Certificate: 15

Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates

Release date: 1984

4 out of 5


The black comedy Gremlins may not seem a Christmassy film, but it is set during the festive season. Young Billy (Galligan) is given a cute cuddly little creature called a mogwai by his dad, who found it in a quirky Chinese shop. Billy names him Gizmo, and has to follow three important rules with his new pet: he mustn’t feed Gizmo after midnight, he mustn’t have bright lights around, and he mustn’t allow the furry cutie near water.

Of course, it’s not long before Billy has inadvertently broken a couple of those rules and, in doing so, causes adorable Gizmo to pop off a few dozen offspring. Unfortunately, they’re not sweet like he is – they are mischievous, malevolent creatures called gremlins who seem intent on causing destruction throughout the town.

Surprisingly dark for a family film (although a scene in which one town resident is killed by the creatures was cut), this has a wicked and almost gruesome sense of humour about it that appeals to kids as well as grown-ups (it’s not suitable for really young children though, as they may find the gremlins a little too scaly and scary).

Is Gremlins suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

Note that this film has a ‘15’ certificate. Children over 11 shouldn’t be scared by the scenes of the gremlins wreaking havoc.

Parents of children who still believe in Santa should note that Kate (Cates) reveals why she doesn’t believe in Father Christmas any more – and it’s a pretty grim reason.

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