Sunday, July 17, 2005

Stripe Choomba

Stripe Choomba

Stripe Choomba (2005)

Today's image? Another celluloid pet gone bad who turned family life into Chinese Take-out...

From the Cyberpunk Dictionary of Slang and Terms:

Choombata, Choomba -- n. (Bantu) Friend. Buddy.

From -- a summary of the film Gremlins (1984) by Marshall Fine:

Gremlins is a whee of a film (if you don't mind the occasional gross-out) from producer Steven Spielberg, writer Chris Columbus, and director Joe Dante. Zach Galligan is the young man whose inventor father (Hoyt Axton) gives him an odd Christmas present: a tiny, furry creature that comes with a set of rules: don't get him wet, don't feed him after midnight, and keep him away from direct sunlight. But Galligan breaks the first rule and the damp little critter pops out a dozen little offspring. Then the offspring break the second rule and, overnight, turn from cute furry guys to malevolent scaly guys with world domination on their mind. The only way to stop them: rule three. But it's an anxious (and extremely funny) battle to make it to daylight -- and the bad gremlins find ways to multiply over and over. Great special effects and a gruesome sense of humor make this a wild (if occasionally dark and scary) ride.

And, from the same page, some insights from a review posted by M. S. Roberts:

I was completely unaware of what the film was actually about, and wasn't expecting the 'evil' Gremlins to quite literally come out of Gizmo, and take over the world. I was expecting a nice little happy family movie, based around Gizmo. I'm not so sure I would have enjoyed the movie if I'd been a few years younger, as the evil Gremlins scared the bejeezus out of me! Especially Stripe -- scary! There's also some Looney Tunes references in the movie, although coming from my major Looney Tunes fan man, there's even more references in the second one, which I've yet to see. Of course, it was directed by Joe Dante, who did the fabulous Looney Tunes: Back In Action, amongst many others. There's also some other references in the movie: the theatre marquee is showing a double bill: A Boy's Life (the working title for Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial), and Watch the Skies (the working title for Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind). At the movie's finale the Gremlin leader, Stripe, hides from Billy in a pile of stuffed animals. A plush E.T. doll is shown prominently in the shot. This is a gag reference to the scene in Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, in which E.T. also evades discovery by hiding among plush toys.

I didn't spot this until it was pointed out, but while the father is talking on the phone from the inventor's convention, the machine from The Time Machine can be seen in the background winding up to full power. The scene cuts to the house, and when we cut back again, the machine has gone, leaving only a wisp of colored smoke.

Also, there are quite a few cameos in Gremlins, so next time you watch this, watch out for them! Steven Spielberg is the man in the electric wheelchair with a TV monitor. Chuck Jones is the man who looks at Billy's cartoon in the bar. There is a Warner Brothers cartoon playing on the TV. Jerry Goldsmith is at the inventors' conference, immediately behind actor Hoyt Axton in the phone booth. He's wearing a western hat with a mount for the phone. Rumoured to appear as a blink-and-you'll-miss-it-cameo too is George Lucas at the inventor's convention, riding a bicycle.

Gizmo Caca...

Stripe will frob you with a furball. E. T. is for gonks.

From TheSpinning Image:

Gremlins turned out to be a surprise hit in 1984, and is still recalled fondly by those who saw it at the time it was released. It was written by Chris Columbus, whose streak of nastiness and crass humour found its ideal outlet in this tale of, not the traditional one big monster, but lots of little horrors. Director Joe Dante, as usual, peppers the film with references to the movies, comics and pop culture of his youth, and the creatures featured here fit alongside these allusions perfectly.

As the chaos hits small town America, it is clear that what makes the Gremlins so appalling is actually their complete lack of respect for anything decent, summed up by their attitude to the festive season: Santa is ambushed, carols are ruined, Christmas trees become traps -- not even Johnny Mathis is sacred. Add this to their bad habits -- heavy drinking, heavy smoking, gambling, murdering innocent people -- and it's mainly their sick sense of humour that makes them oddly appealing. Their leader [Stripe] even blows his nose on the curtains.

The movie gremlins I can take -- and even the gremlin that tormented nervous flyer William Shatner in a memorable Twilight Zone episode. But the gremlins I cannot cope with are these --

Oil.  AH.  Yum.  Yum...

Not one of those "Goddamn foreign cars..."

--especially when it desperately needs an oil change -- and I'm trailing it on the Interstate in a convertible...

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