2. Chris Columbus Explores The Idea
While neither Spielberg nor Dante worked on the Twilight Zone movie segment that featured the gremlin creature, it must have stuck in their minds as a great concept.
But when it came to Gremlins the movie - it wasn't their idea originally. The first inklings of what would become that script were created by Chris Columbus, then a young, wannabe writer trying to produce samples to grab himself a job.
One idea that struck the young scribe was being overrun by noisy critters, mostly because he was - at night in his New York loft, "what sounded like a platoon of mice would come out and to hear them skittering around in the blackness was really creepy."
But his concept was never truly intended for the screen. At least not until it landed on Spielberg's desk. "It was one of the most original things I've come across in many years, which is why I bought it," the man behind Jaws and ET enthused.
While the script went through many changes and different drafts before it hit the screen (see the next page), the basic concept stayed the same - a man buys a cute little beastie for his son, under the condition that he doesn't feed the furry, warbling thing after midnight, doesn't ever get it wet and never exposes it to bright light.
Naturally, after adopting the new arrival and naming him Gizmo, the son fails in at least two of these, and his small American town is overrun by vicious creatures intent on causing mayhem.
The project seemed perfect as it was part of a new movement of movies that mixed comedy with horror - Ghostbusters was in production around the same time, and the two films would help to inspire the likes of Beetlejuice and The 'Burbs.
And that's without mentioning the avalanche of crazed creature features that would follow - Ghoulies, Critters, Troll, Munchies, Hobgoblins and more can all trace their lineage back to Gizmo and his evil offspring.
With his work plate full, Spielberg knew he needed someone else to tackle the film. So he turned to Joe Dante…