Sometimes, an adaptation comes along that elevates the source material. We’ve seen this become the case in several comic book movies over the years that put a new spin on familiar stories. There are other times, however, when the adaptation goes in the other direction – and sometimes the results can be even crazier on the page than they are on screen. Nowhere is this more decisively the case than the novelization of 1984’s Gremlins, which casts the ever-elusive and strange Mogwai in an even stranger light – and gives them a way more extraterrestrial origin story than we could ever have predicted.
Like most movie tie-in novelizations, the one for Gremlins was published the same year as the film’s release, in 1984. Although the original screenplay was written by Chris Columbus (whom you’re likely familiar with from his work on franchises like Home Alone and Harry Potter, as well as the script for The Goonies – which gets frequent double-billing alongside this film), the duties for adapting it into a novel-length version eventually fell to George Gipe. As it turns out, Gipe was the writer behind several other movie novelizations, including Back to the Future, but when working on Gremlins he apparently improvised a lot of detail without having seen the final film – and as far as director Joe Dante is concerned, it’s not officially canon considering how much it deviates from the franchise.That all being said, what the Gremlins novelization does have to offer is some of the wackiest, wildest epiphanies to ever grace our eyeballs when it comes to our furry friends called Mogwai. For starters, they can speak – and not only do they speak, they have conversations that are very articulate:
— Carly Lane (@carlylane) January 11, 2018
Seriously. Some of that dialogue between Gizmo and Stripe is darn near Shakespearean, and we haven’t even gotten anywhere near the book’s reveal that the Mogwai are apparently from space. That’s right: SPACE. According to Gipe, the Mogwai were ordered by some mysterious “galactic powers” to travel to every inhabitable planet in the universe in order to “inspire alien beings with their peaceful spirit and intelligence and to instruct them in the ways of living without violence and possible extinction.” (Of course, there’s no explanation for how the Mogwai would be able to promote a violence-free existence if they ever accidentally turned into Gremlins – but this might have just been another bit of Gipe’s improvisation.)
There are other interesting tidbits of note – from the reveal that the last significant time Gremlins had an impact on a town was back in China in 1945, or the secret desire Mrs. Peltzer had to join the Army, OR that Gremlins know they’re Gremlins even though they’ve never heard the word before. It may not all be canon, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.
If you’re lucky enough to stumble across a copy of this, you might have to just read it for yourself. You’ll never be able to look at Gizmo, Stripe or any of the other Mogwai-turned-Gremlins ever again. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering: there is a novelization for Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Our guess is it’s just as wacky as the first.)
Are you glad Gremlins don’t talk (much), or would you rather hear them get into moral debates? Let’s hear (read) you converse on the topic in comments below.
Images: Warner Bros.
More stories through a grim lens:
- Is Gremlins truly a Christmas movie?
- Can we get more fan films like this one?
- Gremlins 3 has a script, but is it too dark?
Who’s up for more Groblins?
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