No-one could accuse the 1984 comedy horror movie Gremlins of taking itself too seriously. But as tongue-in-cheek as the original Gremlins is, the 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch is absolutely bonkers. Anarchic and completely irreverent, at the time of its release I was absolutely convinced it was superior to its predecessor. I was, however, a stupid child and nearly always thought that sequels were better. These days I realise that is rarely the case and sequels that are superior to their forerunners are far from the norm.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch is not at all better than Gremlins, but in many ways a comparison is pointless because they are very different films. Admittedly they are different films that both have scary mischief-making monsters in them but the second Gremlins movie is madder than it’s eponymous antagonists.
The fourth wall takes such a battering throughout the shambles of a narrative that it’s often hard to work out what is actually happening within the story.
Not that it matters, because what Gremlins 2 might lack in terms of a coherent plot, it more than makes up for in its chaotic sense of fun. If the first film struck a balance between horror and comedy, then the emphasis of the sequel is entirely comedic.
Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates reprise their roles as Billy and Kate from the first movie and perform as admirably as ever, and the addition of John Glover as eccentric mogul Daniel Clamp is inspired. Christopher Lee is also a welcome addition as the unsettling Dr Catheter.
As with the first movie though, it’s still the Gremlins themselves that are the stars of the show – in particular the genetically altered ‘Brain Gremlin’, whose musical turn at the movie’s climax still makes me laugh.
However, whereas the original Gremlins has stood the test of time quite well, the satire of the sequel feels a little dated in 2018.
I loved Gremlins 2 so much when it came out that I can still find much to enjoy about it today, but I’m not sure I’d feel the same way if I didn’t have that nostalgic bias and was viewing it for the first time.