If you do it right, a fan film can be every bit as good -if not even better- than the original. When you take fans who have a passion for the story, characters, and universe created by the original work and the subsequent follow-ups, one of two things inevitably happens. Either they create an amazing tribute to the fandom they’ve come to know and love so well or they completely cock it up with some amateurish and nonsensical waste of film and data. Most of the fan films I’ve been fortunate enough to watch this year like Never Hike Alone and Fan-O-Rama have been outstanding and, as Christmas barrels down on us, Gremlins Recall has added itself to the list of much watch fan flicks this holiday season.
The plot Gremlins Recall is pretty straightforward and right in line with what you’d expect if you’re familiar with the franchise. A company by the name of Wing is selling a drug that will rob Mogwai of all those aggressive, unpleasant, Gremlin making side effects like multiplication and mutation. Cut away to the television playing this infomercial in a diner in the Middle-of-Nowhere, USA where Claire finds herself waiting tables when she has dreams of doing something more. A truck for the Wing company is parked outside with its cargo of defective Mogwai who for one reason or another are immune to the drug and are being carried off for testing and disposal.
Well, I think anyone who is a fan of Gremlins can see how badly this is about to go.
The entire short is absolutely beautiful and captures the essence of the original like nothing else. The cinematography is absolutely amazing and, when coupled with the direction and editing feels more like an extension of the original film than it does a tribute 33 years later. The acting and storytelling are excellent and the idea behind the plot is as clever as anything else with some social commentary attached to it as well.
Only in America during a season of giving and the commercialized exploitation of greed can you find a breed of semi-sentient animals with a documented history of unprovoked violence against, well, everything being marketed as the new pet of the season courtesy of dangerous and seemingly untested drugs that are meant to change every aspect of the creature’s nature. I mean, there’s so much in the idea of the Wing Corporation that speaks to everything about our culture at Christmas. Corporations playing god without regard for safety, decency, or morality so long as it doesn’t hurt their profit margin. Recklessly selling and giving a living creature as a gift to someone without ever considering the ramifications and responsibilities that come from caring for a life. The overall cheapness and cruelty inherent in so much of our culture shines through in the story behind Gremlins Recall.
I’m also absolutely in love with the Mogwai/Gremlin puppets. The folks who created the creatures and special effects for Gremlins Recall went above and beyond in making these things not only true to the original with their look and articulation, but they also made them feel alive. The coolest thing about Gremlins when I was a kid was that they all seemed so full of life that I could believe they were real. In an age where it’s become more cost effective and easy to throw in a CGI character, crafting something unique and visceral for an actor to respond to is beyond refreshing.
With a runtime just under 11 minutes, Gremlins Recall is a perfect online stocking stuffer for horror fans looking to feel a little Yuletide cheer, not to mention some 80’s nostalgia. So, turn on all the lights. Check all the closets and cupboards. Look under all of the beds. Then sit down and watch this holiday horror. You’ll be glad you did.