ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Gate (1987)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Tibor Takacs

Starring:
Stephen Dorff/Glenn
Christa Denton/Al
Louis Tripp/Terry
Kelly Rowan/Lori Lee
PLOT-CRUNCH
Two brats (Dorff, Tripp) unwillingly open the gates of hell through a hole in the backyard. Demons step up and cause quite a ruckus.
THE LOWDOWN
"The Gate" was a fun ride when I was a kid. I actually saw this baby in the theatres! Of course, watching it today didn’t come close to having the same effect on me that it had when I was a wee Arrow but it still slapped a few smiles on my face. Even from an adult's point of view, the film has many spooky moments (the blinking lights, the moths, the ghosts, the dream sequences, the guy living in the walls), way kool effects (the little demons still look good, the eye in the hand) and mucho atmosphere (the creepy hole and shadows). The director manages to give the film a very eerie vibe that reminded me of “Poltergeist” at times.

Unfortunately from an adult's point of view, I also picked up on the atrocious dialogue. My two favorite lines are: “Demons? What kind?” and “You’re my best friends”. PUKE! I also noticed the bad acting stink up the joint and the ridiculously bad finale (rocket this!). Speaking of the finale, was that final creature badly done or what!?! Since the effects are all well done throughout the movie the last creature takes tension away from the conclusion. They should’ve kept that big boy in the dark or something.

This movie was made for early teens. I mean nobody gets killed here, the gore is minimal and the nudity non-existent. But even if you’re over the age of 12, I still think you might find a few things to lap up here. The film’s main action set piece for example is pretty exhilarating. Every time you think it’s over, something else happens. The film goes out of its way to be creative and in this age of unoriginality, it’s really refreshing to see. Will you jump in the hole and meet the demons?
GORE
A cut off head that falls to the ground, a face that goes to mush, an eye growing out of some kid's hand, some gnarly little critters and a giant fake demon.
ACTING
Stephen Dorff (Glenn) wasn’t the actor that he is today in this film. Sometimes he’s on and sometimes he’s off. Christa Denton (Al) does fine but has to fight the horrible dialogue on many occasions. Louis Tripp (Terry) has a few good lines as the metal-head geek but he couldn’t help but get on my nerves a bit. Kelly Rowan (Lori Lee) and Jennifer Irving (Linda Lee) do their jobs well. There supposed to be annoying nags and it worked! I wanted them to die so bad. NOTE: The two actors who play the parents in this film win my award for the "most phony and forced performance" in an 80’s film. Wow, now that was bad!
T & A
The demons are nude…oh yeah!!!
DIRECTING
Takacs succeeds in creating a gloomy atmosphere and really delivers with the midway action set piece. Pretty entertaining stuff! From a visual standpoint, I dug the play with shadows but despised the over-lighting of scenes from time to time and the corny matte paintings.
SOUNDTRACK
Some silly 80’s pop music and some okay 80’s metal. The score worked when it played it subtle but unfortunately it liked to go overboard a lot.
BOTTOM LINE
I guess growing up has its drawbacks. When I first saw this film, I didn’t even know what bad dialogue was! "The Gate" is flawed and a bit silly but that doesn’t mean that it’s not fun. This is the perfect horror flick to watch with your little sister. If the demons don’t scare her, the horrendous 80’s fashions will.
BULL'S EYE
Tibor Takacs also directed the sequel: Gate 2.

This film is Canadian.

In 1988, Christa Denton won the “Young Artist Award” for best young actress in "The Gate".
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