We all know the Gremlins rules:
- No bright lights.
- Don’t get them wet
- And never feed them after midnight, no matter how much they beg.
But what fun ever came from following rules?
Joe Dante’s “Gremlins” invaded theaters on June 8th, 1984, and as we all know, became an instant classic. Exciting and terrifying children and adults alike, it was clear that Gizmo and his zany, unwanted friends were here to stay.
The originality of “Gremlins” inspired dozens of copycat films – most notably “Critters” in 1986 – and ultimately a sequel in 1990. But in addition to laying the groundwork for countless horror movies starring small demonic creatures, and making nearly every child under the age of thirteen check beneath their beds for tiny green monsters, “Gremlins” captured the imagination of collectors all over the world. While most movie-goers wanted to run from the little hellions, some sat in those darkened theatres and in the comfort of their living rooms, dreaming of one day owning some for themselves.
Since its release, a plethora of “Gremlins” related paraphernalia has been released – lunch boxes, puzzles, windup toys, trading cards, sleeping bags, Atari games, Gameboy games, and of course, action figures.
And though all of these collectibles helped bring “Gremlins” to life and into the collector’s home, perhaps nothing has made the dream of finally living with these creatures a reality like NECA’s release of five life-size gremlins sculpted and painted from original movie stunt puppets.
I watched “Gremlins” when I was fourteen, and have been on the hunt to own as many life-size gremlins as possible ever since. Before NECA released its first life-size prop, I had spent dozens of hours scouring eBay, Craigslist and speaking with fellow collectors to obtain the ever-elusive Warner Brother Store life-size props.
These figures, made of hard fiberglass and standing over thirty inches tall, were store display props never available to the public until the WB stores went out of business in 2001. At that point, most of theses figures were destroyed, but a few survived, carried home under the loving arms of store owners, employees and fans lucky enough to snag one before the WB lights went out forever.
I have been fortunate enough to acquire four life-size WB Store Gremlins. And they are beautiful: stunning craftsmanship, vibrant colors, cool poses and spot-on likeness.
But they’re also extremely expensive, normally averaging around $900 to $1200 each on eBay, and very difficult to display. In the stores they hung from the ceiling, but that’s not very feasible in a NYC studio apartment. Which is what makes the NECA release figures so great!
Not only are they screen accurate, available at an affordable price and totally awesome, they’re also easy to display with neat little metal stands. They’re the complete package!
The first NECA life-size Gremlin was released in 2012. In this review I want to not only critique these figures and give you the tools to find them yourself, but I also want to briefly compare them to the WB Store Prop Gremlins, their predecessor. I want to note that I will not be critiquing life-size Gizmo props or the Mohawk Model Kit. Those are subjects for a whole other article!
There are at least eight different WB Store Display Gremlins:
Dancing Gremlin in Black Suit with Black Top Hat
Dancing Gremlin in White Suit with Red Top Hat
Greta In White Wedding Gown
Generic Green Gremlin
Generic Brown Gremlin
Attacking Green Gremlin
I own four of them: Dancing Gremlin in Black Suit and Black Top Hat, Greta, Generic Green Gremlin and Attacking Green Gremlin.
Out of the four, my favorite is definitely the Dancing Gremlin; he captures the fun loving spirit of the movies perfectly.
In a close second is the Greta prop, with her sexy white leopard outfit and blood red lipstick. Who couldn’t resist such a dame? The Generic Green Gremlin and Attacking Gremlin make the perfect pair, both smiling maniacally, highly amused by their latest crazy antic.
WB store prop Gremlins surface on eBay about two or three times per year. Their asking price is generally around $900 to $1100 with the option to submit a best offer. To keep an eye out for them, search “Gremlins Prop,” “Warner Brothers Display” and “Life-size Gremlins,” on eBay and if you’re diligent, you might just snag one at a great price!
Since 2012 NECA has released five life-size Gremlin Figures:
Brown Generic Gremlin
Green Generic Gremlin
Where the WB Gremlins all possess unique poses, four out of the five NECA Gremlins are sculpted using the same mold.
The Flasher is the only prop that differs, a necessary change to fully convey his personality and iconic pose. They’re all made out of latex and stand roughly 33 inches tall. The Brown Gremlin was the first to be released, and clearly lacks the most realistic detail and interesting paint. The veins on his stomach stand out like a sore thumb in my opinion.
That being said, NECA quickly upped their game with the release of the Green Gremlin, which might be my favorite. With the same pose as the Brown Generic Gremlin, his deep slimy green color and crazed expression truly brings a life-sized gremlin into your home.
The NECA Greta prop is just wonderful. Her pose is the same as the Generic Gremlins but instead of sculpted clothes like on the WB props, her iconic outfit is fabric, a very nice touch that makes her much more realistic. Her paint and green hair is spot on, and out of the five I feel she turned out the most screen accurate.
I hate to say it, but the Brain Gremlin is basically the Brown Generic Gremlin with clothes and glasses.
I love him and he’s definitely an important part of the set, but his uniqueness lies in the character he portrays and less as a unique figure among the five.
Lastly, and the most fun, is The Flasher. His arms are detachable, which makes putting his coat on possible, and he comes complete with stylish shades.
I only wish he came with a fake cigarette, since in both films he was smoking when he flashed Phoebe Cates. But that’s an easy enough prop to add. His paint is perfect. It’s clear that NECA listened to the collector world and improved their craftsmanship with each new release.
As with the Warner Brother Display Gremlins, the best place to find these figures is eBay.
They range in price from $300 to $700 depending on the seller and usually sell on average for about $450 each. To search for them, search “Life-size Gremlin,” “NECA Gremlin” and “Gremlin Props.” The less precise your search vocabulary, the better chance you have of seeing the most available.
Please feel free to post your thoughts, ask questions and most importantly, share stories about your own collecting experiences. And as always, happy hunting – may your home be ever filled with monsters.