Film: Gremlins Director: Joe Dante Performers: Hoyt Axton, Zach Galligan, Kate Beringer, Corey Feldman, Keye Luke, Howie Mandel (voice), Mushroom the dog Breed featured: Mutt Production information: Warner Brothers, 1984 (USA)
The DD was in a mood for a ridiculous Christmas movie, so he brought home a bit of childhood nostalgia…
Suffice to say, the hazy memories of over two decades past soon cleared for a fresh perspective. I totally had not picked up on the xenophobic commentary (which I think is meant to be satirical and not a targeted vilification of any one race, though it might have been a harbinger of things to come). I was also really struck by how this stupid little horror film rides on collective fears of technological dystopia — wicked critters that are naturally endowed with a knack for manipulating electronics and gadgetry, in contrast to the bumbling inventor father and all the hapless suburban victims. Yet on the other hand, it also celebrates the elaborate artifice of filmmaking through layer after layer of weirdly metacinematic sequences, and of course, flashy (for the time) special effects.
I won’t get into all of that here. Besides, I’m sure some hotshot film scholar has already wrung out a thorough analysis of this kitschy blockbuster. Its time has come and gone, and frankly, I’m not too sad about moving onto better movies. But it’s definitely worth blogging for the sake of one pretty cool movie dog, Mushroom the mutt who plays Barney the family dog.
In the video commentary, it was noted that Mushroom was one of two actors that actually responded to the gremlins as if they were real (the other was Corey Feldman). His ability to “emote” naturally was probably what made him the best actor in the whole movie.
Sadly, some of Mushroom’s scenes got chopped out because the special effects crew couldn’t pass muster. Apparently they had shot a whole extended sequence of the Gremlins sneaking past the parents’ bedroom, cornering the poor confused dog, and trussing him up with Christmas lights. However, the walking puppets looked like crap so they cut the whole scene in the final version.
And the family also stashes the dog for a good portion of the movie, ostensibly to protect him from their dog-hating grinch of a neighbor who threatens to give him a “slow and painful death, maybe […] in a spin-drier on high heat.” But no fear… animal sadists never fare so well, at least not by standard Hollywood logic.
Anyway, there might be a few nuggets of wisdom to be extracted from this screwy little film. One piece of advice that was true then, as it is now: You better think twice about those CHRISTMAS PETS, especially those that come out of Chinatown back alley night market shops. Really. Truly. Not the best place to pick up a well-bred pet, even if it seems like a good bargain at the time.
The House of Two Bows keeps a running index of movies blurbed on the site, annotated by breed. If you’re interested in writing a guest blog for a dog film, contact for details.
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Gizmo was then playing music with a trumpet for Barney. Afterwards, Stripe and the other mogwai (excluding Gizmo) tied him up in Christmas lights. Billy freed him, thinking it Mrs. Deagle that did it. Billys father, Randall Peltzer, decided to take Barney with him to Billys grandmother, then took Barney after he was done with the science invention convention. Barney was not seen again until the end of the film when he raced into the store where Stripe and Billy were fighting to eliminate each other. As Barney raced, he met Gizmo driving a pink Barbie car twice with Gizmo saying “Woof-woof” twice while racing to find Stripe. After Stripe was killed, Barney saw this and went back to Billys house. When Mr. Wing took back Gizmo, Gizmo said “Bye-bye, woof-woof!”
According to the Novel, Mrs Deagle later talked to Billy, and threatened to drug Barney. Back in the Peltzer home, Stripe and his ” troops” (The other mogwai) felt that in order to achieve ultimate power (Figure out how to become Gremlins) and learn the secret of reproduction, they had to get rid of Barney. They framed him for a bunch of mischief that day, eventually causing Billys mom to lock him in the basement for an hour.
Prior to the gremlin incident, Ruby Deagle showed up at the bank where Billy worked and claimed that Barney broke her imported Bavarian plastic snowman the same morning. Billy tried to apologize and offered her money, but Deagle threatened Billy and claimed that if she saw Barney, shed give him a slow and painful death. She considered putting him in her spin dryer. According to the novel, she threatened to strangle Barney. Barney then jumped on her and broke the rest of the plastic snowmans head. She then threatened Billy and the dog and told them, “Ill get you… when you, at least expect it!”
Later, Barney was with Billy and his parents to see Gizmo come out of the box. When Barney sees Gizmo for the first time, he licks his paw, head, and ear and Gizmo says, “Woof-woof? woof-woof“. Barney also shared sleeping in the same bed with Gizmo and Billy that night. Later, Barney also watched Gizmo spawn the first batch of Gremlins when getting wet by Pete Fountaine, although Barney was slightly jealous of Gizmo, he cared dearly about Gizmo and Gizmo liked Barney from the start, and they both soon got along with each other, Barney and Gizmo both disliked the new Mogawai.
Is the dog in Gremlins real?
He was portrayed by a dog known as Mushroom (who Steven Spielberg stated in the original film’s commentary was one of the best actors in the film). … During the making of the film, Barney, (Mushroom), bit the animatronic Gizmo, this delayed filming for about 7 to 9 hours.
What dog breed inspired the design for Gizmo?
What made the Gremlins go crazy?
What is the name of the Mogwai that Billy Peltzer gets for Christmas?