Gremlins, the horror-comedy classic, begs for a modern sequel. The hook? Gremlins 3 should take place at Halloween.
In the Steven Spielberg-produced film Gremlins, an eccentric inventor (Hoyt Axton) finds a rare creature called a Mogwai in Chinatown and gives it to his son Billy (Zach Galligan) as a Christmas gift. The adorable Gizmo quickly becomes Billy’s beloved pet. However, when Billy unintentionally breaks the three rules of the Gremlins – avoiding bright light, getting them wet, and never feeding them after midnight – chaos ensues.
Director Joe Dante and screenwriter Chris Columbus crafted the gold standard of Christmas horror movies with Gremlins. The 1984 film pushes back at overly sentimental holiday fare, offering a mix of cynicism and dark hilarity.
The PG-rated Gremlins was a box office success in ’84, but its release just two weeks after Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom had parents concerned about their kids’ summer escapades. They felt it was too violent for a PG rating and demanded a solution. Thus, the PG-13 rating was born, with Red Dawn being the first film to debut with this brand-new MPAA rating at the end of the summer.
The original film had a sequel in 1990: Gremlins 2: The New Batch. It shifted the chaos from a small town to Manhattan, bringing back Billy and Gizmo in a high-tech high-rise setting. This time out, Dante leaned into comedy and left most of the horror behind. The sequel garnered buzz for its clever and subversive nature, with some fans considering it superior to its predecessor. However, The New Batch ultimately disappointed in comparison to the first film’s box office success.
Rumblings of ‘Gremlins 3’ Have Been Bouncing Around for Years
While the movie franchise ceased with the second installment, Gremlins and Gizmo remained a constant in pop culture. New action figures, puppets, and collectibles remained on the shelves for decades. The 1984 film is routinely shown around the holidays in revival theaters and is a mainstay on home video.
Rumblings of a Gremlins 3 have been bouncing around for about a decade. The original film’s screenwriter, Chris Columbus, has even teased a few ideas. He claims he’s written a darker script, and promised fans “tangible puppets, not CGI,” back in 2020.
As recently as 2021, Gizmo and Billy actor Zach Galligan were brought to together for a Mountain Dew ad. The commercial even teased that Billy’s teen daughter had a mogwai of her own.
The possibility of a Gremlins 3 seems even stronger with the release last May of the animated series starring Gizmo on Max. Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is slated for a season 2 already, proving the franchise is still going strong.
Why ‘Gremlins 3’ Should Be Set During Halloween
Of course, the original Gremlins is forever synonymous with Holidays. Gizmo himself is a Christmas present, and so much of the imagery of the original film is linked to Yuletide horror. The gremlins disguise themselves as carolers to terrorize an elderly woman. One of them hides in a Christmas tree to attack Billy’s mother. The town curmudgeon is assaulted by gremlins using a snowplow. Gingerbread cookies, stockings, and festive lights contrast with the mischief and chaos caused by the gremlins in a small town.
It only makes sense that a bookend to the original would be another popular holiday. Halloween is the obvious choice. While the original film strove to be PG, let this harder-edged Halloween edition fully embrace the PG-13 rating it helped usher in.
This time, it’s Billy’s annoying influencer neighbors that secretly spawn a new batch of gremlins for their TikTok page. Of course, it gets out of hand. Billy’s hometown of Kingston Falls, all decked out for spooky season, is once again invaded by gremlins. It’s up to Billy and Gizmo to save Halloween Night.
The Gremlins’ Halloween Hijinks Are Endless
First of all, we have to see Gizmo dressed as Baby Yoda for Halloween. Yeah, it’s a little on the nose as Gizmo seemingly influenced the look of The Mandalorian fan favorite Grogu. However, the toy sales alone would cover the production costs of the film. On the other hand, Gizmo would look adorable rocking a little leather jacket sporting a pompadour as the Fonz from Happy Days. Imagine him snapping his tiny fingers and purring, “Heeeey.”
Yes, the gremlins would have to dress up in Halloween costumes, too. Since the little green goblins are naturally pop culture experts, the possibilities are endless. You’d have to get a group dressed as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as an homage to the theater sequence in the original. Maybe have a group of gremlins dressed as the castaways from Gilligan’s Island and another quartet dressed as KISS (beating up yet another gang dressed as the Beatles).
The Halloween hijinks practically write themselves for Gremlins 3. The gremlins could invade a haunted house attraction and confuse the patrons before attacking them with real chainsaws and pitchforks. Little toddler trick-or-treaters arrive at a safe Trunk-or-treat event only to have gremlins popping up out of all the soccer moms’ vehicles. Bobbing for apples could be a world of trouble considering gremlins multiply when wet. One of the main set pieces could involve Billy’s teen daughter attending a high school Halloween Ball that’s overrun with gremlins, dressed in formal wear.
Gremlins 3: Mischief Night would print money. Drop it in theaters in September and let the cash flow into the box office through Halloween. To top it off, it would become a spooky season favorite watch every year.
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