106 minutes| U.S.A.| 1990| Colour

The recent arrival of a new Joe Dante movie, The Hole, in Irish cinemas gives us the flimsy excuse we needed to celebrate the work of one of our very favourite filmmakers, Mr. Joe Dante. Legend has it that studio bosses at Warner Bros. were so keen to have Dante sequelise his 1984 smash Gremlins that they gave him absolute carte blanche, resulting in one of the most deeply subversive – and deliciously bonkers – Hollywood movies of the past quarter-century. Gremlins 2 can be read in any number of ways: as a deconstruction of the original Gremlins (several sequences mercilessly mock the original), as an extended homage to Dante’s idol, animator-turned-filmmaker Frank Tashlin (a super intelligent Gremlin is voiced by Tashlin fave Tony Randall) or merely as an excuse for a true pop-culture maverick to over-indulge his vivid imagination. Masterstrokes include casting Christopher Lee as a mad scientist and hiring Chuck Jones to animate a pre-credits sequence. As for the plot, well… it’s Gremlins in New York – go figure!

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