Before the Movie:
Understanding what it means to be a Responsible Citizen pause and reflect on the person you are and the person you want to be. Are you a person that gives witness to Catholic social teaching, promotes peace and the dignity of others?
Reflect: How would you define what being a Responsible Citizen means? How are you a Responsible Citizen at school or in your community? Do you respect others and work to understand their story and experience?
As you begin to watch Gremlins, it’s important to note that this Joe Dante classic is considered a “Gateway Horror” masterpiece. A true satire and homage that is a staple of Joe Dante movies, Gremlins is geared towards young children all while leaning heavily into adult sensibilities in regards to themes and depictions of horror violence.
Like a cartoon come-to-life, Gremlins strays from the slasher film that defined the late 70s and 80s with characters like Michael Myers and leverages the antics of little monsters as a metaphor for American culture run amuck. Like all good horror, Gremlins is an intentional study of cultural anxieties and is a hyper representation of a shared sense of self through a critical lens. Horror, more than any popular genre is the most self-aware, referential and critical as a cultural examination of the past, present and future., with Gremlins very much a study of what it means to be a Responsible Citizen who is not greedy, self observed and serves their own wants.
During the Movie:
From the film’s opening scene in New York’s Chinatown to the depiction of Small town American life, Joe Dante leverages Gremlins as a mode to decode American capitalist ideology and preoccupation with national identity as enriched in the promise of the American Dream. Whereas E.T. released a year prior was a kind-hearted tale of friendship with a hint of American fragility, Gremlins is a hyper-extension of E.T with all of the anxiety of a corrupt America coming to life.
For a deep read of Gremlins, visit IN CONVERSATION WITH JOE DANTE: THE MAN. THE LEGEND. THE BIRTHDAY BOY!.
After the Movie:
Whether in class with students or at home with family, Gremlins provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on our shared anxieties and how we can thrive to be Responsible Citizens who respect rules, strive for balance and are not self-consumed. Looking beyond the film, take the time to share what being a Responsible Citizen means and how Gremlins is a reminder to respect one another while not being overly consumed by indulgent wants
Be creative and have fun!
Coming Soon to this page – Goonies and Arachnophobia