic books and I read a lot of science fiction. I liked Edgar Allan Poe, I liked Ray Bradbury, I liked Robert Sheckley. In the '50s there were a lot of collections of science fiction short stories and novels. I was influenced by everything I ever read and everything I ever saw."

    As pop culture critic Nathan Rabin points out, Dante's entire career has been spent recontextualizing popular art into something different. Dante began his career by editing The Movie Orgy, a mash-up of B-movie clips, commercials, and television spots. From there, he went on to make the Jaws clone Piranha for Roger Corman, and he even directed a section of The Twilight Zone: The Movie.

    Whether it was conscious or not, Dante's career has always been about paying homage to what came before him by blowing it up. When you watch Gremlins 2, you can see that the director has a love for these characters. But by completely changing the genre and character motivations for the sequel, Dante was able to make a bolder statement than he ever would have if he'd made a by-the-numbers sequel to a cult classic.

    20 votes
  • 6
    17 VOTES

    Dante Didn't Want To Make The Sequel, So He Structured It Exactly Like The Original - But With A Bigger Budget 

    Since Gremlins 2 was first released, Dante has discussed the fact that he didn't want to make the film. When the sequel was first proposed, he actively turned down Warner Bros. during their initial conversations. After the studio failed to find any purpose to make the sequel beyond the monetary success of the first, Warner Bros. promised Dante he could have full control of production. Dante describes the film as "a pretty unusual studio movie, but it comes from a desperate desire to make a sequel to a movie that made hundreds of millions of dollars." 

    Dante claimed the Warner Bros. pitch that inspired him to get to work on Gremlins 2 was equally freeing and depressing. He said he was told: “'If you give us a couple of cans of film with Gremlins in them next summer, you can do whatever you want.' And they gave me three times the money we had to make the first one."

    The desire for a sequel is what inspired Dante to make the movie "about how there didn’t need to be a sequel to 'Gremlins.'"

    Gremlins 2 was bigger while containing more of the same that everyone loved, but with a twist. Dante literally gave the sequel the same story, the same characters, and essentially the same outcome (all of the Gremlins are electrocuted, whereas, in the first film, they perish in a fire). 

    17 votes