The Gate (1987)

The Gate poster

Director:  Tibor Tikacs

Starring:  Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, Louis Tripp

 

You’ve read other reviews by now in which Chris and I talk about our experiences in the “video store” as kids. (I’m not talking about peeking around the curtain into the adult section.  My video store actually had saloon doors marking the entrance to this section, which is somehow even dirtier)  No, I’m talking about picking out flicks based strictly on their giant clamshell badass VHS case cover art.

Kinda like 1987’s The Gate.

I remember watching this one with yet another babysitter as a kid and prior to my recent viewing I remembered four things about it.

Interested?

  1.  Some nerdy kid plays a record backwards and hears a voice.
  2. A giant demon is shot in the heart with a model rocket
  3. A little demon crawls out of a hole (OK, so I might still be thinking about Chris’s and my conversation about the adult section again…)
  4. A construction worker died and was buried in the wall of the house the people live in.  I actually used this story to scare the living shit out of my wife when she first moved into my college apartment with me and I told her the same thing happened….except that I also added that the worker probably hadn’t had a woman in 10 years and he might try to get her when she was in the shower.  Then I’d put on a mask and scare her while she was in the shower.  I digress….

With all of that being said, I was very excited when I saw this one appear on Netlix’s instant library.  True to my form I’ll give you a quick synopsis and then my thoughts on the film.

The Gate stars a very young Stephen Dorff as Glen, who—along with his nerdy-as-fuck friend Terry—open a gate to hell in Glen’s backyard.  Out of this “gate” pour a bunch of little naked demon things that proceed to fuck with Glen, Terry and his sister Alexandra. Terry plays some Motley Crue-esque album backwards and allegedly figures out how to send all of the demons back to hell.  Oh yeah, then some construction worker that got buried in the walls breaks out and attacks Alexandra and Terry.  A giant demon thing breaks out of the living room floor (for real, this fucker is massive) and Stephen Dorff saves the day by firing a model rocket into its chest.

 

Gate demons    They’re kinda adorable, right?

 

So here we go.

First off, Stephen Dorff was awesome in this.  I mean, not as awesome as that blue E-cigarette commercial he did recently, but for a child actor in a horror movie, his performance was pretty solid.

Secondly, this movie reeks of the 80’s.  The hair and clothes speak for themselves, but I feel like the most 80’s thing about the movie was the house that it takes place in.  It’s that rich, suburban California kind of house that you only seem to see in movies like Poltergeist and E.T.

The effects in this one weren’t bad for its time, especially the scenes with those little demon bastards.  The film makers made effective and impressive use of some forced perspective shots and I’ve read elsewhere that the demons were played by guys in rubber suits.  There’s also some Claymation that’s far less impressive, but I think this is just another staple of 80’s cult horror flicks, and trust me—this one is.  The gore in this one is virtually non-existent, but I think that’s often the case with “Monster Movies.”

The Gate has a fairly decent cult following these days, and while you won’t come away feeling overly “wowed,” it will entertain you for 90 minutes or so.

 

–Tyson  tyson headshot

 

The Verdict

Overall

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Plot

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Acting

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Gore

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Atmosphere

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Suspense

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