My ideas for Gremilins 3?
Okay, so let me preface this with that I know that writing even an outline to a movie involving a licensed property is sort of a lost cause. I don't even have an agent yet and this is a project that has been in and out of development Hell for literal decades... but and this is a big but, I think I have a fresh take on a series that has defined me creatively since I was a young child. I could write an entire post about how long I've been watching the first Gremlins on repeat for over 3 decades (and to a lesser extent Gremlins 2: The New Batch).
I've been brainstorming ideas for a third Gremlins movie for most of this week. My son, Xander, kinda snuck into the room while I was watching the first one during christmas and now he can't stop talking about Mogwai and Gremlins. I broke down today and let him watch Gremlins 2 against my wife/his mother's advice, seeing as it is significantly less terrifying.
Finally before I get to the actual pitch/outline for the movie, the final thing that inspired me to actually type some of these ideas up was that I was followed by Zach Galligan on Twitter after tweeting my brainstorming and tagging him. In case you don't know, Zach played Billy Peltzer in both Gremlins movies. I read on several wikis over the years that he had been petitioning for a third Gremlins movie to be made. I thought he might appreciate that someone other than him is interested in making that happen, even if that someone is a indie author/comic book writer that hasn't sold more than a 1,000 copies of his work.
Now for the title. I hate... hate, hatehatehatehate soft reboots of movies or straight sequels either having a slightly different title from the previous movie or the exact same title, even if the movie itself is good, that titling device is getting on my nerves. Halloween is the most current offender, despite hearing that the movie is a solid horror experience. After thinking about that, I came up with a title that is different enough, but still recognizable. Not only that, but extremely marketable:
Gizmo and the Gremlins
I thought to myself, "Man, I really hope they don't remake Gremlins. Honestly, I'd be okay with a soft reboot." Introduce some new characters, but keep a strand back to the original cast, or maybe make it less of a reboot and more of a straight sequel. At this point in the process, you could describe it was either. Introduce a new set of viewers to the rules through a new character. I'm leaning toward having that character be Billy Peltzer's daughter.
So the set up is a strand from the end of Gremlins 2, which yeah, I'm including some scattered references to G2 in this movie, that Billy is working for Mr. Clamp still. He designed that town in New Jersey from the end of G2, both of them live there. John Glover having a cameo/role would be amazing. Clamp tells Billy that he is grateful for being introduced to a simpler life than the one in his high rise in the Clamp Building. He says that he considers Billy a friend and want to give him a new opportunity.
An amusement park is being expanded near this small town. He wants Billy to spend the summer there designing the aesthetics of the expansion. Billy is reluctant, but he thinks it would be a great experience for his daughter.
I based this amusement park idea off of my time working at/visiting Holiday World in Santa Clause, Indiana. It is a well trafficked amusement park, but is in a small town that is pretty remote. When the Gremlins invade the park and surrounding town, the nearby police forces will be ill equipped to deal with the situation, not to mention the confusion will keep more help from being focused before daybreak. There are some other factors that might help keep current technology from being too much of a problem, but I mean Grandpa Munster video taped the insanity in the Clamp Building, so logistics be damned for the moment.
So let's address this idea for a moment. The Gremlins running amok in a closed amusement park with security guards and teenagers. Sounds like fun, but there are other parts of the town including bars, lodges, camping grounds etc. So there's ton of possibilites for crazy horrific fun. I intend to keep the tone closer to the first Gremlins with some scary moments mixed with cartoony violence here and there.
Here comes the huge difference between this movie and the previous two. The difference may make people rage a little, but I think it could add a lot to the plot. I'm going to explain the Mogwai's origins. I know nobody is asking for this, but it will play into the events of the movie. I'm also not going to stick the origin in the beginning of the movie. I watched all of the Brendan Fraiser Mummy movies recently and as nostalgic as those movies are, loading the beginning of your movie with flashbacks and exposition can be... troublesome.
So, hundreds of years ago, a Chinese Emperor had a sorceress that he wished to create a weapon that could wipe his enemies out in one or two nights (The Gremlins' pupil stage is about 6 hours in Gremlins 2). A mysterious sorcerer from the west offers his services. Combining their abilities they were able to create a creature they named the Yin Mogwai, which translates to The Hidden Monster. Eventually just Mogwai for shorthand.
They created four Origin Mogwai. The Origin Mogwai were cute, cuddly and designed to be docile. When exposed to water, their offspring were evil and conniving. With a strong urge to feed after Midnight. The feeding would transform them into Dàigōng Zhě Mogwai, Saboteur Mogwai. They could discern how machines and equipment worked without encountering them before. They would cause accidents to kill their targets and when there were no more mishaps to cause, they would outright kill the remaining humans. All the while multiplying as much as needed. Then the sun would rise and wipe all of the Saboteurs out. The Origin Mogwai would hide. They were designed to hide. They also had bad luck magically skewed towards the likeliness of them coming into contact with water. Their offspring were designed to kill and then die.
The Mogwai would be sent as gifts to walled off cities or city-states. The sender would claim be a trusted ally, which would be a lie. By the time they realized the mistake, their city would be in ruins.
The question of whether a Mogwai sent through a timezone would have Midnight shifted an hour forward or back in order to transform would be: Yes. The mechanics of the transformation are mystical and are quite literally "Rules" as outlined by the shop owner in the previous two movies.
The two sorcerers fell in love and had a daughter. They were reluctant to use the Mogwai due to the loss of innocent life. After an attack by a rival kingdom, the female sorcerer was killed, leaving the father and daughter behind. The resulting rage and bitterness changed the male sorcerer. He started using the Mogwai in conjunction with his Emperor's wishes. Thousands were killed in the following years. The daughter grew into a young woman (visually about 18). I'll name the daughter Liang, for now, Chinese for bright. It's a pun on bright light, I know.
Liang became close friends with the Mogwai we would come to know as Gizmo. She names it Keai. For simplicity's sake, I'll call him Gizmo. She truly loved the little guy and for a time, her father sent the other Mogwai out on missions to spare Gizmo the danger.
After time, the cities became wise to the tactic. They started gutting the Mogwai when the city leader was sent the gifts. Three of the four were slaughtered. Without his former wife, the sorcerer could not create new Mogwai out his magic alone. He needed to pull Gizmo apart to use the remaining magic inside of him. This would allow him to create five to six new Mogwai within a few years, or so he thinks.
Liang is horrified when she learns this. She flees into the world with her friend. She discovers that her mystical lineage don't age like normal mortals. Neither does Gizmo. They spend hundreds of years together. Liang meets a young man by the name of Wing, yes, the young version of the shopkeeper.
Wing, Liang and Gizmo live in the United States for a time. They have a child. After a few years, around 1918, her father catches up with her. His face was scarred. The Emperor had him tortured for 'hiding the final weapon'. After centuries in a dungeon, he finally escaped. He would forgive his daughter, if she gave him the Mogwai, he was set on using him to create his own army. He was certain he could use dark magic to bring his wife back to life, but he needed to sacrifice thousands of souls in one bloody night. The Mogwai would allow him to do that.
Liang, to save her family and Gizmo, threw herself and her father into a rift. This rift led to 'Static Space' where they would remain for as long as she could hold him (I might make the crystal that causes this rift a gift from her mother or something of that nature. I'm still spitballing here).
After Liang was lost, Wing became the crusty old man we see in the first movie. He has some affinity for Gizmo, but he still blames him for his wife's purgatory, so he simply refers to him as Mogwai.
About a year before the events of Gizmo and the Gremlins, Liang and her father are spit out of the Staticverse. He had defeated his daughter, though spared her life due to his love for her.
So that's the set stage. The young 'teenage' version of Liang becomes friends with Billy's daughter and accompanies them to the park for what was supposed to be a weekend. She is really there to protect them from her father, who can command the Gremlins... to an extent . Billy will have to make the decision to give up his furry friend or save his daughter.
There is a twist at the end. Some emotional moments with Gizmo, Billy, his daugher and Liang, two daughter father relationships would be contrasted against each other. I do not want to ruin the twist on the off chance this becomes a thing in the future... even if it is a distant future.
So, the last thing I want to do to type the outline to the first teaser trailer below. I'd like to point out that more modern special effects will more than likely be used, giving both Gizmo and the Gremlins more emotional expression and articulation.
Gizmo and the Gremlins Teaser Trailer Description
An empty amusement park. Wind blows in the background. The Gizmo humming theme is played on a piano in a creepy manner.
Announcer: They have been gone for a very long time.
Cut to Gremlin claws smashing parts of a kitchen in the park. Glasses in a bar. People's shocked reaction.
Cut back to the park, but now you here the pitter pattering of little feet. A small shadow can be seen darting from shadow to shadow. White and brown fur can be seen, but not for too long.
Announcer: You know the rules, but you didn't follow them.
Gremlins riding on a roller coaster from their perspective, so you only again see their claws. They run over a person tied to the tracks. The camera cuts away at the last second. Gotta keep it PG-13 after all.
Cut back to the park. The small footsteps get closer and closer. The viewers see a small shadow, but only the shape of Gizmo and two large white eyes blinking in the distance can be seen.
Announcer: Did you?
That Gizmo theme keeps playing as all other sound fades away. Billy and his daughter are running for their lives with a horde of Gremlins behind him. Other people are attacked, some pretty bloodied and injured. Play up the horror element a lot toward the end. Billy and his daughter are backed up against a wall while dozens of Gremlins close in on him. (in the movie, this would be right before the twist).
The Gizmo theme stops playing. We see the park again. We see the camera move above the small figure with large ears from above. He runs for a bit and comes to a halt to rest. He lays his tiny hand on the bottom of a light pole.
Announcer: Because we all know it only takes one to create a horde of little monsters.
The camera swings around to show Gizmo's face. He looks worried and tired. (Possibly rendered in CG depending on how good the effects look)
Announcer: And that one... has a name.
Gizmo steels himself. His expression goes from fear to determination (but still a little afraid). After a couple of small breaths he says just one word, "Okay."