The Gate - Horror Movie Review - (Day 6 of 31) - October Massacre

The Gate - Horror Movie Review - (Day 6 of 31) - October Massacre
8 10

PLOT: Glen and Terry (Stephen Dorff, Louis Tripp) inadvertently open a gate to hell in Glen's backyard, releasing ancient demons (don't you hate when that happens?. The boys and Glen's sister Al (Christa Denton) must find a way to send the demons back and seal the gate.

REVIEW: Ahh, The Gate- this always takes me back. This is another one of those horror flicks that was sort of a rite of passage for me, a movie that was unquestionably too scary for my age group, but surviving it meant something special. This is another case where they just don't make 'em like this anymore. I've got some fairly vivid memories of my dad making me watch it when I was young, thinking that since there were kids in it I wouldn't be too affected by it. I have never forgotten it to this day.

Most movies you tend to re-watch these days have a tendency of letting you down when it counts. Effects are dated, performances are terrible and the magic just seems gone. I can state happily that The Gate really held up to my memories, and that's no easy feat.   This flick marked the debut of Stephen Dorff and manages to weave a cool concept about a rock album used for satanic rituals which can literally open the gates of hell. As I mentioned, the special effects hold up quite well, even on creature and demon effects- there's  plenty of memorable moments including the eyeball in the hand gag and some gore for a PG-13 rated movie (hope you don't love dogs). There's a real Lovecraft-style influence at play here.

I think what makes this movie so effective is that the main characters, Steven Dorff as Glen and Louis Tripp as Terry are both very believable and effective. Dorff is the innocent (but not wholly innocent) young man, while Terry is the conflicted (albeit somewhat nerdy) bad influence who causes all this stuff to happen. Of course it's ridiculous that kids could open up a gate to hell in their backyard- but the reactions of the kids are realistic almost across the board and that's what makes this one work.

There are also a lot of little things that kept me interested in this film. I loved the 'heavy metal' influence in this one. I love that the nerdy kid is acting out because he lost his mom. I love that the movie is quite mean- a dead parent returning to torment their child, the loss of a family pet, live parents coming back as monsters, that stuff was great. This movie has a set of mean balls on it. Wait..does that make any sense? Mean balls? Man, my references are getting weak.

As I mentioned earlier, I have to give some serious props to the effects crew, namely Randall Cook, who created the little demons who terrorize the kids in the later half of the film.  I'm not sure if the demons were ever dudes in suits, but if they weren't and were indeed all stop motion then that is truly a feat- the effects hold up very well, aside from a few close up shots. The strange inclusion of the 'workman' zombie and his fall where he turns into dwarves was just fantastic. Although the ending left a bit to be desired, The Gate is everything I hoped it would be all over again and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

BEST TNA SCENE: Well, this one's fairly light on the TNA side. By light, I mean there's basically nothing here. Even the ladies who love Stephen Dorff will be disappointed, because he's a small child. Don't be gross.

BEST GORE BIT: There are definitely moments of nastiness here, but my absolute favorite gore bit comes during a pivotal point in the movie (I won't spoil it) as a character develops an EYEBALL in the palm of his/her hand, and decided to take that sucker down by stabbing it with a shard of glass. Yuck, eyeball stuff is gross.

HALLOWEEN DRINKING GAME:- Take a shot (or sip of your beverage of choice) when:

Anyone mentions a movie with Stephen dorff
Anyone tries to pronounce the directors name (Tibor Takacs!)
If the title of the movie is mentioned
Anything makes you recoil in its surprising amount of violence/terror
If there's a POV shot from the hole in the ground
If anyone mentions the title of the movie
If you think you saw a dream sequence but you're not quite sure
If you see a dead pet
If someone loses an eyeball



Extra Tidbit: The logo on the back of Terry's jacket is that of the Killer Dwarfs, a heavy metal band from the Toronto, Ontario area who were known for their offbeat sense of humor.



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