You can't feed Mogwai after midnight because otherwise they turn into Gremlins.

But what time is safe again?

  • 11
    Mogwai operates on strict Greenwich Mean Time, that's what confuses most owners. Jan 16, 2012 at 15:26
  • 5
    A downvote? Why? Jan 16, 2012 at 15:28
  • 6
    I upvoted you. While I liked the movie as a kid, I don't think Gremlins makes any sense. It doesn't follow any sort of logic. I think Joe Dante was just screwing with us :)
    – Andres F.
    Jan 16, 2012 at 15:38
  • 6
    I don't have anything to back this up, but my feeling would say dawn in when it becomes safe again.
    – eidylon
    Jan 16, 2012 at 16:27
  • 5
    @MarkRogers I think it its actually Gremlin Mean Time (GMT)
    – JK.
    Jan 18, 2012 at 0:41

2 Answers 2


There's no real explanation given, and in fact these questions are raised in the film series itself.

There's also no rational explanation given for the transition of a mammal into a reptile. It just happens.

The only possible explanation is magic.

Following the common themes of magic, I would assume it's a problem between the witching hour (midnight) and dawn - dawn being the typical start of a new day, with new beginnings, and generally presumed to have mystical significance.

  • 12
    +1 for magic. Much better explanation than "Gremlins doesn't make sense!"
    – Plutor
    Jan 16, 2012 at 19:58
  • 3
    @Plutor - Gremlins DOES make sense... once you add magic!
    – Omegacron
    Jul 6, 2015 at 21:09
  • 1
    @KevinWorkman: They're repeatedly described as 'reptilian' in the novelization and (I believe) the movies. Also, armadillos 'scales' (which are actually bony plates) don't resemble the Gremlin's skin in the least. I doubt very much they were actually reptiles, but it's the best correlation with real animal group (specifically, Reptilia) that can be drawn.
    – Jeff
    Feb 1, 2016 at 19:47
  • 2
    @Jeff Something can be described as reptilian without actually being a reptile- in fact, reptilian can also mean "repulsive" without talking about reptiles at all. My point with the armadillo is that not all mammals are soft and fuzzy. Feb 1, 2016 at 19:57
  • 1
    The traditional witching hour is 3 am. Some recent usage extends it to midnight to 3.
    – Anthony
    May 13, 2018 at 8:11

Having seen the movies as an older person, (lol) my thought on it is that it was meant for kids. Therefore it is a warning against midnight snacks- no food after midnight. Just like children, they would be going to sleep and then eating in the morning. So, I think that's what makes them "safe"- a good nights sleep before eating.

  • Hi there. I fixed your formatting because the answer was a little difficult to comprehend. If I changed the meaning of your answer too much, please feel free to change it back. Jun 14, 2013 at 0:28
  • 3
    Gremlins was rated PG-13, had things like exploding creatures and talking about characters dying while stuck in a chimney and dressed as Santa. While the movie may have been family accessible, something tells me that this was not "meant for kids".
    – phantom42
    Jun 14, 2013 at 0:54
  • 3
    @phantom42: eh, depends how you judge what's appropriate for kids. Old school German fairy tales were intended for kids, and were pretty grim. The idea was to scare them away from danger. Who's to say they were wrong? Jun 14, 2013 at 12:27
  • 9
    You are so right, it was meant to teach kids lessons like "Don't snack late at night." and "Don't take baths, ever."
    – Jeff
    Jun 14, 2013 at 12:52
  • 4
    @PaulD.Waite: Would you even say those German fairy tales were Grimm?
    – Jeff
    Jun 14, 2013 at 12:53

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