10 Risky Film Moments Directors Thought They'd Lose You

9. Kate's Christmas Story - Gremlins

Birds Of Prey Margot Robbie
Amblin Entertainment

Though Joe Dante's terrific creature feature is a black comedy through and through, there's a single scene which sticks out as especially grim, when Kate (Phoebe Cates) reveals that she hates Christmas because her father died after falling down the family chimney while dressed as Santa.

It's by far the darkest moment in the movie and one that's paradoxically depressing and hilarious - a story so straight-faced and horrifying that the only sane response is to laugh.

Dante faced enormous pushback from both Warner Bros. and executive producer Steven Spielberg, who felt that the scene should be removed because its intent was ambiguous - was it supposed to be upsetting or funny?

Dante absolutely knew the scene was incredibly risky in a highly commercial Christmas movie, but also fought hard to ensure its inclusion regardless. In Gremlins' DVD commentary, Dante said:

"We worked so hard on this scene... and tried to make it have just the right touch of pathos and goofiness, and I was really happy with it and thought this really encapsulates the tone this movie has for me. On the way back to the editing room the editor turned to me and said, 'This will never be in the picture.' And it became my quest to make sure it stayed in the picture."

Thankfully Dante got his way, and the film was a stonking commercial success regardless of this two-minute brick wall of a scene.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.