Back in the mid to late 80's I was completely terrified of the movie Gremlins. I remember watching it (somewhat) at my grandparent's house as a young child, not being able to make it through the film after the mogwai had completed their evil metmorphases, resorting to hiding behind the couch.
Now as an adult, Gremlins has become one of my favorite films. Childhood memories of fear have been replaced with fun and nostalgia. However, I can understand how my younger self reacted in such a frightened manner after viewing the film. It is a fucking creepy movie. When you are only five years old, you simply do not grasp the idea that grown men with puppets and cameras are able to achieve such horrifyingly awesome magic. To you it is real. As real as anything else, and it's immensely fucked up.
I suppose as time goes on, you learn to appreciate films that once horrified you. Certainly that was the case with Gremlins. But how can a movie I was barely able to make it through as a kid, account for so much nostalgia?
The answer may reside within the realm of vintage Gremlins toy lines.
As a child of the 80's, I had fond memories of fuzzy creatures like My Pet Monster, the Ewoks, and of course, Gizmo the Mogwai. Unlike the foul and freaky Gremlin monsters, Gizmo had a much larger resonance with a younger demographic, including myself. It was only natural that young children, even those who had not really even seen the film, would gravitate toward the cute cuddly creature.
So of course many Gizmo toys and dolls were produced under the official Gremlins licence. I fondly remember carrying around a plush Gizmo doll as a young boy. Unfortunately an ex-girlfriend in high school threw it into a fireplace after I broke up with her...
Strangely, I have no memory of the extremely terrifying Gremlins toys that were lurking around toy shelves back in 1984. Possibly the memories have all been wiped or blocked as a consequence of sheer trauma.
Just take a look at LJN's large scale Posable Stripe Figure...
... imagine being 5 years old and getting that for Christmas. Jesus Christ.
Oh yeah and speaking of being terrified as a child, also try to imagine seeing one of your favorite Saturday morning TV show hosts dressed up like Satan, acting as if he's on more drugs than usual (although a couple of years before Pee-wee's Playhouse first aired on TV), whilst presenting his extensive Gremlins collection to David Letterman... HOLY SHIT!!
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