Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Gate

Director - Tibor Takacs (My Babysitter's A Vampire, I, Madman)
Starring - Stephen Dorff (Blade, Alone in the Dark), Christa Denton (The Bad Seed, The Burning Bed), and Louis Tripp (Detroit Rock City, Gate 2: The Trespassers)
Release Date - 1987
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "There's a passageway - a gate behind which the demons wait to take back what was once theirs...pray it's not too late"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     I find it weird how kids these days don't have the amount of horror flicks aimed toward them like I did growing up.  I grew up during the rise and fall of Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Big Wolf on Campus, Big Bad Beetleborges, and so many other great horror themed shows.  This was when such classics as Monster Squid, The Gate, Little Monsters, Ernest Scared Stupid, and so many more were readily available on cable and VHS at the local video store.  Sadly, it seems that moderns films aimed for the younger audience abandons horror with the exception of a few films mostly produced by R.L. Stine.  Not long ago Vestron Video announced their release of the classic kid's horror flick The Gate.  I loved that movie growing up and couldn't wait to see it restored.  I reached out to Vestron and they were kind enough to send a review copy my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows Glen (Dorff) who discovers a small crystalline orb in his back yard after a tree was uprooted.  He brings it into his house and shows his metal loving friend who realizes that the tree and orb is party of a gateway to ancient beings that once ruled the land when everything was covered in darkness.  They site the incantation said on the record to see if its true when strange things start to happen.  When small creatures appear in his home he must say the incantation backwards in order to reverse the spell before all the creatures make their way back to the land they once occupied. 
     The Gate is one of those films I had seen many times growing up.  I remember renting it at the local video store and watching the DVD I bought years ago.  It was a fun film that played perfectly in a double feature with The Monster Squad.   I didn't enjoy it as much this time around but it was still a damn fine example of 80s horror.  The acting in this one is fun.  The entire cast shows tremendous talent in front of the camera and their direction is damn near perfect.  The characters are rather flat but they work with what they have and give the viewer some very enjoyable performances.  It is rare to see a cast centered around children that actually delivers great performances.  The story for this one is part Poltergeist and part Evil Dead.  It is a great mash up that delivers some of my favorite elements from both films.  I really enjoy the ancient creatures summoned by incantation angle.  Most films that do this have went on to become my favorite films.  The film carries great pacing and the story continuously builds on atmosphere and tension reminiscent of the horror films of the 40s and 50s.  Finally, this one is the gore soaked horror flick that most expect to see from an 80s horror flick.  Instead, this one relies on story and great practical effects.  We get great stop motion creatures that was rarely used at the time and solid practical effects.  Overall, The Gate should be a staple for all young horror fans.  The film showcases effects no longer being used and a story that worked for what it was.  This is a fun film to watch by yourself or during family night so be sure to pick up Vestron's new bluray.


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