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<I>Gremlins</I> Director Grows New DVD Editions

27 Jun, 2002 By: Fred Topel

Warner Home Video's monstrous midnight-snackers, Gremlins, had previously been available on DVD as a movie-only disc, and Gremlins 2 has never been available. Recently, however, director Joe Dante supervised production of special edition DVDs for Gremlins - Special Edition and Gremlins: The New Batch, both streeting Aug. 20 (prebook July 23; $14.94 VHS, $19.98 DVD).

Featuring the usual slew of commentaries, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and even a gag reel, the discs will give fans a nostalgic look back at the comedic monster movies and will introduce a new generation to the creepy creatures.

Dante said the most unique feature is the alternate language soundtracks. DVDs usually include French and Spanish language tracks, but since all the gremlin dialogue has been dubbed, it will create a unique experience in each language.

“Any identifiable English words were switched to whatever language was appropriate,” Dante said. “When they sing songs in the bar in the German version, they're German beer songs, and they have specific references to local brands and things. I think that went a long way toward making the picture an international success. Each locality saw the film dubbed, and it seemed like the film was dubbed just for them.”

Both films include deleted scenes, although only Gremlins 2 has extra gremlin footage.

“There was a lot of stuff because there were a lot of gremlins in Gremlins 2, and the picture just got too long,” Dante explained. “Comedies tend to be better when they're shorter, so there was a number of funny things that got taken out, including much music. The musical number at the end of the picture was much longer.”

There was no gag reel for Gremlins, but the sequel provided more opportunities for outtakes that general audiences would enjoy.

“Most gag reels are a little odd, because you'd have to have been there to really understand what the gag was and you don't understand what's going wrong. Especially if it's not a scene that's in the movie, then you get confused. In this case, the gag reel is pretty obvious when things are screwing up.”

Dante mentioned that a few gremlin scenes were cut because of failed effects, but he did not want to include them for fear of ruining the illusion of the creatures for younger audiences.

“Interesting as it is to see how that technical stuff is done, it kind of takes you away from the reality of the movie. That's why Ray Harryhausen never used to tell people how he did his stuff, even though now we all know. He was very jealous of his secrets, and he never liked talking about how he did it.”

Finally, you'll see two different types of behind-the-scenes featurettes on each “Gremlins” DVD. For Gremlins 1, there is a 16mm documentary production made in 1984 by a producer independent from the studio. The Gremlins 2 featurette comes from the film's EPK, but Dante promises it has a unique spin to it, as it was produced from the perspective that gremlins were real and taking over the production.

“All the actors got into that spirit for their interviews, and it's pretty cute,” he said.

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