‘Gremlins’ star Zach Galligan on Phoebe Cates’s infamous Santa speech

Here’s your annual reminder: If you have young children and want to show them one of your childhood favorites, Joe Dante’s 1984 Creature Feature Favorite Gremlinsbe sure to fast-forward through this “Santa Claus” speech.

A refresher: Billy (Zach Gilligan) and his girlfriend Kate (Phoebe Cates) are taking a break from getting rid of a drunk Mogwai when Kate tells a long, dark story about why she stopped believing in Santa Claus: When When she was 9 years old, her father dressed up in St. Nick’s, slipped and fell on the roof, broke his neck and landed on the chimney, where he died. He was not found until they set fire to his body and cremated it.

The infamous, shockingly sick monologue has taken on a life of its own over the years through the otherwise hilarious comedy-horror classic.

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Gremlins Fans have been sharing the clip around this year (a YouTube clip of the scene below is titled “Worst Christmas Story Ever”), while also pondering how holy the holiday scene was in the final cut. It’s over. Its tonal contrast from the rest of the film.

Gilligan has his own theory: “If you really look at the role of Phoebe Cates, she doesn’t really have much in the movie if you take away that story and her Christmas mystery,” she told us in a recent interview with Sun. said during Diego Comic-Con previously mentioned its production.

“So we shot the scene. She kept repeating it impatiently. She really had an extraordinary work ethic [a 19-year-old]. She repeated this every day. She used to say: ‘What is this way? What about this way?’ She probably repeated it 100, 150 times. So by the time we got there, she totally nailed it and did an extraordinary job.

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An executive at the film’s distributor, Warner Bros., immediately flagged it, Gilligan says.

The studio was like, ‘What is this?’ Some people were like, ‘Is this true? Is this a joke? Is it supposed to be funny?’ So we had to go and tell Phoebe that they were going to cut the scene… She wasn’t happy about it, and Jo wasn’t happy about it. And basically he had the final cut and when it came time to leave it or take it out, he just decided, ‘You know what? I make executive decisions and I leave them.

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“So he left and the rest is history.”

Acclaimed director Chris Columbus, who wrote the screenplay Gremlins Before the helming hit Alone at home and harry pottershared a similar memory with us in 2020.

Columbus even admitted that it was his favorite sequence in the film, and that both Dante and producer Steven Spielberg helped secure it in a deal with the studio.

“I didn’t have much at that time, I was just a screenwriter [and] It was only my second movie,” Columbus said. “But Joe and Steven talked some sense into them.”


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