One of the luxuries of living in Los Angeles are all of the revival theaters playing classics day in and day out. Last night we were on hand at the Aero theater in Santa Monica where they were showing a double-feature of both Gremlins films with a special appearance by director Joe Dante. To our surprise, we were told that what we were about to see was the test-screening workprint of Gremlins that featured six minutes of unseen footage! In addition, Dante updated fans on Bat Out of Hell. Read on for the skinny.
From a screenplay by Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan, BAT OUT OF HELL centers on a red-eye flight from L.A. to New York during which hijackers confront the monstrous cargo.
Announced last April, Joe Dante was attached to direct, but now it looks like the project is off.
“I’m not off it, just in general it’s off,” explaining that it just didn’t happen, particularly in this climate. “All ducks need to line up.”
But the BAT OUT OF HELL talk was just the beginning as Dante revealed some (what I believe to be) new information about the GREMLINS franchise. Apparently the original screenplay was a straight-up horror film loaded with violence. Billy’s dog is killed and his mother beheaded before the Gremlins bounce her head down the stairs.
But the big surprise that had the audience shimmering in excitement was the announcement that Dante had brought along a workprint for the film used the test it before its theatrical release. We were informed that the print was six minutes longer and carried new footage never before seen. The lights dimmed and the pic opened with a warning along the lines of: “This is a workprint, it carries unfinished sound, effects, yadda, yadda…”
From what we could piece together (I’m not 100% sure which of this is new) there was an entire subplot removed where Ruby Deagle (Polly Holliday) was planning on foreclosing on a bunch of properties and evicting the families (Billy and Kate’s) for some big project. There was scene where Kate Beringer (Phoebe Cates) discovers a map of the town with markers of what homes will be taken.
In addition, there was a segment that featured Gerald Hopkins (Judge Reinhold) locked up in the bank safe and when Billy and Kate try and help him, get annoyed and lock him back up.
Lastly, it appeared that the bar scene with Kate was a bit extended. Beyond that we weren’t able to really piece together what was new and the audience, instead of asking, felt the need to ask retarded questions like, “This was my first time seeing GREMLINS! I’m from overseas, but it was great!” Good question.
And if you haven’t seen this badass fan film yet, get on it!