Every year, when Christmas rolls around, I inevitably get the urge to rewatch what I like to refer to as my favourite Christmas movie of all time: Gremlins. I first saw Gremlins in the theatre as a kid, and it certainly made a big impression on me. There was a lot to like about it. It had a cute (albeit potentially dangerous) little critter. It had a likeable hero. It had an exciting adventure. And to top it all off, it had the gorgeous Phoebe Cates.
Without a doubt, the movie actress I had the biggest crush on in my youth was Phoebe Cates. And this was entirely because of her role as Kate Beringer in the Gremlins movies; you may be surprised to learn that even to this day, I have never seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High. However, thanks to the advent of the internet, I have been able to watch the famous topless scene from it. But this was, of course, more than twenty years after the movie first came out. I have seen Paradise, in which Ms Cates has several nude scenes (including a lovely one where she is standing under a waterfall), but that was also in the age of the internet. In fact, Drop Dead Fred is the only other Phoebe Cates film I saw in the eighties, when she was at the height of her acting career. And the only reason I wanted to see it at all was because she was in it; Drop Dead Fred was otherwise rather forgettable. But now, let’s get to the focus of this post: Kate Beringer.
As you probably know, only two Gremlins movies were made. In the original film, which was simply titled Gremlins, Kate is one of the co-workers and, more importantly, the love interest of the hero, Billy Peltzer (played by the incredibly affable Zach Galligan). She is very beautiful, brave and caring; qualities which I think make her a close-to-perfect heroine. She also has an admirably sharp wit: when told by another male co-worker that she hasn’t seen his new apartment, she remarks she hasn’t seen his old one. When danger eventually ensues, Kate proves herself quite capable of dealing with it. Well, for the most part at least; Billy does come to her rescue at one point.
In the second film, titled Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Kate, who is now living and working with Billy in the big city, once again faces off with the deadly creatures. However, the tone of this sequel is much less serious than its predecessor, and much of the action is for laughs. Nevertheless, Phoebe Cates’ performance of an exasperated young woman, who finds herself caught up in an increasingly zany series of events is, in my opinion at least, quite endearing.
There is one thing I have not yet mentioned in regards to the character of Kate Beringer, and you could say that it is her trademark trait. If you are at all familiar with her, or indeed even Gremlins in general, you will probably know what I’m referring to. Yes, I’m talking about her particularly dark back story. Early in the first movie, she is shown to be irritated by the idea of Christmas, and the reason for this is revealed in the middle of the climax of the movie. Some people seem to think this revelation scene is a bit ridiculous, but I really like it. I find the story Kate tells to be quite touching, and I think the way Ms Cates delivers it is simply superb. But then again, I’m a bit of a sucker for melancholic tales, like the ones you might find in Victorian literature.
When it comes to Kate Beringer merchandise, there is sadly next to nothing out there. A few years ago, the Funko company released a number of Gremlins figurines for their ReAction line, but a Kate figure was not included. I read somewhere that this was because Ms Cates had refused to give permission to Funko for the use of her likeness, but I’m not sure if this is true or not. Kate also appeared in the now discontinued LEGO Dimensions game, but only in digital form. No physical LEGO minifigure of Kate was ever made. But to be honest, that doesn’t bother me; the figure in the game wasn’t anything special.
Well that’s it for this Featured Heroine post and I can safely say there won’t be another one until next year. When exactly that will be, I don’t know yet, but I do have plans for a way to showcase more heroines, starting from January 1. So stay tuned for that! Till next time, au revoir, arrivederci and may the force be with you!😊