In the first Gremlins (1984) film, the buyers are instructed to not feed him (Mogwai) after midnight.

What does “after midnight” mean exactly? What if they give Mogwai food at 6:00 MA or 7:00 AM? How long “after midnight” is it OK to feed him again?

And what if Mogwai was on a plane being fed while traveling from one time zone to another? What do you think would happen?

  • Isn't the second question from Gremlins 2? – Walt Dec 24 '16 at 22:46
  • @Walt I haven't seen gremlins 2, only 1 – maria Dec 24 '16 at 22:48
  • Oh, OK. I'm just asking because it's almost like a direct quote. ;) A person that didn't believe Billy taunted him and said: "What if they're in an airplane and they cross a time zone? It's always midnight somewhere." [There was no reply, though.] – Walt Dec 24 '16 at 22:52
  • BTW, as for Q1, I'm assuming it ends at dawn, since it's no longer nighttime. – Walt Dec 24 '16 at 22:58
  • 1
    I really like this question. And it reminds me of the concept behind “The Hour of the Wolf”: "According to the ancient Romans, the Hour of the Wolf means the time between night and dawn, just before the light comes, and people believed it to be the time when demons had a heightened power and vitality, the hour when most people died and most children were born, and when nightmares came to one." – JakeGould Dec 25 '16 at 5:52

Here are two explanations.

The first possibility, and most likely (in my opinion), is that this is a convenient theatrical construct to convey the creepiest or most dangerous time of the day – where it’s dark, cold, and things go bump in the night. There is always plenty of time for those who wander in the darkness to do their bidding. This is unlike just before dawn where one can be optimistic of coming light. And yes, I agree that with the coming of dawn, the period of risk is over until the approach of the next midnight.

The second possibility is to apply a little science. Assuming a day is exactly 24 hours, midnight is when you are 180 degrees longitude away from noon on the other side of Earth. Where it’s “high noon”, the sun is at zenith – the highest point in the sky. And this “line” of high noon moves around the Earth as it rotates on its axis. So, a gremlin would somehow have to know that it is “at opposite” to noon. That is the only non-fantastical answer. It also answers the question of whether you cross time zones. It doesn’t matter what time zone you are in and whether you are crossing time zones.

  • Third possibility: "after midnight" ends when they go to sleep. – detly Dec 28 '16 at 3:51
  • @detly Sounds good to me. – John Dec 28 '16 at 4:16
  • Of course, astronomical midnight isn't the same as midnight according to the time zone you're in... – Kyralessa Jun 12 '19 at 20:03

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