A traveling salesperson visiting a mysterious shop in Chinatown buys his teenage son a gift of a "mogwai" — a cuddly creature as furry as it is docile. Unfortunately, when a series of mishaps throw off the scheduled care and feeding of the creature, it reproduces and spawns a malevolent army of gremlins who wreak havoc all over town.
Joe Dante (Innerspace, The Howling) directed this Steven Spielberg-produced box-office smash, a combination of comedy and horror that stars Zach Galligan (Waxwork) and Phoebe Cates (Drop Dead Fred).
Airs occasionally on cable
Now here's Joe Bob Briggs with drive-in totals and host segments from Monstervision 12/19/98
"Ho ho ho, I'm Joe Bob Briggs and welcome to the First
Annual Joe Bob Briggs Family Christmas Special! The reunion will start
shortly, but first lemme tell you that tonight we have the only Christmas
movie where a pet explodes in a microwave. I'm talking, of course, about
And after that we have the sci-fi Mafia comedy Pet Shop. Not
so Christmas-y, but what the hey. Cause behind me is the one-and-only Joe
Bob Briggs Tabernacle Choir, led by Rusty the TNT Mail Girl, who'll be
providing all the Christmas spirit you could ask for.
You want a Christmas carol now, Joe Bob?
Not yet, honey. Before the
extended Briggs family starts arriving, I wanna tell everyone a little bit
about the folks. [pointing at map] I was born HERE, in Krankaway County, Texas.
Krankaway County is 32 miles from the New Mexico border, which I know
exactly, cause that's how far I had to drive to get three-two beer. My
daddy, Robert Bob Briggs, was a dirt miner, as Krankaway County IS the
dirt capital of North America. Now, my daddy's family has been in West
Texas since WAY before the Baptists came in and put up some big old ugly
Baptist churches where the trailer parks used to be and lowered the speed
limit to 75 and got rid of all the sin. But my mama, Sue Ellen Cookson
Briggs, of the Bauxite Cooksons, came from Bauxite, Arkansas. [map] Which
is where she went back to when my daddy expired due to extended inhalation
of dust. Now she lives right down the street from my aunt Sue Ann and Sue
Ann's husband Lyle, who's in the insulation binness. The Cookson women
like a man with a wheeze. Anyhoo, the three of em'll be taking Highway__
down here to Grapevine, should be arriving any minute.
My sister Virginia
Rae Briggs Berclair and her husband Hollis, who's in paper products--I
believe he's Inspector #4 on the BROWN bags--are drivin in from Garden
City with their boys. And my other sister Louise Briggs Gonzales, who
ended up as far south as you can go without actually turnin Meskin, down
here in Mercedes, is coming up with her old man, Jesus. I'm not sure what
Jesus does, he doesn't speak English too well. We're also havin my daddy's
brother Elmore Bob Briggs, his wife Darla, and all THEIR little tax
deductions. Elmore and Darla went east to Nacogdoches, Texas, a few years
ago when their oldest, Dale, accidentally shot the preacher. But we don't
talk about that. My second cousin Cletis Briggs lives way up here in the
panhandle, in Dimmitt, Texas. He's bringin his new girlfriend, Lorna, who
I understand was Miss Largemouth Bass 1991, so I'm looking forward to
meeting HER. We'll also have my second and third cousin from Ronceverte,
West Virginia, up in the Appalachians. That IS the same person, by the
way. My great-aunt Lucille, who got a job as a prison chef up near
Buckatunna, Mississippi, and her son Junior, who just came up for parole.
My cousin Conway, who's the rebel of the family. He moved way up to Coon
Rapids, Minnesota when he came back from Nam. Knows more about UFOs than
any man alive. And as an extra-special treat, I'm having ALL FOUR of my
ex-wives: Joyce Briggs, Urlene Briggs, Betty Ann Briggs, and Wanda Bodine,
who refused to take the name.
Now it's time for "Gremlins," the
1984 Joe Dante flick about Chinese munchie monsters taking over a Norman
Rockwell town and killing a bunch of character actors. You probly already
know about this movie, so I'll just give you those drive-in totals. We
Four dead bodies. Gremlin-grinding. Gremlin-juicing.
Gremlin-stabbing. Gremlin-microwaving. One old-lady dog
attack. Exploding blender. Exploding Gremlin. Baseball-bat
gremlin-bashing. Syringe to the butt. Green slime.
Glass-eating. Dartboard torture. Gremlin headbanging.
Drunk and disorderly gremlins. Gratuitous Johnny Mathis.
Gratuitous dwarves. Heads roll. Snowplow Fu.
I give it
about three and a half stars. Check it out, and we'll be here all night
with the First Annual Joe Bob Briggs Family Christmas
Okay, Rusty, how bout a song? Something upbeat to start us
MAIL GIRL: Okay, girls, let's do "Jingle Bells." A-one, a-two,
a-one two three four . . .
CHOIR: Jingle Bells, jingle Bells,
jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh,
Whoa, ho. Rusty, I think you need to warm em up a little.
Very nice, girls. We'll try again at the next break. Have a little egg
"Gremlins" Commercial Break #1
"It's the First Annual Joe
Bob Briggs Family Christmas Special! The folks seem to be running a little
late, so why don't I run one of the Briggs' family home movie clips we
have. When I was a little tyke, I wanted to be a rodeo star, so my daddy
got me my first bucking bronco. Best Christmas present I ever got. Roll
the clip. [over clip] That's my mama. Nice hairdo, huh? There's my sister
Virginia Rae. There's our tree. THERE I am. Look at me go! [clip ends] All
right, that's enough. If you're good, I'll show it again later. By the
way, speaking of films, Spielbergians probly noticed the inside joke in
that first sequence of "Gremlins." You know how the kid runs down the
street and he passes a movie theater, and the movies playing are "A Boy's
Life" and "Watch the Skies"? Well, "A Boy's Life" was the early title of
"E.T." before Spielberg changed it, and "Watch the Skies" was the early
title of . . . Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Isn't that cute? And
did you notice the old Chinese man in the very first scene, the guy who
doesn't wanna sell the MOGWAI to Hoyt Axton? That's Keye Luke, best known
as Charlie Chan's Number One Son. He's a little older here. Okay, back to
"Gremlins," the movie that American moms thought was disgusting at the
time, although I don't see it. Roll it.
[fading] Hey, Rusty, how
bout a song as we go out? You got em warmed up now?
MAIL GIRL: I
think so. We've been practicing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." Should we try
MAIL GIRL: Okay, girls. Hit
CHOIR: [durge-like] Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and
triumphant, oh come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem--
after second "oh come ye"] Okay, okay! That was great, really. Rusty,
maybe something a little more cheerful next time.
MAIL GIRL: More
"Gremlins" Commercial Break #2
"Hoyt Axton is great, isn't
he? I love the stupid inventions part of the movie. And do you know who
does the voice of Gizmo the cute gremlin? Howie Mandel! Mr.
I'm-Not-A-Comedian-Anymore-I'm-A-Talkshow-Host-Goldarn-it. Fortunately, as
we all know by now, the gremlins don't REMAIN cute. That's what caused all
the stink when this movie came out. It had a PG rating, and a lot of moms
didn't like that.
[phone rings] Scuse me. Hello? . . . Virginia
Rae! We were just watching you in the home movies. (It's my sister
Virginia Rae.) Where are you, sis?... You're still in Garden City?...
Bobby Joe swallowed a what? An eyeball?... A highball. Well, what's Hollis
doin leaving a cocktail where the kids can get at it?... Oh, Lucinda was
tryin to give the dog a haircut? Well, sis, can't you just put em all in
the car and come on down? It's the First Annual Briggs Family Christmas
Special... Bobby Joe'll fall asleep as soon as he stops throwin up... All
right, all right. Give him a little hair of the dog tomorrow, okay?... I
don't mean literally, Virginia Rae... Okay, bye bye.
sister's not comin. That's kinda depressing.
MAIL GIRL: We can do
"Joy to the World."
You know, why don't we skip the song this
break? But lemme tell ya, you gals look FINE in those costumes. Mm mm.
Okay, back to "Gremlins."
[fading] Hi, what's your
[Choir member just smiles]"
"Gremlins" Commercial Break #3
"Welcome back to the First
Annual Joe Bob Briggs Family Christmas Special. People SHOULD be arriving
any minute to help me celebrate, but I must've given bad directions or
[phone rings] Hello?... Cletis, how the heck are ya?
(It's my second cousin Cletis.) What do you mean, you can't make it? I was
really lookin forward to meetin Lorna. I saw in the picture you sent that
she's got quite a set of-- What? She dumped you? Just like that?... Well,
what'd I tell you about under-tipping? How do you expect a waitress to
keep a secret if you don't tip her well?... Okay, Cletis, come on down,
we'll cheer you up. Wait'll you lay your eyes on the Joe Bob Briggs
Tabernacle Choir... Oh, buddy, don't cry. Cletis, put down the gun. Why
don't you call up Juanita Dumas, she usually knows how to make a man
forget his woes... Yeah, that's a good boy. Go on, give Juanita a call.
We'll see you next Christmas... Okay, later, Cletis.
Rae's not comin, and Cletis isn't comin. And I don't know where the heck
everybody else is. Let's go back to the movie. We've violated ALL the
rules at this point. The Gremlins are out. The Gremlins are eating after
midnight. The Gremlins actually GNAWED THROUGH THE CORD on the electric
clock. They're ready to munch. Roll it.
MAIL GIRL: Don't you wanna
hear "Joy to the World"?
Sure, why not. I need a little joy right
MAIL GIRL: Ready girls? And--
CHOIR: Joy to the
world, the Lord is come. Let Earth receive her king! Let every heart
prepare him good/prepare his bed [all singing different
Wait a sec--what are you singing?
"Prepare his bed"?
MAIL GIRL: Well, nobody sent us the
lyrics, so we kinda had to wing it.
Okay, this isn't going
"Gremlins" Commercial Break #4
Zach Galligan is off to stop
the gremlins. Zach is a pretty good actor--kinda bland, but I like him. He
was in that lame movie we showed here a few months ago, "Waxwork." You
know what's cute? He had a crush on Phoebe Cates in real life, while they
were making the movie. Aaaaaaaaah. Anyhow, this is SUPPOSED to be the
First Annual Joe Bob Briggs Family Christmas Special, but so far none of
the Briggses have made it--
[phone rings] Hello?... Aunt Lucille!
(It's my Aunt Lucille from Buckatunna.) Why aren't you here yet?... I
thought Junior was up for parole last month?... He did what? He got a car
to drive you here... Oh, he STOLE a car to drive you here. Well, that's
not good... No, you're right, stealin the sheriff's car is even worse.
Well, Aunt Lucille, can't you hop on a bus or something?... Right, I
forgot about your condition. Don't they make special seat cushions for
that?... Well, tell Junior I said hey. Maybe you should quit your job as
prison chef--it looks as if he likes your cookin a little too much. Hey,
have you heard from my mama?... Oh, okay. I guess since he's only got one
phone call, you better take that. We'll see you next year.
GIRL: Your Aunt Lucille's not coming?
MAIL GIRL: We can
do "Oh Christmas Tree" in rounds.
Maybe next break. Let's go back
to "Gremlins." Roll it.
[fading] When the gremlins get really sick
and disgusting, and the people just basically say, "Okay, that's it, we're
smushin em like cockroaches," that's when I start liking this picture. And
I need that right about now."
"Gremlins" Commercial Break #5
"Okay, the army of gremlins
is loose. And they're headed for the house of one of my favorite actors,
Dick Miller. Dick Miller plays Mr. Murray Futterman, and he's been in
every Joe Dante picture ever made. He's best known as the star of Bucket of Blood, from back in 1960, but he's just one of the greatest character
actors alive. Always a little goofy. Always a little cartoonish. I'm
trying to keep the comments short here, cause everybody's always saying
"When do they go to the bar and start partying? When's the scene when the
gremlins get drunk?" Everbody watches this movie just to see that one dang
scene. But also because this is SUPPOSED to be the Joe Bob Briggs Family
Christmas Special, but none of the Briggses are HERE YET! Rusty, how bout
that round of "Oh Christmas Tree"?
MAIL GIRL: You got it. Ready,
CHOIR: [in rounds] Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas
(Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree) How evergreen your
[phone rings] Oh, thank God. Hello?... Uncle Elmore!
Please don't tell me you're still in Nacogdoches... You're still in
Nacogdoches. What happened?... Dale did what?... He set the house on fire.
That boy sure is a handful, isn't he? Did everybody get out okay?... Oh,
well, tell Darlene it'll grow back in no time. You sure you can't make it?
I made that eggnog you like so much... Oh, you're on the wagon... Three
months--that's great. Boy, you picked a good time for your kid to burn the
house down, huh?! Just kiddin, Uncle Elmore... Uncle Elmore, was that a
pop top? Uncle Elmore?
Uncle Elmore's not comin."
"Gremlins" Commercial Break #6
"The gremlins ate Santa
Claus. That's SICK. I love that. This is the kind of movie that grosses
out your mother when you're 14 years old . . . Of course, I'm sorta ALWAYS
14 years old, but we won't dwell on that. And speaking of mothers, I'd
really like to know where MY mama is, since this IS the Joe Bob Briggs
Family Christmas Special, and she IS the matriarch of the family. I'm
gonna give her a call. [goes to pick up the phone, but it rings] That's so
weird when that happens. Hello, Mama?... Joyce, old gal, where the heck
are ya? (It's my first wife, Joyce Briggs.)... What are you doin in
Fluvanna? That's no place for a lady, Joyce... Workin? At this hour?...
Honey, I thought you gave up strippin?... Yeah, yeah--exotic dancing. You
tell Rhett to get off his hiney and WORK for a living... I don't care HOW
many fingers he's lost on the job, a woman shouldn't have to DO that.
You're not doin the thing with the firecrackers anymore, are ya?... Well,
I hope the tips are big, cause your garbonzas sure aren't gonna be if you
keep THAT up... All right, honey, maybe next year. By the way, tell Rhett
when he gets the stitches out to marry your butt--I'm gettin tired of
paying all this alimony... Okay, bye bye.
MAIL GIRL: Joyce can't
Nah. Why don't you gals have some Beanee Weenees--I got
enough there to feed the National Guard.
[the Choir eats Beanee
Okay, the big gremlin party scene is coming up, so, roll
[fading] I was really lookin forward to seein Joyce. Not only
did she do the firecracker trick, she could also flop those Hieronymus
Bosches on cue like nobody's business. AND she made a mean chicken fried
steak. I miss that gal."
"Gremlins" Commercial Break #7
"That speech that Phoebe
Cates makes, about how she never celebrates Christmas, because her dad
died on Christmas eve, trying to come down the chimney dressed up like
Santa Claus. It's just the perfect combination of something that's truly
HORRIFYING and also FUNNY at the same time. Kinda like the whole movie.
You don't really LAUGH when she talks about it, but it sticks in your head
and, you know, it's a FUNNY IMAGE. Anyhow, I was gonna have the Joe Bob
Briggs Tabernacle Choir try "Oh Christmas Tree" WITHOUT the rounds, but
somebody's gotta eat all the food I got, since the Briggses are takin
their sweet time gettin here. I can't believe my mama's this late. Okay,
it's time for Special Effects City. Go wild. Zach Galligan, Gremlin
Terminator. Turn that boy LOOSE.
[fading] You guys wanna see me
riding my bucking bronco Christmas present again? Roll the clip. [roll
clip] Wasn't I cute as a little boy?"
Moms were so outraged that Gremlins was rated G that the MPAA agreed to add a new "PG" and then "PG-13" to the ratings for those movies that were in between G and R ratings. Of course, gremlins are not the only fantastic creatures in Chinatown. Check out the MonsterVision host segments for Big Trouble In Little China
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