Joe Dante talks ‘Gremlins,’ movie magic at Hero Complex Film Festival

Hero Complex - movies, comics, pop culture - Los Angeles Times

Joe Dante reflects on the process of making "Gremlins" at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival (Anne Cusack/LA Times) Joe Dante reflects on the process of making “Gremlins” at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

The beloved horror-comedy “Gremlins” might be turning 30 this year, but at a late afternoon screening at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival in Hollywood, the film proved it can still cast a spell over viewers.

Not that director Joe Dante ever expected it to become such a cultural touchstone.

“I was amazed,” Dante said Saturday. “You never know if anybody’s going to be on your wavelength.”

Produced by Steven Spielberg with a script from Chris Columbus, the 1984 film, which starred Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, introduced moviegoers to the race of adorable creatures known as mogwai — and their far more devious counterparts.

The story centers on the pandemonium that springs up in a small town after Galligan’s Billy inadvertently breaks the three cardinal rules for caring for…

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