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Girl, Uninterrupted: "Critters" is a Better Halloween Movie than "Gremlins"

The leaves are falling, and everything I have been eating is covered in a layer of cinnamon, which means it's time to pull out the Halloween movie bucket list. Even though some people may be tempted to watch "Gremlins" this Halloween season, I urge you to patiently wait until Christmas to see those cute little mogwais. But be not afraid, I have the perfect movie to take its place.

Released in 1984, "Gremlins” follows Billy Peltzer after he is given a fuzzy little pet mogwai named Gizmo which his father has brought back from Chinatown. Billy is given three rules for taking care of Gizmo: do not expose him to light, do not expose him to water and do not feed him after midnight. Billy does his best to follow these rules, but accidentally breaks them one by one, revealing the malevolence of mogwais. After spilling water on Gizmo, a handful of mogwais spawn off his back. The mogwais later trick Billy into feeding them after midnight, which allows them to form cocoons. Once the cocoons hatch, the horrifying green gremlins hop out and terrorize the town. 

The green, terror-inflicting monsters in "Gremlins" may influence people to watch this movie during the Halloween season. However, the movie is set during the Christmas season, full of snow and Christmas carols, which makes it off-putting in the fall. I find it difficult to watch "Gremlins" before the first snow hits the ground; however, I can fill that monster void during the horror season by watching its sister film, "Critters.”

Although "Critters" is a franchise with five films, the first movie is worth most of the praise, and subdued praise at that. Released in 1986, "Critters" flopped at the box office with a measly $11.3 million and left critics unimpressed. Robert Ebert, former film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, perfectly summarized the film by saying, "What makes 'Critters' more than a ripoff are its humor and its sense of style."  Despite a Rotten Tomatoes score of 50%, I still love "Critters" and all of its freaky little monsters.

"Critters" tells the story of small, furry aliens called crites who have escaped their asteroid prison and crash-landed on Earth. The crites kill and feed on any living thing in their path, including a cow and a police officer. Two shapeshifting bounty hunters are sent from the asteroid prison to capture the crites. The main character, Brad, lives with his family on a farm, which is later destroyed by the crites. Because everyone loves a happy ending, Brad and the bounty hunters defeat the crites with Molotov cocktails.

"Critters" is so outstanding because of its dry, often easy-to-miss, humor. There are many subtle jokes, such as the names of the bounty hunters being “Ug" and "Lee." However, the best lines are given to the critters. My favorite part of the movie is when one of the crites finds an E.T. doll and asks, "Who are you?" before biting its head off. Classic.

"Critters" is a charming, low-budget movie that just screams 80s. The awful special effects and cheesy dad humor are sure to comfort you on the spookiest fall nights. Unlike “Gremlins,” “Critters”  is a monster movie made for Halloween, with no elements of Christmas. Let the crites have their season; save the mogwais for December.

Kenzie Shuman is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Kenzie know by emailing her at or messaging her on Instagram @zieshuman.

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