Having grown up in a video store in the 90's during the era of VHS and theatrical release posters and before the intro of DVDs and Blu-ray discs, I binged watched all 80's horror movies I could get my hands on. From The Shining to The Evil Dead to The Thing and Motel Hell, the list goes on and on. One of my favorites was Gremlins, mostly for its unique dark-humor undertones and subliminal references to mainstream films – and the mocking celebratory nature of Christmas. I even purchased my little brother a Gizmo stuffy. So to hear that HBO Max ordered 10-episode animated comedy fantasy series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai for 2021 has me excited to say the least.
Hmmm… I wonder if my daughter will get into it?
You might remember that the original 1984 comedy/horror film was written by Chris Columbus and directed by Joe Dante (who is also consulting on the HBO Max series) and followed a young man who receives an adorable creature called a Mogwai as a pet for Christmas. All he had to do was follow three rules when taking care for him: don't feed him after midnight, don't let him get wet, and don't expose him to sunlight – very important rules to keep in mind, because otherwise a bunch of vengeful psychotic army of gremlins are birthed. Which is exactly what happens, so Billy (Zack Galligan) and girlfriend Kate (Phoebe Cates) as well as Gizmo must rid the town of the horrific looking, bad-ass freaks – and they do so… except for Stripe.
Getting a full on backstory of Gizmo and a young Mr. Wing should be fun. To welcome back the insane manifestations of chaos and follow them as they wreak havoc against our heroes is something I look forward to sharing with my little one. I do wonder if the show will continue with its moral/societal undertone of Western culture essentially defecating on pure aspects of other cultures – in this case, taking something adorable and kind and transforming it into an uncontrollable, destructive "thing."
I hope Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai stays true to the dark humor and bizarre antics of the original film (our brain's jury is still out on the sequel), and doesn't turn into something like Kung Foo Panda (nothing against Po Ping, love him). Also curious to see the variety of monsters and goblins that Gizmo and Sam will encounter – and will Gizmo have different powers/abilities?
In the animated television adaptation, we travel back to 1920s Shanghai to reveal the story of how 10-year-old Sam Wing (future shop owner Mr. Wing in the 1984 movie) met the young Mogwai called Gizmo. Along with a teenage street thief named Elle, Sam and Gizmo take a perilous journey through the Chinese countryside, encountering, and sometimes battling, colorful monsters and spirits from Chinese folklore. On their quest to return Gizmo to his family and uncover a legendary treasure, they are pursued by a power-hungry industrialist and his growing army of evil Gremlins.
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is produced by Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros. Animation. The series is written by Tze Chun and executive produced by Darryl Frank (The Americans, Animaniacs, Amazing Stories!), Justin Falvey (The Americans, Animaniacs, Amazing Stories!), and Sam Register (Teen Titans Go! upcoming Animaniacs) with Chun and Brendan Hay (Dawn of the Croods, Robot Chicken, Harvey Girls Forever) serving as co-executive producer. Dan Krall (Coraline, Scooby-Doo!) will serve as supervising producer.