To kick off The Horror Time Capsule, I thought I would go with something that I remember seeing as a kid a lot, but not so much as an adult. It's funny how so many films in the 80s that were geared towards kids had so many non-kid friendly moments and themes. This brings me to "Gremlins" a kids film that could have only been made in the 80s.
In short, the plot of this film features an exotic pet brought home from Chinatown that has very specific rules that need to be followed in order to best care for the pet. That pet is Gizmo, and Gizmo is a Mogwai.
Now in small town America, and under the care of Billy Peltzer, who like any good pet owner, doesn't care for his pet correctly which leads to more Mogwais that don't have the same innocent temperament as Gizmo. More hijinks ensure that see the once fuzzy Mogwais transform into green and even meaner, Gremlins.
While I wouldn't consider this a "horror" film in the traditional sense, this was Joe Dante's biggest film to date. And while I consider "The Howling" his horror opus, "Gremlins" is by far his most memorable film, in my opinion of course.
The is murder, general monster hijinks, monsters exploding in microwaves, monsters melting into puddles of goop, and of course my favorite, a story about someone's dad dying in the chimney after pretending to be Santa Claus and breaking his neck. Noting quite says "Merry Christmas" like a dead dad story.
Here are some other 1984 favorites:
Children of the Corn
Friday the 13th Part 4
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Silent Night, Deadly Night