Gremlins / Gremlins 2: The New Batch
DVD Double Pack

Starring: Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates
Warner Home Video
RRP: 24.99
D 073743
Certificate: 15
Available 03 October 2005

Is your TV on the blink? Do the lights at home keep fusing? Maybe you need to call in the repairman - or maybe there is a more sinister explanation... you've got Gremlins. See how much chaos a cute, furry gift can cause if you don't follow the rules as Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch are released in a new DVD double pack...

In Gremlins, Billy is given an adorable and unique creature known as a Mogwai as a birthday present by his father. Along with the gift come three rules: never get him wet, never expose him to bright light and never feed him after midnight. But it's not long before accidents happen and one Mogwai becomes five, and the five become Gremlins and proceed to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting town of Kingston Falls. Billy and his girlfriend Kate must rid the town of the Gremlins before they become unstoppable.

We were only sent the second movie on DVD for review, so I can't comment on the picture quality or sound for Gremlins, and reading the press release there don't seem to be any extras to speak of. But, this is certainly one of the most memorable movies to emerge from the '80s. It's funny, scary and nothing like any movie that was released before.

In Gremlins 2, Billy and his girlfriend Kate have moved to New York to work at an ultramodern skyscraper. Gizmo (the cute Mogwai from the first movie) is being experimented on by a mad scientist, who operates on the top floor of the same building. When all hell breaks loose again there is an added complication. Some of the Gremlins start to drink the various experimental liquids in the laboratory. What follows is imaginative mayhem that spoofs old movies, modern television, and the conveniences of post-modern technology.

The second movie in the series is a totally different experience. Thankfully they didn't just redo Gremlins. This time around the gremlins have more individual personalities - thanks mainly to the fact that they are all changed due to the chemicals they drink in the laboratory. There is a spider gremlin, bat gremlin, super intelligent gremlin and electronic gremlin - to name just a handful.

Also the producers constantly take the Mickey out of the previous movie. They ridicule just about every element, including the three rules, as well as Kate's Santa story.

There are some great actors in this film, including John Glover (who is better known these days for playing Lionel Luthor in Smallville) Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager's Doctor) and the great Christopher Lee.

The extras include outtakes (6 mins of deleted footage of mistakes); Behind the Screamer (6 mins behind the scenes featurette which see the cast and crew complaining about the Gremlins outrageous behaviour during filming; Additional Scenes (22 minutes of deleted material - with optional audio commentary); and a feature length commentary with the director, actor Zach Galligan and other members of the crew.

To be honest, all of the extras are worth watching. The audio commentary is interesting and the outtakes are really funny. The deleted scenes are also worthy of mention, because there were at least three scenes that I really felt should have been left in the finished movie. The first one is a nice homage to Christopher Lee's past as Dracula, the second is a funny mannequin scene, and the third is a scene from the middle of the film where the projector breaks. It shows the mum and daughter in the cinema before they rush out to complain about the nude film. This, more than any scene, should have been left in, as it makes that whole sequence flow a lot better. I was a little disappointed that they didn't include the video segment (that replaced the projector breakdown when the film was released on video) as an extra. Having said that, there is an Easter Egg on the disc, which I forgot to look for, so it may have been that segment.

Anyone who bought the first Gremlins movie may be a little ticked off. The second movie has never been released on DVD, so if you want to own it you'll have to spend £25 buying the two movies in this pack. And, before you think that's okay and can sell your old Gremlins disc on eBay for £10... you can pick Gremlins up for £5.

While £25 is a little steep for any two disc collection these days, you are getting two quality movies and some interesting extras. If this had been released at £19.99 then I wouldn't hesitate recommending you buy it. But, because of the price, this drops from a must own collection to one that you should think long and hard before purchasing. Or better still, wait for a year or two until it's available for £10. You've waited this long, what's another year going to hurt?

Nick Smithson

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