I am a huge fan of the movie Gremlins. The original teaser for the film, which featured nothing but a white screen with a narrator explaining the major rules for keeping them along with an ever increasing chorus of maniacal laughing, was one of the most intense and scary marketing campaigns I ever experienced as a child. When it was released, I found that it was one of those rare, perfect blends of horror and comedy.
So, I jumped at the chance to see the film on the big screen when 4DX invited us to experience the film just in time for the holiday season. I was also honestly skeptical…what could an 1984 horror/comedy could gain from the addition of motion seats and special effects? Would the technology be enough to get me into the theater to pay for something that I could normally see on the USA Network repeatedly this time of year?
Well, let me say right up front:
- My wife and I laughed delightedly more than we have at any film in a long time.
- I would see this 4DX version of the film 10 more times if I could, and hope more than anything that its release becomes a holiday tradition.
Gremlins isn’t the car chasing, Nakatomi building-exploding action adventure you might think would be a good holiday candidate for an extreme cinema overhaul. Instead, Gremlins is a slow burn of a horror movie, a cautionary tale that reminds us that, for the most part, we aren’t really ready to yield the kind of power that we can yield as a species.
Its creation by Joe Dante, Chris Columbus, and Steven Spielberg at one of the absolute heights in their extensive movie careers not only helped redefine the MPAA ratings system (due to violence), it changed the whole genre of horror. It didn’t unleash the monsters right away. It lured us in with something cute, and even though Billy has the best intentions to follow the rules, inevitably accidents happen and the small town of Kinston Falls finds itself overrun by tiny demonic Godzilla-like creatures with destructive murderous intent.
This 4DX version of the movie works in so many ways to enhance the original material. First of all, you have to roll with the punches, literally. When the creatures attack, you feel it. It might be a jab to the back, or an arrow whooshing past your ear, but you are not a passive spectator anymore. Gremlins multiply with water, and you will feel that at several points in the film as well. The experiences can be somewhat subtle, a gentle lean in a direction when the camera travels the same way, or take on almost roller coaster intensity. When the gremlins “fix” the evil Mrs. Deagle’s stairlift and she launches to her death, you will wildly spin and feel the velocity.
Gremlins, the movie, becomes Gremlins, the ride experience. It is simply transformative for this somewhat dated 80’s classic. Without giving too much away, when the Gremlins are watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, you will bounce and sway along to the Disney classic “Heigh Ho.” It is most definitely worth the trip to the theater.
To find a 4DX theater near you visit https://www.cj4dx.com/