Joe Dante’s anarchic 1984 horror-comedy Gremlins is remembered for its frenetic sight gags and subversive commentary on small-town America. In contemporary nerd culture, however, it’s an essential piece of cinema, a darkly shaded “cartoon come to life” afforded equal amounts of nostalgia and reverence—especially during the holiday season it so gleefully satirizes. (The presence of Phoebe Cates doesn’t hurt the film’s rep with the nerds, either.) Hapless inventor Hoyt Axton buys his son Zach Galligan a furry, playful, meek little handful named Gizmo as a Christmas gift. When Galligan carelessly ignores the admonition not to get the pet wet or feed it after midnight, he finds his house and neighborhood overrun with mischievous, pop-culture-loving beasts.