In general I do not envy people who have been disemboweled by slimy monsters, but I have to say: I am totally jealous of Leonard Maltin’s grisly demise in Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
You see, Leonard Maltin panned the first Gremlins in his review for Entertainment Tonight, calling it "icky" and "gross". Which is fair enough; the last time I saw that movie I, too, was off put by its weird mixture of Christmas time sentimentality and monster-based crassness. However, his review must have stuck in director Joe Dante's craw, because when Dante was in pre-production on the sequel he specifically invited Maltin to make a cameo as himself in a scene where the titular monsters break onto the set of a movie review show and eat one of their critics alive.
Now, Maltin’s death is not really a highlight of Gremlins Two – there are a lot of other more graphic deaths in this horror comedy, and there are also several that are funnier. But it does stand out to me because it made me realize that I need to up my troll game. I mean, I’ve definitely said some mean things on this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever said anything that was so mean that a director would want to call me up and say “I’ve written a scene in my new movie where you die horribly! When are you available to film it?”
And come to think of it, I’ve never been quoted on a film’s poster, either. Huh. Maybe I should start calling movies “icky”? I’ve never done that... And I don’t really want to do that... But if that’s what it takes to get cast as myself in a major motion picture, or to become a human blurb machine…
On second thought – no. I don’t think I could live with myself if I lowered myself to using the word “icky” for any reason. But that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t try harder to be Hollywood friendly. So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to offer up a series of short quotes that will alternate between being poster-worthy and murdered-in-a-cameo worthy, and then I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that someone out there is willing to give me either the positive or the negative attention I so desperately crave.
-Gremlins 2 is a slapstick horror movie that wants to be a live action Looney Tunes cartoon!
-Unfortunately it is neither light enough to be funny, nor is it dark enough to be scary!
-It is basically a poor man’s Evil Dead 2! That film really committed to being violent AND to being ridiculous!
-The Gremlin puppets are cool though! They are appropriately slimy and scaly and gross! Love how moist they look, bro!
-I just wish that the gremlins were more consistently used! Sometimes they are stupid slapstick machines and other times they are out of control murder-beasts!
-In other words this film LACKS TONAL CONTROL!
-Also, the rules that explain how an adorable little Mogwai can create dozens of spiteful little Gremlins overnight still don’t make any goddamn sense! How does a koala-ish creature birth a bunch of evil lizards in any circumstance? What’s this “don’t feed it after midnight” bullshit? Midnight is a relatively recent concept that is exclusively used by humans! It would not factor into any living thing’s evolutionary history!
-At least Gremlins 2 acknowledges that these rules don’t make sense! The scene where the cynical camera guys mock the arbitrariness of the rules is not clever enough to completely excuse my conceptual annoyance but it still counts for something!
-Some of Gremlin 2’s many cameos are cool! You can’t go wrong by casting Christopher Lee as a mad scientist! That dude was the best!
-BOO TO HULK HOGAN, THOUGH. BOOOOO!!! That guy has always sucked and the scene he is in has not aged well!
-That said, Gremlins Two is better than the first film!
-In that I couldn’t even finish the first Gremlins the last time I tried to watch it, but part two is totally finishable!
-I am pretty sure that Joe Dante’s mother was insufficiently moral! I am willing to publicly state that she did many inexcusable, embarrassing and otherwise unacceptable things!
-I AM TOTALLY AVAILABLE FOR ON-SCREEN MURDERING IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON MAKING GREMLINS THREE: THE KIRK BATCH, JOE DANTE