“My friend, you have potential. I want to help you be all that you can be. May I? As I’m sure you’re aware, sunlight poses a problem for our…um…ethnic group. We don’t tan, we don’t burn. Frankly, we just become a rather unappetizing photochemical leftover. Thus, this formula, especially designed for those of the nocturnal persuasion, to make bright light no problem whatever! That’ll be of crucial usefulness where you’ll be going”
These words were spoken by the Brain Gremlin just before plunging a syringe full of genetic sunblock into the neck of the Bat Gremlin. Both of these terrifying creatures newly born in the genetics laboratory of the Clamp Building in New York City. The Gremlins have returned and have been eating, drinking and injecting all sorts of genetic materials, resulting in mutations of shocking variety. They are The New Batch.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch was released in 1990, six years after its original, Gremlins, both directed by Joe Dante. The first film drew criticisms from both parents and film critics for dark imagery and inappropriate situations. The main Gremlin, Stripe, attempts to kill the film’s protagonist Billy, played by Zach Galligan, with a gun, a chainsaw, saw blades and a crossbow, which he actually does fire into Billy’s arm. The character of Kate, played by Phoebe Cates, recalls the death of her father one Christmas in a disturbing manner where he slipped and broke his neck climbing down the chimney dressed as Santa Claus.
So, from very early on, it became clear that the Gremlins sequel would have a much more humorous tone. Around the time of the release of Gremlins 2, I clearly remember hearing critics on television saying that it was funny not scary and my mother being happy about that. And they were right, the film is ridiculously silly and funny while still never losing the dark edge from the first. The darkness was just toned back. In fact, in this film, Billy is once again shot at by a Gremlin, Mohawk, and Brain Gremlin shoots a dopey, babbling Gremlin with a beanie hat. But, I never recall a single mention of this, even though it is exactly what brought about criticism of the first film. The whole tone was just different. The puppets, both Gremlins and Mogwais, were amazing, leaps ahead of the puppets in the original film. The jokes were funnier, sillier and there were even cameos by Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. But, what people remember the most are the mutated Gremlins.
NECA Toys’ Gremlins line has not had an easy life. Previewed figures have never come to fruition for one reason or another, legal complications and negotiations with Warner Brothers Studios had issues, their largest Gremlins piece, The Spider Gremlin, took a longer than usual time to get released. It should be noted that these issues can and do happen to other lines, Gremlins just seemed to have it a tad rougher. But, all along the way, there have been rabid, Gremlins fans dedicated to the line. The Brain Gremlin figure from thirteen years ago can go for $125-$150 on secondary markets. Up until a recent discovery of lost cases of Mogwais Series 2, Combat Gizmo could fetch almost as much. Brown Gremlin and Phantom Gremlin go for upwards of $60.
So, when NECA announced this…
Fans from all over the popular culture world freaked out with nostalgia, not just the usual toy circles. The Bat Gremlin was the second biggest Gremlin in the film next to the Spider Gremlin and was unique among all of the Gremlins for one very specific reason. He is immune to sunlight, making him invincible to one of the three ‘rules’ for Mogwais and Gremlins that claims sunlight is fatal. This thanks to the scene described at the beginning of this review where Brain injects Bat with genetic sunblock knowing that the chaos that could be unleashed by one of their kind not only being immune to sunlight, but capable of flight. This, along with leaving the Batman logo when flying through a wall, made him very memorable to fans.
The packaging is basic, but very cool. Featuring a large window display, this box also features church rooftop tile and steeple artwork as a reference to the Bat’s fate after attacking Murray Futterman, played by Dick Miller on the streets of Manhattan.
The figure is all in once piece packaged between two large, plastic trays.
Behind the figure on the rear tray sits the three pieces that make up the Bat’s flight stand.
The backdrop inside the package is an image from the film of where the cement covered Bat meets its end.
The figure is glorious!
The sculpt is excellent, the paint application on the skin is amazing and the flight stand makes it pop on any shelf!
His wings bend with much more ease than I expected. You can easily recreate the revealing shot of the Bat opening his wings.
The pointy ears swivel back and forth and the mouth can open and close.
The wingspan is huge as well, it reaches just shy of eighteen inches.
The long fingers visible on each side of the wing give the figure a great, creepy touch.
It looks amazing next to the Spider Gremlin by itself by being of equal impressive scale.
But, it just completes the group shot so well that it is a must purchase for any NECA Gremlins fan. I can’t recommend it more! If NECA continues to produce Gremlins like this, I cannot see this line having any more trouble in the future. This fan is personally hoping we see a Greta, a previously shown but never released figure, and Veggie one day.
The Bat Gremlin is available now on NECA’s eBay and Amazon stores now and is shipping to retailers as well. It’s price is around $45 dollars. You can expect to see it pop up in online stores and in specialty and comic shops very soon.
Thanks so much for reading, I’m Ash and you can follow me on Twitter @Ode2Ash