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Official Site: New Line Cinema
The Critters film series, from New Line Cinema, comprises four movies that combine elements of horror, science fiction and comedy. The first film, called simply Critters, was released in 1986 and received "two thumbs up" from Siskel and Ebert.
Althoughly widely believed to have been made to "cash in" on the success of the similarly-themed Gremlins, director Stephen Herek has refuted this in interviews, pointing out that the first Critters script was written by Domonic Muir long before Gremlins went into production and subsequently underwent rewrites to reduce the apparent similarities between the two films. In any case, the basic plotline of the first film - mysterious stranger arrives in small town to repel marauding invaders - more closely resembles a classic Western narrative.
The central focus of the series is upon a group of malevolent carnivorous alien creatures called "Krites" (or perhaps "Crites") that have the ability to roll into balls (cf. hedgehog) and combine into a pernicious sphere that can roll across the landscape and cause untold destruction. In appearance, the individual Krites resemble small furry/spiky animals with large mouths and many sharp teeth. Throughout the movies - usually in groups - they attack humans by biting and attempting to eat them, or at least a piece of them. The spikes on their backs can be launched as projectiles, with devastating effect at times (actually the spikes can render the victim unconscious or asleep and pulling them out can awaken the victim). The coloration of the Krites varies between black, brown and navy blue. In the original film they also managed to grow to a larger size - a plot point dropped in all sequels.
The storyline for the first two films involves bounty hunter from outer space who hunt the extraterrestrial monsters in small American towns. The setting for the third movie is a city. In the final film, the hunt takes place on a space station.
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