A bunch of us have a weekly game of footy on Saturday afternoons, and even though I have been sparing the wider world the sheer awesomeness of my footballing skills of late, I still partake in the post-match sessions. The one we had a few weeks ago was particularly harsh. The next morning I woke up with the mother of all hangovers, who turned out to be a particularly unwelcome houseguest, not leaving right away, asking me to cook her breakfast – the whole shebang. Well, the only way one can banish such unpleasantness to the fiery pits of hell from whence it came, I find, is to go for a comfort run, sweat it out, have some greasy comfort food, and slouch in front of the telly, watching a comfort movie. My choice was Gremlins, which I followed with its sublime sequel. The inimitable Dennis Cozzalio has been covering the great Joe Dante for the past few weeks in a traditionally spectacular fashion, and you can see why watching just those two movies.
For this reason, not nearly so many people as should tend to understand that movies like Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Explorers, The ‘burbs and his HBO film The Second Civil War are masterpieces of design, effect, satire and social commentary that far outstrip most of the movies that august bodies tend to crown with awards. Dante's movies are firecrackers, ones you shouldn't hold in your hands for long. They snap, crackle, pop and outright supernova with the kind of exuberance that most directors half his age can’t muster. Don Mancini’s Seed of Chucky is about the only movie that can stand anywhere near Gremlins 2 as an acid-blooded, tear-the-roof-off-the-joint studio sequel that makes the very idea of a sequel its radically funny foundation, a foundation from which a virtual house of mirrors explodes and plasters the walls of the cinema with a thousand different angles on creative cannibalism.
The following clip brightened up my morning. Just hearing that theme tune again…