Teaching Students About Gremlins: A Unique Approach to Film Study

When it comes to film studies, it’s not just the highly-acclaimed classics that deserve attention. Teaching students about the 1984 cult horror-comedy film, “Gremlins,” allows educators to explore a unique blend of genres and themes while delving into pop culture history. By incorporating this peculiar yet beloved movie into the curriculum, teachers can offer an engaging class filled with thought-provoking discussions and creative assignments.

Introducing Gremlins Movie

To begin, provide students with an overview of Gremlins. Directed by Joe Dante and written by Chris Columbus, the movie revolves around a young man who receives a mysterious creature called a mogwai as a Christmas gift. Trouble ensues when rules for taking care of the mogwai are disregarded, leading to the creation of destructive and mischievous gremlins. The film spawned a sequel, “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” in 1990, both becoming embedded in popular culture over time.

Cultural Significance

Discuss with your students why “Gremlins” garnered such a dedicated following over the years. Analyze how it plays on the nostalgia associated with small towns, traditional family values, and holiday celebrations while also incorporating darker themes like consumerism and pandemonium. Moreover, consider how these dualities contribute to its enduring appeal.

Genre Blending

The movie offers an exciting mix of horror and comedy elements making it an interesting case study for genre exploration. Help your students understand how “Gremlins” satirizes stereotypes typically found in horror films while incorporating effective comedic timing. Encourage them to question why this balance between fear and laughter resonates with audiences and ponder whether it’s a fad or an effective approach to storytelling.

Film Techniques and Storytelling

By examining “Gremlins,” students can investigate various technical aspects involved in filmmaking. Discuss how the use of practical effects like puppetry and animatronics creates a tangible on-screen presence. Compare and contrast this method with modern-day reliance on computer-generated imagery (CGI), discussing the advantages and limitations of practical effects.

Moreover, explore different narrative techniques employed in “Gremlins,” including the importance of rules, tricks employed by creators to build tension, and methods to endear characters to audiences. Have students consider how these storytelling tools contribute to the overall impact of the film.

Creative Assignments

Encourage your students to apply their understanding of “Gremlins” through various creative assignments. They could write their essays examining a specific theme or character, create their own hybrid horror-comedy film pitch, or deconstruct a scene highlighting the use of practical effects in storytelling. These activities not only foster creativity but also help students actively engage with the film’s content.

In conclusion, integrating “Gremlins” into your lesson plan can help you provide students with an unconventional approach to film study. It challenges traditional expectations about what constitutes a cinematic masterpiece and offers opportunities for fruitful discussions around genres, techniques, and cultural significance. Showing such flexibility in your curriculum will only serve to pique your students’ curiosity while empowering them with a comprehensive understanding of cinema history and criticism.

Choose your Reaction!