Today! Because of the end of civilization, the Clamp Cable Network now leaves the air –
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Directed by Joe Dante
Starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, John Glover (x2), Robert Prosky, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lee (x2), Dick Miller (x2), Gedde Watanabe, Haviland Morris, Keye Luke, Rick Ducommun, Hulk Hogan (x2), Julia Sweeney, Dean Norris, John Astin (x2), Henry Gibson, Leonard Maltin, Howie Mandel, Tony Randall
There might be other instances on this list – not many, but maybe one or two – wherein a direct sequel made the cut without its predecessor. I don’t know why, I just tend to give more credit to originals, even when they have popularly acclaimed superior sequels. I have some sequels higher on the list where the first foray also cracked the 400, but as much as I liked Gremlins growing up, it’s not something I go out of my way to watch – unlike Gremlins 2, which I still love.
The balls of this movie! It’s a sequel, yes, but it’s also a straight parody of the original, a fourth wall breaking mockery of the first movie’s serious-ish, tongue in cheek horror story. Completely revamping the setting – taking it from the typical creatures invading a small town trope to the office building of a cable television channel – opened the film up for opportunities to poke fun at numerous films and media in general in a wide-ranging satire, replete with monsters. It took the concept of Evil Dead 2 – parodying the original film – and exploded it into nearly a throwback sketch comedy film, ala The Groove Tube or The Kentucky Fried Movie. Well, almost – it does hold together as one story a little more than that, even with its many digressions.
I’m not sure the genius of this movie has ever been properly appreciated – I feel like it was largely disregarded in its day for it being so wildly different from the original. Empire Magazine named it on a Best Sequels Ever list, so that’s certainly progress, but no awards in its day is still sad. How about Best Real World Presidential Prognostication, given that the Trump-satirized figure Daniel Clamp is said would make a great president (in a deleted scene, anyway). This award is for predicting the election outcome, mind you, not the job performance! Don’t send angry letters to my P.O. box!
A bunch of Two-Timers join the acting list today, with #399 Payback‘s John Glover, #356 Rocky III‘s Hulk Hogan, #362 The Hobbit‘s Christopher Lee, #366 Freaky Friday‘s John Astin, and #331 Twilight Zone: The Movie‘s Dick Miller. That makes 80 acting members of the guild, to go along with our nine directors, now including Joe Dante, following his work on that Twilight Zone: The Movie segment that I usually skip. Wow! The dais at that banquet is going to be out of hand!