Gremlins 2: The New Batch is a 1990 American black comedy horror film, and the sequel to the 1984 film Gremlins. It was directed by Joe Dante and written by Charles S. Haas, with creature designs by Rick Baker. Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Dick Miller, Jackie Joseph, and Keye Luke reprise their roles from the first film; Belinda Balaski also returns, this time playing a different character. New cast members include John Glover, Robert Prosky, Haviland Morris, Robert Picardo, and Christopher Lee; additionally, the film features Tony Randall providing the voice for one of the gremlins. The story continues the adventures of the creature Gizmo (once again voiced by Howie Mandel), who spawns numerous small monsters when wet. In the first film, Gizmo's offspring rampaged through a small fictional town. In Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Gizmo multiplies within a skyscraper in New York City after his owner dies. The new creatures thus pose a serious threat to the city should they be able to leave the building, and the story revolves around the human characters' efforts to prevent this disaster.
The film opens at an undisclosed date in December close to Christmas. After his owner Mr. Wing dies, the mogwai Gizmo becomes the guinea pig of scientists at a lab in the Clamp Center, a state-of-the-art highrise building in Manhattan owned by eccentric billionaire Daniel Clamp. At the mercy of the chief researcher Dr. Catheter, Gizmo is rescued by his former owner Billy Peltzer and his fiancée Kate, both of whom work elsewhere in the building. Clamp befriends Billy upon being impressed by his skills in concept design, sparking the interest of Billy's superior Marla Bloodstone. Gizmo is left in the office, where water spills on his head from a broken drinking fountain and spawns four new mogwai. They cage Gizmo in the air vents and later eat at the building's food court after midnight, becoming gremlins.
After Gizmo escapes from the vent, Mohawk captures and tortures him. The other gremlins set off the fire sprinklers and spawn a gremlin army that throws the building into chaos. Billy attempts to lure the gremlins into the lobby, where sunlight will kill them; after Billy briefs Clamp on gremlin knowledge, Clamp exits through a secret tunnel to cover the front of the building in a giant sheet to trick the creatures. The gremlins drink genetic serums in the lab; one becomes the intelligent Brain Gremlin, another gremlin becomes female, and a third becomes a being of pure electricity and kills Dr. Catheter before Billy traps it in the building's telephone system. All the while, television host \"Grandpa Fred\" films the chaos, aided by Japanese tourist Mr. Katsuji.
Billy's plan to kill the gremlins by flooding the lobby with sunlight fails when rain clouds block the sun. He instead directs Murray to spray the gremlins with a fire hose, then releases the electric one from the telephone to electrocute and melt them all. Clamp charges in with the police and press, but sees the conflict is resolved; thrilled by the result, he promotes Billy, Kate, Fred, and Marla and hires Mr. Katsuji as a cameraman. Billy and Kate then return home with Gizmo. Forster calls Clamp to notify him that he is trapped at the highest floor of the building. The female gremlin, nicknamed \"Greta\" and the sole survivor of the horde, corners him and entices him to marry her.
The original Gremlins was a financial success, and Warner Bros. asked its director Joe Dante to make a sequel straight away. Dante declined, because he saw Gremlins as having a proper ending, and thus a sequel would only be meant to be profitable. Moreover, the original film was a taxing experience for Dante, and he wanted to move on. Work on Gremlins 2: The New Batch continued without him, as the studio approached various directors and writers. Storylines considered included sending the gremlins to cities like Las Vegas or even the planet Mars. After these ideas fell through, the studio returned to Dante, who agreed to make the sequel after receiving the rare promise of having complete creative control over the movie; he also received a budget triple that of the original film. Dante later acknowledged that by this point too much time had passed between the films, thus possibly reducing public interest in a Gremlins sequel.
In keeping with Dante's desires to satirize the original film, the sequel has some meta-references and self-referential humor. These include a cameo appearance by film critic Leonard Maltin. He holds up a copy of the original Gremlins home video and denounces it, just as he had in reality; however, his rant is cut short when gremlins pounce on him. Partly for this scene, one academic called Dante \"one of contemporary cinema's great pranksters.\"
At one point in the film, Dante attempted to involve his audience in the story by making it seem as if the gremlins had taken control of the theatre where Gremlins 2: The New Batch was showing. The filmstrip appears to be broken by the gremlins, who then engage in shadow puppetry over a white screen before replacing the reel with the vintage nudie film Volleyball Holiday. Hulk Hogan then makes a cameo appearance as an audience member and intimidates the gremlins into running the rest of Gremlins 2: The New Batch. This joke was inspired by a similar stunt in William Castle's film The Tingler (1959). The studio feared that people might leave the theatre if they thought the film had broken; Dante therefore secured the inclusion of the sequence by assembling some people for a preview of the film. When the scene was shown, the real-life audience found it enjoyable and stayed in the theatre. Dante later described this scene as one of the most widely enjoyed jokes in Gremlins 2.
When the film made its debut on home video, the filmmakers replaced the scene to make it seem as if the viewer's VCR had been broken by the gremlins. In this version, the gremlins do their shadow puppetry over white noise before changing the VCR's channels. Their antics stop at a broadcast of Chisum, where John Wayne forces the gremlins into continuing the film, although voice impersonation was needed since Wayne had been dead since 1979; actor Chad Everett was recommended by Wayne's son Patrick Wayne. Notably, a clip from Falling Hare, a film released in 1943 featuring Bugs Bunny and a gremlin, appears in this version. Also featured is a clip of the opening titles of the KTHV local newscast at the time in Little Rock, Arkansas. These sequences occur in lieu of the Hulk Hogan sequence which also featured Paul Bartel; home video audiences would not see these sequences until the DVD and Blu-ray releases (which includes the reworked VHS scene as a bonus feature).
The original version of the film was longer, but executive producer Steven Spielberg claimed that there were too many gremlins, and several scenes were cut as a result. One deleted scene portrayed three of the main gremlins, Daffy, Lenny, and George, sneaking into television host Grandpa Fred's studio and \"helping\" him host, acting on the premise that Grandpa Fred's show was intended to be scary (though this scene was later included in the tie-in novel).
Several actors from the original film returned to make Gremlins 2: The New Batch, including Galligan, Cates, and Dick Miller. Miller reprised his role as Billy's neighbor Mr. Futterman, who the gremlins severely injured (both physically and mostly mentally) in the first film, in an expanded role in this film. In the second, he plays a part in wiping out the creatures by dousing one in cement and using the building's fire hose against the others. Character actress Jackie Joseph returned to play Mr. Futterman's wife, and there were also brief reappearances in the movie theatre sequence from Belinda Balaski as a complaining mother and Kenneth Tobey as the projectionist. Keye Luke also returned to play Mr. Wing, Gizmo's original owner. When Luke heard his character would die in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, he quipped, \"Remember, when you make Gremlins 3, I'm a flashback!\". Hoyt Axton was meant to return as Billy's father, the inventor. He would have appeared at the end of the film, having designed special clothing for Gizmo that would ensure Gizmo would never come into contact with water again. At the last moment, the filmmakers decided not to shoot the scene to reduce time.
Leonard Maltin, movie critic for Entertainment Tonight, had given a negative review to the first Gremlins film. While Dante was initially hurt by the review, he invited Maltin to film a cameo as the movie critic of a fictional Clamp Cable Network show, The Movie Police. Maltin gives a snide review for the video re-release of the first film along the lines of his original review before being assaulted by gremlins, pleading, \"I was just kidding! It's a ten! A ten!\"
For special effects, the original film relied on Chris Walas, who moved on to pursue a directing career. Dante turned to Academy Award-winner Rick Baker to create the effects for Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Baker was not interested, as he saw Gremlins 2: The New Batch as too much work for a project in which he would not be the creator but rather a successor to Walas. He was eventually persuaded to accept the job when it was suggested he could make the gremlins and mogwai more diverse.
Later on, when the mogwai metamorphose into gremlins and multiply, they further diversify by running amok in the bio-lab and ingesting various drugs. One turns into a sunlight-resistant hybrid with a bat, thus becoming the Bat Gremlin. Mohawk becomes part-spider. One becomes part-vegetable (Vegetable Gremlin, as Dante named it), and another consumes a drug and turns into a female gremlin, referred to in at least one script as the \"Girl Gremlin\" and in the official trading card series and other promotional materials as \"Lady Gremlina\" with shiny red lips and mascara. Nowadays she is referred to as \"Greta\", after the late Greta Garbo.