HomeVideodrome: 'Gremlins 2' a Better 'Batch' than the Original

While I enjoy "Gremlins," I actually prefer "Gremlins 2: The New Batch."

The first one is a bit on the mean-spirited side, luring the kids in with a cute little creature before blindsiding them with disturbing violence, as well as a terrifying monologue from Phoebe Cates that informs you that Santa doesn't exist in the nastiest way possible.

"Gremlins 2," on the other hand, is positively bursting with director Joe Dante's love of "Looney Tunes" comic anarchy and B-movie monsters. The film, out this week on Blu-ray, finds the director in his most pure state with a big budget to play with. It doesn't have the hard edges of the original, but it makes up for it by amping up the sillier elements in exchange for the scarier ones.

"Gremlins" let the vicious little critters loose in small-town America, whereas the sequel lets them run riot in a hi-tech corporate office in New York that feels like Trump Tower meets Disneyland. It's in strong juxtaposition to the Norman Rockwell setting of the original, even mocking pretentious urban art tastes in favor of Rockwell's small-town aesthetic. But Dante's wheelhouse is the joy of B-movies of the horror and sci-fi persuasion, paying homage to the bygone era of the horror host, and casting the great Christopher Lee of Hammer fame in the role of one of the villains.

Given the level of freedom Dante was able to indulge in with this film, "Gremlins 2"is the definitive Dante movie.

The Blu-ray release doesn't offer anything new apart from a new 1080p transfer, as the special features have been ported over from the DVD. Given the high caliber of supplements that came with the DVD, nothing new is really needed. It has the commentary with Dante and company, the old behind-the-scenes doc, the deleted scenes, a gag reel and all the other fun stuff that came with the original release.

So, if you already own the DVD, all you'll be buying is the HD transfer. If you've held out on buying it, now is the perfect time to do so.

Available on Blu-ray

Other Noteworthy Releases

Underworld - Awakening:  The latest mind-numbing entry in a tepid franchise, which I had the unfortunate task of reviewing when it came out.

Available on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD

The Vow:  I know this Channing Tatum/Rachel McAdams romance is "based on a true story," but it sounds like something gathering dust in Nicholas Sparks' desk.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Amazon Instant

Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie: I've actually never seen Tim & Eric's TV show.  I'm not pretending I'm too cool for school, so here's a serious question for comedy fans: am I missing anything?

Available on Blu-ray and DVD

42nd Street Forever: I love these collections of exploitation movie trailers that Synapse has put together. This Blu-ray release is a best-of from the first first two DVD volumes of the collection, with a few new ones to enjoy in hi-def.

Available on Blu-ray

La Haine:  The French film starring Vincent Cassell that put Mathieu Kassovitz on the map internationally.  Criterion is bringing their edition of the film to Blu-ray this week.

Available on Blu-ray

This post originally appeared over at Parcbench


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