Thursday, October 10, 2013
My Top 13 Scariest Nostalgic Moments (#9)
If I were to tell you that the next scary moment is a horror movie about a horde of cute yet carnivorous creatures, you'd assume I was referring to Gremlins.
Actually, no. I never watched that movie as a kid. I haven't even watched it now. I know what it's about, but I've never seen it.
However, I did watch a similar movie--more specifically, it's ripoff, or rather, the sequel to the ripoff: Critters 2.
#9: Critters 2
Critters 2 is exactly what you think it is: a sequel to a ripoff of Gremlins, and as you can guess, the premise is about the same.
But I submit to you that this sequel to a ripoff of a more popular franchise is actually far scarier than the original.
How? Well, let's compare:
While I never watched Gremlins, I am familiar with the premise: you have a bunch of cute, adorable creatures called Mowglies that make for perfect pets, but if you feed them after midnight or expose them to water, they turn into evil, ugly hellspawn that reek havoc and chaos.
I can understand why most children would be freaked out but these creatures. If I watched this movie as a kid, I'd probably would have be freaked out, too.
But looking at these things as an adult, I can't help but notice that they look more like reptilian Stitches. They even have his same design and mannerisms, to the point where I'm surprised that Warner Bros. hasn't sued Disney for copyright infringement.
And that's my biggest problem with the gremlins. They're not so much scary as they are mischievous. Most of their scenes are played more for comedy than horror. One of their scenes involves them reaking havoc in a movie theater while watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
And from what I can garner, the sequels have them becoming cornier and cornier, to the point where they acknowledge that no one takes them seriously as movie monsters and thus become self-aware comedic parodies.
Critters, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. These creatures have no cuteness or comedic factor to them. They are pure evil, being fluffballs with sinister eyes and rows upon rows of sharp teeth, all the better to strip away flesh from bone.
And that right there separates the ripoff from the original: while the Gremlins are interested in causing havoc, the Critters only have one sole prerogative: eat everything and everyone in sight.
These creatures are actually space fugitives from an asteroid prison that have escaped to earth, and are interested not so much in taking over the world, but rather eating everyone in it. The Gremlins terrorize you. Critters want to devour you.
Now I mention Critters 2 for the sole reason that it was the only movie in the franchise that I watched. I never saw the first movie, and the second one I watched on television. And oh boy did this movie mess me up for life.
One of the first scenes of the movie (or at least the first I remember) is of a man dressed up as the Easter Bunny preparing for the Easter Sunday service when the Critters show up and eat him.
This movie starts out with the death of the Easter Bunny. The only way that could have been more traumatizing is if they had eaten Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
But perhaps the most traumatizing scene in the movie for me comes near the end. All the townsfolk have formed a mob to fight off the creatures when, all of a sudden, they form into a giant ball.
Yes, it's as dumb as it sounds, but believe me, this isn't just a fuzzy-wuzzy version of Indy's boulder. You do not want to get run over by this giant fuzzball. Just watch what happens to this poor sap:
Eaten alive and reduced to a bloody skeleton! Sweet Celestia! I dare you to point to a scene in Gremlins that's just as traumatizing!
So yes, this may be a sequel to a ripoff to a much more popular franchise, but this movie had the creatures that plagued my nightmares as a kid, making this movie the far scarier one.
How scary is it? About as scary as having all your toenails and fingernails torn off one by one.