This week in Jack-o’-Lantern Press, we cap off our celebration of the Halloween hootenanny with movie reviewer Dan Cook’s take on perhaps one of the greatest monster gatherings ever put on celluloid. This review originally appeared as part of Cook’s month of March “Monster Movie Madness” slate of articles.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Joe Dante’s 1984 horror comedy “Gremlins” is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, so I was very much looking forward to seeing its sequel. And the wait was most definitely worth it.
While the original movie is a dark and twisted satire of the festive season with a surprising amount of violence and bloodshed, “Gremlins 2” instead serves as a light-hearted riff on everything from television, science, art, media empires and even cinema itself, while also ramping up the comedy and the slapstick, and it turns the funny but once creepy little blighters into comedic geniuses.
Moving away from the quaint town of Kingston Falls, “Gremlins 2” sees the photoallergic beasts laying siege to a ludicrously advanced New York skyscraper where they pose a potentially serious hazard to the rest of the city if unleashed.
The human cast, which includes returning regulars Phoebe Cates and Zach Gilligan, as well as some new faces such as John Glover, Haviland Morris, Robert Prosky and Christopher Lee, all do good and very humorous work here — particularly Lee, who shines here as Dr. Cushing Catheter, a mad biological scientist with a passion for both diseases and firearms.
However, it is of course the cackling critters that steal the show, and every second spent with them is pure anarchic joy — from the crazy-eyed Daffy to the suave bespectacled “Brain” gremlin, hilariously voiced by Tony Randall. What an absolute treat to end my month of monster movie madness.
Dan Cook is a movie reviewer on Letterboxd, and he also posts his reviews on Facebook. He’s a self-proclaimed film fanatic, avid reader and retro gamer who lives in Dudley, England, with his wife, Sam, and their two daughters.