Creature Crypt, Week 1: “The Last Halloween” Aliens; Gizmo


“Creature Crypt” is a four part weekly column that spotlights two creatures from our childhood that made us in to rabid horror fans. These are the creatures that scared us, wowed us, made us cry, and made us hope they weren’t under our bed.

I was nine years old in 1991, and I can still fondly remember going to shop with my parents, and picking up some Reese’s pieces. It was a big bag meant for everyone in the house. I, of course, took about a hand full every hour the bag was full, and every time I’d open the bag, I’d see the ad on the lower right hand corner for the half hour CBS TV movie entitled “The Last Halloween.”

I could never be sure if this special was intended as a one shot deal to promote Reese’s, or was intended as a pilot. I’m still not too sure. In fact, not many people remember what “The Last Halloween” really is. All I’m sure is, after watching it over twenty years later is that it’s a lost relic that has so much charm to it. It’s a definite “ET” rip off, but it’s one that tries its best to deliver an interesting story in only a half hour’s time, and warrants immense nostalgia. At least for me. The Reese’s aliens are three computer Animated aliens that crash land on Earth, and end up in a small town named Crystal Lake.

The town is about to be condemned thanks to the fact that the river has literally dried up from experiments by the two mad evil scientists of the town, and the town no longer has a resource to continue its economy which involves making candy for various companies. Thus, the towns folks are celebrating what promises to be the last Halloween of their home town.

The foursome of friendly aliens are Romtu, Gleep, Bing, and Scoota, as voiced by acting champs Don Messick, Frank Welker, and Paul Williams. They’re in search of the precious “Coobi” which can help fuel their space ship to take them back home.

They, of course, befriend a young brother and sister, both of whom are still clinging to the memory of their mother who passed away years before. “Coobi” is obviously candy, and in order to find Coobi, they pretend to be trick or treaters on Halloween night, and they must evade the evil evil scientists, as played by Rhea Perlman and Richard Moll.

The special is really only twenty minutes in length, but it’s still a very entertaining Halloween treat with its eye solely based around a town where Halloween is the biggest day of the year due to the candy factory. The aliens, in spite of the ancient computer animation, are adorable. It’s a shame that the premise or characters never progressed beyond this one special, but damn it, I loved it then and I am very fond of it, now.

In spite of the fact that the Mogwai came with a slew of abstract rules and guidelines, every kid I knew wanted a Mogwai at one time or another. Can you imagine the chaos if every kid in America owned a Mogwai that eventually bred the blood thirsty Gremlins? It’d be blood soaked havoc.

That said, I, like many others, always found the guidelines confusing. Do you not feed the Mogwai after midnight in your time zone? How do you keep them dry if the air is moist, and food is also generally moist? And do you feed them only once? What’s the schedule for feedings before midnight? In either case, thanks to wonderful puppetry, and Howie Mandell’s immortal voice work, Mogwai aka Gizmo is that sacred plot device that’s kind of blatant, but still very lovable.

It’s not often heroes can be as popular as the villains, but with “Gremlins” Gizmo is thankfully just as memorable and beloved by movie fan as the Gremlins are. Gizmo is the unfortunate breeder of his race who, when doused with any liquid, forms boils on his back that burst from his skin and form odd variations of the furry monster.

The furry offspring eventually sour and become scaly, green, twisted monsters altered by their environments, and they’re tougher to beat than they look. The gremlins can breed, too, and they become ever more violent and vicious the longer they’re alive.

The movies were ironic in that they bred their own variations in the realm of so many knock offs that it became its own sub-genre eventually. Some were great like “Critters,” and some were unwatchable like “Hobgoblins.” Gizmo gets a lot more focus in “Gremlins 2” with his Rambo action hero stint, and his insistence on fighting the Gremlins when they piss him off. Mogwai is a risky pet, but who wouldn’t want that sweet song to lull them to sleep every night?