A rare screening of the test preview cut of Gremlins featuring five additional minutes. Joe Dante’s scary-funny classic from the mid-’80s remains the perfect Christmas from Hell movie as Gizmo, a cute little furry “mogwai,” spawns a horde of mischievous, malevolent Gremlins who run amok in the film’s Capra-esque Everytown, USA. As ever, Dante’s vision of the world is one in which chaos rules.
“Most every movie has at least one preview, that nail-biting moment when the filmmakers gauge whether they’ve nailed it or not. Gremlins had only one, in San Diego. We didn't need another because the reaction was unexpectedly, exuberantly tumultuous. But even so, we thought there were adjustments to be made to make it play even better. This is the print we previewed, five minutes longer than the release version. You may notice various subtle changes, but the main difference is we dropped two of Judge Reinhold’s scenes, one which further explains Mrs. Deagle’s plans to sell out the town to the HiTox Chemical Company, and another where our heroes find him hiding in the bank vault, a bit deranged by his Gremlin encounter. You can imagine how he felt about that! (At the opening he sat behind me muttering, 'Look in the vault, look in the vault!') Another major change was a reshoot in which Gizmo saves the day, not Billy (much to Zach Galligan’s chagrin).” —Joe Dante
Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive