"Gremlins" was the film debut of the puppet who played Stripe. His prior work had been almost entirely with his touring Shakespeare company.

GREMLINS

The Abridged Script

Gremlins
An Abridged Reading

Too tired to read? Have this script read to you with an Abridged Reading, courtesy of Movie Snark.


FADE IN:

EXT. CHINATOWN - NIGHT

Inventor HOYT AXTON addresses the audience amid a dim, steamy Chinatown alley evocative of film noir.

HOYT AXTON (V.O)

Let my sultry voice lull you into deep suspension of your disbelief. The story begins as I go door to door in Chinatown, pitching my invention to local retailers and child passersby.

A BOY leads HOYT into his grandfather's shop. It is cluttered with ASIAN RELIGIOUS IDOLS. The owner of the shop, KEYE LUKE, seems to be 1000 years old and is smoking from an opium pipe.

HOYT AXTON

This looks exactly like the kind of store that'll buy my bathroom appliance multi-tool.

HOYT notices an ADORABLE FURRY CREATURE in a box.

HOYT AXTON

Ooh is that the new Atari?

KEYE LUKE

No, that's a live animal. And I'm not gonna sell it to a guy that just squirted toothpaste on himself.

In the ALLEY, behind KEYE LUKE's BACK, the BOY-CHILD sells the creature to the MAN-CHILD.

BOY

He's called a Mogwai, and he comes with three extremely important rules. Keep him away from bright light, don't let him touch water, and don't feed him after midnight.

HOYT AXTON

Whatever, sounds good kid.

BOY

You sure you don't have any followup questions? I'm telling you not to give this living thing water. Nothing you want to ask?

NOPE.

EXT. KINGSTON FALLS - DAY

COOL TEEN, ZACH GALLIGAN, rides to work on his skateboard, hitching onto passing cars.

ZACH GALLIGAN

Just kidding, wrong movie, but true story: I did audition for Back to the Future! Eric Stoltz was just better for the role.

He also brings his DOG to his job at the BANK.

ZACH GALLIGAN

Yup, I take my dog around with me in public. The world may be in 1984, but I'm in 2022.

Coworker PHOEBE CATES enters the office.

PHOEBE CATES

Hey Zach.

ZACH quickly hides his copy of FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH.

ZACH GALLIGAN

Hey Phoebe! What's up?

PHOEBE CATES

Just being an American sex icon.

ZACH GALLIGAN

That's weird, cause this movie's rated PG. Not even PG-13.

PHOEBE CATES

What's PG-13? It's 1984.

Enter LOCAL WICKED WITCH, POLLY HOLLIDAY.

POLLY HOLLIDAY

You aren't allowed to keep your dog in here! People don't do that yet! Get him out or else I'll torture him to death.

PHOEBE CATES

Wow, how oppressive. This is literally 1984.

INT. HOME - DAY

The house is SCATTERED with stupid INVENTIONS and also a pair of SWORDS on the wall: a NORMAL and NOT WEIRD suburban fixture.

HOYT AXTON

Merry Christmas son, I bought you this endangered animal. I call him Gizmo. He comes with three rules I'm honestly surprised I remembered. Breaking them could spell disaster.

ZACH GALLIGAN

The movie's PG, what's the worst that can happen?

HOYT AXTON

I don't know and I probably won't find out, because even though I'm the narrator, I'm gonna be absent for the remaining key events of the movie.

Like 10 SECONDS LATER, ZACH BREAKS the SECOND RULE, spilling a glass of WATER on GIZMO. He MULTIPLIES into several more BRAND NEW MOGWAIS.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - DAY

ZACH brings the MOGWAIS to his HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY TEACHER, GLYNN TURMAN - the REASONABLE person to TALK TO when things MAGICALLY CLONE THEMSELVES.

GLYNN TURMAN

Can I keep one of these to run some tests on it?

ZACH GALLIGAN

You're not gonna-

GLYNN TURMAN

No I'm not gonna fuck it.

After some tests, GLYNN TURMAN heads home, leaving the ASSUREDLY-UNFUCKED MOGWAI in a cage.

GLYNN TURMAN

And hey, why not leave a half-eaten ham sandwich on the table here as I head home from my workplace? Because that is a normal way of dealing with unfinished food. And wouldn't it be cool if I left it three inches from the Mogwai's

cage?

No it would NOT be COOL.

INT. HOME - NIGHT

According to ZACH'S CLOCK, it's not midnight yet. He gives grilled chicken to all the MOGWAIS except for GIZMO, who is on a diet.

ZACH'S DOG

What the hell man? They get grilled chicken?

ZACH GALLIGAN

Here, you little sweethearts.

MOGWAIS

...get played, bitch...

ZACH GALLIGAN

What was that?

MOGWAIS

We said we love you Zach!

By morning, ALL ZACH's MOGWAIS except GIZMO are CUMMY GREEN COCCOONS. He discovers the POWER CABLE to his CLOCK was chewed - he had actually fed them PAST MIDNIGHT!

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - DAY

GLYNN TURMAN comes to work and sees his MOGWAI is also a CUMMY GREEN COCCOON. IT HATCHES and a GREMLIN emerges.

GLYNN TURMAN

You're not gonna have a black man be the first character to be killed are you?

GREMLIN

Of course not, that trope is racist and tacky. I'm just gonna- SURPRISE ATTACK!

GLYNN TURMAN

(dies)

INT. HOME - DAY

ZACH's MOM, FRANCES LEE MCCAIN is alone. All ZACH'S GREMLINS HATCH. She kills 3 of them with INVENTIONS and KITCHEN APPLIANCES, putting one in the microwave so it EXPLODES into GREEN GOO.

FRANCES LEE MCCAIN

Geez, as a mom, maybe this movie should be rated... I don't know... if only there were a rating not PG, not R, but something in between.

A GREMLIN is about to kill FRANCES LEE MCCAIN when ZACH enters and SAVES her LIFE by taking the DECORATIVE SWORD off the wall and SLICING THE FUCKER UP like SASHIMI.

FRANCES LEE MCCAIN

Don't tell your dad, I don't want him to know those dumbass swords actually came in handy.

EXT. KINGSTON FALLS - NIGHT

ZACH CHASES the remaining gremlin, STRIPE, to the YMCA (Yuletide Movie with Cronenberg-esque Artwork), where he jumps into an OLYMPIC SIZE SWIMMING POOL. It starts to BUBBLE AND GLOW GREEN: many more GREMLINs are coming.

ZACH goes to the POLICE STATION and tries to EXPLAIN THE PREMISE OF THE MOVIE TO the town's only TWO COPS, but they think he sounds like a CRAZY PERSON.

COP 1

Your story doesn't make sense kid. What does "after midnight" mean? Every time is "after" midnight. Time is cyclical.

COP 2

And how do the Mogwais know what time zone they're in? Do their bodies have an internal clock down to the exact minute?

ZACH GALLIGAN

Look, I wouldn't apply that kind of scrutiny to this. I see it as light entertainment and a surprisingly effective commentary on consumerism.

COPS

On Christmas eve? Scram, kid!

The GREMLINS go around town assaulting people: they rewire traffic lights to make cars crash, gang up on the local mall Santa, and KILL LOCAL WICKED WITCH POLLY HOLLIDAY.

POLLY HOLLIDAY

I should've known when I threatened to torture that dog to death that I was in for some kind of comeuppance...

INT. DORRY'S TAVERN

PHOEBE is trapped by GREMLINS at her bartending job (kids in this town have VERY ADULT JOBS). ROWDY GREMLINS drink beer out of TINY MUGS and smoke TINY CIGARETTES. Some of them are wearing TINY HATS AND TINY SUNGLASSES, all of which they presumably PULLED out of their ASSES.

ZACH GALLIGAN

I'm here to rescue you! Let's go, we have to save the town, fast!

PHOEBE CATES

Do you want to know why I hate Christmas?

ZACH GALLIGAN

Uh, now?

PHOEBE CATES

When I was a little girl, my dad died climbing down the chimney in a Santa suit to surprise me and my siblings. Over the next few days, as we tried to figure out where he was and what happened to him, the smell coming from the fireplace got worse and worse. Eventually we looked inside and found his corpse, and that's how I found out there's no Santa Claus.

ZACH GALLIGAN

Sorry, could you repeat that? I wasn't listening, I'm still thinking about where they might have got tiny sunglasses.

EXT. KINGSTON FALLS - NIGHT

They go to the movie theater where all the GREMLINS have CONGREGATED and are watching SNOW WHITE. They BLOW the theater up - something ZACH WEIRDLY already KNEW HOW TO DO.

EVERY GREMLIN EXCEPT STRIPE

(dies)

STRIPE

Thank God Papa S was across the street getting a little Milk Dud action.

ZACH and STRIPE FIGHT in a DEPARTMENT STORE, using MERCHANDISE as WEAPONRY.

ZACH GALLIGAN

Wow, what a dark and poignant visual commentary on the holiday season!

STRIPE

I couldn't agree more! Nothing says Christmas like a violent excess of material goods.

(attacks Zach with chainsaw)

STRIPE climbs into an indoor fountain and starts to MULTIPLY again, but before the reaction occurs, Gizmo OPENS the BLINDS! Stripe's skin BOILS away into a GROTESQUE biological horrorshow like a CRONENBERG character.

STRIPE'S SKELETON

(last words)

P...g...thirt...teen...

HOYT AXTON

I'm here! What did I miss?

INT. HOME - DAY

The family are on the COUCH with GIZMO watching the NEWS REPORT. PHOEBE CATES is there.

PHOEBE CATES

Because fuck my own family on this day of disaster, holiday, and anniversary of my father's tragic death.

KEYE LUKE knocks on the door.

KEYE LUKE

Give me back my Mogwai you thieving honky Wonderbread eating dumbass white devils.

HOYT AXTON

Yeah that's fair.

HOYT AXTON (V.O.)

And that's the story of the gremlins. I hope you learned a valuable lesson about consumerism, and about the importance of keeping historic weaponry mounted on your wall as a decoration. Now go buy a Gizmo plushie. Merry Christmas!

END

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