Gremlins Rip-offs – Laser Time #343

What’s the best way to know a movies good? When you can count more copycats than sequels! Such is the case with 1984’s Gremlins, a wonderful marriage between the mainstream family film and schlock horror, and this episode of Laser Time is all about the best and worst of what Gizmo and Co inspired!

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6 thoughts on “Gremlins Rip-offs – Laser Time #343

  1. You know, now that Warner Brothers owns both Gremlins and Critters, I’m surprised nobody has considered a Vs film between those two. But I do know apparently, WB is making a Critters webseries. What are they going to do? No idea but I do know a few things about Critters. For one, the director would go on to direct The Mighty Ducks, Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead and of course, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Then there’s the fact that the song Power of the Night was performed by Terrence Mann, he would bizarrely voice Oberon in Gargoyles. I didn’t think Greg Weisman had seen the film.

    But yeah, Critters is the best of the Gremlins knock offs. I always enjoy that film.

    I did see parts of Ghoulies on TV like on the Sci-Fi Channel, bored me so I didn’t bother with the rest. I did see Ghoulies II however and, well, it wasn’t boring but I just remember it for Phil Fondacaro and the song Scream Until You Like It by WASP. Though speaking of Fondacaro, Troll I did see. It’s…just okay, it’s funny in a retroactive sense that the character’s name is literally Harry Potter and I liked the old woman/witch played by June Lockhart and surprising to see Julia Louise-Dreyfus Pre-Seinfeld, this is her own Star Wars Holiday Special like that was to Harrison Ford. I’ll take it over Troll 2 though since I am so sick of that movie’s existence.

  2. The cover for Munchie, yes Munchie, as well as Ghoulies both scared me whenever I saw them at the local video rental store. (Among the other various VHS boxes in the horror section of course.)

    If your looking for some more recent movies that have this sort of multiple critters running amuck “flavor” I would suggest the Goosebumps movie from 2015, and from the looks of it, it’s sequel coming out later this year.

    1. You beat me to recalling the Munchie covers. I never saw any of those movies to this day, but I remember stumbling upon Munchie Strikes Back (ugh) in the local mom-and-pop and pretty much being scarred for life. He looks like a psychotic midget werewolf that someone shaved and stuck in a greaser suit. It’s madness.

      I also remember seeing the cover for the original Munchies a few years later at a separate store. I immediately wondered if there was a connection between the two, but I could tell by the cover and R rating that this was going for a different demographic and assumed it was either a coincidence or the people who made the singular Munchie films were ripping this one off for the title for whatever reason.

  3. The director’s commentary for the 1990 TMNT movie mentions the Critters bit. He basically says it was a nod to one of the few movies with creatures in it at the time. I’m sure Critters was chosen over the others because TMNT and Critters are both New Line releases. For a bit of extra trivia in the Young Adult Novelization Raph sees E.T. and doesn’t like it. I don’t know if that’s what was in the original screenplay but there are other scenes in the book that aren’t in the movie like the comic book ending.
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    I love these movies. I love bad 80’s horror and I really love creatures. That little guy in Flight of the Navigator is so cute. So these movies have always appealed to me. Seeing the boxes in the video rental store definitely drew my eye to them. And I’m pretty sure the cover to Ghoulies made me scared to use the bathroom for awhile. I had to pee first before sitting on the toilet because I thought the Ghoulie wouldn’t come up through urine.
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    It’s been forever since I’ve seen most of these movies, except Ghoulies 2 and 3 which for some reason were always on one of those Rerun/Oldie TV channels (MeTV or Antenna or something) a few years ago. From what I remember of Ghoulies the first movie felt like they tacked little creatures onto an existing story. It was also apparently the film debut of Marisa Hargitay (daughter of Jayne Mansfield and most well known for Law and Order: SVU).

    The second Ghoulies movie is my favorite of the three I’ve seen. The creatures play a bigger role in the story and it’s more fun overall. The third one was also entertaining but I’ve never seen the fourth. From the looks of it they use little people in costumes and not puppets, so I’m not that interested.

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    Critters, from what I remember was definitely the best of these movies. Although I haven’t seen any of them in years so I don’t really remember much other than they can combine into a big ball. I always liked that image. And is this the movie with the shape shifting bounty hunter? He sees a Playboy centerfold and changes into her complete with staples?
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    I’ll probably revisit all these movies soon. Shout Factory is coming out with a Critters Bluray collection this year although unfortunately well after Halloween. I’m super curious about Munchies. I’m sure it’s terrible, but I do like the looks of the creatures. And Hobgoblins is another one I haven’t seen in a while, I gotta get that MST3k set. Oh man, and the Gremlins movies. Gotta get those too. Why don’t I own any of these movies?

  4. The actor that took over the voice for “Munchie” in the 3rd movie was Howard Hessman who played not only the teacher in Head Of The Class but he also played Dr. Johnny Fever in WKRP.

    One of my most memorable moments from the 1st Critters movie was when the bounty hunter took the form of the centerfold model and ended up with a giant staple in his mid-section. Very subtle jokes at play in this one, especially with the hunters calling them “Crites”.

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