1. Gremlins was written by Home Alone and Harry Potter director Chris Columbus whilst he was at film school and living in a run down apartment in Manhattan. The place was infested with rodents, he said:
"At night, what sounded like a platoon of mice would come out and to hear them skittering around in the blackness was really creepy."He took inspiration from those mice whilst creating the Gremlins. But Columbus only wrote it as a sample spec script, in the hope it would lead on to employment elsewhere. He had no thought that it would end up as a movie. Until his 'spec script' found its way onto Steven Spielberg's desk. Spielberg later said:
"It [was] one of the most original things I've come across in many years, which is why I bought it."2. You think that Gremlins was dark? Well that first script was much much darker! Columbus had scenes where the Gremlins eat Billy’s dog, and another where they decapitate his mother and throwing her head down the stairs like a bowling ball. After purchasing the script, everyone agreed that the gore should be toned down a notch and make it slightly more family friendly.
3. Another key aspect of the original script that was changed was that Gizmo and Stripe were the same Gremlin! Steven Spielberg felt that audiences would love Gizmo and want to see more of him, which would not be possible if the cute little Mogwai pet transformed for the majority of the movie, so he changed the story so they were two separate characters.
4. Before Joe Dante got the director's chair Tim Burton was in serious contention to helm the movie. This would've been his debut Hollywood picture, having only directed his short, original version of Frankenweenie, and a Hansel and Gretel TV movie. In the end Warner Bros decided they wanted someone with more experience.
5. Joe Dante got a little nod to his father in the movie. Although it's not that easy to see, his father's book 'Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf' is on Billy's nightstand - a little light reading before bed! Apparently Joe Dante Senior criticised his son for not making the title more visible.
6. Unknown Zach Galligan was cast as Billy, thanks to the chemistry he shared with Phoebe Cates (Kate) during the screen test. Galligan actually beat both Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson to the part.
7. The Gremlins were all animatronics, and expensive ones at that! Each one cost between $30,000 and $40,000, and everyone on set loved them. So much so that producers were worried that some people may want to take home a little souvenir of the movie in the form of a 40 Grand Gremlin! So every day as the cast and crew left the set security would have everyone open the trunks of their cars to make sure no Mogwai's had found their way in.
8. The set used to portray Kingston Falls in Gremlins, didn't stay empty long after production wrapped, as Back To The Future used the exact same set for the town of Hill Valley.
9. When Gremlins was released it became the very first movie to carry the now famous Amblin logo.
10. 1984 was a big Summer for Steven Spielberg, with both this and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom released into cinemas. Both the movies were rated PG and both came under heavy criticism for containing themes and scenes that were not appropriate for some younger children. Spielberg wrote to the Motion Picture Association of America to suggest that they add a rating between PG and R, supplying his current movies as evidence of a need for this. And so thanks to Gremlins, Indiana Jones and Steven Spielberg, on August 10th 1984 'Red Dawn' became the first movie to be released with the brand new PG-13 rating.
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