Gremlins returns to Cineworld to celebrate its 35th anniversary

Turn off those bright lights, keep an eye on the clock and stow away those glasses of water – because Christmas classic Gremlins charges into Cineworld cinemas this December to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

Joe Dante's anarchic comedy-horror is staple viewing at this time of the year, and we're hosting the movie in style with a gleaming new 4K restoration that would make Gizmo proud.

Here are five reasons why you can't miss those pesky gremlins on the big screen...

1. It's a Christmas movie for those who hate Christmas movies

Fed up of festive schmaltz where everyone lives happily ever after? Then Gremlins is the movie for you. The movie expertly blends a sense of wintry optimism with a nice dash of cynicism and horror as a small American town is invaded by mischievous monsters.

It all begins when Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) is given an adorable mogwai named Gizmo (voiced by comedian Howie Mandel) as a Christmas present. He's presented with strict instructions: don't expose Gizmo to bright sunlight, keep him away from water and don't feed him after midnight. Of course, things go wrong and the endearing creature ends up hosting a series of deadly offspring that run rampant.

The unpredictable nature of the movie is perhaps best summed up in the scene where reviled curtain twitcher Mrs Deagle (Polly Holliday) experiences a murderous spin on Christmas carollers. It's recognisably festive yet also hilarious and kind of sadistic –almost the exact opposite to Love, Actually.

2. It's the movie that put Joe Dante on the map

He doesn't make many films nowadays, but back in the 1980s and 1990s, director Joe Dante was at the forefront of satirical horror-comedies that pushed the boundaries of appropriateness. Innerspace, The 'burbs and Small Soldiers are examples of his work, but Gremlins remains his most famous movie, and possibly his most celebrated.

Experience Gremlins on the big screen to remind yourself of why Dante's acerbic touch was such a breath of fresh air back in the early 1980s. In the movie, he works with producer Steven Spielberg, writer Chris Columbus (later of Mrs Doubtfire and Harry Potter fame) and creature designer Chris Walas to craft an unpredictable and entertaining treat.

3. It expertly mixes sweetness and massive shocks

One of the many brilliant things about Gremlins is how it vacillates between the heartwarming and the unsettling without once feeling inconsistent. This is a testament to the strength of the direction, writing and performances, and the fact that the storyline is underpinned by a genuinely tender friendship between Billy and Gizmo. This becomes evident in the scene where the latter first appears.

These moments are then undercut by darker interludes, including the notorious Santa Claus scene. Although this is entirely dialogue-driven, anecdotally recounted by Pheobe Cates's character Kate, it's often held up as the most disturbing scene in the movie – so much so that Steven Spielberg reportedly wanted it removed. If any scene sums up Dante's darkly humorous approach, it's this one – it's easy to sense how he's undermined the wholesome suburbia depicted in the likes of Spielberg's own E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

4. Experience Jerry Goldsmith's score in surround sound

Gremlins was the second collaboration between Dante and Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith – they'd previously worked together on Twilight Zone: The Movie. It would cement a long-standing partnership that would encompass two decades, and a whole host of wittily inventive soundtracks.

Gremlins is one of those, as Goldsmith mixes synthesisers and odd noises (including breaking glass and cat calls) into the rousing sound of the symphony orchestra. The score is brilliantly bizarre and adds a memorable texture to the film, including the endearing lullaby of Gizmo's Theme and the all-out madness of the Gremlin Rag.

5. It'll get you in the festive spirit

For all the movie's rule-breaking spirit, it is essentially a Christmas movie, and one that sums up the magic of the season. Albeit in a manner that encompasses microwave death, cinema destruction and wholesale societal breakdown. What's not to like?

Click here to book your tickets for the 35th anniversary of Gremlins and let us know @Cineworld when you've claimed your seat.