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but it does involve being traumatized by a movie

but it does involve being traumatized by a movie

May 28, 2007

I am sitting here at 10:00pm watching the movie Gremlins with my children. I have a list of things a mile long that I should be doing. And my children should most definitely be sleeping. But here we sit. The littlest ones fascinated by a movie much more scary than I remember. If I had remembered there is no way I would have ordered it from Netflix.

Miles is providing some much needed levity with his commentary. “Whoa, dat guy gwoss!” “Oh, him dead!” “So, toopid show.” “Bird Poop! Bird poop!” (this is what he says about anything spilled on the ground).

I am amazed at how much of this movie I had forgotten. I remember the “Don’t get them wet!” and “No feeding them after midnight!” but the rest is a complete blur.

Take for example Phoebe Cates telling the sad story of her father’s death. How did he die? He dressed up as Santa and tried to come down the chimney and broke his neck. They didn’t discover his body until it began to decay and smell. She left out the part of her story where she says he was an idiot or drunk, because who would think they would fit through a chimney? She ends the story by saying, “And that was how I found out there was no Santa Claus.”

I looked over at my children. My 8 yr old suddenly yelled, “What? There is no Santa Claus?”

Without missing a beat my 12 year old son said, “Hey, at least your story doesn’t involve a gruesome story of death.”

And let me tell you how much my daughter loved the final line of the movie. “There just might be a gremlin in your house.” Like she didn’t have enough to worry about in her life like bugs, ugly shoes, and open bedroom windows. Now she has gremlins added to the list.

Posted by Chris @ 10:37 pm  

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  1. Gloria says:

    Wow, it has been years since I watched Gremlins myself. Interesting how the “grown-up” spin is different than how you saw the movie as a child. Rough to hear there is no Santa in this way, you did tell your 8 year old that the movie was fiction, right?

  2. Anna says:

    The reasons you will be confronted by your adult children in therapy continues to mount, as do mine.

  3. fidget says:

    I wasnt allowed to watch Gremlins as a kid because my mother knew I would camp in front of her bedroom door every night there after if I saw it. She was right

  4. Julie says:

    I rented that same movie a few months back. My kids were totally creeped out and scared by it (12, 11, 9, 7, 5, 2.5). Like you, I didn’t remember it being as bad as it really is. Maybe we’re doing a better job at keeping our kids’ screened away from violence and trauma that when they see it, it causes a reaction! I was probably too jade to even notice.

  5. elasticwaistbandlady says:

    I let my spawn of 6 watch The Gremlins and they didn’t flinch a bit. This concerned me greatly. I silently wondered if my threatening to beat them with my giant kitchen spork if they dared eat the last Twinkie desensitized them to violence? Then I rented Ghostbusters and they were scared CHITlinLESS. Plus, as an added bonus, they wouldn’t eat marshmallows for awhile afterwards. SCORE!

  6. elasticwaistbandlady says:

    By the way, my mom came over excitedly waving this magazine article around about some mom with 7 kids and how she has a blog like I do and that I should go over and see what it’s about. Then I saw that it was YOU, and I was like, “Mom, that woman may have a buttload of kids like me, but unlike me, she’s a frickin bloggy superstar.”

    So, um, there. You made my mom have a brief glimmer of hope that I would be featured in a chick magazine too.

  7. Annika says:

    Ahh, so you’re the reason Netflix mysteriously sent us Gremlins 2 instead of Gremlins.

  8. Carolynn from Western Australia says:

    Do you know, I saw Gremlins years ago and thinkig about it now I can’t even remember what it was about but after you brief description I’m not sure I want to see it again.


  9. Kristie says:

    So, basically, now I won’t be letting my kids watch Gremlins. And considering that they’re pretty big weenies to begin with, I think I should thank you for that heads up. One less traumatizing movie, the better.

    Plus, while the oldest two already know about Santa, or at least suspect, the littlest one doesn’t, and I would hate for her to find out *that* way!

  10. Jennifer says:

    FUNNIEST POST EVER! I am laughing so hard my eyes teared up and now my glasses are all foggy. I can’t even pick the line I liked the best.

    This one goes in the hall of fame.

  11. CathyC says:

    Oh that movie scared me when I was a kid!!! But I still had Gremlin notebooks and folders. I’m impressed that your 2 youngest could sit through it, because I don’t think I can, HA!

  12. peepnroosmom says:

    You know, that was a scary movie. Definitely not for the small set of kids.

  13. meritt says:

    I HATE when movies use the “no santa claus” line… I’ve cringed and looked over the heads of my children to my husband (looking over at me) our eyes wide and wondering if ‘the kids caught that’ line. Thankfully all three are past that age now but I still want to smack the writers of the shows up side the head when I hear a movie that does that.

    All three of mine grew up watching horror movies. You know, they’ve never ever been scared of the dark, going to bed, or monsters. They grew up knowing monsters weren’t real since they saw them on the movies. Now, put SEX or KISSING in a movie and they would scream and cover their hands over their faces and say “WHY DID THEY HAVE TO RUIN A PERFECTLY GOOD MOVIE WITH KISSING!??? AAAAHHHHHH!” LOL.

    (I agree with them!)

  14. Ashley says:

    I haven’t watched the Grimlin’s in forever but I remember the Gremlins being very scary. Im goign to have to add that to my list and re-watch it.

  15. Melanie says:

    I both love and hate how movies are so much different than you remember them as a child - sometimes they are just so boring, and sometimes they’re even better than you recall. And of course, they weren’t scary for ME, but for my precious offspring? There should be more rainbows and kittens and stuff. Less scary. I don’t need to get up in the night because there are TREES OUTSIDE and they’re brushing against the window.

  16. Renée says:

    Uh, yeah. 10:00 and Gremlins? You almost had me there for a sec.

  17. Jane says:

    I remember when this movie came out, there was a huge outrage by parents who took their kids to see this movie. It was rated PG and parents everywhere were freaking out about the Santa Claus statement. Steven Speilberg held a press conference and suggested a new rating system for movies not foul, but not recommended for young children. Hence, nowadays we have PG-13.

  18. Darren McLikeshimself says:

    What a wretchedly awful movie. It only proves my theory about ’80s movies: Coke and filmmaking do NOT mix well. But I guess it’s the kind of thing that EVERY kid has to see at some point.

    And, yeah. Phoebe Cates’ story? What’s that doing in the movie? I mean, it’s just horrible!

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Years ago my DH fondly remembered that cute movie “Big” and rented it to watch with our then-age 4 daughter. Forgetting the trauma of the mother losing her child for the whole movie, which distracted me from ever enjoying it, and forgetting the uncomfortable sexy/romantic scenes (in which I can never help remembering “he LOOKS like Tom Hanks but he’s supposed to be a KID - and his mother thinks he’s been kidnapped, so who can have any fun at all”) which became very uncomfortable for him. But then, I don’t allow the Disney Peter Pan because of the racism and sexism, which I know most parents don’t mind, so maybe I’m extra-touchy.

  20. Colleen says:

    I remember the movie pretty well, that’s why I haven’t let my oldest watch it yet. He’s 9 and still believes in Santa (and that’s really the only reason I won’t let him watch it). Now, The Goonies, on the other hand - that one I’ll let him watch.

  21. Keith says:

    Had a similar experience thinking of how our kids would love Edward Scissorhands. Funny, offbeat kind of movie - they’re going to love it. Except when Anthony Michael Hall “totally gets killed” at the end. Forgot about that part… Whoops.

  22. Jennifer says:

    It’s funny that I remember it as a fun sort of movie movie but I guess as a parent I would be cringing the whole time my kids were watching it. My 4yo won’t even watch Finding Nemo because it’s too scary for her…I can’t imagine her watching Gremlins.

  23. Coleen says:

    I was born in ‘79 so I was young when the movie came out. My brilliant parents (they were all of about 22) took me to the drive in to see it and I didn’t sleep forever. I’ve watched it again and really enjoyed it, but definitely not for young kids! Sorry you had to find this out the hard way.

  24. Susan says:

    Sometimes I think our generation, and ones before us, are more resilient because we did have more exposure to things growing up and less sheltering.

    Back in my mom’s day (during the Depression), she said the childhood songs they’d sing were downright heartbreaking, but it taught them to have heaps of empathy and compassion.

    Sometimes I wonder if we don’t shield our children TOO much from the scary stuff. (Lord knows I’m the first one to do this, so I’m not criticizing here! Just thinking outloud, so to speak.)

    When I was no more than 4, my nana used to scoop me into her lap and, in the scariest voice, recite the poem, “Little Orphant Annie” (http://www.poetry-archive.com/r/little_orphant_annie.html). I can still remember trembling, yet begging for more! Yet the moral was there, too: Better be a good little girl, or “the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you ef you don’t
    watch out!”

  25. Julie says:

    The story Phoebe Cates tells is one of the things I remember vividly about Gremlins. By that time, my mother had spoiled the mystery of Santa, so I was more creeped out by a man getting stuck in a chimney.

  26. Megan L. says:

    I may not comment often, but I’ve got your site bookmarked — cuz it’s sooo interesting. I like your POV.

  27. Suzanne (JoyfulChaos) says:

    we didn’t think to preview the newest king kong for our kids (ages 5,4, & 2) thinking the big gorilla would be all the rage with the boys. until the freaky island child grabbed that person by the hand. all 3 children were cowering behind pillows. good grief.

  28. Tracy says:

    Seeing as how my kids still freak out at the scene in Stuart Little where he gets stuck in the washing machine…I guess Gremlins won’t make its way into my Netflix queue for a while!

  29. Dawn says:

    Been there…
    My daughter who is 6 is now into movies that are not animated and it is tough sometimes to venture outside of musicals (you might want to skip Grease 2…forgot about that “Reproduction” song and the “Let’s Do It for Our Country.”

    So then I had this vague recollection of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective - Nature Calls being funny. About 10 minutes into in he is in an airplane and the stewardess says, “Peanuts?” and he hears “penis?”. He says, “No thanks I’ve got one right here. It’s a bit bulky but I consider it carry on.” And she says, “no, PEANUTS!” and my 6 year old says, “what did he think she said?”

    “Hey, want some popcorn?”

    Funny how things aren’t the way we remember them!

  30. Mommymommy says:

    gremlins gave me nightmares, bad ones. I still have them sometimes. That will never be netflixed here!

  31. ephelba says:

    Oh,boy, have I made that oops before. More than once, somehow- you’d think I’d learn. I recently discovered some useful things though- Netflix sometimes has a link on the left hand side of the page under “Details” that says “Parents” and “More”. Under “More” they list details about why the movie got the rating it did. They put more effort into this for some movies than others (compare Pan’s Labyrinth to Gremlins). When I think to look for this feature, it’s handy. Also there’s this site:http://kids-in-mind.com/
    where they do the same thing for more movies. I don’t use these things as much as I should, but they are handy when you’re on the fence about a movie.

  32. KathyB says:

    I wish you had posted about this movie prior to showing it. I would have told you a story about a young girl (maybe 7ish) who begged her mother to take her to see this movie at the theaters. And only 45mins in, began screaming hysterically and crying, once again BEGGING; only this time to leave the theater.
    As I am sure you have guessed that girl was me, and it took me YEARS to watch that movie again…I don’t know why I was so scared. I mean that year or the following I watched “Watership Down” (animated movie about warring, dieing psycho bunnies) and I don’t think I am afraid of bunnies? wait…no definitely not! ;)

  33. Karen says:

    We got this from Netflix about 6 yrs ago. The kids were 6 and 4. We also had forgotten the bad parts of this movie. We just remembered some cuddly creatures you shouldn’t get wet or feed after midnight. About the time there was a Gremlin in the blender the kids were begging to turn it off!!! They watched a Winnie the Pooh video instead!

    To this day, 6 yrs later, they HATE the Gremlins movie and swear they will never watch it again!

    Found you through CoFL. :)

  34. Karen says:

    Maybe this could be my excuse for therapy??? Thanks for the heads up - I’ll be sure to avoid this movie until mine are grown!!!

  35. Aileen says:

    I was little when I went to see this in the theater and I remember feeling so scared that I ate all the popcorn BEFORE the movie started!! Afterwards, I had my dad check under my bed and my closets to make sure there were no Gremlins. I could have dealth with Gizmo… it was Stripe that scared me!!

    Ironically, that was also the first time I had ever heard a Bing Crosby Christmas song. “Do you hear what I hear…” will forever remind me of the movie.

  36. Everything for Kids says:

    Everything for Kids…

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting…