Top 10 Pint-Sized Movie Monsters: Part Two

There have been oodles of monster countdowns. There have been ones about “giant monsters”, “sea monsters”, “classic monsters” and “human-sized monsters” so where was all love for the little monsters!

So in the spirit of Halloween, this top ten looks at all those small monsters people quickly forget:

We have looked at 6-10 (Click HERE if you forgot) and now we on with the countdown.

#5. Troll

The Troll series has become legendary. Troll 2 is considered one of the worst best movies of all time. Whatever that means. Troll 2 also inspired a 2-hour documentary about the phenomenon called Best Worst Movie that is currently a smash on the festival circuit. 

To be honest I dont understand the appeal. I have seen both Troll movies and they are just not worth your time. The series ranks #5 on my list because of all the hoopla surrounding the series. I have read many reviews of Troll 2 (377 on imdb alone) and so many people say its the funniest movie they have ever seen.  Could be the worst movie ever, fascinating.

As for the documentary on  the making of Troll 2, check out the link below:

#4. Leprechaun

This pint-sized wonder has the most sequels of anyone on this list. The success of the Leprechaun series is mind-boggling. Warwick Davis, best known for playing Wicket in Return of the Jedi and Willow Offgood in Willow, is at the centre of this hidden franchise. His wisecracks and pure insanity in the role have made Leperchaun one of the most successful DVD horror series ever with six films.   

 The series started when a man stole the Leprechaun’s pot of gold and fled to the US. The Leprechaun tracked him down but was outsmarted by the man and locked in his basement. Many years later Tory (Jennifer Aniston) and her brother release the Leprechaun who is hell bent on getting back his pot of gold.

 Taking the Leprechaun myth and making it sinister and twisted is interesting for one movie, but six? Well, they did really get extremely desperate with carrying on this series when they launched the Leprechaun into space and took him to “the Hood” for two sequels.  

 His astonishing success and Warwick’s dedication to the role place him #4 on my list but I can’t say I have ever been a fan of this series.

#3. Critters

 Critters was a series of films (4 believe it or not) that captured my imagination because of just how silly they were. An meteor carrying these sharp toothed menaces crashes into a field outside a small town and in the first film the townfolk have to fight back against these little guys.

The Critters are aliens kind of like a cross between Tribbles from Star Trek, Gremlins and I am not sure if you remember a toy called Madballs. The Critters roll into balls and then bounce around before they strike.

I am still not sure if the humor in the movie was actually supposed to be there. The central hero of the series is a hapless mechanic named Charlie, (played by Don Keith Opper), who leads the fight against the Crites in all four movies. What makes him such an interesting hero is that he’s the unlikeliest of heroes. He’s dim witted, unattractive, not very imaginative but enthusiastic. He’s also quite funny.

In the first film, the Crites are tracked by some bounty hunters who are trying to stop them before they destroy another planet. Eventually Charlie teams up the hunters and becomes one. This series is quite imaginative and worth a look this Halloween. Oh did I mention the third movie stars a very young Leonardo DiCaprio?

I have fond memories of it as one of those horror series that people never admit they liked. Okay, I admit it!

#2. Chucky

Okay, I have a pretty simple reason why I love Chucky so much! The whole idea of taking a serial killer and mystically placing his mind in a child’s toy that looks like a cross between a Cabbage Patch Kid and Raggedy Andy is utterly brilliant. The whole Cabbage Patch Kid phenomenon freaked me out to begin with but putting a mind like Jeffrey Dahmer inside it made me howl with glee.

Chucky rocks! The comedy about him complaining he can’t do basic human things and how mad it gets him makes me howl. I love how this serial killer is in hell. Not to mention you have to give credit for the amazing voicing by Brad Dourif for bringing that frustration to the surface.

Since Chucky debuted in 1988, there have been five films as Chucky’s twisted mind and curse are examined and re-examined through each sequel. The first three films show us some of Chucky and how complicated he is but the films feel more like Halloween sequels. In 1998, seven years after the last sequel, Chucky returned in Bride of Chucky and this time Chucky became more than a twisted child’s toy but a real life character. The whole series was changed forever with that movie as the humor and Chucky’s frustation manifested even more and well the addition of a love interest was definitely going to amp up the humor as a whole.

I love Chucky movies because of the humor and how writer and creator Don Mancini was able to shape Chucky into something more memorable than a psycho with a knife.

#1. Gremlins

In 1984, Steven Spielberg sponsored the former Roger Corman protege, Joe Dante on his new film Gremlins. The movie told of a down-on-his-luck inventor who buys a Christmas present for his son, Billy (Zach Galligan). The present is an animal called a mogwai, whom Billy names Gizmo. The cute adorable little creature comes with three very special rules.

1. They hate bright lights.

2. Don’t get them wet.

3. And what ever you do no matter how much they beg and scream, never, ever feed them after midnight!

The film starts off very innocent as Billy starts to connect with Gizmo as they watch movies, sing and relax. Then Billy spills a glass of water and Gizmo gives birth. (Well, multiplies anyhow) Gizmo’s offspring have a mean streak in them and are led by Stripe.

Roger Corman actor-staple Dick Miller makes an appearance in the film as he has done in so many of Corman’s goofier classics. Anyone remember Chopping Mall? But in this film he is the one warning Billy about gremlins and how they get into machinery and are a menace.  Billy laughs off the warnings. Well his mind changes when Gizmo’s offspring are accidentally fed after midnight.

The movie is a classic because it mixes horror and comedy into a holiday-themed family movie to amazing results. The clever rules, little creatures, distinct personalities and well the chaos that comes after are all priceless. I still love that kitchen battle with the Gremlins.

Gremlins spawned many copycats after it was released and many of them made this list but the reason they are number one isnt because they started the whole phenomenon but because of the film’s impact. The film seems to magically get us to love these creatures almost right off the bat. Most horror movies don’t allow us to relate or even treasure every frame that these little puppets are in. Some franchises it takes movie after movie before we even get to know the creatures but for Gremlins that is established as soon as Billy’s dad recites the rules. That is why they rank #1 this list.

I love how the movie plays up the fact that utter chaos can come from simplicity. Gremlins is an amazing movie and one I still watch every year around Christmas. Gremlins 2 also ranks in my top 50 favorite sequels of all time. So when or if ever are we going to see a third movie? This series is screaming to be a trilogy.

So Says the Soothsayer. 

One thought on “Top 10 Pint-Sized Movie Monsters: Part Two

  1. Almost soiled myself when I saw your No. 1 choice — it took me months to get over the nightmares I had after simply reading the books (still can’t bring myself to watch the movies!). So little and yet so unabashedly freaky.

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