The holiday season has arrived! I’ve already been enjoying some winter horror here at home, getting all cozy under the heat blanket (because I live in a basement and I’ll die if I don’t use one). Curtains was great, hadn’t seen that one before this year. Feeders 2: Slay Bells is pure SOV alien xmas goodness, and there’s always Christmas Evil to put you in the magical holiday spirit. But of all the xmas movies out there, it’s safe to say that my favorite holiday horror movie is Gremlins from 1984. This is the one that needs to be discussed. As great as this movie is, it’s also pretty fucking ridiculous, and don’t you think for one second that Phoebe Cates is gonna get away with some of the outfits she rocks in this one.
There are two main babes in this gem. We have mom to main dude Billy (of course his name is Billy), Lynn Peltzer played by Frances Lee McCain and we have Kate Beringer played by the 80s babe Phoebe Cates – the hot girl in town who’s friends and coworkers with Billy at the bank and is also into him. Let’s start with Kate.
We meet her at the bank in a shiny blue dress with itty bitty florals, puffed sleeves, and a ruffled high buttoned neck. This, paired with the hair pinned in a twist at both sides that disappears into a braided bun, is a TOUGH combination.
By this first glimpse, we are disappointed, but we get it. We accept that she is being presented to us, without mistake, as a young woman who has not yet grown up. This outfit says it all. Innocent, childish, and someone who doesn’t understand that bone structure and outfit choice play an important role.
The swept bangs are cute, and honestly what else could she have possibly done with this kiddie updo. At least she could have had some drop earrings or even small hoops to bring this look to life. The necklace is a mistake. There is far too much happening with buttons and poofs and ruffles to play tricks on you.
Girl, no. This look is 1000% the wrong one with a round face like Kate’s. I don’t know what’s worse here, the outfit or the hair. The hairdo is definitely accentuating the worst parts of her face and there’s nothing below the neck to help a girl out. Round faced babes need to know this. If you gotta do a puffed sleeve and clasp a collar to the very top, at least wear your hair down and pull only one side back or behind the ear. And for god sake, don’t wear a gold stud earring. BUT – we understand what we need to get from Kate with this scene. We are given simple girl next door who works at the bank and will probably go off to college one day and marry a scientist. We got it.
Kate’s bar look when we meet her again is a break away from that kiddie vibe and into almost full grown independent womanhood. Any sweater that has reindeer on it is a complete win in my book, especially if it’s paired with a turtleneck underneath. The light brown pants go really well with the light tan of the sweater and the double grey in the turtleneck and deer is effortless. It says, “I hate Christmas because that’s when my dad died but I’m not gonna hide from a tasteful holiday sweater.” Talk about independence!
Kate is making up for lost time with this new hair style. One side up and French braided is a MUCH better look for her. It’s youthful and grownup all at the same time. We are okay with a stud earring here because it’s just the right amount of shimmer peaking out from behind her hair. Well done Kate, you’ve brought me back.
When Kate emerges again from the bar a second time, she’s got her hair completely down. She’s eady to be vulnerable and ready to be walked home and asked out by Billy. Her giant grey-tan coat is adorable, it’s she’s not trying too hard to draw attention, and honestly that’s what we truly love about Kate.
We have a light strawberry lip with a chunky brown scarf not around her neck but around the coat collar which is a move that I still am not quite sure I understand. She’s dressed for the part on this one, no complaints on how bundled she is in this scene because it’s perfect. This outfit doesn’t draw our attention away from the moment, which is a true win in styling. She’s got a little plaid peaking out from underneath that coat and we are thankful she’s keeping it festive but the kicker to this whole outfit is in the details…
She has a white lace collar coming over the plaid shirt and in the scene when Billy asks her out, we get a good look at it. It’s as if she knew this was her night so she busted out the sneaky white lace that no one ever saw coming. White lace is a bold move, it’s very bridal. It could have been black lace, but it wasn’t, it was specifically white which can only mean one thing – Kate is waiting for the right kinda guy. She’s not gonna fuckin’ fool around with just anyone so Billy better watch out cause she’s looking for THE ONE.
This is also said with this gorgeous floppy winter beanie cap falling to one side. She’s playful, she’s sure of herself, she can rock a gold stud earring every single day of the week without shame and she’s ready to swept up. Also, who says an 80s geometric snow pattern is a thing of the past when Kate rocks it so effortlessly here. You wonder why it’s not used for an Urban Outfitters ad at this very moment.
Kate gets thrown into the Gremlin mix as they force her to give them beer and light their cigarettes at the bar, and lucky for us, we get her in a new outfit.
Hair still down in very loose curls with way more volume this time. We are dying over how good it looks with her full bangs. She’s layering, we knew she was a layering kinda gal. Red long-sleeve turtleneck underneath a dark green and blue flannel with a wool sweater vest with chunky brown buttons to top it all off. We are here for the color scheme, it’s not too busy it’s not too holiday. Kate wouldn’t dare.
Gotta say though, I don’t like the sweater vest here for her. We know she’s flustered at the bar with all these Gremlin’s demands, but she also looks hot as hell – not in a good way. She literally looks like she’s going to pass out from heat stroke in this scene.
Kate is pretty damn smart, you know she’d take off that sweater vest until she was going out into the cold. Then it would make sense. It’s like, we know she’s not trying to show any sort of body curve whatsoever but damn girl, read the room, it’s full of Gremlins. Chill. You don’t always have to look like a paper sack.
This is the outfit she wears for the ultimate Christmas story reveal about her pops and how he died in the chimney. If it’s gonna be any outfit to tell a story like that then this might as well be it. It’s not a cute enough outfit to sell the story but she’s cute enough to pull off the outfit at least.
She’s gorgeous and the hair she’s rocking in these scenes with this outfit frames her face perfectly. Again, the sweater vest makes more sense in the scenes to follow than it ever did at the bar.
Okay, the best look that Kate wears in the entire movie is the very last outfit we see her in and it’s for the shortest amount of time. This is a major bummer because she looks STUNNING with her side part and bangs spilling over with a soft curl at the ends of her hair.
She goes full on holiday mode with this sweater and its as if she’s finally accepted her father’s fate and welcomed the holiday season with open arms, especially after the night she’s had.
This holiday sweater in dark blue, red, purple and white is gorgeous and fits her perfectly. It even has a light mid-sleeve frill at either side and a layered look with white poking out above the collar. This is a perfect outfitted moment for Kate. We are proud of her. She is finally coming into herself and figuring out what she really wants. Is it Billy? Is it a career? Is it new earrings? We may never truly know but we can rest in the fact that this sweater is bringing her one step closer.
Let’s see what mom’s up to. We don’t get a lot of Lynn but we still get enough to gain what we need. We meet Lynn in the Peltzer home and she’s in all blue. It’s almost the same exact shade of blue we met Kate in at the bank and both dresses had a puff sleeve. Hm, I could go into Freudian analysis right now but I won’t take the time. All I’m saying is It’s a pretty obvious parallel and we are totally seeing it.
Honestly this dress is super pretty, it’s got some ruching at the waist and has an extra layer of fringe coming down the skirt. Lynn knows what she’s doing, it’s classy, it’s holiday, it’s very modern and the fit is perfect for her.
She’s a fun mom that’s also caring and kind, but the fringe is anything but simple. Lynn’s got some inner demons, we can tell.
After Billy saves his dog from actually hanging to death outside by Christmas lights we are forever scared and the red ‘boyfriend style’ flannel with a chunky blue cardigan is the perfect comfort.
When we see Lynn again, back in the kitchen, she’s making horrible looking gingerbread cookies and we notice she’s kept the cardigan but has changed everything else.
She’s got on high waisted blush pink pants with a light colored plaid long sleeve – it screams a domesticated ode to the late 50s, especially with that cardigan, which is why the scene that follows is so good. Lynn fights the Gremlins almost to death in this outfit and it’s just a wonderful thing to see.
It’s a juxtaposition between the modern 80s and the generation she grew up in, one that’s behind her now. Is she fighting the Gremlins or is she fighting against the changing times? Is she fighting instead the urge to run away from time and the ticking clock, to run back to a past where she was young and free?
Even if she did try to fly away, that cardigan would surely weigh her down. Lynn, we may never know what it is you are searching for but motherhood suits you well and so do those pants so don’t give up now.
When we see Lynn again, long after the Christmas tree Gremlin fight, she’s not playing the victim and pairs a light pleated knee length black skirt with a long tan cotton cardigan. She wears a salmon colored long sleeve blouse with a neck tie fastened in a loose bow. No matter what Lynn is thinking, this color combination is perfect.
The last time we ever see Lynn and Kate, they are together at the Peltzer home. Both looking the part, both looking gorgeous in their strongest and best outfits of the film. Kate, seeing Lynn and looking into a version of her future. Lynn, seeing Kate as the reminder of her youth. Who knows what will become of them, but at least, for now, they are content.
So remember, if your washing machine blows up or your video recorder konks out, before you call the repair man turn on all those lights, check all the closets and cupboards, and look under all the beds cause there just might be a Gremlin in your house.
As always here at Horror Fashion Review, we highlight and thank Linda Matthews, the costume supervisor for all the women characters on this film. Thank you for the efforts and hours put into these choices!