Wednesday, 22 March 2017

POP! Movies – Stripe (Gremlins)

Gremlins, hey? A movie that, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, helped get the entire American movie ratings system adjusted. Why? Well, the movie’s initial marketing may have *cough* downplayed *cough* those horror elements in favour of the film’s cutesy mascot, Gizmo – a face that launched at least a thousand plush toys.  

If you’ve seen Gremlins yourself, you can probably see where this is going; basically, a lot of parents found themselves with traumatised kids post-viewing, having gone in totally unprepared for the scenes of animal abuse, microwaved Gremlins and murder, among other standard horror tropes. I’m of the opinion that kids can often bounce back from upsetting things relatively easily, but I can definitely see why some of the public were pissed off at the sleight-of-hand. I remember my mother expressing similar sentiments in the 1990s when she took me to Jurassic Park, which had a similar mix of kid-oriented marketing vs borderline horror film content.  

Believe it or not, I didn’t actually see Gremlins myself until just a few weeks ago. I was off work sick and about as high as the international space station on cold & flu meds – so naturally it was time to watch a movie or two. Verdict? It’s pretty rad, and I wish I’d watched it years ago. That skeletal version of Stripe at the end? One of the best jumpscares I’ve seen in quite a while. Now to watch the sequel!  

This being a relatively early entry in the POP! Movies line, you’d be guessing that the paint is on the sloppy side. And you’d be right; the apps are all where they should be, but there’s plenty of flubbed lines or missed spots. It’s by no means their worst work, but they’ve come quite a way in the last 5-6 years. The sculpt is particularly cool; these days I would suspect it would be executed in quite a different fashion, and not necessarily as well. Before around 2013 or 2014, POPs were much more heavily stylised, and I don’t think that was a bad thing; not all of them are winners, but they definitely had their own feel. Though the overall standard of sculpting and paint has improved in the intervening years, the simplicity of the older figures definitely has its charms too.  

As with most of the early horror-related POPs, Stripe has a Glow Chase version – it looks pretty rad, if not much like the character in the film. But if you’re looking to track one down, you may have a tricky time; it seems to go for big bucks these days, and I have no idea whether it’s still in production or not.

Stripe here is a fun investment for Gremlins fans, and it’s a bit of a shame that we never got more characters beyond Mogwai and Stripe* in POP form. The first film alone has so many cool character designs, and I’m sure they could have got some reuse from this sculpt. That said, Gremlins 3 is allegedly in development at the moment, so we may yet see more of them hit the shelves.  

*Though they did make a bunch of them for their ReAction line

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